This is one story in our series about COVID-19. Read Don't think you need a PR agency right now? Think again and 4 communications actions your company can do during COVID-19 for more.
Many companies instinctively leap to tighten the belt on budgets and rein in costs in times of economic crisis; however, don’t be too quick to cut your public relations firms.
You certainly want to re-evaluate your communication priorities and postpone some promotions and possibly product launches. Consumers are especially sensitive to brands appearing tone-deaf right now, and rightly so. Nonetheless, PR agencies are multitalented and nimble.
Consider these examples of what your PR agency can do for you:
1. PR firms provide coaching, management advice, and strategic guidelines for your company’s various location managers or franchisees to ensure you present a cohesive, unified front companywide. People are unnerved right now – this is not the time for confusion or miscommunication.
2. It’s also not time to go silent. As a company, it may seem like a smart and affordable move to be silent during a crisis. In our experience, consumers quickly forget or begin to doubt when a company goes dark. Your PR agency will help you stay connected and relevant to your audience.
3. Facebook and other social media platforms report they’re seeing unprecedented spikes in usage. Your customers are seeking information, reassurance, and good news. Your trusted PR advisers can publish content, manage your social media network, and effectively and efficiently engage your target audience.
4. Email newsletter open rates have reportedly gone up in the wake of COVID-19, as people are working from home and spending more time on email. If you haven’t yet rolled email marketing into your PR program, a qualified agency will help get your message out now and set you up for success when the crisis is over.
5. In many areas, the government has issued travel restrictions and people are staying home. As a result, more people are using video to stay connected. A smart PR agency will help you strategize, promote, and even facilitate video conferences, live streaming events with influential guests, and video messaging for your homebound audience.
6. Instead of canceling industry conferences and tradeshows, sponsor or host a virtual one. Now’s a great time to give back by sharing free or low-priced, value-driven tips, insights, and other helpful content.
7. Especially in this time of uncertainty, your company needs to be proactive – communicating honestly and in an empathetic, heartfelt, and understanding way. Our PR firm has managed numerous clients’ unique crisis communications. You need expert advice, and PR agencies are here for you.
8. Your customers know this is a tough time. It’s OK to ask for help. Many consumers want to help the brands they like, know, and trust. So now might be a good time to ask them to help you by leaving you an online review or recommendation.
Our sister company ReviewMaxer is offering a special rate during the COVID-19 crisis to help other companies and small businesses with their online reviews. Positive, recent customer reviews help create more digital traffic to your company and ultimately grow your sales. Don’t let outdated, negative reviews hurt your business.
While it may be tempting to bring public relations in-house, you probably won’t be cutting costs by doing so. The actual cost of staffing a PR professional is far more than their salary. To help you make an educated decision, Axia Public Relations created a calculator that demonstrates it costs you more to staff PR than to outsource.
Many of our clients say that they need us now more than ever. How might we help you through this uncertain time?
For more information on surviving a crisis, download our e-book “Managing Public Relations in a Crisis” or visit our website.
Clients love Jason’s passion, candor and commitment as well as the team he has formed at Axia Public Relations. He’s advised some of America’s most admired brands, including American Airlines, Dave & Buster’s, Hilton, HP, Pizza Hut and Verizon. He is an Emmy Award-winning, accredited public relations practitioner, speaker, author and entrepreneur and earned his certification in inbound marketing. He founded the PR firm in July 2002. Learn more about Jason.