How has the pandemic affected the public relations industry? Everything-PR spoke to some experts recently and we got a variety of feedback:
“Agencies have an important role in helping clients navigate through change. Active communications programs are imperative in the current environment in which we’re reimagining virtually everything and reckoning with systemic challenges across the board. At RPG, our clients in technology and healthcare are seeing increased interest in their solutions, for example, and they’re taking this moment to engage in purposeful and trusted conversations about things that really matter, from employee communications to reaching potential customers seeking to manage through uncertainty,” said Bob Osmond, president, Racepoint Global
Paige Arnof-Fenn, CEO of Mavens & Moguls, said “I think Content marketing is the new PR. I am a big fan of Content Marketing which is a great way to build your brand, increase your visibility more broadly, raise your profile and attract more clients. I regularly share quality content based on my experience personally and professionally. To qualify it must be timely and relevant. To generate ideas I look at the calendar to see if there are any natural opportunities based on the season or activities, keep a running list of topics I get asked about by my clients and other business owners and note when I read or hear about something new I want to explore further, a trend, theme or idea that catches my attention. If it is an issue that affects me or my business then it is likely to be a topic that impacts others too. Once I decide on an idea to write about I may do research on the topic, talk to people for input and just start typing. If I have a unique perspective to share or any advice I think may help others I get it out there via social media or whatever distribution vehicle makes the most sense.
To make content even more attractive and drive conversion further in 2020 I try to understand not just what or how to purchase a product, experience or service but also be able to inspire audiences by identifying the underlying motivation.”
She adds, “ I think David Meerman Scott says it best, “You can buy attention (advertising). You can beg for attention from the media (PR). You can bug people one at a time to get attention (sales). Or you can earn attention by creating something interesting and valuable and then publishing it online for free.”This advice is not fancy and does not require big budgets but it does take time. It is a smart investment to get this right. Authenticity is the key, it has to be and feel real for it to work I think. This has helped me grow my business. “
|CLAIRE BLOXOM ARMSTRONG OF PAVLOV AGENCY SAID, “|
The future of PR is uncertain — just like it is for almost every industry. Speaking from an agency PR perspective, the global pandemic has hit us hard, with nearly half of our clients cutting their budgets completely, and others cutting back by 50% or more. And those that haven’t cut back services have asked us to significantly reduce hourly rates and fees.
With all being said, this is obviously not the best time for conventional PR and media relations, as most audiences won’t be receptive to product, service, or sales-driven news. So without the usual press releases or announcements, one of the best and most effective ways to stay in the public eye is by focusing on thought leadership PR.
Whether the method is by writing blog posts for your company (or client-owned) media/website, or by writing longer, more research-driven articles and pitching them to traditional media outlets for publication in print or online, there’s a much greater need and desire from the public for insightful articles and content that can help illuminate how to move forward during these challenging times.”
Durée Ross, President & CEO of Durée & Company believes “the future of Public Relations is all about content generation and strategic communications. The pandemic has helped PR in many ways, including the need for us to handle clients’ corporate communications efforts. However, certain industries have been hit harder than others, such as restaurants, hospitality and travel, which could potentially affect this answer for the PR industry as a whole.
For PR practitioners, the role of crisis communications and managing re-opening announcements (plus how clients are social distancing) has been critical in terms of need. This means making sure corporate communications – including e-blasts, social media and PR – are visually appropriate in showing social distance efforts and correct in following guidelines for re-opening efforts.
Although many advertising campaigns were cut as a result of COVID-19, the need for ongoing strategic PR counsel for our clients has kept us busy. To many of our clients, we are seen as essential, though clearly, we aren’t saving any lives. “