Tales from the PR Frontlines during COVID- 19 – What We’ve Seen Pitching the Press During Lockdown
By: Julie Simon
Pitching the press during COVID-19 gave whole new meaning to the phrase “crisis communications.”
It hit like a tidal wave, seemingly out the blue and all of a sudden every brand was officially launched into a crisis mode usually reserved for a one-off incident that affects client perception, company reputation, and the bottom line.
As a firm we asked ourselves hard questions.
Is it appropriate to even pitch right now?
Does anyone even care about anything non COVID-19 related?
Does pitching the press for clients reflect badly on us? Might we be viewed as out of touch?
We had to pivot our approach for just about every single client we represent. And fast. We’re proud to say that by doing so thoughtfully and strategically, it has resulted in significant media coverage for companies we have on our roster.
Our publicists have done an incredible job of finding the timely tie-ins to COVID-19 for all sorts of consumer products, including food, cleaning supplies, pet products and parenting gear.
We’ve rounded up a few of our favorite pandemic PR successes so far. It’s a testament to the resiliency of the relationship between the media and the consumer marketplace- with our team acting as the liaison. We need each other – even during a crisis. Especially during a crisis.
We landed a CNET feature for our client Thompson Tee when their team pivoted from manufacturing T-shirts to making masks (and donating them to healthcare workers).
We placed our client Streetify (an app that helps bring main street shopping online so consumers can access store information and even shop and find deals from home) on ABC News Radio and NBC News. Their NBC News feature was broadcast on affiliates nationwide.
Our high quality, multi-tasking water bottle client, made by Fressko, enjoyed a Chicago Tribune write-up thanks to a creative angle by one of our publicists about a new wave of professionals working from home
Since Americans are making a run on grocery stores, we turned our attention to our shelf-stable food clients in a pitch about healthy snacks perfect for quarantine. Features for our clients Prevail Jerky and Laiki Crackers landed in GuiltyEats.com, SweetyHigh.com, VegWorld Magazine and more.
We landed our global cooking from home kit client, eat2explore, on CNN.com by positioning it as a “must-have” during quarantine to pass the time.
We also learned not to ascribe a one size fits all to media attitudes about what and what not to pitch right now. One outlet told us it was inappropriate to pitch Mother’s Day gift roundup to them while another, Buzzfeed, loved the idea and featured several of our clients in its “Mother’s Day gifts that are 100% Quarantine Friendly’ feature.
Emotions are high and opinions vary. But our publicists have proven there is a need, even a hunger, for content and we’ve been able to fill much of that top-tier content with our clients’ goods and services.