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  • Sadie Gaus

4 PR Challenges caused by the Pandemic that are Here to Stay!

1. Content SEO (search engine optimization)!

Remember when meeting people in-person for lunch, meetings, coffee, etc. was a thing? Yeah, me neither. Nowadays, more and more people are communicating online (blogs, emails, social media accounts). In-person networking used to be the name of the game in the PR world. Fast forward to today, and online networking or search engine optimization (SEO) is the new trend! People are getting more publicity when people type in “PR account executive” on LinkedIn or Google than meeting face-to-face with an individual and inquiring about their work history. If your profile shows up anywhere on the first page of Google or within the first few profiles on LinkedIn, you’ve just been “discovered” and “noticed” without ever coming into contact with another body. As a result, it’s crucial in today’s “new” world that people’s professional social media accounts are up to date and highlight their best characteristics. Since this is the new way people are finding out and “discovering” each other, it’s important that a PR’s media publicity and press releases focus on SEO. The more times your profile and social media accounts appear on search results, the more familiar people become with you and your work. Someone might even quote you, follow you or “friend” you. This all results in free publicity and higher ranking SEO. Maximize your SEO content in whatever ways you can to ensure that you and your profile continue to show up top of the list in search results. This will ensure that you keep your name and face in the game! You never know when someone may call you for an interview or ask you to be a source for something all because they found you online (your profile appears top of SEO)!

2. Large Digital Budgets!

Ever since the pandemic, numerous company's money and efforts have taken a steep turn towards pouring billions of dollars into online advertising, promotions, events and sales. The company’s that have managed to stay up and running during this tumultuous time and are continuing to do well are those that have been able to rise above the occasion in meeting and reaching their customers' needs all from the comfort of the customers’ own home. This means that companies, especially PR firms, should be looking at putting a solid chunk of their advertising budget and expenditures towards their digital marketing footprint. This includes maintaining a larger online presence by way of investing in digital content marketing, a more robust company blog and a larger quantity of high-value social media posts. Digital high-value quality content has now become king!

3. You and Everyone Else in the Same Boat!!!

Unfortunately, the pandemic has made it infinitely harder to find and reach people the “old fashioned” way- face-to-face. It’s now easier than ever to find and “friend” someone digitally. Unlike the “old days” when you had to pick up the phone, make phone calls and attend meetings and events in person to get your “name” out there, nowadays, all you have to do is shoot someone an email. Today, online social media presence is the number one way to get your “name” out there. The caveat is that social media not only gets your name out there but also the other 3 billion people that reside on this earth. Everyone is trying to get their name noticed and recognized on the same exact piece of real estate (internet). Professional business networking sites such as LinkedIn and Muck Rack have made it easier than ever to search for fellow colleagues in one’s field. However, getting someone’s attention online is an entirely different beast. Nowadays, people’s email inboxes are getting inundated with “friend” requests, emails and online pitches from strangers. In order to get your email or pitch noticed, you are going to have to make everyone online love you, and I mean love you like a fat kid loves chocolate cake type of love. The best way one can do this is to newsblast whenever someone (hopefully) “mentions” you across your social media platforms. If someone sees that someones’ article mentions or features a particular individual’s work, then that individual has just earned him/herself widespread attention. Vast amounts of online attention is important because it will likely result in garnering you more followers which leads to more attention and familiarity which results in more business.

4. (Zoom) Time Management!

Learning how to virtually (Zoomify) your time going forward is key to success in any industry, but particularly PR. Gone are the days of networking in a room with more than just your “bubble” of people. Almost all human interaction involving networking and socializing have or will be Zoomified. For example, I have a team that I lead 100% virtually. I have never met a single one of my teammates in-person. The closest I have gotten to “seeing” them is through Zoom. Since I meet with my team both as a group and individually, it’s imperative that I am able to manage my time so that I can provide everyone with ample amounts of my undivided time and attention. Therefore, I email out and give access to my Google Calendar to all of my team members. I make sure to schedule 15 minutes in between my Zoom meetings, emails and/or phone calls and then shorten each of my online meetings by 10 minutes so that I can spend those extra 10 minutes following up and performing next step duties. That said, you’ll most likely find me spending those in-between minutes hiding beneath my desk desperately trying to remind myself why throwing my laptop out the window is a horrible idea. Technology has made everything so much more complicated, and the world of PR is no exception to this. The time (management) trends and changes we’re facing in PR and other professions aren’t necessarily good or bad. They’re simply different. With this in mind, it’s important to realize that some of these trends such as Zoom time management will withstand the test of Pandemic time. If this is the case, we need to prepare ourselves for adjustment to new trends in place of the ones that we have previously come to know.

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