Crisis management...something we generally don't want to think of as a business. Most times it means bad news, but bad news can be worse if the situation is not handled properly. Generally speaking, most businesses who require strong public relations, already have a public relation strategy in place in case of crisis. But does your company's PR plan include search engine marketing?
Think about it, more and more Americans turn to the Internet for their daily news source. Do you want them to get their information from a blog or a spun news story? You have little if no control how third parties will report the story. The optimal situation is for readers to get their information directly from the source.
It is unrealistic to think that an SEO strategy will get the information noticed fast enough. The communication with the public should be as quick as possible which simply will not happen with SEO...these efforts take time to be effective. There is no better way to handle a crisis situation than Pay-per-Click advertising (PPC). This is a perfect PR channel for a crisis if you wish to have an accurate message sent. The cost-per-click (CPC) would be very low because keywords would be targeted directly towards the situation, a custom landing page can be implemented that gives the facts of the event or situation and you are placing the information exactly where people are looking: Search Engines.
One important thing to remember is to make sure your search marketing provider works with the company and/or public relations firm to accurately portray the situation. If your business is leading people right to the source for information, things can turn ugly if it is incorrectly reported. Your search marketing provider should have a plan of exactly how things should be handled in the event of a crisis...prior to a crisis situation. This is the only way the strategy will be handled effectively and accurately.