Remote Ready, Part 3: Public Relations in a Pandemic

May 1, 2020

This is the third post in a multi-part series outlining ways small businesses can more effectively plan and communicate online. Read Part 1 and Part 2 of our Remote Ready series.

Everyone loves a good comeback story. It’s part of the American spirit and something we can all rally around. Nothing would be more worthy of such than a full-fledged comeback for our economy. To make such a comeback, businesses need to be mindful of what messages they’re sharing now, and how they plan to stay in their customers’ minds in the future.

The first phase of reopening Florida’s economy begins Monday, May 4. A good PR plan can help your company connect with current customers and reach new ones. While traditional PR looks a little different in the current climate, it’s still worth an investment of your time and energy. Here’s how you can get started on your comeback story today.

Review (and Refine) Your Communications Strategy

Now is the perfect time to take a look at your organization's short-term needs and long-term communications strategy. Evaluate what can proceed as planned, and what needs to be rescheduled or modified. If you have extra time on your hands now, why not use it to improve your company’s communications?

Perfect Your Press Release

Some news just can’t wait. If your company has an announcement that is proceeding as planned (or an unplanned opportunity comes up and you need to get the word out), a good press release can help you earn valuable media coverage. Make sure your release is well-written, clear, and as concise as possible. Especially now, your media contacts may have less time to scroll through pages of information. Be sure your pitch is succinct and tailored to the outlets and media professionals you’re sending it to, with specific notes about how the information can benefit their readers, listeners, or viewers. This approach (one we utilize daily in our PR work) will help you get more responses and increase your likelihood of coverage.

Focus on the Good

This is sound advice all the time, but especially in challenging periods like we are experiencing now. Feel free to highlight how your team is giving back to their local community, why your business is offering certain products or services (especially if they’re available at a discounted rate or meet an immediate need), how your reopening will provide a benefit to local consumers, or other ways your business is making an impact. Members of the media are looking for feel-good stories that they can share in addition to hard news updates, so don’t be afraid to toot your own horn a little!

Embrace the Unknown

While a detailed timeline on the subsequent phases of the reopening have not been released at the time of this writing, we know they’ll emerge in the days and weeks ahead. Even if you don’t have all of the details related to your reopening figured out just yet, start drafting your announcement now. Write around the details that you don’t yet know, such as your specific opening date or what your hours will be; when you have clarity on that information, you’ll be one step ahead of your competition. We call this exercise drafting a “Swiss cheese” release because there are holes that you work around. When you’re ready to share your plans, our CEO Russell Baker suggests sharing those details on your website, social media channels, and email (read more of his input in the Jacksonville Business Journal).

While it’s too early to say when things will return back to “normal,” it’s never too early to plan how you’ll share your comeback story. Here’s a sample “Swiss cheese” reopening announcement that you can download here, and it’s our free gift to you. Now go get ready to share your news confidently — or let us know how we can assist you.

Let’s turn your idea into realized potential.