COVID-19, otherwise known as Coronavirus, has been wreaking havoc across the globe, with countless people practicing "social distancing" and staying home as much as possible. How does this affect your PR and marketing strategies? Let's take a look at what you need to know and do during this difficult time.
Perhaps you've personally seen the effects of COVID-19 in your day-to-day business. Maybe you've had to cancel or postpone important events, started working from home, or implemented daily cleaning routines within your company.
But what about when it comes to your PR and marketing activities?
How the Coronavirus Affects Your Business
There's more that you need to know beyond how to stop the spread of the actual disease. As businesses, we need to know how to properly address this issue within our individual strategies.
We have to recognize that our PR and marketing strategies can't continue, business as usual, during this time.
Because people are panicking. Their attention is not on business developments or product offerings. And if you try to interrupt their thought process with such messages, it will no doubt fall on deaf ears or even be met with a level of disdain.So what can you do?
There are some things that you should avoid during this time, as well as some things that you can focus on until this pandemic comes to an end. Let's consider a few of these key ways to adapt your strategy.
How to Adapt Your PR and Marketing During COVID-19
1. Work from Home Whenever Possible
Be sensible and work from home if you can during this time. Not only does this keep you safe, but it also keeps your company out of the headlines as a possible cause of virus spread. You definitely don't want to be like the BioGen conference that now bares some responsibility for the spread of the virus.
2. Stay Relevant to Your Audience
People are panicking right now. It's no time to focus on your needs. Look for ways to put your audience in first place and address their needs and concerns. For example, if you are a financial institution, you might produce content that addresses ways that your audience can save money during this time or how their small business can adapt to decreased customer numbers and purchases.
3. Cease All Non-Essential Press Releases and Launches
Press releases and launches are a key part of any PR strategy, especially B2B PR. But the fact is that now is not the time for your latest announcement —unless it simply can't wait. The reality is that nobody cares right now. Everybody is in a state of panic and has time only to focus on the current situation, not your company news. So put off that press release or product launch until things calm down. And by all means don't piggyback some company news onto the pandemic. That reeks of bad taste.
4. Work on Back Burner Projects
We all have those projects that we put on the back burner, waiting for when things slow down. Well, now is your time to dig out those projects and give them your full attention. This could include writing a book, updating your brand messaging, creating and publishing a new website, creating a video or podcast, designing a new offer, or even developing a thought leadership strategy. Whatever it may be, now is the time to do it.
5. Focus on Online Services
In-person events and conferences are off-limits in many areas at the moment. So look for ways to do things online to support your B2B marketing and PR strategies. Create webinars that people can log into from the comfort of their home. Do a live video on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram that will engage your audience. Take time to produce regular videos that will benefit your strategy even after the panic dissipates.
6. Build Up Your Social Media
Social media is going to be a mainstay for everybody staying at home during this time. And it's something that you can work on and improve in the background. Make sure all of your information is up to date. Look for ways to spice up your social profiles and feeds. Upload pertinent content that keeps you and your brand top of mind, but also speaks to the needs of your audience.
7. Optimize Your Digital Spaces
Whether it's your blog, website or third party sites where you're listed, you can take the time now to make sure these are fully optimized. Clean up and refine your SEO and B2B marketing strategy to ensure your current content is as visible as possible. Update all old information. Pinpoint what is and is not working within your strategy and adjust your tactics and budget accordingly.
8. Look for Ways to Help
It's not all about your company. Look outward for ways to help your community, including your employees and customers who have been affected by this virus. Whether it's with resources, technology, or skill-set, ask yourself what you can do to help during this stressful time. This might not be a traditional B2B marketing tactic, but it's the right thing to do and will be appreciated by your audience.
These PR and marketing tactics are designed to help you weather the storm of this pandemic and come out the other side stronger than ever.
As always, we are here for you and hope you stay safe during this difficult time.
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