Why PR Still Matters During The COVID-19 Crisis
The COVID-19 crisis has thrown a wrench in the American economy. There’s no definitive timetable for the lifting of quarantines that have shut down retailers and jettisoned workers from their offices. Most public gatherings are closed, and everything may seem surreal, but problems always bring new opportunities.
What’s clear is that companies are struggling. It doesn’t matter if they work in retail, e-commerce, finance or any other market — they’re all vulnerable to the ongoing paralysis of supply chains, financial markets, and economies.
JP Morgan is forecasting a negative 15 percent GDP in the US economy for Q2, one of the worst ever, and early economic figures from China are staggering — indicating a 15 percent manufacturing decline in 2020, which is an all-time low.
Amid the whirlwind of news updates, it can be difficult to stay focused on clients, but they need PR now more than ever and for some very acute reasons.
Companies Are Struggling
Companies, whether they are in the tech industry or e-commerce, often look to PR companies to help solve problems. At the very least, they employ their help to mitigate the fallout effects of negative publicity or to define a positive narrative.
Currently, that narrative is to reduce the knock-on effects of panic that COVID-19 has induced.
If your client is an e-commerce company with a surplus of inventory, they may want to ratchet up advertising and content publication to try and unload their product before they go under. If they are a technology software startup in crypto, they may want to smooth fears over a market microstructure that broke on March 12th — allaying fears by offering a nuanced analysis of how their project differentiates itself from the crowd.
Your team can help by reaching out. As teams begin to grapple with working remotely, they may need your experience in handling geographically diverse teams outside the office. Even something as simple as a list of questions about what problems they’re facing can reduce their burden.
Agency specialization can play a critical role here too as companies, maybe even non-clients, may reach out for your industry expertise.
As far as content editorials and other publishing go, influencers are also highly relevant. Matching influencers, who are also confined to home, to companies in need of eyeballs can alleviate the problems of both parties. They both need promotional content and the corresponding uptick in revenue.
Software services, like Asana, Zoom, TowerData, BuzzSumo, and SimilarWeb are now your best friends. It may be time to allocate more of your budget to them and cultivating relationships with different publications to expand the reach of your clients. If they still have solid cash-flow, they will want to push out more content.
And the demand for content is only set to explode as everyone is shacked up on their couches or home offices.
Content is a Gold Mine During Quarantine
If people weren’t already addicted to their technology products enough, it’s only going to get worse. For example, Los Angeles recently asked the public to adhere to non-essential outdoor movement standards, meaning only trips to grocery stores, pharmacies, and medical facilities as the most appropriate.
Content will fill the void that people are seeking as they desperately grasp for information and a sense of normalcy. Many larger corporations have already furloughed swaths of employees, meaning more eyeballs for content outside of their respective professional scopes.
PR firms subsequently play the role of weaving together client demands and digital publication content to meet a surge in public demand. The public will voraciously consume content in the coming weeks.
While many people may spend obscene hours watching Netflix, there are clusters of professionally curious looking to stay in the loop on industry developments. Those developments include your clients as the country transitions to even more of a digital lifestyle.
Sometimes, transparency may work best for content. With your clients in a financial dilemma, sharing their stories on mainstream or alternative outlets may prove the type of gravitational content that other professionals want. Community outreach may ensue, and better brand awareness amid a time when most brands are stumbling.
They want to know directly how COIVD-19 is impacting other companies in their market. PR firms can help furnish that information will a small nudge.
If your clients work in finance, your PR firm may already be in hyperdrive as developments are happening so fast not even Real Vision can keep up with them. But those rapid developments are also a profound opportunity. Now could be a perfect time to extend your PR engagement into different media types, whether that be video streaming, newsletters, or some other area you have formerly been too hesitant or busy to infiltrate.
Robust companies typically emerge stronger from a crisis, absorb market share, and enter into new engagements earned while everyone else was busy panicking. PR not only matters during the COVID-19 fallout, but it can be a lifeline for many companies that are struggling. You can help your clients and prospective companies while also expanding your role and influence in different markets.
It may be difficult to avoid the news cycle, but if you can focus on solving problems and creatively pushing boundaries, your firm can separate itself from the competition.