Coronavirus: Media update 28/05/20

It’s been three weeks since our last media roundup, so we wanted to take this opportunity to provide some help and advice on how you can continue to navigate the media landscape and changing communication priorities at this time.

As usual, we’ve been keeping in close contact with our media contacts and below you’ll find a roundup of news, updates and insights from the past week based on these conversations, as well as insights we’ve collected by keeping our ear to the ground of the PR and marketing world.

Changing media landscape
  • As we come to the end of May we’ve seen the first month where titles have switched from print and digital to purely online publications and content. We’re likely to see publications come back into print over June and July, however these are very fluid decisions based on a variety of factors, so it’s still important to check in with individual titles to find out what their plans are
  • In our last round up we were pleased to talk about the fact that some reporters were coming back off furlough. However, it’s worth bearing in mind that some journalists might have switched to a different desk. Isabelle Fraser from The Telegraph explains in this video how she was asked to move from writing about property to personal finance. So, don’t be surprised if you contact someone who subsequently asks you for a completely different angle, as their priorities might not be the same right now
  • Podcasts are becoming very popular - potentially because they allow listeners to choose when they engage with specific types of information. This flexibility means that the audience can step back from the 24/7 barrage of news and decide for themselves what they want to listen to and when
This week’s popular angles
  • We’ve been writing lots of articles on behalf of our clients in the construction sector particularly around growth plans and ambitions for the next few months. Journalists are keen to profile the businesses supporting the economy through difficult times, so if you’re one of those companies leading the way back to productivity then this is a good opportunity to shout about what you’re doing
  • National news outlets are seeing a demand for simple facts about the virus that are clearly explained and also stories that put a human face on the issues to help the audience connect to the stats, graphs and data. If your business is one that provides a window into people’s daily issues, then this could provide the human angle that journalists are looking for
  • Positive stories about people doing happy, fun things to get by are always going to be popular, as journalists look for ways to brighten the general gloom of the news agenda. Examples of people going out of their way to be nice to someone else to help them get through what’s happening right now is likely to do well (e.g. Tom Hanks helping a bullied child half way around the world)
Effective communications through restructuring

With the furlough scheme due to change in a couple of months, many businesses will be looking at managing communications around bringing people back to work, extending furlough schemes or in some cases having to announce redundancies. These are all sensitive issues that require careful internal and external communications, a task which has been made all the harder as many companies have furloughed the marketing teams and communications teams who would usually be partly responsible for this.

Redundancies is an issue that has been dominating the news this week, with EasyJet, McLaren and Ovo Energy all announcing significant job cuts. These are never easy stories to deal with, but it’s essential that they are treated with tact and diplomacy. In particular, make sure that all pertinent questions are answered in the initial announcement and that the PR team is available and able to quickly respond to follow up queries – which could come from a number of directions including journalists, staff and stakeholders.

There are likely to be a lot of concerns about coming off furlough, including health and safety in the office, the practicalities of home working and whether there will be changes to job descriptions. In fact, a recent poll found that at least two in five people are anxious about returning to the workplace. Therefore, it’s imperative that communications address these concerns and that employees are well informed at all times. This means taking into account not just what they need to know, but how they are going to receive the information (do they have a work phone or laptop to receive emails on?), how much can be shared openly, what needs to be delivered to individuals and whether the tone of the communication is suitable.

Other useful articles

We wanted to finish this week’s roundup with a few articles that have caught our eye recently:

  • Marketing Week published an article this week that explores how various brands are handling their re-opening marketing strategy:
  • The BBC has been experiencing record viewing figures throughout, with digital numbers up by 60%:
  • Following on from the above, the CIM has published an editorial on digital content marketing during the crisis:
  • Getting the balance between protecting the brand and engaging in potentially controversial yet topical issues can be tricky. The Drum talked to several brands about how they make sure they get this right:

We hope you’ve found this email useful. If you have any questions or would like any specific tips on how to communicate through this period, don’t hesitate to get in touch.

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