How PR Has Shifted Since COVID-19

by | Oct 23, 2020 | Public Relations

In the world of sharing news, PR professionals are adept at rolling with the punches and expecting the unexpected. A crisis? There’s typically a protocol involved that the team is prepared to execute. Last minute press release? Happens quite frequently. Early mornings and late nights? Sometimes, that’s just a part of the job. But we have all been disrupted this year – 2020 – in more ways than one. But has it all been negative? 

Public relations is a profession that is built upon communication and the skills needed to cultivate favorable public images for organizations and/or individuals. For our staff at Dittoe PR, it’s been interesting to observe how our day-to-day lives have shifted – everything from where we’re working, to what our clients need. We’re all learning how to live and work in a world that’s new to us in nearly every way possible. 

The Environment

The pandemic has resulted in 5 million U.S. employees working from home half-time or more – and that includes the staff at Dittoe PR. While PR professionals were already quite skilled in the latest and greatest technologies, from online communication tools like Slack to services for journalists like Muck Rack, the spike in usage and training for video conferencing software has been quite amazing to witness. 

Phrases like “please mute yourself” or “I just got kicked out” are becoming more and more common. While video interviews with the media have been an option in the past, it wasn’t usually the go-to choice. Now, for many of our clients, conducting a video interview is just about as simple as a phone call. While nothing can replace true in-person interactions, video does add a layer of personalization that can’t be found on the phone or through an email. 

The Strategies

We work with a variety of clients across different industries at Dittoe PR. With that comes ample opportunities for thought leadership. From the PR side, we’ve been able to identify how each organization’s pandemic-related strategic pivots and adaptability have opened more doors for media placements. While it’s not wise to pretend you’re an expert of the pandemic if you’re most definitely not, it is a good idea to think outside of the box to determine new ways to connect with target audiences. Key questions that can be asked by industry leaders include:

  • What unique solutions did you come up with this year to serve customers?
  • How might your guidance as an industry leader help calm fears?
  • What new health and safety initiatives have you implemented internally? 
  • With the transitions you’ve made as an organization this year, what has positively impacted your audience the most? 

Little did we know at the beginning of 2020 when we were planning out our quarterly PR strategies that many of those strategies would be completely erased. As life goes, PR professionals quickly found themselves restructuring, repositioning and pushing ahead. Learning how to “roll with the punches” is a skill all on its own. Brand new and seasoned PR professionals alike have learned how to adjust accordingly to a climate that no one was expecting.

The Next Chapter

It’s vital for every PR professional to monitor the news cycle more and more closely. This practice best ensures that storylines and pitches are timely, especially as we’re currently up against continued pandemic and election news. We’re still very much navigating through a time of unknowns, so paying attention to what’s happening in our world will continue to be incredibly important. 

The future of PR will touch on new and creative ways of dealing with crises. While it’ll still be valuable to dig into those tried and true client updates (ESG reports, growth of staff, new acquisitions, etc.), a newly developed focus will be on “how to prepare for the unexpected.” 

Additionally, gone are the days of many in-person events. We’re seeing more virtual events and webinars come to fruition, allowing for organizations to really tailor their content for specific audiences. Leveraging this kind of content after the event, too, has become an integral part of event strategy. Many webinars have recordings that will live on indefinitely, creating opportunities to share the recorded version as fresh content. 

What Now?

If you’re an organization that’s wondering how to best strategize content plans and media outreach for 2021, a skilled PR agency is the answer. Dittoe PR’s core services of media relations, content marketing, social media, crisis communications and more allow clients to tell their stories on a local or national scale, no matter the news cycle. Connect with us to learn how an agency can position you for success in the new year.

Dittoe PR

Dittoe PR is a nationally recognized public relations and social media management agency.

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