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Setting Your Utility’s Public Relations Calendar in an Era of Uncertainty

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Andy Gotlieb's picture
Editor of a specialty publication, former public relations practitioner Freelancer

I hold 34 years of experience in communications, mostly in journalism, with a decade in public relations, too.  The first 17 years were spent in print journalism, where I covered, at various...

  • Member since 2016
  • 1,004 items added with 507,876 views
  • Sep 15, 2020

Part of an effective public relations program for a utility involves setting a calendar of events and promotions, but how do you so, to quote an increasingly common cliché, “in these uncertain times?”

Sure, there are some things that aren’t impacted. For example, if your utility is a public company, quarterly and annual reports must still be produced. The evergreen press releases you put our regularly – call before digging, be careful trimming around power lines, Christmas lights don’t use much energy and so on – can be planned as usual.

But everything else? It’s all up in the air.

At this point, the only real answer is to be flexible and do things on the fly. That might not be the answer you want to hear, but so be it. Given the unpredictable nature of weather events, you're probably used to responding quickly.

People have adapted quickly to virtual events, so don’t be shy in promoting them.

When it comes to said events, careful planning is important. Attention spans are short these days and there’s definitely some “Zoom fatigue” setting in. If you do host a virtual event, it shouldn’t last long and keep the number of speakers to a minimum.

Another option is to simply reduce the number of events on your calendar. Eventually, this pandemic will pass, so the fact that you (like everyone else) may scale back your promotional efforts somewhat is no big deal.

As an alternative, you should be boosting your social media efforts, given that everyone spending more time inside and, with cooler weather on the way, outdoor activities will begin to decline. The whole world seems to revolve around social media these days, so you can make your points that way. Plus you completely control the message.

Finally, go with the flow. These truly are unprecedented times, so there are no right or wrong answers.

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Thank Andy for the Post!
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