By Melissa A Vitale
You don’t need to look much further than the homepage of any major news outlet or magazine publication to see just how much the social climate of 2020 has impacted headlines.
Between a still raging global pandemic and looming economic recession coupled with the tipping point of racial injustice in America, today’s headlines are rightfully more crucial to the social construct than the Tiger King recaps that filled our newsfeeds back in March.
Add on top of that media layoffs across publishing houses around the country, it’s no surprise to me that the first question I get asked by many brands is “is now a good time for Public relations?”
As you’ll note in many of my blog posts aimed at responding to a question, this one is not a clear-cut answer.
If you’re a brand who has nothing newsworthy coming up in the next year (product launches, partnerships, expansions etc) and are hitting your sales and awareness goals, you can rightfully skip PR right now.
However, if you’re hoping your forthcoming products will garner the attention of press, your collections will be included in gift guides, or that your executive insight will be included in upcoming industry trend stories, you’re going to want to get a publicist, like ASAP.
With cancelled events returning trade show and corporate sponsorship budget to brands, many are weighing if a PR campaign would be a beneficial use of the unused dollars. While PR is never measured in sales, PR can be a crucial element in creating a digital sales funnel that drives as much sales as other realms of marketing and advertising.
While we’ve had patches where we wouldn’t consider “breaking,” since a majority of resources have been devoted to covering first corona-related stories and then racial-justice fueled topics for the last three-four months, we have arguably been in a breaking news cycle. During breaking newscycles we see a number of trends but the two biggest that emerge is a slow-down of evergreen stories, and an uptick of demand for reliable sources. Journalists don’t have time to follow up with experts when their to-lists triple overnight. They instead tap the sources that have multiple experts at their fingertips: publicists.
With media layoffs plaguing our industry, we’re also seeing a higher demand for sources both as remaining staff writers have an influx of coverage and with now-freelancers losing their outlet’s directory of sources and tapping into their own network.
In order to captivate and hold the attention of the stressed media industry brands will have to continually refocus the newcycles on their story and mission and make sure their executives are regularly on the minds of journalists working on trend stories. Publicists are trained to make brand and executive storylines fresh no matter the newscycle. While not impossible by any means, with such demand coupled with the strain and pressure on media, it’s going to be harder for brands to garner coverage sans publicist.
Those with extra marketing budgets from disrupted sponsorship or events and still developing new products and brand partnerships should take advantage of many public relations firms lowering minimums or offering sign-on deals.
For Vice Brands looking to explore cost effective public relations packages, learn more about MAVPR’s services via: melissaavitale.com/services.html
A public relations agency specializing in brands and startups across plant and intimate wellness