4 PR Practices to Keep in Mind During a Widespread Crisis

On March 11, COVID-19 was declared a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), bringing significant changes to the workplace, homes and beyond. With work from home and social distancing policies in place, the new normal can feel uncertain and unpredictable. For PR pros, a global health crisis can also widely impact client operations, outreach, news and PR planning. For some tips on how to adjust strategy, the BIGteam has compiled our best practices for operating during a widespread crisis. 

Ensure your crisis communications plans are up to date
COVID-19 has led to an unprecedented set of circumstances that typical communications planning doesn’t cover. For each client, it is important to update your crisis plans with correct contacts, new language based on recent events, and additional statements regarding the situation.

Approach proactive outreach on a case-by-case basis
In the current environment, communicators should take extra care when reaching out to the media. Before sending pitches, determine if they contain helpful information in context to the situation to ensure the content is not coming off as tone-deaf or insensitive.

Additionally, any proactive outreach should be highly targeted and tailored to a specific reporter. Keeping an eye on Twitter conversations, especially from reporters you plan on pitching/working with regularly, can also help PR pros keep tabs on the current media landscape. As a general rule: don’t pitch about the crisis unless you can provide truly helpful information or services. Don’t exploit the situation for a client who is not relevant in the conversation. For some examples of what not to do, MuckRack compiled several tweets from reporters who have seen far too many inappropriate COVID-19 related pitches.

Communicate regularly with clients to ensure everyone is on the same page and aware of the situation 
If your clients are implementing changes to their business model, or are halting production of a product or service, it is vital that your team is made aware in order to make appropriate adjustments. Your clients should also be advised to potential changes in their PR plan. It’s crucial to set expectations about a potential decrease in press coverage and media pitching. Establishing more frequent check-ins or issues-management calls can help keep everyone in the loop.    
Be prepared to change course of action quickly and efficiently. With new updates seemingly happening every hour, widespread crises can change rapidly – and your strategy should be able to keep up.

Keep yourself safe and informed 
The WHO’s advice to the public includes: 

  1. Wash your hands frequently
  2. Maintain social distancing 
  3. Avoid touching your face

For more information, visit the WHO’s COVID-19 information page.

While we miss spending time in the BIGoffice, the BIGteam is prioritizing health by working from home and taking the necessary precautions to ensure everyone’s safety and health.

If you’re a Boston-based business needing PR or communications assistance during this time, the BIGteam wants to help. BIGfish Communications is offering free virtual office hours for businesses in our city who need help navigating this challenging crisis. We’re all in this together. Learn more here

BIGfish Communications Offering PR Assistance To Boston Businesses Impacted By COVID-19

These are unprecedented times, and we want to help. That is why the BIGfish Communications team is offering free virtual office hours for businesses in our home city of Boston that are in need of communication/PR guidance due to COVID-19 impacting their businesses, employees, and stakeholders.
Please reach out to us at info@bigfishpr.com or 617-600-7560 to learn more and schedule a consultation.
We’re all in this together.

Meet Our New Team Member, Kate!

BIGfish is excited to welcome Kate Ormonde to the team as our new Account Manager. Read on to find out more about this Texas native!
Continue reading “Meet Our New Team Member, Kate!”

Our Favorite App of the Month: Streak!

Spring cleaning is right around the corner, and what better place to start than with your inbox? In the BIGoffice, Streak helps to organize our busy inboxes and keep track of all client and reporter correspondence with ease. Keep reading to learn why we chose Streak as the App of the Month!

What it is: 
Streak is a workflow and productivity manager that you can use right in your Gmail account (as a Google Drive extension) or on your mobile device to effectively manage a consistent flow of emails. With the ability to program Streak to automatically group emails, you can view data through your Gmail account in a spreadsheet format, called a Pipeline. Each row of the spreadsheet is a Box, and for the BIGteam, each Box is for a different project, press release, or inbound request. Boxes allow you to take notes to keep track of interactions, and share the conversations and notes with team members.

Streak has an option to schedule emails to be sent later. For example, you could type out an email and prepare it to be sent, but schedule it to send at 11:00am the next day. This option is helpful in making sure emails are sent on time, even if your schedule is busy and you might not be at your desk all day.

Finally, to manage conversation threads where the conversation begins branching off to other topics, Streak has a thread splitter to easily separate the conversations into new Boxes. Each of these tools are small shortcuts that work to ease and organize everyday traffic in your email inbox.

Why we love it:Streak helps streamline the BIGteam’s daily communication with clients, reporters and BIGteam members. As each member of the team is involved in multiple accounts, the ability to group and share emails helps to keep everyone on the team in the loop on potential opportunities, clients and projects. The BIGteam often uses it to keep track of inbounds, press releases and the status of different projects – plus the note feature in Boxes ensures we don’t miss out on any details. Overall, Streak’s features help us in following the best PR practices for our clients.

Tips for using it:
To get the most out of Streak’s Boxes and Pipelines, be sure to use the note taking option to summarize who each conversation is with and what information has been shared so far. This will reduce extra time spent reading through old conversations.

Streak is not only available on the web, but also on your mobile device. The Streak mobile app allows you to continue these practices on the go, and provides additional features specific to your mobile device. You can search all of your interactions, notes, and notifications from Streak on your phone. Streak also has the ability to log phone conversations and share phone numbers.

Streak can be downloaded for free on its website and is built directly into Gmail! Additional plans offered include a professional plan at $59 per user per month, or an enterprise plan at $159 per user per month. It also exists as native Android and iOS applications for your mobile devices and is available for download on the Apple store and Google Play store.

Do you use Streak in your office? Let us know in the comments or on Twitter!