PR – If Not Now, When?

In the current COVID-19 environment — with so much business conducted by phone and videoconference — many companies are increasing  time and resources spent producing marketing content to stay relevant in front of clients and prospects. Through email, newsletters, webinars, podcasts, white papers and position papers, companies in all industries are flooding the market with expert information.

With all this in mind, you might think that companies are less interested in pursuing media relations campaigns. However in my 33 years in PR, I have never seen a stronger demand from clients for top-tier print and broadcast coverage than I do now. 

The reason is simple: despite the major changes in the way we view and process news, “traditional” or “earned” media cuts through information overload better than any other marketing communications medium.

To paraphrase Mark Twain, the reports of “traditional media’s” demise are greatly exaggerated.

And the stakes have never been higher. As businesses work to emerge from economic chaos and deep uncertainty, a strong media relations program can literally make the difference between a company staying open and thriving or being banished to the throes of mediocrity. With time on their hands due to the lockdown, decision-makers and C-suite executives are tuning into the news more regularly than ever — making this an essential moment for companies to build their brands and raise visibility. 

The credibility that key outlets — such as The Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, Barron’s, CNBC, The New York Times and Reuters— have in the business and finance industries cannot and never has been replicated by new media outlets or social media. One strong feature in Barron’s or an interview on CNBC can be exponentially more valuable than a LinkedIn post or piece of owned content. That said, newer mass media platforms — such as Business Insider, Yahoo! Finance and Cheddar TV — have emerged as very credible outlets that connect C-level executives and asset management to younger audiences. 

Executives detailing their plans for the future in the media stand to find a sympathetic audience. A recent survey of more than 1,000 adults conducted by Dukas Linden Public Relations showed that Americans have a strong desire for more positive, forward-looking business stories and are looking for indications about the reopening of America. 

The decision to embark on a proactive PR and media relations campaign isn’t always an easy one for companies.  There are many factors to consider including budget, time allocations, corporate culture and the company’s self-assessment of its relevance. Prior to the pandemic, many companies had the luxury of holding off on implementing a PR program until the timing was absolutely right.

Businesses don’t have that luxury today. The rules are being rewritten on a daily basis.

If this is not the time to generate business leads, showcase your company’s differentiators, and highlight your plans for the new post-Covid-19 environment, when do you think that time will come?

by Richard Dukas, Chairman and CEO


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