In these last few weeks so many of our lives have been turned upside down. We’ve been quiet over here at PressReady as we’ve been adapting to new business needs, helping our clients pivot their messaging and carefully consider best practices for pitching press during a pandemic and how today’s environment alters PR and marketing plans. We’ve also been recalibrating to what running a business looks like with young children at home (which surely many of you can relate to).

First and foremost let us start by saying that we hope everyone is doing alright amid this global crisis that has affected everyone’s health and wellbeing. We’re truly in unprecedented times. For so many small business owners, the impact on their business has created incredible challenges. PressReady was created as a platform to help small business owners of all shapes and sizes grow their business through the power of storytelling and that mission couldn’t be more important to us today.  

As we all navigate a lot of unknowns as best we can, one thing we can control is our messaging.

Do you need advice on messaging, strategy, PR or social media? We’re offering free 30-minute zoom strategy and brainstorming phone sessions to business owners who need help navigating the current waters from a communications perspective. Absolutely no strings attached. Just email us at [email protected] with the subject “Small Biz Strategy Zoom” and we’ll set you up. 

Next, we’ve created a helpful summary here of tips and guidance to keep in mind regarding adapting messaging during a crisis – for our team, your customers and the media – we’ve got you covered. 

Customer Communication & Messaging: 

  • Focus on what your business is doing and how you’re providing the same value or better during this timeframe.
  • Help customers understand how your business is adapting by providing access to a FAQ and friendly customer service experience. This should be messaged clearly and easily accessible from your website. 
  • Messaging needs to be sensitive to issues going on – it’s a moment to pause from being overly self-promotional. Instead make it personal and honest. 
  • Customers are at home – keep this in mind when angling your content anywhere. Do not accidentally let automated content go out that looks out of touch. 
  • You can absolutely still incorporate non-COVID 19 topics in your content, but be extra thoughtful about how you choose to do so. Now is the time to think and think again about who your customers are, what they might be dealing with and what has changed in their lives. Nobody appreciates tone deaf content. 

Team Communications & Messaging

Panic is contagious but so is generosity and kindness. This is the time as leaders to rise up! Some things to keep in mind for positive team communications include:

  • Be transparent about where you’re at and what challenges you might be facing, while communicating your goals and plans simultaneously.
  • Don’t let becoming digital reduce your team communication – consider a morning huddle with key team members, a weekly zoom check-in or even a happy hour.
  • Make sure your team is empowered by your messaging in a way that clearly communicates any shifts in priorities or processes.

Media Communications & Messaging

With headlines dominated by COVID-19 right now, it can be challenging to adapt your marketing and PR plan accordingly. Is it appropriate to pitch your product? Are editors still covering non-COVID-19 news? Here are a few things to keep in mind as you navigate these questions.

  • Understand that some media might not be accepting pitches right now and that others may exclusively be focusing on COVID-19 related stories. Be respectful of this and know that there will come a time soon when this will not be the case. 
  • Do not try to connect your product or service to COVID-19 if there is no true connection. Your pitch will come off as tone deaf (and from what we have heard from media, there are too many of these pitches going out).
  • Read, read, read before pitching. This is the case any time of year, but even more so now. The best way to see if a contact is covering non-COVID-19 topics is to read their recent articles. Look at when they were published. This way you can quickly decipher if it makes sense to pitch a contact (or wait). 
  • Take a close look at the stories you have slated in your PR and marketing plan. Does the messaging make sense right now? Or does it need to be revamped to reach key stakeholders? Look closely and edit accordingly. 
  • Remember that media coverage doesn’t have to be exclusive to public relations. Now is the perfect time to amp messaging on all of your owned media channels. 
  • Are you doing thought leadership? Consider drafting a timely guest article on behalf of a key executive at your business and pitch to place that in a relevant outlet. 

Do you have more ideas or input for pivoting messaging, marketing and PR amid crisis? If so, share in the comments!