There is no question that we are currently living in unique and challenging times. The global pandemic has meant that businesses big and small have been impacted by imposed closures during lockdown – and this has been the kiss of death for a percentage of them. As the world now slowly re-opens, many businesses are finding their feet and looking at ways to attract customers and sales; to many, it feels like starting over.
Having been in Luxury and Lifestyle PR for over a decade I know the power of PR. A perfectly placed article at just the right time can be PR gold; but at a time when PR budgets may be strained, taking on a PR agency is not a realistic option for many. There are, however, myriad ways of getting noticed by media as a business without the expensive professional help – and with a mindful approach to the current post COVID climate.
Be an Expert Problem-Solver
Establishing yourself as an expert in your field has always been a fantastic way of standing out to editors and encouraging them to come to you for expertise when needed. Now is the time, however, to take it one step further and figure out how your expertise can solve a problem for a number of people as a result of the pandemic. Are you able to offer a product or service to help the millions of parents who have suddenly found themselves home-schooling? How about those who are now having to work from home? Do you work in the health or wellbeing field with tips on how to cope mentally and emotionally to these sudden changes? Reach out to media and offer your expertise – editors are keen to find stories on anything like this right now.
A Punchy Press Release to the Perfect Person
Press releases should always stand out in some way – editors and journalists are inundated with emails and pitches daily. The title you use should be eye-catching and current; when e-mailing the press release, make sure that the e-mail title gives the recipient a good idea of what you are sending them, otherwise they may not even open it. Good grammar and punctuation is essential and make good use of images where appropriate so that the editor can get a feel for what you are pitching. Keep your press release short, informative and interesting, but also, make sure that you’re sending it to the appropriate person! Do your research, know a little about their work and, ideally, reference it to build rapport. If an editor feels that you’ve done a little research and have tailored your pitch to them personally, they are more likely to want to work with you.
Broadcast News, Offers and Incentives
Businesses within the service industry have found themselves having to “pivot” where possible – many restaurants have been offering a home delivery service in order to retain customers. This has been the saving grace for a large percentage of restaurants, but is not always possible for other establishments like hotels. That’s where getting creative about retaining and attracting customers comes in. Having worked with luxury hotels big and small, letting media know about events and other news is something I do every day; after being chosen to spearhead the UK PR for the stunning 150th Anniversary celebrations of luxury hotel group Monte Carlo SBM, the press results were phenomenal. You needn’t be planning such a large event, however, to garner press attention. For smaller hotels, why not offer significant incentives or discounts for future stays to engage customers now, and let press know about it? How about including a flexible way of holidaying that allows visitors to feel comfortable spending now, while planning a much needed holiday some time in the future? Have you considered including spa treatments or meals in a holiday package that serves as an “extra” to the holiday experience? Anything like this is news that media will probably want to know about. Inviting select press to visit and experience the way the newly re-opened hotel runs is also a great way to garner coverage.
Images are Everything…
Once an editor gives you the green light, they will ask for high-res images (at least 300 dpi — ask your photographer what this means); they will need any quotes required from you, and they will need them quickly. Therefore, make sure that you have up-to-date images and make sure that you provide the editor with what they have asked for in a timely manner. In addition, what many people don’t know is that the images provided can make or break how big the feature is and whether you are featured at all. Make sure that the photographs you provide are as aesthetically pleasing as possible – media is content driven, and images that look good on the page will trump those that don’t. Consider this before sending the initial press release. These are just a few ideas of how to re-open your business with confidence, and help your business thrive with a little thoughtful PR.