Virus is a once-in-a-career opportunity for earned coverage

The coronavirus has become the number one news story in America and appears it will remain that way for at least the next eight to 12 months. It’s touching practically every segment of society in our country. I’m hard pressed to think of a story as big as this one during my 40+ year career.

But there is a silver lining to this dark cloud that currently hovers over our nation (and the world). For hard working PR professionals, the coronavirus is a once-in-a-career opportunity to win earned news media coverage. For instance:

1) Is your company donating funds to a nonprofit agency that is fighting the spread of the virus?
2) Is your government agency somehow involved in the fight against the virus?
3) Is your company (and/or the industry it’s in) related to events that have been cancelled, postponed or re-scheduled?
4) Is your organization providing services to those impacted by the virus?
5) Has your company come up with a unique way to serve customers or handle absent employees, due to the virus?

In other words, does your organization and its actions have any link whatsoever to the virus? If so, here’s what you can do:

1) Conduct research about your organization’s reaction (and possibly your business partners’ reactions) to the virus.
2) Determine the near- and long-term impact to your company’s business results.
3) Prepare some talking points (three to five).
4) Brief your lead executive on your findings and practice the talking points. Try to anticipate any additional questions a reporter might ask.
5) Identify your target news media. Determine which reporters are writing stories about the virus.
6) Call the news media. Remember that practically every local reporter will be seeking a local angle to the virus story.

This is your opportunity to prove your value as a PR professional. Now go out and grab it, but don’t forget to wash your hands first!

Share on Social