PR during Covid-19

During this unprecedented period of social isolation, we weren’t surprised to see recent reports highlighting an increase in Internet usage and media consumption. According to research, since the start of lockdown Internet use is up by 70% and many media outlets have also reported an increase in audience figures, such as our local broadcast station Spirit FM who are reaching more listeners than ever before.

Whether its social media, online news platforms or live streaming, the fact is that every generation is relying on the media to inform and distract them, creating a huge opportunity for businesses to engage with captive audiences and get their stories heard.

This doesn’t only apply to big brands, if anything we are seeing more support for small businesses and independents then ever before as the nation and communities rally together. Many journalists are actively championing small businesses and looking for uplifting, interesting and inspiring stories. Examples include Grazia’s round up of pick-me-up presents which feature a mix of big brands and small independents such as the lovely Nicola Richman who is posting out her homemade salted caramel brownies. The Daily Mail also recently featured Chichester-based salon Grace Hair & Beauty for her online tutorials.

Closer to home, our local media is pulling out all the stops to support small businesses with the Chichester Observer offering free advertising to those still operating during the pandemic. Gary Shipton, Editor of the Chichester Observer and its sister titles across Sussex, commented: “During the lockdown – thanks to support from Rolls-Royce Motor Cars and Chichester District Council – the Observer has been producing a weekly supplement in the paper promoting all those local independents that are still open for business.”

He encouraged the community to continue supporting local media. “Unlike social media, our journalists are all professionally trained and held to the highest independent ethical codes. But trusted local journalism rooted in cities like Chichester costs money and with the current downturn in advertising which is the lifeblood of our income, everyone can help us keep the community professionally informed by adding a copy of the paper to their weekly shop.”

Although difficult and distressing for us all, this is a unique time for businesses to look inwards and hone their services and brand stories. Press are genuinely interested to hear how small businesses are quickly and creatively adapting and innovating to survive and thrive. And with an increased percentage of the UK taking an interest in all forms of media, now is a great time to engage with your audience.

According to a poll by Edelman with 12,000 people across the globe on the critical role brands are expected to play during the coronavirus pandemic, nearly two-thirds agreed that how brands respond to the situation will have a huge impact on their likelihood to buy from that brand in the future.

This is a very sensitive time and badly thought out campaigns could have damaging results and hamper the recovery of your business post lockdown. Therefore, it is important to be considered and thoughtful in the tone of your message. Although this is an opportunity to connect, it is vital to remember the serious impact that Covid-19 has had on communities and individuals the world over. This is not the time to ‘hard sell’ but instead reveal the human side of your business and reach out to those many individuals who may need a little lift during this time.

Here at BrightWord, we have experience working with a great many small and independent businesses to help identify and articulate positive messages. To discuss how we could help you, please email rachel@brightword.co.uk.

Brightword Communications