Lack of face-to-face communication
It goes without saying that the pandemic has seemingly thrown the traditional PR playbook into disarray with increased difficulties in nurturing relationships through in-person encounters. COVID-19 waves brought about lockdowns and social distancing restrictions that prohibit PRs from building external relationships and establishing seamless communications. With people being out of the office, it is burdensome to connect with the right person on the phone. The prolonged cancellation of events and large-scale business conferences, which are supposed to bring limitless in-person networking opportunities, are also hitting the PR industry hard. All combined, it results in the loss of overall work efficiency, media relationships and business revenues. However, even as we navigate into a phase of recovery from the virus outbreak, communications and work efficiency challenges prevailed with the global adaptation of the virtual “new normal” working modes. Clients, partners and media professionals remain to be more accustomed to digital methods of communication instead of face-to-face interactions.
Difficult to maintain seamless and effective client communications
Another important business function of PR professionals is to facilitate client communication and manage their expectations. One of the major pain points in the PR industry is that clients are often not on the same ground with the agencies which are addressing their needs. Before the pandemic, the industry’s best practice is to keep a seamless, consistent line of communication with clients, often with face-to-face meetings. This is extremely effective in ensuring all stakeholders are staying current and aligned on project-related issues and goals.
While good PR does not come overnight, relationship-building is a consistent process that takes months or even years. The transition to virtual meetings and collaboration makes things much harder under a hybrid working mode, especially when it comes to coordinating with teammates and clients from afar.
Obstacles in helping clients to achieve communications goal
The impact of the global pandemic to the PRs is not just on their working mode, but also on how they help clients to achieve communications goal. Public relation is a long-term engagement that requires effort in order to be successful. However, the pandemic has made physical PR events nearly impossible. Thus, it became one of the biggest obstacles for the PRs in helping clients’ branding and media relationship building efforts. An effective solution to this communications gap is for the PRs to issue press releases written with SEO purpose. A well-executed press release is a powerful brand building tool for their clients to engage with stakeholders from the media, investors, and the public.
Tips for hybrid working mode
With the hybrid working mode being the rave of the moment, here are some tips for PR professionals to navigate through this transformative era.