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How to Handle Public Relations During the Coronavirus Pandemic

While the COVID-19 global pandemic is wreaking havoc on our local and national economy, the demand for clear, effective communication has not been impacted. If anything, consumers working from home and affected businesses are thirsting for information now more than ever. A few tips to consider below:

  • Update your customers: Every company has been impacted by COVID-19, and it’s important to dust off your crisis communications planand let your customers know what steps you’re taking to ensure their safety and how they can continue to do business with you in this new environment. Restaurants, of course, have been hit particularly hard by COVID-19, and many have been proactively communicating their takeout and delivery options through email blasts, social media posts and outreach to local media. Earlier this week, the YDM team worked with our clients at the Waverly mixed-use community, Promenade on Providence shopping center and Berkeley Mall to summarize tenant updates with blog posts like this one, which are continuously updated throughout the day.
  • Take a new look at planned content: Will those social media posts or blog posts you planned weeks or even days ago come across as tone deaf today? All content, even things you posted before the outbreak that are still getting engagements, will be viewed through the prism of COVID-19, so to avoid reputational risk, take a hard look at your messaging before you share it with the public. And as the old adage goes, when in doubt, leave it out.
  • Pitching in a pandemic: While some companies are treading lightly to avoid potential PR landmines, COVID-19 will continue to dominate media coverage for the foreseeable future. Consumers and businesses are looking for help and advice, and reporters need sources who can speak to any number of issues related to the pandemic’s impact. While no one wants to appear opportunistic, you also shouldn’t be afraid to share your story, particularly if it will benefit your customers or the community at large as we all work to navigate this unprecedented event.