COVID-19 has everyone, from small races to large businesses, scrambling to come up with messaging for their communities, customers and participants. There’s a fine line between being informative and coming off as insensitive. Read on for a few keys to keep in mind when crafting your correspondence.
The most important factor when communicating with your community during COVID-19 is to remain transparent. Crafting a lengthy, drawn-out message that doesn’t really say anything important may only frustrate and anger people.
When providing information or updates about your organization’s situation, be concise, factual and to the point. Let them know the specific steps you’re taking to keep the community safe and healthy and leave it at that. You can even consider creating an FAQ page for your website to answer common questions you receive.
What terms you choose to use in messaging are crucial as well. Using words like “pandemic”—even if factual—or “panic” even in situations describing what not to do—may cause unnecessary alarm for your audience.Instead, stay positive, avoid triggering terms and, most importantly, stick to the facts.
Continuity Is Key
Putting out a single open-ended correspondence won’t get the job done. If you say a race is postponed, state when you plan to make further decisions. If you are closing your YMCA for a certain amount of time, detail the duration as well as when you plan to reevaluate the re-open date.
Also plan to follow up periodically as new information becomes available—if it concerns you or your community. Clearly state your expected timeline, noting that things may change while also mentioning they will be the first to know if it does.