Use PR to Increase Sales Post-COVID-19: A Guide for SMBs

The outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 has brought uncertainties and tough times with it. Though the economy is reviving, businesses are still struggling to plan for the coming years.

The effects have been more profound on SMBs worldwide. If you are a small business owner struggling to generate leads and convert more customers, then PR is something that you must consider focusing on. 

Strategic use of PR can help you increase your brand’s reputation and get more sales in 2021. PR can put you in front of the right audience, helping you to thrive even in the toughest times.

So, if you are looking for some helpful and actionable ways to use PR for increasing sales post-COVID-19, then this is the perfect guide for you. 

Let’s get started. 

How to increase sales post-COVID-19?

1. Focus on increasing brand awareness

Increasing your brand awareness, especially during these difficult times, is easier said than done. But it is definitely possible. 

By putting your brand out there, having an omnichannel presence, and taking a customer-centric approach, you’ll see a significant improvement in your brand awareness.

The key to increasing your brand awareness is to be present wherever and whenever your target audience is hanging out. Create valuable content and show your prospects how you can help them.

Focusing on existing customers is also a very important part of increasing brand awareness. Support your customers well, work towards customer success, and you’ll see your brand’s reputation glowing everywhere.

When you genuinely add value to your customers and become responsible for their growth, more people will start talking about your brand.

Brand awareness is the foundation of good PR. When you have a strong foundation of integrity, reliability, and customer success stories to showcase, your PR campaigns will do significantly better than otherwise.

2. Go all in on social media

Social media is the best way to be omnipresent and put your brand out there. It’s a great platform to gain visibility from your audience and journalists. Everything you do on social media is open to the public, and thus social media is where you’ll be judged.

There are a lot of things that you can do with social media. Right from putting out unique and valuable content to interacting with prospects, the options are endless. Using these platforms, you can build a strong follower base that values your content.

So, put out consistent content. Genuinely help your audience out. And add some creativity to your social media strategy to stand out amongst your competitors. Also, try to put the spotlight on your customers. Create content around the wins of your customers.

By taking these measures, you’ll eventually get widely noticed. Not just by your prospects, but also by journalists. This will, again, lay the foundation for your PR campaigns and ultimately lead to increased sales for your business.

A great example of this would be how Electric Bear Brewing got lots of attention for the launch of their new brewery. They used social media to amplify their PR strategy, and the combination of the two got them some brilliant results.

3. Plan and create content in all possible formats

Content is one of the best things that can help you with good PR. When you create content that is helping your audience, that is when your audience will understand your brand’s true value.

Content can help you grow your fan base, increase visibility, emerge as a thought leader, beat competitors, bring in organic traffic, and ultimately increase sales. 

Source

Unique and thought-provoking content will help you get visibility amongst media outlets and top journalists. This will have a massive impact on your sales in the post-COVID-19 times.

It is very important to create unique content that is tough to get unnoticed. For instance, if you release a free guide for your target audience, you’ll find a lot of prospects wanting to gain access to it. This ultimately helps to increase your visibility.

Other types of content, such as videos, can also have a massive impact on your PR. If your video content is valuable enough, it might even go viral, catching the attention of various media people. The same applies to infographics. You can simply use an online infographic generator to create high-quality, relevant infographics and market them on all possible platforms.

4. Build strong relationships with Journalists

Journalists are bombarded with cold pitches every day. In fact, a survey of 500 digital publishers revealed that journalists receive anywhere from 10 to 100 cold pitches every single day! That’s a lot of pitches, and most of them end up in the bin or spam folder.

So, you need to find a way to stand out amongst all these other pitches. And the best way to do that is to build relationships with digital publishers and journalists. 

Journalists are just like you. They hang out on social media and consume relevant content. You need to somehow get their attention and get noticed. You can do this by using the previous tips, such as creating awesome content and increasing your brand awareness.

The other way to go about it is to create a targeted list of journalists so that you can intentionally build relationships with them. You can make this list based on the relevance of the journalists to your business and the reach of their media outlet. You can also pick journalists who are writing about your competitors.

Once you have your target list of journalists, you can start engaging with them on social media. You can comment on their posts. Create relevant posts and tag them. You can also share their posts and content. This is the first step to getting noticed.

Next, you can have more personalized conversations through LinkedIn or Twitter DMs. Do not directly pitch. Instead, try to make a genuine connection.  Post this, you can reach out to these journalists through emails. 

This way, your PR outreach emails would be warm. This means that the chances of your pitches getting noticed and covered by media outlets become very high. This approach can help you get a lot of good PR within a short span, leading to more leads and sales.

5. Take up social initiatives and responsibilities

Apart from your main offerings, taking up social initiatives and responsibilities can also have an immense impact on the public perception of your brand. Of course, you shouldn’t be doing this just for the sake of PR. But a genuine effort from your agency can make you stand out.

You can consider taking up initiatives such as community service, philanthropy, environmental contributions, or any other ethical business practices. 

For example, if you choose to pick up an environment-friendly initiative, this will instantly put you in a good light. This can definitely accelerate your PR campaign and help you attract more customers who have similar values.

6. Offer solutions to current challenges

Staying relevant and offering solutions based on the current circumstances is something that can make your brand stand out. 

This is because consumerism has massively changed since the outbreak of the pandemic. So, offering solutions to challenges that are currently faced by your target audience will help you drive more PR and increase sales.

For this, research your target market again. Your market research before COVID-19 might not hold a stance now. Understand what your prospects exactly need. 

If you identify the current challenges that your target prospects are facing and specifically offer to solve them, then you are going to be far ahead in the game. 

7. Tell your story

Lastly, do not hesitate to tell your story. What hurdles did your company face while starting out? How are you coping with COVID-19? What challenges did you face, and how did you overcome them?

If you have a unique story to tell the world, then do so. You can share your story, your brand’s story, or even your employees’ story on your website and through social media posts. This will make your brand more real and authentic.

According to the Global Communications report, digital storytelling is one of the top three trends that dominates digital PR. 

Telling your story will make your business more relatable, and more people would find it easier to approach you as they might find your struggles relatable. You will also gain some media exposure and convert more leads even during these tough times.

Final Thoughts

The COVID-19 pandemic outbreak has changed everything around us. Hence it goes without saying that you, too, need to make some changes to increase sales in the coming months and years.

If you want your business to survive and thrive in the post-COVID-19 era, then focusing on PR is a must. You can use the tips provided in this guide to gain good PR and boost your sales.

Cover photo by Austin Distel