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7 May 2020 / Opinion

How we're driving results during a global crisis

Karolina Drozdowska / Media Relations Manager

The term ‘coronavirus’ received over 17 million online mentions in the press during April 2020, and while this isn’t at all shocking given the unprecedented and strange time we’re currently facing, it does mean hitting coverage and link targets for clients can be a challenge. How are PRs meant to cut through that constant stream of news and updates?

However, with a few changes in tactic and an all hands on deck attitude, it is possible. In fact, we’re so proud of the results we achieved across all our clients in April, we wanted to share some tips on how we did it.

Firstly, here is an overview of the results the team achieved in the midst of a global crisis

  • 644 pieces of coverage (excluding linking coverage)
  • 510 overall links
  • 79 followed links
  • 57 no followed links
  • 374 syndicated links

So how did we do it? Here a list of tips we’ve learned along the way:

Don’t be afraid to change strategy

Pretty much immediately, we started to see that stories with no focus on the virus, and particularly those with a more serious talking point or negative angle, were struggling to get picked up by the press - naturally.

In light of this, we had to change tactics across the board. Swapping campaigns out for smaller pieces of reactive content, moving plans around in order to work quickly and deliver new press releases, new ideas and new activity approaches.

Where we could, we made the content we already had more relevant to the current situation, but when that wasn’t possible it was back to the drawing board.

Create and repurpose uplifting content

After a few weeks of covering the virus, journalists were crying out for uplifting stories, to help bring people some joy and less serious content throughout the crisis - and that’s exactly what we delivered.

We worked to send journalists positive past campaigns and mailers as well as ensuring the ideas we’re generating to replace ones which were now less relevant, fit that criteria. They asked, and we listened. One example is for Tic Watches, we decided to swap their planned campaigns for smaller, more relevant pieces of content focusing on how best to schedule your days in quarantine which achieved more than 100 pieces of coverage.

Be ready to offer insightful commentary

A crisis is always adapting and changing, meaning there’s always a new part of the story being revealed every day. Be ready to comment on the elements which are relevant to your clients. Line up a relevant spokesperson, and dedicate time in the morning to read up on any developments in the press. Journalists are in desperate need of experts to comment on their stories at all times, but it’s even more important when stories are moving so fast. For example, using internal job market data from Adzuna we created weekly press releases summarising how COVID-19 was impacting the UK job market. Overall this achieved 41 pieces of coverage, including 12 national hits.

Help journalists as much as you can

It’s unlikely that a single industry hasn’t been impacted by the current crisis - and that goes for journalists too. Building and maintaining strong relationships is more important than ever. Take to Twitter and alert services to find their requests and do everything you can to help them get what they need.

We also found spending the time to ask if there’s anything else they need while we’re promoting or discussing an alternative story, goes a long way! It’s a golden PR rule, but one we should spend even more time doing during a crisis.

Look backwards

Current and upcoming campaigns aren’t the only pieces of content we re-edited. We looked at past campaigns we’ve completed for our clients, and repurposed what we could to give it new relevancy to journalists and their readers. Whether that’s giving it a new angle, or focusing on uplifting case studies, we adapted old campaigns to achieve new results. A key example of this was a campaign we did for ScS on the dirtiest places of the home, which we reissued with Coronavirus angle. This approach to the data was also used for a media opportunity, landing our client coverage a great piece in the Express, while building a relationship with a key journalist.

No matter how much you prepare for a crisis, it’s always a challenge when you’re faced with one, especially one of this magnitude - and we’re so proud of the work we’ve achieved in the last month. Not only have we been working hard to deliver new content, we’ve managed to smash targets and deliver amazing pieces of coverage, all while in the midst of over 17million Coronavirus related stories. Well done, team!

For more information on how we can help you with your PR needs, please get in touch.