PR & Link Building During Crisis: What We Have Learned from COVID-19
COVID-19 has quickly become a global pandemic, with far-reaching consequences that are unprecedented in the modern era. Its rapid spread has left most of us reeling, with more questions than answers.
These uncertain times are cause for concern at many firms, but as Account Executive, Kelsey Butchcoe stated in her recent article on the Mockingblog, this is also a time to focus on projects that may help your business in the long-run.
At the risk of sounding overly optimistic, Coronavirus presents an opportunity for attorneys to build positive brand recognition and improve organic search ranking for the future, while also helping the general public.
Offer Expertise, Provide Value
As an attorney, you have legal knowledge that is desperately needed. There are innumerable news publications, blogs, and nonprofits with questions to which you may have the answer.
Criminal law attorney? How is Coronavirus affecting prosecution?
Family law attorney? How are individuals handling custody during lock-down?
Employment attorney? What rights do employees have to refuse to come into the office if they feel unsafe in their workspace?
The outreach I have done to news publications has been incredibly well received. Why? Because legal expertise is immensely valuable in a time fraught with uncertainty.
Right now, getting interviews and features with your COVID-19 legal expertise is relatively easy, but there will come a time when this is no longer true. It is likely that as firms notice attorneys gaining recognition during the COVID outbreak, they will try to achieve the same, and publications will become flooded with interview offers.
If you would like to maintain momentum in your PR outreach you should consider creative ways to remain relevant moving forward.
Is there data that you can begin collecting? Perhaps you can turn this into an infographic that you can use as a link building asset as COVID-19 begins to settle down.
There is no set strategy that will work for every firm, it is up to you to consider what unique knowledge you have and use your creativity and communication skills to package it in a way that will attract interest from publications.
How to Handle Projects Started Pre-COVID
Did you have a PR project that you were working on before COVID-19 became a pandemic? How should you proceed? The likely answer is that you will either need to put your project on hold, or alter it for relevance. The last thing you want to do in a time of crisis is let your firm come across as tone-deaf or even disrespectful.
Before the novel Coronavirus, my team and I were working on promoting numerous scholarships. As schools began to close for the year it became obvious that we would be the last people a high school administrator would want to speak with. We immediately stopped all outreach to schools and shifted our efforts.
We began working more heavily with scholarship websites, such as ScholarshipOwl. As these publications are dedicated to the subject, they will likely be happy to move forward with the promotion of scholarships, and unlike the schools, they have the time to do so.
Moving forward, we will adjust the scholarships we offer to be relevant to COVID-19, and of course, alter due dates.
Be Adaptable & Opportunistic
The main lesson we have learned from the Coronavirus crisis so far is that the agile firms will survive (or even thrive) with the right mindset.
In order to come out on the other end of this virus we must all have grit and utilize our creativity.
We must think like cockroaches.
Survival is what our clients (and in turn the agency) need. We are a Cockroach. The adaptable, innovative, opportunistic, skittering, nauseating, and yes, disease-resistant arthropod that not only survives, but actually thrives in disaster.
-Conrad Saam, Mockingbird Founder