• Georgia Hatton

Top tips for gaining PR during a crisis

By Hayley Smith, Owner & Head of PR @ Boxed Out PR

It is a difficult time for all businesses, but especially small companies and startups. Trying to launch and run a business is challenging at the best of times, but doing it during a crisis can be overwhelming and fearful. And it can be difficult to know where to start.

But I believe that in chaos, one of the sliver linings is often opportunity, especially when it comes to PR and building your profile. Companies, like mine, set themselves up during the recession, and many have blossomed.

When it comes to PR, it is all about understanding your positioning and market, and where you want to be seen and heard. During this time, when everyone is trying to shout above the noise, your USP is your expertise, and your story - no one out there can compete with that. You just need to find a way to share it.

I have included below my top six tips to help you achieve great PR during this pandemic.

1. (Re)create your PR strategy. Determine your PR goals, and what you want to achieve both long and short term. Use this strategy to develop a thorough understanding of where you want to take your business, and more importantly, how you are going to get there. As well as meeting your goals, having a solid strategy will allow you to identify your audience, understand your competitors and secure your position in the market.

2. Create a content calendar. Create a 3 month calendar, containing all of the key dates that are going to help gain you coverage. These dates will create a timeline for your business, but will also provide you with PR opportunities that you can create content around. They can also be used in your marketing for social media, newsletter and blog content.

3. Rethink your positioning. The landscape is changing daily. What has worked before, isn’t necessarily working anymore. People are on furlough, and publications are closing down weekly. It’s time to rethink and reassess your routes to market. With most businesses moving online, PR opportunities in podcasts, and live streamed events are increasing and these are great for raising your profile, and telling your business story. Also, with everyone currently stuck at home, online PR should be your main focus.

4. Adapt and collaborate. PR isn’t about being featured in national news (though that’s great!), it’s about connecting with and reaching out to your audience. Adaptation and flexibility are key right now. Use this time to explore new PR avenues and resources. Contact other companies, or platforms who are talking about your industry, preferably with larger followings and ask them to get involved in a joint webinar, or offer a guest blog post to share your expertise. Free content is also important to help access your key audience.

5. Influencer marketing. There aren’t many people talking about this at the moment, and it’s because influencers charge. But many out there are looking for content as much as anyone else. It is in their best interest to maintain their profiles and connect with businesses to help sustain their profiles, so now is a great time to connect with them. Create some campaign ideas or a joint collaboration that is relevant to both parties, and start building those relationships.

6. Use what you have. There are plenty of Facebook groups, where you can network with other businesses and journalists. The Twitter #journorequest is a great tool for reactive PR opportunities. And there are plenty of free downloads if you look for them. I would advise also investing in a pitching course to help you refine your content and gain better results, and will also set you up for ongoing PR after the crisis.

These tips will help you gain a better understanding of how PR works and what you can be doing to help position you and your business for now, and the future. And now, we all have the time to invest in developing our business.

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