A lot has changed since January of 2020. I’d even venture to say that life has changed more in the past 12 months than it has in the 35 years that I’ve been alive.
Sure, that’s dramatic. And maybe it’s not totally true.
But February 2021 is a hell of a lot different from February 2020.
February 2020 marked the last time I went to Disneyland. The last time I went out to dinner at an indoor restaurant. The last time my son was in school in person.
It was also the last time one of my clients met a reporter in person and not over Zoom. It was the last time I saw my colleagues in a non-remote setting. It was also the last time one of my clients was at an in-person event.
Like everything else that’s changed this year, PR has changed as well. Gone are the New York City and San Francisco media tours and large conferences. Now we focus on virtual happy hours, virtual media tours and remote events.
Get social: Most brands were on social media before the pandemic. But with the pandemic, we’re forced to connect with people virtually. While Instagram and Twitter were the go-to platforms, the pandemic has given us a new way to show your brand personality through TikTok. It gives you the flexibility to be creative and engage with a larger audience across multiple age groups.
Get physical (virtually): Can’t fly to NYC to do a media tour? Rent an Airbnb virtual room through Zoom and schedule a virtual media tour in a cool location. All from the comfort of your own home. You can even offer to have a virtual happy hour and get participants’ favorite drinks delivered to their homes before the meeting, for an extra flourish.
Get personal: A few of our clients have started doing a video series with their execs. This involves them recording short 30- to 60-second videos with leadership tips, predictions and personal anecdotes. They’re posted on both company and personal social accounts and hosted on the company’s website. It’s a great way to familiarize audiences with the faces and names behind a company.
Get creative: 2020 was the year of the podcast and roundtable. We’ve seen many “friendly” reporters start doing podcasts as a way to interview executives and thought leaders. Some of our clients have gone this route too and have developed weekly podcasts or webinar roundtables to connect with other experts in their industry and create new and fun content for their audiences. It’s an easy way to stay current and build your brand awareness through a medium that’s beginning to explode.
Get flexible: If this past year has taught us anything, it’s to throw away our plans and be flexible. Be flexible with media, with colleagues and with your PR plan. Nothing illustrates the need for flexibility like an election during a pandemic, and it’s important to have a Plan B, Plan C and Plan D, in case your Plan A gets derailed with a national news crisis.
Could Ross’ pivot advice BE any more accurate? No, I don’t think so. It’s time to change what we’re doing and make room for new PR plans. So, let’s start now.
Sorry 2020, but we’re on a break (if you know, you know).