As we’re all adjusting to the new norm amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, one thing is for certain: change. For now, news conferences and public events are “out” and all things live streaming and virtual are “in.”
As communications experts, we’re helping businesses rethink and adjust their communications strategies to get through these challenging times. Thomas/Boyd Communications offers tips on how to adapt to change and communicate effectively during this crisis.
Stick to the Fundamentals
Even though it’s a different time, continue to stick to the fundamentals and begin by asking the following questions to help map out your strategy.
- How is COVID-19 impacting products or services?
- Which target audiences are being impacted?
- What are the key messages to communicate?
- What are the best channels to communicate messages to target audiences?
Working with the News Media
While the media is heavily focused on COVID-19 related stories, they are also hungry for “feel good” stories – businesses helping the community, community members helping the community, organizations thanking health care workers and first responders, etc. The media is also looking for experts who can provide perspective on COVID-19 related issues. Since news departments are already short staffed and now some reporters are being furloughed, creating a tight, newsworthy pitch and packaging a solid story will make or break your chance of getting covered.
It’s important to routinely monitor news coverage to determine what’s trending, determine the “temperature” of the news climate and to uncover opportunities for news coverage.
Content is King
Branded e-news blasts, blogs and website copy are just a few ways to disseminate your messaging. Create relevant content that mirrors your company’s brand and conduct a “tone” check to be sure content is appropriate, especially during these times.
Analyze your current media schedule – whether it’s print, online or outdoor – to determine the best use of your ad spend. You may need to put a hold on certain ads or create new ads that reflect current business needs and climate. Again, conduct a “tone” check to make sure messaging is relevant and appropriate.
More than ever, people are online during this pandemic. Stop and think before posting to channels like LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Many of our clients went “quiet” during the initial COVID-19 outbreak and are slowly starting to post content. Again, make sure messaging is thoughtful and sensitive.
Also realize that if your content is public, the news media often mines through posts to uncover story ideas. Accompany content with a compelling graphic. And, when possible, use video to tell your story.
We are living in unprecedented times, that’s for sure. But the solid communications strategies and tactics that guide public relations and marketing initiatives through calm seas will continue to be the backbone of a successful plan during this rough time.