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COVID-19 has certainly changed the way business-to-business (B2B) public relations and media relations is now conducted.
We went from connecting and catching up with our media friends in person over coffee or lunch to trying to catching up with them via phone calls and emails from our work-from-home offices, in between monitoring our kids’ home-based virtual learning.
We went from conducting media interviews in person around a conference table at their office or corporate headquarters to conducting these interviews in written form via email or via phone and video conference.
We went from pitching and coordinating on-site, face-to-face interviews and media meetings at key industry conferences, shows and events to attending these conferences, shows and industry events virtually with very limited (and somewhat unfulfilling) online media interaction.
But even still, one thing has remained consistent for public relations professionals … we know that our media relationships will beat out our news releases … every single time.
As PR professionals, our relationships with key media – whether it be with reporters for newspapers, magazines, radio, television, online or wire services – is what drives our day-to-day, year-to-year public relations successes.
So, how can we as business-to-business, public relations practitioners continue to foster these incredibly valuable relationships with our media friends … or even build new media relationships when face-to-face contact isn’t even possible for the foreseeable future?
It’s pretty simple … by being proactive, consistent, empathetic and genuine in our outreach to media. Journalists are suffering with the same human issues and emotions of COVID19 as the rest of us – the inconveniences, frustrations, limitations and monotony – maybe even more so. It may be as simple as making a call, sending an empathetic text or email to find out:
Or maybe it’s taking the time to look at the outlet’s editorial calendar several months out, noting what topics and features they have coming up and offering up information, context, images, info graphics and more before another month slips past.
Or maybe it’s offering the media outlet an exclusive by-line article from a corporate expert, a piece that is non-commercial in tone and that was developed specifically to meet the outlet’s guidelines and format, so that the outlet can use it with minimal effort and editing.
Or maybe it’s offering access to corporate experts and executives who are typically inaccessible during “normal” times because of hectic meeting and travel schedules.
Now more than ever, journalists and media outlets are under great pressure. They’re understaffed, overworked and dealing with the frustrations, inefficiencies and disconnectedness that can come with remote offices. So it is up to us as PR professionals to work harder than ever to be solid, trusted resources and help make their work lives just a little bit easier.
While we can’t change these uncertain, unprecedented times we are in, we can always look for opportunities to help others both personally and professionally, especially our media friends that are so critical to the work that we do on a daily basis.
It is through helping and supporting that we will continue to foster existing relationships with media, as well as develop those important new relationships, too.
How has COVID-19 changed your PR and media relations efforts? And how are you finding ways to be a resource during these times? As always, we welcome your feedback.
If you would like a free consultation about media relations during these unprecedented times and how we can help, email Jim Bianchi at email@example.com.
And if you’d like to see other COVID-19 related communications resources, visit the PRGN COVID19 Resource Center.
Author: Jessica Muzik
Jessica is vice president – account service at Bianchi PR with 24 years of PR experience across the corporate, industrial and community perspectives.