By Megan Hartman, Strategic Marketing & PR Manager
COVID-19 is changing the world of business and communications. The world is in a state of unease, and therefore businesses must alter how they communicate with the public. Although we are unsure if these changes are temporary or permanent, the best thing a company can do is adapt its strategies as things evolve. Companies must remain mindful of the situation while still efficiently reaching their target audience. This requires changing your company’s PR strategy. Here are some tips on how to effectively change your PR strategy during COVID-19.
- Think before you act… or post, or pitch, or plan.
Everyone’s experiencing their own challenges with COVID-19. Whether it is because of financial or emotional discomfort, or both, the way people process information has changed because of a general heightened panic. It is essential that before spreading a message, you reevaluate the tone. If you have any bit of concern that someone could interpret the content in an unintended way, rephrase or discard the message. In times of uncertainty, it is best to err on the side of caution.
- Connect with reporters.
Reporters are also dealing with a changing work environment during COVID-19. The news is changing hourly and there is an endless supply of information surrounding the pandemic. Instead of sending your pitch which may not be relevant to them during these times, reach out and see what kind of information they are looking for and if you can be helpful to them. This will help build your relationship with the reporter even after the pandemic and hopefully make your company stand out during these times.
- Postpone or reschedule certain pitches.
If you conclude that a pitch will come across as insensitive, delay it. Though it may feel inconvenient to temporarily suspend a release, the last thing you want to do is act indifferent to what is going on in the world. Pushing off a release date allows more time to perfect the pitch and allows a company to fine-tune the message to be more appropriate regarding COVID-19. A postponement does not signal a cease in work. Instead, it will enable firms to adjust the message and hold off the announcement for it to be more successful in reaching the right audience when the time is more appropriate.
- Use alternative channels of communication and take advantage of social media.
The COVID-19 pandemic has caused many people to become more active on social media with social consumption rates increasing by 29% according to Inc. Use this to your advantage by sharing your messages on highly frequented platforms. Research which social media platforms will help you spread your message to the desired demographic. It is also beneficial for a company to embrace online video conferencing. Online communication services, such as Zoom, are user-friendly and are a great way to keep in touch with employees and customers. Email newsletters are also an effective way of reaching your customers and employees while working remotely.
- Develop PR crisis management plans for the long-term.
Though it feels hard to believe now, the pandemic will eventually come to an end. However, that is not to say that we will never face crises again where we will have to adjust PR strategies. It is in a company’s best interest to devise procedures that can be used as guidelines if a community disaster causes a shift in how the public interprets information. The public responds positively to companies that react to crises calmly and efficiently. You can come out of challenging times stronger by being prepared.
PR has always been a quickly changing field, and COVID-19 has only added to it. You do not need to abandon your old strategies, but instead, find a way to adjust them appropriately. Your business will benefit from learning how to adapt judiciously in critical situations.
For more information on how Verasolve can help your company develop and implement PR strategies, contact Katie Jordan at firstname.lastname@example.org.