By Sam Ward, Senior Account Manager
In these extraordinary times it would be remiss to say that it’s ‘business as usual’ at Wildwood. However, as much as possible, we are certainly ‘open for business’ and continuing to operate as normal a service as possible. The team is all set up to work from home and we’re even managing a team meeting every morning – often with an extra guest or two (a dachshund, a toddler, two Siamese cats, a cockatiel and Oscar’s Dad, so far!).
For lots of businesses, the story is not quite so positive. Therefore, trying to deliver PR messages that hit the right note may seem very challenging.
This crisis will end. And, your business needs to be ready to hit the ground running or, even better, sprint from halfway up the tracks. Being intelligent about the stories you share and messages you promote can strengthen your position as a brand and even attract new customers in the long run.
Here are five considerations to help steer your communications through the crisis:
Strike the right tone
- Be sensitive to the situation – check the daily news reports to ensure you are not overtaken by events
- Adapt your messaging and content to show you empathise with the current business environment.
- Don’t sell. Instead talk about the products and services that might be useful to people in this unusual situation.
- Talk about the way forward and share updates from your industry
- Above all, be human. The world has changed and it’s ok to show that you have concerns. Perhaps you can share how the pandemic has impacted business, your plans to turn it around in the future, positive human-interest stories of hope and community spirit…
- While a huge percentage of your audience is at home, maximise digital channels and create engaging content that will a) be useful to them or b) be entertaining
- Podcasts are a great way to deliver engaging content as listeners can absorb an episode while working from home. There are lots of online options for creating high-quality podcasts remotely too!
- Webinars and online events can help to build a strong brand community; just ensure the content is helpful and provides actionable takeaways.
- Comment on, share and ‘like’ the social media posts of like-minded businesses you know or would like to collaborate with – show support now and they may well remember you in future.
Use your assets
- New content might be on hold, but what have you got stored in your locker that could be repurposed? Pitch feature ideas that can be supported with existing assets (expert comment, education videos..)
- People are your biggest asset. Can you add thought-leadership weight to a hot topic? Is there a human-interest angle, for example have your team been doing charity work to support the vulnerable during the crisis?
- Give a shout-out to like-minded businesses
- Team up with industry friends and support each other
- Call in favours. What can you offer in return? Remember, we’re all in it together.
Public Relations is about building and maintaining relationships, with winning media coverage coming a close second. Use this time to nurture key relationships. Check in with people. Talk to others; show you care; offer your support. The worth of a kind gesture during times of uncertainty cannot be measured and might place you front of mind (and heart) when the storm passes.
It doesn’t have to be all about work. One of our favourite feel-good stories during the crisis is the national ‘rainbow trail’, creating a colourful treasure hunt for kids on their daily walk. These uplifting stories are just what the world needs right now. Good-news sites are also becoming hugely popular, because people are looking for escapism from the doom and gloom of traditional news sites – there is immense ‘shareability’ in positive news, so aim to be part of it.
To find out more about how Wildwood can help your business, please do get in touch with the team.