How Has COVID-19 Impacted Our Media Relationships? 

From navigating fast-changing regulations and breaking news to managing the shift to remote work and shrinking editorial teams, COVID-19 has not only disrupted the media landscape, but also the traditional flow of communication between reporters and brands. While a lot has changed, the core of what we do remains the same – cultivating relationships, creative storytelling and supporting timely news angles and opportunities. 

We conducted an internal survey across our team of multi-specialists to gather insights and anecdotes from the last few months and distilled these findings into key learnings that will guide us as we continue to navigate this uncharted territory together.

Journalists are stretched thinner than ever 

With reduced staff sizes and a number of industries in flux, our media colleagues are now being asked to wear multiple hats – shifting between print and digital; reporting on new subjects or shifting between staff and freelance roles. As a result, over 65% of KWT Global team members report hearing back from the media less frequently and almost 80% of us have had media contacts shift, expand or change their beats altogether during the pandemic. 

Story opportunities are still out there

While news about the pandemic continues to permeate the headlines, that singular focus has waned and our colleagues are still finding a home for client news. Nearly 75% of KWT Global team members have seen success with placing evergreen story angles – an approach that helps media shift stories around based on breaking news updates and changing restrictions – while more than half have also been able to secure coverage for new product launches or property openings. 

A little compassion goes a long way 

The “relationship” element of public relations is more important than ever. While many colleagues have experienced a dip in day-to-day conversations with media friendlies, even more of us have found this time to be an opportunity to forge deeper relationships and establish new connections. By bonding over the shared experiences of the pandemic, we have been able to maintain the human element of our work – being there for one another even while working apart. 

Outreach is business as usual…ish 

Much like everything else these days, our media interactions have shifted to a digital format. Over half of our KWT Global staffers have conducted virtual meetings with journalists – from one-on-one video catch-ups to “deskside” appointments and client events. Editors are also still open to receiving product send-outs with team members simply connecting in advance to confirm their interest and current mailing address. 

So how are we putting these findings into action? 

  • We’re checking in more frequently with our media friends and offering support in these difficult times 
  • We’re thinking like SEO writers and formulating pitches that will help break through the noise online 
  • We’re leveraging platforms like HARO along with journalists’ social feeds and newsletters when mining for story opportunities 

Check back again soon for our next media experiences survey and feedback from across the KWT Global team.