As 2021 draws to a close, we appear to be slowly turning the corner in battling the COVID threat. While we are not yet over the hump in creating the herd immunity necessary to return to life as we knew it before 2020, the proverbial light at the end of the tunnel is growing brighter.
With more positive days ahead, it is now time to begin looking for opportunities to capitalize on the predicted surge in demand and spending that will likely occur.
And, while you are revising your marketing plans to move beyond COVID, keep public relations strategies in your marketing mix. Why? Because there is considerable demand and interest out there for high-quality news and feature pitches.
Recognize how marketing has changed in the past 24 months
During the pandemic, we became a nation of homebodies. And that fact alone has wrought enormous changes in how we purchase goods and services and how we shop for them.
Consumer behavior has totally changed. Marketers responded to people’s fears of going outside and shifted to customer-centric strategies that, before COVID, would likely would have been given little or no emphasis.
The end result has been an upheaval in how customers and marketers connect. Online shopping has exploded. Home delivery of everything from fast food orders to grocery shopping has become routine. Business meetings and visits with the doctor require only a couple of clicks on one’s computer to get connected.
So where does marketing go from here?
A relevant article by Ernst & Young’s Janet Balis in the March 2021 Harvard Business Review provides some interesting insights into how marketing strategies will change as the COVID era draws to a close.
Within the article, one item, point No. 6, particularly interested us at Wellons Communications. Balis says in the past, the truth was “relationships matter.” Now, it’s “relationships are everything.”
And relationship building is what Wellons Communications is all about.
Re-connect to your audience with publicity and PR
Aggressively publicize what you are selling and why it is useful to your audience.
A few months ago, we noted that, during the pandemic, companies were being strangely quiet about what they were doing or only talking about COVID and how they were responding to it. From a journalist’s point of view, it was hard to find a story that did not have COVID somehow connected it.
Media, like all of us, now are suffering from COVID message fatigue. We’re weary of hearing about the pandemic and want to get on to something more positive and cheerful.
As an illustration, the British PR firm Energy PR surveyed nearly 150 national and trade journalists to get their view on how PR has changed since COVID began. More than half of the media surveyed (53 percent) said they were receiving fewer pitches from companies or their PR firms. Eighty-eight percent said they want people to pitch feature ideas to them.
Closer to home, journalists are telling us that they are hungry for story ideas that are COVID-free. They have an appetite for information that is independent of what a company is doing in relation to the pandemic.
Do you see the opportunity? At our Orlando PR firm, we certainly do and we are working hard to ensure our clients are taking advantage of it
Let us start pitching for you
The most effective weapon we have in our arsenal at our public relations agency is publicity. We have spent our careers on both sides of the desk (journalism and PR) and have keen sense of what journalists want and how to best convey information to them.
What we are talking about, specifically, is the public relations strategies that relay enough information to build trust and confidence in you and your business.
Consider these observations from Cison’s Global State of the Media Report.
Twenty-eight percent of media receive over 100 pitches per week with most being deleted. Contrary to popular belief, a sizeable percentage also say they like receiving pitches on Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
PR pros are supposed to make journalists’ jobs easier. Nearly half of journalists report that they cover five or more beats and file seven or more stories per week. Seventy-eight percent report that they are looking for press releases, and 68 percent report they want original research. They are also looking for multimedia elements like photos and video and invites to interview experts or attend events.
To sum it up, at our public relations agency, we recognize that journalists are looking for non-COVID stories and features. We sense that they are willing to consider new and different kinds of stories. And they likely are not receiving the kinds of story ideas and concepts that fit what they are seeking.
There’s no time to waste if you want to get ahead of your competitors and put you message in front of media. Call me and let me amplify on what we can do and how we can use public relations strategies to accelerate your digital marketing program as COVID begins to decline.
We get results.