Boss Lady

PR strategies and content in the post-pandemic: how to adapt


The times that we are living in are unprecedented. Do we need to modify the marketing and PR strategies we use in order to keep them in sync with current circumstances?

This question has rippled through marketing communities everywhere. People are struggling to find their way and develop some type of plan to stay afloat in such a turbulent climate. Ultimately, the answer is vague: it depends. I will go over how PR strategies and content promotion are affected by the novel coronavirus, as well as suggest ways to move forward in order to retain productivity.

Adapting PR strategies

You have no doubt received at least one branded email telling you how to run your business during the pandemic. Perhaps you took a look at your existing editorial calendar or campaign schedule and thought to yourself, “Is this even applicable anymore?”

In a majority of cases, it is. Specifically, if the industry you’re in is pretending that “everything is fine,” in the midst of this chaos, it will convince others to attempt to retain some sense of normalcy in their PR strategies.

However, you need to ask yourself a few questions:

  • Is my audience being impacted by the coronavirus, and if they are, am I able to help them in some way?
  • Will the priorities of my audience shift because of the existing climate? If they do, what changes to PR strategies and content should I make as a reflection of that?
  • Will our service/product be impacted by Covid-19? If so, will we be able to explain that in a way that audiences can understand?

The answers you provide to questions like these will determine if your content warrants adjustments, or if more content needs to be added. Having said that, the meat and potatoes of whatever your PR strategies and content is will probably still have relevance and warrant promotion.

People need information about products and services, and companies must still provide it. Further, writers will need subjects to discuss besides the novel coronavirus. Things may be harder because this global event has captured the public’s focus. However, there are creative ways of being promotional when a phenomenon like Covid-19 has dominated the news.

How should content that isn’t about covid-19 be promoted?

How will you be able to effectively and responsibly reach audiences with PR strategies when other essential coronavirus information is already out there?

Social content

At the moment, social content happens to be mostly centered around the novel coronavirus. This is applicable to national, local, and international news updates. The key aspect here is empathy. Being tone-deaf or alienating people will not work to your advantage. That is because just about everyone nowadays is concerned about something pertaining to Covid-19.

If you were to take a look at a big brand as an example, you will find that many of them are being tight-lipped. This situation is delicate. The last thing you want is to come across like you are selling products or services, which would be inappropriate at the present time.

However, some brands have come up with PR strategies to remain in people’s thoughts. For instance, Sephora has been tweeting out content as usual, but they have also retweeted something uplifting about Covid-19. It is their way of telling people, “Hey everyone, we are continuing to chug along in spite of what is going on in the world. We are not ignoring the things that are happening in it, though.” This subtle approach tells customers that the company isn’t in denial about the global strife taking place.

As another example, Slack decided to pin a Covid-19 post above their feed, one that offered suggestions relevant to the brand’s offering.

If you were to use PR strategies like Slack and Sephora, you will show people that your brand has a heart and is endeavoring to help. You might even be able to keep posting your scheduled content on a regular basis (as long as it doesn’t offend anyone based on the circumstances brought forth by Covid-19).

Content that builds links

If you are part of a digital PR agency, and the content that you create is first pitched to publishers, then you know that this is not an easy job. However, this strategy is very helpful, as far as building links, referring traffic, and creating brand awareness goes.

List building will warrant some extra effort on your part, though. Seek out journalists that do not focus on breaking news – look for ones that are dedicated to a specific beat. Fortunately, not all writers are explicitly covering the pandemic. It may not be relevant to their expertise, or they might have already written all that they can about the issue.

When I pitch topics, I like to include the main takeaways in an email’s body. This allows recipients to quickly go over what interests them, or what is relevant to their needs. I suggest checking to see if any topics are Covid-19-related, even tangentially.

For instance, consider the following relevant subjects:

  • Healthcare
  • Politics
  • Extraversion/introversion
  • Time management
  • Homeschooling
  • Working out of your home
  • Commercial real estate

Your content does not have to pertain to the virus specifically, nor should you force it to be! If there is a subject that is totally unrelated to the coronavirus, keep it that way. Consider appealing to certain niche authors who require material related to an industry even though a pandemic is taking place.

Pitching a story about the environment to TreeHugger will be different than a pitch made to CNN. TreeHugger may require a story relevant to the content they publish. CNN is covering anything related to the novel coronavirus.

The press has become inundated with updates about the pandemic in order to provide content to their audiences. However, many writers and publications simply want to keep their readers informed about certain niches. They have no aspirations to be the number one source about the virus.

Your company can probably relate. You may have clients/customers that need help or staff members that need to be paid. You have to keep things going. Evaluate your content to determine what should still be promoted. Stick to the suggestions in this article to create media coverage of high value.

About Maria DeAlmeida'

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