Ah, summer! The time of year when we’re typically swimming in the pool, barbequing with friends, making s’mores in the backyard, letting the kids stay up too late, going camping, beating the heat at the movies and vacationing at the beach. While we can still safely enjoy some of these activities, this summer is obviously different from normal.
But similarly to previous years, this summer — particularly late July through August — work will slow down just enough for us to catch our breath and regain our focus to finish the year strong. And this sluggish period couldn’t have come soon enough, given the last few months of juggling professional obligations while acclimating ourselves to new work environments in which, for many of us, our children (and/or partners) are around 24/7.
Parents are squeezing in work whenever they can – sending emails from parks and playgrounds and submitting deliverables at all hours of the night. But, given that the summer slowdown is starting, try to find a few quiet minutes each day or week to do some of these quick and simple tasks that can make a big impact on achieving your marketing goals and generating some additional media coverage, even if you have to fit them in between a family picnic, a bike ride around the neighborhood or refereeing the 50th fight between your kids before 11 in the morning.
Catch Up on the News
With all of the distractions at home, it can be hard to carve out a few minutes just to read something —but doing this can lead to ideas of how you or your team may be able to contribute to a particular conversation in the media. Consider responding to the reporter with your take on the story if it is different from what was presented. You can also share relevant articles with key clients, accompanied by personalized notes about why you are flagging them. Include an offer in your message to discuss any issues that may be of concern.
Build Relationships with Journalists
Reach out to both reporters you already know well and reporters with whom you’ve been wanting to connect. Tell the journalists you know about any new areas or issues you can comment on, especially as new legislation is being developed to combat COVID-19. When reaching out to new contacts, introduce yourself and your areas of knowledge and experience. Journalists are always looking for new sources and angles, and you may put yourself at top of mind if there is a breaking news story.
Pitch Soft New Stories
While COVID-19 continues to occupy much of the news cycle, media outlets still need non-pandemic content. This can be an excellent opportunity to generate some traction as part of a public relations program. For instance, with everything happening in the world right now, many publications are reporting on charitable projects, pro bono work and culture-driven initiatives.
Review Your PR Plan
Remember that public relations plan you spent hours working on in January? When COVID-19 wasn’t an everyday part of our vocabulary yet and murder hornets were only in sci-fi movies? The one with all of those thoughtful SMART goals? Now that we’re more than halfway through the year, it’s the perfect time to assess what still has to be done and make a plan before more work tasks start to build up in the fall. Don’t be afraid to change course, if needed. If a project is old or irrelevant now, find a way to rejuvenate it or replace it with an initiative that is fresh and more appropriate to today’s climate. Looking at what competitors are doing can serve as an inspiration and spark creative ideas.
Refresh Your Social Media Presence
When was the last time you updated your LinkedIn profile? Did you recently write or read an interesting article? If so, share it with your network. Chances are that if the topic resonated with you, it will resonate with others as well. Posting, sharing and commenting will also help a wider audience see your profile. Just be careful of timing and tone that, in the context of current events, could be seen as inappropriate. Now could also be a good time to join new industry groups on LinkedIn to expand your network and see — or create — fresh content in your newsfeed.
It can be anything — a blog, thought leadership article or client alert. If staring at a blank piece of paper or screen doesn’t appeal to you, try repurposing content — such as an old presentation or a response to a client on a specific issue — for a different audience. Having a solid base from which to start can be just the push you need to get going. Whatever the medium and whatever the topic, writing is a creative outlet that can be cathartic during these stressful times.
Update Your Firm Bio
Bios are one of the most-important marketing tools at your disposal and often serve as the first impression for potential clients — especially when fewer face-to-face meetings are taking place. Make sure to include all recent matters, blogs, articles, webinars, awards and other activities. Take it one step further and update your profiles in all professional organizations and industry groups that you belong to.
Reach Out to a Friend
By nature, professional services industries are people-driven businesses. Send a thank you note to someone who reached out to see how you’re doing. Check in with a client to see how their business is handling all of the current uncertainty. Reconnect with someone from college or law school to congratulate them on a recent personal or professional accomplishment — or just to say hi. Showing empathy for others reminds us that everyone has experienced a significant change in their lives and that some have been affected worse than others.
The pandemic very quickly upended our normal routines and we’ve been in survival mode ever since. Taking advantage of this slower season and doing some of these marketing and PR activities is an easy way to regain momentum and set yourself up for success.
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