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Helping Out After Hurricane Laura

image credit: Illustration 194537323 © Sasa Kadrijevic |
Andy Gotlieb's picture
Editor of a specialty publication, former public relations practitioner Freelancer

I hold 34 years of experience in communications, mostly in journalism, with a decade in public relations, too.  The first 17 years were spent in print journalism, where I covered, at various...

  • Member since 2016
  • 1,003 items added with 507,063 views
  • Aug 27, 2020

Obviously, everyone’s hopeful that the damage caused by Hurricane Laura in Louisiana and Texas is kept to a minimum, but that’s probably not realistic.

And, as always, utilities from across the nation will be heading to those areas to get the power back on. The camaraderie utilities show with their stricken brethren truly is inspiring and sometimes underappreciated.

Not that you want to benefit off someone else’s misery, but if your utility is sending crews to assist with the cleanup, you may as well publicize it.

Whether it’s allegations that utility equipment is sparking wildfires, complaints that utilities aren’t green enough, criticism that pandemic-promoted payment moratoriums are ending, or a host of other things, utilities have gotten some bad press in recent years.

That means you’re well within your rights to talk about the good things you do – and sending crews hundreds and even thousands of miles away to do potentially dangerous work certainly qualifies as a good thing.

The trick is in how you present it.

Instead of patting yourself on the back, focus on how helping others in need is the right thing to do.

Showcase the people that are being sent to the stricken area and highlight the personal sacrifices they’re making.

If possible, have someone blog the experience and ask the questions people are likely to ponder: How difficult is it to go into an unfamiliar area? How are the power restoration efforts being coordinated on the scene? What specific challenges and problems are associated with this event? What is the local reaction to your efforts? How is the ongoing pandemic changing what you normally might do? How does this compare to past efforts, assuming the crew has been dispatched before?

As always, photos are helpful. Assuming the crews are too busy to be shooting photos, use headshots you have of crew members as a means of illustration.

By humanizing the story, you’re also humanizing your utility – always a worthy goal, but especially now in these extraordinary times.

Andy Gotlieb's picture
Thank Andy for the Post!
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