Los Angeles PR Agency Leaders Share COVID-19 Communications Advice

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For PR Tech Wednesdays this week, I organized a panel of Los Angeles Public Relations agency leaders featuring Bob Gold of Bob Gold & Associates and Kimberly Goodnight of Media Playground PR to talk about how they’re handling media relations and public relations during the COVID-19 pandemic.

It’s definitely not business as usual, but clients are staying active and finding ways to get their message out to top tier and trade media outlets. This is a time of great experimentation as clients and PR agencies look for new ways to deliver their messages while staying mindful and sensitive to risks we all face.

At major media like the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, CNBC and CNN, 90% of their coverage is either straight COVID-19 news or COVID-19 related. So if you don’t have a COVID-19 or COVID-19 related story, it’s much, much tougher to get coverage.

“But the game changes when you go to tech media, or you go into verticals. Trades are also looking at COVID-19 related stories, but they want to know how it’s affecting their business sector. They’re also looking for news on new products, new innovations, new services, trends and insights,” says Bob, who’s Los Angeles PR Firm reps predominantly B2B clients.

According to data from Talkwalker, pandemic news appears to have peaked March 16, 2020, but the crisis still dominates the news media’s capacity.

“This is a big time for the fashion industry to show how they’re stepping up and being part of the community,” says Kimberly Goodnight of Media Playground PR, which specializes in PR for Los Angeles-based fashion, accessory and lifestyle brands.

Fashion houses like Versace, Prada and Ralph Lauren are all manufacturing personal protective equipment (PPE) and face masks to support healthcare workers and first responders, which is becoming a bigger story everyday.

“After containment the face mask is going to be a big part of street style, and it’s here to stay for a long, long time.” Kimberly said she would not be surprised to see virtual fashion shows come into their own as well, with appropriate social distancing between models on the runway. ”I think it’s an opportunity for brands to experiment with online tools because it’s going to change our way of doing thing,” wrote Rocio Prato, a fashion publicist, in the text chat.

When it comes to B2B public relations, Bob recommended promoting what clients are doing to help manage the pandemic. For example, he represents Corning, which makes the fiber that ISPs use to deliver the broadband so we can work at home. But they make the little glass pipettes used in COVID-19 testing kits. “If I’m a broadband provider, and I’m buying your cable, it makes me feel really good about to know you’re also helping to solve the life sciences part of the problem.”

PYREX® Disposable Glass Serological Pipets from Corning

“Clients who are staying in the game understand that PR is very important right now. This is not a time to be quiet, but clients need guidance to make sure that they have the right voice and tone out there, because there is no going back,” says Kimberly. You can only move forward and to do that, you have to be part of the conversation. It’s a very sensitive time right now.

It was a great session with these respected Los Angeles Public Relations agency leaders and you can watch the entire panel in the video in this blog post. And I want to thank Bob Gold and Kimberly Goodnight for taking the time to participate.

If you are interested, next week I will be talking to Todd Grossman, the CEO of Talkwalker about social media and influencer monitoring.

Sign up here.

Photo by Nick Bolton on Unsplash

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