The Crisis Ready Response to Coronavirus COVID-19



“Yes, over my weekends, because crises don’t sleep.”

That direct quote, from a webinar held on Wednesday, March 11, should give you all of the insight you need into the commitment crisis management expert Melissa Agnes has to her work. Melissa is the author of Crisis Ready: Build an Invincible Brand in an Uncertain World and has been at-the-ready with her response to the coronavirus COVID-19. 

Her answer to this now global pandemic could have been simply hawking her book on social media, relying on her audience to order a copy and to make their own conclusions based on that content. Armed with a Forbes top business book of 2018 and a work taught in higher education courses around the world (including Harvard University and Homeland Security), one could argue that anyone with a copy of Crisis Ready would be, well, ready. 

But Melissa took her role ten steps further, developing and hosting a comprehensive webinar specific to the impact of COVID-19 in just over a week. It was free to the first 500 people who registered, and no assumptions were made that attendees were well-versed in the practices Melissa preaches. She solicited questions in advance, incorporated them into her presentation, and also answered questions in real-time to make it as valuable as possible to attendees. 

If you ever find yourself asking how to expand the lifecycle of thought leadership books, take a literal page from Melissa’s book, released two years ago. At the highest level, it’s about applying your subject matter authentically and thoroughly to the national conversation with the same level of commitment it took to cement your positioning in the first place. Here’s more from Melissa on how she got from there to here:

When did you decide to put on the webinar?
Specifically, I decided on Tuesday, March 3, while speaking with my team, expressing my frustration on the current lack of leadership and the undeserved domino effect this has on businesses and society at-large. This situation is unprecedented and people are scared. Of course they are. But they don’t have to be alone and I have a ton of experience and knowledge that can help, so I gave as much as I possibly could within a short 75-minute window.

How did you promote it?
Within 24 hours my team had a webpage up and we shared that to my newsletter list, on social media and we asked others to help us spread the world. I framed it as their form of payment for the webinar by saying:
The coronavirus is a global situation that calls for us all to come together and support one another. For this reason, we are not charging for this webinar. However, what we are asking for as a form of ‘payment’ is that you share this link and information about this webinar with your network, so we can increase the reach of this important information to all of those who will benefit from it.

I was very blessed to have—and continue to have—many shares, as the replay of the webinar, as well as all of the free resources that come along with it, are all still available for free to anyone who is interested.

How long did it take you to put the deck together?
It’s not just putting the deck together, but also figuring out the flow of the message I wanted to share, writing the copy for the webpages, setting up email automations, time promoting it across channels… all of which took about 4 days of my time, not counting my team’s time to actually launch the webpage for me, put up the Institute’s splash page, create new automation emails for those who registered, etc. All of this was forced to happen over the weekend and well into the early morning hours, since my day job consists of consulting and advising clients who are currently facing the impacts that COVID-19 are presenting to their businesses.

What else have you done related to COVID-19?
I’m advising clients and constantly trying to find ways to spread the Crisis Ready message to help others through this difficult time; I’m offering a very exclusive opportunity for companies through the Crisis Ready COVID-19 Coaching Program; the Monday prior to the webinar I hosted a Mastermind Session on COVID-19 for my Crisis Ready Community; today, I published this blog post, which I hope will also help inspire hope and provide access to helpful resources… And if anybody has any other ideas, I’m all ears and would be very grateful!

For more on Melissa, go to MelissaAgnes.com and order your copy of Crisis Ready on Amazon.

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Case Study: The Triple Threat of Brainwashed

Headlines scream that football causes CTE, but the headlines don’t tell the whole story. A bold statement for an even bolder book that put Amplify on the map. Let’s dive into a case study on three key elements of book marketing that keep Brainwashed in the media spotlight.

Written by former NFL running back Merril Hoge (with contributions from neuropathologist Peter Cummings), Brainwashed: The Bad Science Behind CTE and the Plot to Destroy Football was hailed as “a must-read for any parent” by current Pittsburgh Steelers QB Ben Roethisberger and his wife, Ashley.

The gist?
There are hidden agendas and misinformation surrounding CTE, which Hoge and Cummings address by examining flaws in the often-cited studies and exposing the sensationalist reporting that catapulted CTE into the national spotlight.

Our goals?

  • 1. Nail the timing
  • 2. Solidify the expertise
  • 3. Go big on press (or go home)

When Hoge approached us in January 2018 with the concept, we knew that time to market was essential to capitalize on this hot and controversial topic. Oh, and we needed to get this book out at the start of those five months out of the year dominated by one other acronym: NFL.

That gave us 10 months to get the manuscript written, edited, designed, and printed, a process that usually takes 18 months or more. Our keys to success were hiring both a ghostwriter and third-party researcher who knew that timing was key, but accuracy was even more important. Taking such an alternative approach to a topic that hit the country harder than a defensive tackle required airtight research.

One of Lou Holtz’s many quotable moments was when he said that “no one ever drowned in sweat.” So once the book was complete, we hit the press offensive. Hard. One day after the book’s release, Hoge was in USA Today (and in front of hotel room doors nationwide). That same day, both Hoge and Big Ben were on TMZ Sports, proving that no outlet was too big—or in this case, too out there—for this story.

And while this was nationwide news, the NFL jerseys that bore Hoge’s name shaped our regional pitch strategy. With a career-ending concussion as a Chicago Bear, Hoge returned to the Windy City’s headlines with this piece in the Chicago Tribune.

Throughout the 2018-2019 NFL season, Brainwashed continued to make national and international news with coverage on FOX News, the UK’s Daily Mail, and more. Now that we’re in the throws of another NFL season, the conversation continues. And Merril Hodge continues to be in it. 


New York lawmakers consider ban on youth tackle football (FOX News, October 31, 2019)

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