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What Can Your Utility Do in Terms of PR in These Unusual Times?

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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 508,662 views
  • Mar 18, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has proven to be a game-changing moment in history, with everyone adjusting to a time where many of us are working from home, almost all events are canceled and there’s a fear of the uncertainty sure to follow.

Many day-to-day job duties are changing because of coronavirus and that also applies to public relations practitioners.

So, what should your utility’s PR team doing these days?

There are likely no events to pitch, so that’s out. The worst of the winter weather, which was been pretty mild in most places, seems to be over, so there are few outages to handle. If you’ve already put out a message about how coronavirus isn’t going to impact your utility’s ability to keep the lights on, you’re good there (if you haven’t, see my prior post).

I suppose some utilities have random news — such as new executives, construction projects and the like — but unless it’s really important, you might want to save it until things calm down. The media isn’t going to pay much attention to it and neither will the public.

Of course, if you have some bad news you need to get out, now’s a great time to do that – for the same reason: Few are paying attention.

Perhaps the best thing to do now is prepare for a post-coronavirus future.

Update your media contact lists. Spruce up your boilerplate and evergreen press materials. Develop pitches for things you’re planning a few months from now. Train your employees and/or improve their skills.

Most of all, think up new story ideas for future pitches. Perhaps the coronavirus will give you a different perspective on your utility — and maybe there will be a “new normal” in the wake of the pandemic.

A PR person’s job is never really over, but it sure can change.

Andy Gotlieb's picture
Thank Andy for the Post!
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