Overcoming the challenges of doing PR remotely
Digital technology has driven the world to be increasingly interconnected, and recent events will potentially accelerate the digital transformation for many companies. In fact, research about perceptions of digital penetration conducted by McKinsey uncovered that most sectors expect digital penetration to bring minor secondary changes or some core changes to their business.
Our interactions with brands happen increasingly in a digital environment. For brands, this requires some degree of adaptability. As remote work (or working from home, home-office, however you are calling it) takes hold, we’ve compiled a few tips to navigate remote PR.
Adapt your processes and revisit your workflow
Most companies have developed working from home policies and adapted the way they work, even added some rituals so the team can stay connected and have some fun from afar. If like us, you've been doing this for a few months now, perhaps you have picked up new habits and got rid of a few others, you might be on a slightly different schedule or blocking time to remember to go on a walk.
Whatever your team's setup is, now is a good time to take a look at how you’ve been working and whether that still makes sense. If there are certain tasks that take longer than they used to, and your team shows signs of discontent towards your current processes to the point it affects their work, perhaps it’s time to revise it.
Map out your current processes and identify everybody’s pain points. There are plenty of ways to go about this – one of the easiest is to identify parts of your workflow that you’re happy with and you’d like to keep, ones that you feel like they could be improved and, lastly, those you’d rather get rid of. You can use a voting/points system to prioritize a list of improvements and think about it as continuous improvement. This will also get your team used to change and ensure you stay flexible.
Learn more about setting up a PR plan, making strategic decisions and how to keep your activities organized.
Revise your targets
For many companies, an increase in digital activity – boosted by teams transitioning to remote working – represents tons of opportunities to grow, some don’t even have to justify their value and can go ahead and take a business-as-usual approach or get by without undergoing major changes. However, this isn’t the case for everybody, and it’s likely that companies relying heavily on activities that haven’t been fully digitized yet need to adjust their messaging, strengthen their value proposition and revise their targets accordingly.
This is easier to do for some PR activities than it is for others – think about your events strategy, for example. You wouldn’t measure the success of a webinar the same way you would for a breakfast session. Other metrics like website visitors, SEO value, or mentions still make sense to track, but you’ll need a new benchmark. Start establishing it, turn to your company’s goals if you ever miss some focus – it also helps to look at your competition and neighboring sectors.
Related: The Essentials of PR measurement.
Get the right tools
Tools are there to make our jobs easier. Internal communications, project management, time management, and video-conferencing are a few clear examples of activities where software comes in handy if you’re working remotely.
Tools tailored to PR professionals are no exception (especially if you’re trying to do PR remotely). If you're using PressPage, for instance, you can work on each step of your workflow in the same environment: create, publish, and distribute your stories; keep your media contacts organized; track interactions with your audiences so you can measure progress toward your goals.
Leave room for experimentation
This goes hand-in-hand with being adaptable. Experiments don’t have to be large scale projects, and every little improvement in your workflow might be an opportunity to run a small experiment.
For example, if you have a newsroom and you wanted to increase traffic from your there to your website, there are concrete, small ways of doing it – from adding hyperlinks in your articles and releases, to working on the consistency of your newsroom’s branding.
While teams work remotely, companies are confronted with the challenge of keeping interactions human and genuine. The shift isn’t particularly easy if you’re not used to it, but with the right processes and tools in place, it is possible to achieve a smooth transition. For PR professionals, understanding the digital landscape and the differences between face-to-face and online interactions is key to build lasting relationships. At the end of the day, that’s still what PR is all about.