COVID-19 has impacted every industry in the world; companies have been faced with cutting budgets or closing their doors. Many businesses are choosing to cut their public relations (PR) programs first, not realizing the long term impact. Prioritizing your PR efforts now, can help you weather the storm, and even surge ahead post-pandemic. Here are a few things to consider before making the decision to cut your PR budget.
Does Your PR Program Align with Business Goals?
Before starting any PR program, it’s important to think through your business objectives. This allows you to assess what PR activities will help you achieve those goals. It’s surprising how many companies skip this step. As a result their PR programs are not generating results that contribute to the business’ bottom line. A strategic PR program should tie to sales and revenue targets for the entire organization.
An honest overview of how much more PR could be contributing if redirected, may shine a light on how the program could be producing better ROI. It may mean adding elements to the program, or bolstering existing strategies at a larger scale, but a simple assessment will help determine possible areas for change.
When Times Are Tough, It’s Time To Promote Corporate Culture, Not Products
These are unique times to say the least; people want to know that the companies they do business with are doing more than just pushing a product. People want to know that the companies they give their dollars to are actively doing something for their community. While there is still business to conduct through the pandemic, selling too hard can’t come across as crass or tone-deaf.
This is a great time to lean-in on public relations over other forms of marketing. An experienced PR professional can create compelling messaging that link to broader stories, but still highlight the good a company is doing. Often, executives can’t see past their own product and that third-party of a PR pro can be more objective. PR can help companies stop selling, and instead cut through the noise with human interest and corporate responsibility stories.
Media Relations Are More Important Than Ever
This is the time to leverage the press to create a groundswell of positive coverage. Staying top-of-mind to not only customers, but the general public is important for short-term and long-term success. The validation, credibility and reach of media/influencers is invaluable right now as almost everyone in the country is consuming more media than ever before. If a company can achieve consistent coverage in the media that current and potential customers are viewing, especially while the competition may be scaling back, there is a real opportunity to assume market leadership.Businesses who retain their PR programs through thick and thin are already a step ahead when it comes to media relations.
Moving the bulk of the PR budget to the media relations bucket can help keep companies in the headlines even when other traditional PR tactics are not available. For example, organizations that put a big focus on tradeshows and events now are stalled when it comes to reaching/engaging with customers. A consistent drumbeat of media coverage can ensure that business doesn’t fade away from their customers’ minds altogether.
PR is an Asset In The Good Times, But is Especially Valuable in The Bad Times
Every business in the world is experiencing the weight of the pandemic. Companies are having to make some incredibly difficult decisions, but if there is any room in the budget, PR can play an important role in recovery. If there was ever a time for strategic, well executed PR programs, now is that moment. Public relations ensures companies and products are in front of the right people, and communicating messages that are relevant to them at this moment. Promoting the good work an organization is doing during the tough times can create confidence, good will, garner new clients, retain current ones, and bring in more money – which are all critical for corporate survival.