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How to do PR in times of uncertainty

How to do PR in times of uncertainty
Rosie Davies-Smith
Rosie Davies-Smith
Founder
PR Dispatch
 

Posted: Thu 26th Mar 2020

We're living in unprecedented times with start-ups and small businesses in particular feeling the strain of the COVID-19. We know that a lot of businesses are being forced to rethink their strategy and one area which is key right now, more than ever, is PR.

Because more people are online, more content is needed, meaning that the press will be producing features more frequently. People are turning to the media for their entertainment and if you can keep your brand visible you'll potentially be able to capture a wider audience.

Here we share some information on how to best PR your business during these uncertain and tough circumstances.

What is the press working on?

With more people working from home, the demand for entertainment is higher than usual. The press is still working and are looking for businesses to feature, and we've noticed journalists being more active in their approach; posting frequent #journorequest tweets via Twitter and asking what their audience is keen to read about.

This tough time has opened up a wider dialogue between the media and it's consumers. People's mindset and priorities are shifting and the press understand that they will need to tailor their content and topics accordingly.

#journorequest

The press is dependent on small businesses to produce content and vice versa, so they're acknowledging that it's more important than ever to champion small businesses and put the spotlight on the challenges that you are facing.

They want to hear real-life challenges, stories and tips from business owners themselves. Are you reshaping your business completely to stay afloat? Let the relevant editors know. You don't need a groundbreaking story, the key is to find a relevant press angle.

[#journorequest

#journorequest](https://twitter.com/ellencmanning/status/1240623631316680705)

While you should still pitch to the press as normal, one crucial thing to bear in mind is how relevant your business, brand, service or products are at this particular time. Be more careful than ever about the wording you use in your email pitches as you don't want to risk leaving a bad taste, potentially damaging a press relationship or your reputation.

Interaction beyond pitching

Most editors will also be working from home meaning they will likely be having a few more social media breaks than usual. This is an ideal time to reach out and interact with relevant press via Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram or similar platforms. While time is of the essence at the moment, using even 5-10 mins every day to be more proactive through social media can lead to great press opportunities and help you be seen.

I've been featured. Am I okay to talk about the article and what's the best way to share it?

Sharing your press is a great way to extend the reach of your success and help your business appear credible amongst your audience. It's still great and important to do this, however, use this opportunity to champion fellow small businesses at the same time.

Have you been featured in an article talking about other small businesses? Mention them and reference any other similar businesses where relevant. Now is not the time to worry about or think about your competition. Now is the time to stand in solidarity and support each other the best that we can.

Don't forget about your marketing strategy

Aside from your PR strategy, the messaging you communicate through your marketing and social media is equally important and should be carefully considered. Posting social media content manually opposed to scheduled content is essential now as you'll avoid any unfortunate insensitive backlashes.

The same goes for your digital marketing. Do you have any ads live containing wording which could potentially be misread or cause complaints from customers or press?

With so much uncertainty in the air now is not the right time to bombard your customers with sales-heavy marketing. You need to and should of course still do everything you can to keep your business going, but be considerate and sensitive. Everyone is feeling the impact of the COVID-19 and if you've been thinking about making your marketing more human now is a great time to do so.

If you are going through tough times it is absolutely fine to voice this to your audience. By sharing your thoughts and your concerns you'll be amazed to see how much support you'll receive, while feeling less alone about the challenges you're facing.

Utilise the power of social media to give a shout out about other small businesses and help raise their profile. Whether that's through a blog post, an email marketing, an Instagram post or a LinkedIn article.

 

Relevant resources

 
Rosie Davies-Smith
Rosie Davies-Smith
Founder
PR Dispatch
 
I'm Rosie, the founder of PR Dispatch. I also am the founder and director of PR agency LFA. I started PR Dispatch to offer affordable PR support to brands who couldn't afford to spend thousands on a PR agency each month. We give our members everything they need to pitch their products to the press.  Since 2014 I've worked with thousands of brands and nothing makes me happier than teaching brands how to do their own PR and get results. It's been an honour to be recognised for our work with PR and small businesses through a number of awards (2016 Natwest Great British Creative Industries Entrepreneur of the year and 2019 Enterprise Nation PR advisor of the year). I started PR agency with no previous PR experience (find out more here) so truly believe that anyone can do their PR if they just no how. 
 

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