Even in the toughest times, there is always a space for renewal and pioneering new ways to do things. That’s why it’s even more important to keep the conversation going during times of change. COVID-19 has impacted all of us in different ways and we’re now at a point where we need to consider how to push through and keep moving forward.
At Pivot Point Marketing, we are firm believers in the power of Public Relations being an essential part of your marketing mix. During times of extreme change, getting your message out clearly and well targeted to the media can make a positive difference in how your organization and brand is perceived.
We reached out to one of our PR gurus, Amy Hesser, CEO and Founder of Hesser Communications, to give us insight into how PR can help us navigate through COVID-19 and beyond.
When pitching to the media right now, what do we need to consider in order to be successful?
Media has even more content to fill during the pandemic right now via new digital channels that have sprung up which makes plug and play content essential. Reporters are working with fewer resources than ever and for the most part from their homes, not newsrooms as is the norm. Developing professional grade User Generated Content by utilizing newsworthy storytelling techniques, and offering up your organization’s insights in a relevant way that is fully baked with supporting photos, quotes and video can give your company unprecedented opportunities to shine in the spotlight presently.
Does COVID need to be in the PR pitch to the media? Or, is there every day and ordinary news to cover during the pandemic?
Tone of voice is essential – and yes, along with tone there also needs to be a pandemic or post-pandemic hook to your pitch at this time. Every story has to be relevant to this unprecedented situation we find ourselves in. These sorts of pitches may tell stories of new and different ways of doing things during the pandemic.
Ask yourself. How are you planning to re-enter the market as areas of the country begin to open up? Share your steps for moving forward. Serving people and doing good will always be promising things to share along with crafting stories of hope, inspiration and original and new ways of doing things especially if they relate to emerging trends.
What news stories or trends are you seeing during the pandemic?
Less consumerism and more online communication. People are staying at home so it’s essential to track trends through social media channels and respond. We’re seeing that news cycles are moving faster than before the pandemic, so going to Twitter throughout the day to monitor trends is a good idea. You want to be on top of what is changing daily. This is where a PR firm can help, they monitor various media channels that are important to your marketplace and keep your organization informed. They are always watching out for you – similar to a guardian angel. Pivoting is important and you can only do this by being on your toes!
What can a PR firm do for my business that I can’t do for myself?
This is a risky time – for our health, finances, operations and moving forward. You want to mitigate the risks and keep the wheels on the bus for your business. You don’t want to risk your brand reputation by not communicating. Shutting down on email marketing and communicating through social channels shows you’re not “there”. Don’t quarantine your PR. Engage and be active on social media.
Media training is critical at this time. If you’re going to be interviewed online using tools such as Zoom, consider the lighting in the room, mic you are using to ensure the media can hear you properly. Your PR company can record and prep you for upcoming interviews so you look and sound your best. Ensure your message is filtered and finessed so it connects with people not pushes them away. Working with a boutique firm that can be more nimble and respond quickly can really work to your advantage in these fast moving times.
What’s the first thing that an organization should do with PR right now?
In my opinion, LinkedIn is always a great place to go. Take a look at your organization’s LinkedIn network. Who is doing a good job in properly crafting their messages? See what is being delivered and look at their social media presence. It’s time to get your message out there in a way that is truly industry leading. Find new ways of doing things and communicating them to the marketplace in a fashion that will benefit your prospects and customers and share hope.
About Amy Hesser
Named as one of “The Top 25 Most Powerful Women in the New Economy,” by i-Street Magazine, and The Chicago Sun-Times Amy Hesser is celebrated for her work in preparing her clients to position their stories in compelling contexts and present them in ways that transcend old school media relations. As a former broadcast journalist, Hesser has a knack for leveraging her media insider insights to empower the people and organizations she works with as they gain top tier exposure in outlets ranging from The Today Show, to The Wall Street Journal, and USA Today. Connect with Amy on LinkedIn.