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May 5

Media Relations in times of pandemic

Crisis

Crisis

When a major crisis strikes humanity, it is difficult to have the best understanding of how to approach medium. Although companies have information and advertisements to disseminate that may be beneficial to the public, there is a fine line between what is useful and valuable information and one that can only be used. It is important to understand when, how and with what information the medium well, as employees, customers and others stakeholders, in order to ensure a productive approach and a receptive audience.

Realize the Crisis

Whatever the crisis, understanding its impact, both immediate and long-term, will help to navigate the landscape of medium. There you have to answer the following issues:

Is it a human or economic tragedy, or both?

The human impact is always much more sensitive than the economic impact. In the current crisis, people's reaction is different, either because of a devastating situation for themselves and theirs or because of extreme anxiety due to the potential gravity of the circumstances.

Is it an acute crisis or a permanent event?

In an extreme event, it is better to wait for it to pass and for the news cycle to progress. But if it is an event in permanent development, the original plans may even have to move forward in order to ensure business continuity.

Is the crisis local, regional or global? Does it impact on all sectors, markets and segments of society or is it limited?

Nobody is immune to the effects, which makes it unique and with impacts on all aspects of life and market segments, some more than others. Depending on the sector of activity and the audience, medium they may be more open to dealing with stories unrelated to the crisis.

Anticipating Media Receptivity

Before releasing and disseminating information, it is important to measure the temperature of medium to understand the receptivity of the message. This helps the management of the company to understand what can or cannot be achieved from the point of view of communication during the crisis.

The actions to be developed are:

Do a small audit. Looking only at the headlines of some of your target CSOs gives an insight into the percentage of news that is or is not related to the crisis. Try to assess which topics and stories the person who is not writing about the crisis is most open to.

To ask. There is no harm in asking journalists, especially those you work with regularly, if they are available for stories unrelated to the crisis.

Evaluate company information and its value

In normal times it is important to be able to look objectively at the company's message and assess its “news value” before addressing the media. But often management, or stakeholders, dictate the need for Press Release specific approaches or to addressing medium even when communication advises you not to do it. During a crisis, a greater focus on relevant, valuable and timely information is needed.

Share the company plan.  The goal is to help employees, customers, the community and the business itself in these challenging times. Os medium they can, and want, to help overcome the crisis by reporting good practices from other companies.

During a pandemic, there will continue to be companies and OCS that are maintaining business as usual. They are planning to launch the next products or the editions of the following weeks. You medium they need news not related to the crisis to fill the pages or airtime. It is only necessary to pay attention to the unfolding of the crisis and keep it in perspective.

For all businesses this is an especially challenging time and when public relations can be one of the few lifebuoys to keep the business going and get demand for products and services. The needs, both long-term and short-term, of organizations, medium and the public, when we head outside. In any crisis there is great fear and uncertainty, but also an opportunity to demonstrate compassion, humanism and leadership. This applies both to working with medium as within the organization itself, with customers and the community.

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