25 Mar WHY communications is key to growing your business as the economy contracts due to COVID-19
During a time of great uncertainty, it is key for professional services to focus their communications strategy to grow their relationships with current and past clients who will need help navigating the complexities arising from the economic shutdown caused by the growing COVID-19 crisis. Although the economy has temporarily come to a standstill, this is not the time to hide, but to spring forward by providing solutions to a new gamut of issues. Now is the time to position your company – be it a law firm, accounting firm, real estate brokerage firm, lending institution, etc – in front of your target audience as the go-to expert with the depth and experience required to guide businesses through the many aspects of this global pandemic. Efforts to stop the spread of this infectious disease is causing severe business disruptions, giving rise to contract issues, halting transactions, calling for debt restructuring and lease workouts and fueling a wave of unpaid creditors, to name a few.
As your company retools to serve the sudden demand for a different myriad of professional services catering to distress, it is important to let your target audience know that you are ready to help. Traditional media, social media, newsletters, webinars, virtual networking meetings and other forms of external communications will be the most effective way to position you and your company as an industry leader. Here are five tips on how to leverage public relations to help position you in front of your core audience in the times of COVID-19.
1 – Revamp Your Public Image: This is the time for you and your business to become more visible. Position yourself as the local and/or national expert who can shed light on current trends, solutions and strategies required to deal with the uncertainty and challenges created by a stalled global economy. You can do this by positioning yourself as a third-party expert source in the media. We have found that serving as a source in news stories that move the needle is an effective way to raise brand awareness and further position you as a thought leader in your industry.
2 – Be Top of Mind: Develop a public relations strategy that will position you in front of your core audience using information that is relevant to them. Add value to them. You want to be top of mind with current and prospective clients so they think of you as soon as they reach out for help to tackle the challenges rising from the economic shutdown. You can achieve that by communicating with your relationships on a regular basis through personalized emails, eblasts, LinkedIn posts, webinars, research papers, surveys, etc. Let them know you are there for them.
3 – Be a Source of Ideas: In my previous life as a journalist, a WSJ editor once told me he always recruited reporters who were not the best writers in the world but had the greatest ideas for stories. He would say,‘the world belongs to those with great ideas.’ In times of economic uncertainty, you need to become a resource to your clients and offer ideas to help stabilize their business. Blog posts, newsletters, and LinkedIn posts can be effective vehicles to position your company as a resource. Everybody is hunting for the next big opportunity’ in this sudden downturn, and clients are hungry for ideas. Be a source of inspiration to your clients. At some point, one of your ideas may work and you will have a loyal client forever.
4 – Turn Negatives into Positives: Public relations will give you the platform to remind your core audience that crisis breeds opportunity. While the business community will see many doors closing in the coming weeks and months, other doors will open. Public relations can help position the experience your company has gained over the decades – and especially during the last recession – as the ‘key’ that can open new doors to current and prospective clients.
5 – Be Nimble: In the coming weeks and months, your professional services could look very different. Taking into consideration America’s entrepreneurial spirit, companies will be coming up with successful strategies to help clients overcome the challenges created by the health and financial crises. Let’s your clients know if you have opened a new division to deal with distress or Coronavirus-related issues. Through mass and external communications, you can let your target audience know that you are prepared and committed to act on their behalf.
In conclusion, professional services will play an important role in helping businesses overcome the short- and long-term consequences of our fierce fight against COVID-19. Now is the moment to implement or boost a comprehensive public relations and marketing strategy aligned with your clients’ evolving needs. More importantly, a proactive public relations plan will let you speak directly to the business community seeking secure routes to economic recovery. Don’t be the best kept secret in town at a time when you could be playing an active role in helping businesses get back on their feet.