Adapting to a New PR Reality
Let's be honest, would you have believed a year ago many Americans would still be working remotely, home schooling their children and competing with the entire household for Internet bandwidth in 2021? Yet we’ve adapted all facets of our lives to meet challenges brought on by COVID-19 by leveraging creativity and resourcefulness.
Countless industries have been affected by the pandemic, including journalism and public relations, as professionals have pivoted to new methods of gathering and distributing news. So what’s changed about PR in the past year? The answer is simple: Everything.
Light Speed News Cycle
Even as COVID-19 topped headlines for months, other blockbuster stories quickly surfaced in 2020. The 24-hour cycle snowballed into non-stop breaking news, with issues like the economy, racial inequality, demonstrations and politics spiking the volume of information and cadence of its delivery.
News Gathering Channels
The remote-work environment effectively ended the formal face-to-face story pitch. Even phone interviews have been replaced by Zoom meetings, Facetime appointments and virtual chats. Many journalists are now gathering and serving up news primarily on social media. If you’re not already, seize the opportunity to become adept across all platforms, and identify your contacts’ preferred channels of communication.
Classic newsrooms have been shrinking for years while digital outlets are on the rise. Today, fewer journalists are doing more work during this all-hands-on deck scenario. Editorial roles may be interchangeable, so it’s critical to know precisely who to pitch. Even reliable media databases can become obsolete at this pace, so it’s worth the time and effort to research in advance.
It’s true that we are competing for news coverage under unprecedented conditions. As we adapt to a new PR reality, positioning the story remains key. Consider these questions:
How your product or service can provide value at this moment given the situation?
How can your company augment product or service delivery under the current circumstances?
Note that journalists and consumers are becoming COVID-fatigued. Putting forth an authentic “good news” story can easily gain unexpected traction.
Before COVID, we strategically planned information releases to align with product launches, editorial calendars and industry events, which were all disrupted in 2020. Now more than ever, agility is essential. Thinking ahead is still useful, but take time to assess current events before releasing information so that it doesn’t become background noise.
Davis Professional Services helps clients develop a comprehensive communications process, within a multi-faceted strategic marketing plan, to influence, engage and build relationships across platforms to shape a positive, trustworthy perception of the organization. Our team can help you leverage all your marketing assets in tandem to win and keep clients and achieve your sales goals.