There is no denying it: In the new normal, the same old PR tricks just won’t cut it anymore.
With a slew of social distancing measures and travel restrictions in place, the usual agency tactics such as face-to-face interviews, press conferences and physical roundtable discussions are proving to be a logistical challenge, particularly in ASEAN markets outside of Singapore. Given the new work-from-home-scheme, usual tasks such as reaching journalists and arranging periodic coffee chats are no longer as easy as they were during the pre-COVID-19 era. After all, a number of publications’ offices are closed and/or working with split or remote teams, and getting on the radar of journalists (including those whom you haven’t built solid relationships with) means that agencies have to devise a new media relations strategy.
The media landscape is changing at a breakneck speed. PR agencies have their work cut out for them. They have to work smarter and come up with strategic campaigns that blend creativity, agility and innovation if they want their messages to rise above the noise. Given logistics constraints on so many levels, how then can PR agencies keep up in an industry that significantly hinges on human interaction, relationships, and communication?
Virtual experiences have all been the hype last year, when nationwide lockdowns were implemented, and everyone had no choice but to stay at home as nations grappled with flattening the curve. The most innovative brands leveraged the situation to turn crisis into opportunity: They promoted virtual offerings that either promised convenience, or provided entertainment to people stuck at home during lockdown, in a bid to help relieve ennui. Gyms came up with online Zumba sessions, museums offered virtual tours, and cooking schools shared step-by-step cooking videos to inspire people to get on the cooking groove. If there’s something brands have learned, going online is the way to reach the vast majority of the population who are stuck at home. And the same lesson applies to PR. Ultimately, you want to be visible where your audiences are, and deliver content to them in a safe and effective way online.
With the obvious uptake in internet penetration, PR professionals can do so much more by riding on the online wave and aligning PR strategies with lead generation, inbound marketing and SEO campaigns. The truth is, PR can no longer operate in silos; after all, driving integrated communications campaigns is the winning formula to strengthen engagement in the new normal. To improve the online visibility of brands they manage, PR professionals can conceptualise viral videos and work on enhancing various social media engagement strategies. Tying up with well-known influencers is one way to spread information, as influencers continue to steadily gain more followers along with the surge in internet traffic.
Especially for the B2B world, webinars can offer an avenue for thought leaders to share their expertise and elevate their profile in the industry. PR professionals can help promote the webinar further through social media channels such as LinkedIn and even in industry discussion groups.
While press briefings and round table discussions clearly won’t be returning to its previous normal anytime soon, PR professionals can still arrange web-based media events, which journalists can follow and participate in wherever they are. As journalists won’t even need to travel and can easily just tune in to the event at the comfort of their own homes, web-based media events offer more convenience, flexibility and time savings in the new normal. Online media events have also proven to be a more cost-efficient PR tactic for brands who are operating on tight budgets.
PRecious recently hosted a virtual press conference for Digital Shilin Singapore: Food, shopping and entertainment on a digital platter.
The good news is that the press release will remain a key PR staple and won’t be going away anytime soon in the new normal. However, the media kit as we know it would need to be repackaged as media consumption continuously shifts towards digital, and publications become even more inclined to bolster their online presence. As journalists look for content they can easily post online, infographics, video clips and other relevant visual assets are good add-ons that online media platforms would be keen to feature along with press release content.
As is the case with all other industries, the new normal has challenged the way we do PR. There really is no other way but to ride with the tide as carrying on with the old ways of doing PR will just be tantamount to wasted time, energy and budget.
From virtual press conferences, briefings, webinars, creative content and other media engagement opportunities, learn how PRecious Communications can work with you to help drive increased visibility in the new normal.