Three Ways COVID-19 Has Changed PR Forever

Here in the United States, we are starting to see a loosening of COVID-19 restrictions, as more and more people take advantage of one of the several vaccines available.  We can see a light at the end of the tunnel, but things will not just magically go back to normal.  Most businesses have been changed in one way or another during the past year, and many of those changes are permanent.

What does this mean for public relations?  Let’s take a look at a few ways the global pandemic has changed our industry…

Continued use of video call technology for news interviews
This is certainly not new technology.  It was in use before the world went into shutdown mode, but during the pandemic it became completely necessary for television news to use services like Zoom to interview guests.  This was, of course, because TV stations didn’t want to risk having additional people in the newsroom or on their sets.  Going forward, TV will go back to in-studio guests, but doing a high-quality Zoom call will be a well-tested option.  We may also see continued use of video calling technology to easily set up mini media tours.  Additionally, with consumers now very comfortable with the technology, it’s easy to set up virtual events even long after they’re a necessity.

Polarization of media sources
Which news outlet many people consume these days largely has to do with where they fall on the political spectrum.  This polarization was already happening before COVID-19, but it increased during the pandemic due to which reports on the virus that consumers chose to believe.  This is certain to continue, and to reach your full audience you may need to strategically determine which “brand” of news they’re most likely to consume.

Working from home
When I first began working in PR, I was a media relations specialist.  Back then, this meant making a lot of phone calls to the media to pitch our clients.  I recall even twenty years ago saying there was no real reason that I needed to come to an office to do that job.  Today, there’s even less of a reason.  Before the pandemic, home offices were already starting to become common, but the number of people working from home obviously exploded over the last year.  Public relations is one of those jobs that can easily be done anywhere there is a telephone and the internet.  Working from home is here to stay.

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