A PR Expert’s Guide to Navigating a Communications Crisis

5 Essential Elements of a Crisis Communications Plan

Putting Out Fires

A reporter just called and you’re panicking. Here’s what to do.

Business owners are no strangers to putting out fires. Sometimes, someone quits without warning. Other times, expectations aren’t met and you have to fire a team member. Or maybe an unexpected tax bill comes in the mail, or you don’t meet your financial projections for the quarter and have to tap your line of credit. 

Usually, these fires are private. When they’re not, you find yourself navigating a communications crisis. Unless you’ve worked on campaigns (like I have), run for office yourself (yep, did that), or worked as a journalist yourself (oh hey again), figuring out what to say when and to whom is a really scary prospect. Especially if you don’t have an in-house PR team or an agency relationship, your imposter syndrome may be rearing its ugly head and paralyzing you from taking any action at all.

Imagine if you had a guide to get started, written by a PR expert who has been there done that, from reshaping the political and media environment on multi-million-dollar mergers, building support for national monuments, demanding accountability for unethical politicians, handling a personnel issue that becomes (very) public smack in the middle of a fundraising campaign, and many more. 

Putting Out Fires is my guide for business leaders who want to keep their cool during a communications crisis and learn the essential elements of any crisis communications plan, including:

  • Who is the right messenger?

  • How to develop a decision-making hierarchy that can act fast.

  • The importance of sticking to your message.

  • How to build trust with journalists – and how personal capital pays off over time.

  • When it’s okay to speak on background or off the record.

  • The importance of planning for future crises so you’re not caught off-guard.

I’m Caitlin Copple Masingill


Caitlin Copple Masingill is the founder and president of Full Swing Public Relations, where her strategic communications expertise helps women leaders be seen and sought after so that they can earn game-changing wealth online.

With more than a decade of experience, Caitlin’s media placements have included Fast Company, Forbes, TIME, and The New York Times, among others. In 2019, she led communications to help elect Boise, Idaho’s first female mayor. She’s the co-founder of Electable, an online membership community that helps more women run, win, and lead in local public office. In 2011, Caitlin became the first openly LGBTQ person elected to the Missoula, Montana City Council. In 2019, she was named among Idaho’s Accomplished Under 40 by the Idaho Business Review, and in 2021, she was honored among the Idaho Women of the Year. She holds an M.A. in journalism from the University of Montana.

Download the business leader’s guide to communicating in a crisis now.