If you were to ask any entrepreneur, PR or marketing professional to describe their business it would fall under two categories – before COVID and after COVID.
Before the pandemic, most tech PR and marketing businesses were on a trajectory for growth in 2020, accelerated by a thriving economy and a world of possibility. Like many, we predicted a number of new activities and trends for 2020, but all that has changed since the pandemic. While the coronavirus has turned our lives upside down, it has also shown us what is possible in the world of PR and marketing.
Here’s a look at what’s to come in the post-pandemic world:
Podcasting Is Here to Stay – Only Now, Everyone Wants a Piece
In 2019, we predicted that 2020 would be dubbed “The Year of the Podcaster” – and for good reason. Last year, new research indicated 62 million Americans were listening to podcasts each week. However, with social gatherings now banned around the world, everyone from tech companies to politicians has realized there is untapped potential in podcasting. Spotify said it had nearly 150,000 podcast downloads in March – a 69% increase since February.
Even Joe Biden is on board. In early April he released his own branded podcast where he interviews a number of thought leaders on topics like climate change and education and can better connect with voters. It’s a genius move for a politician, and no doubt his savvy PR and marketing team jumped on the opportunity once it was clear that the traditional way of campaigning was no longer viable in the post-COVID world.
Having prominent names and companies jump on the podcast bandwagon is good news for all of us as it indicates more opportunities to get your brand noticed. It’s also a time to get creative with your organization’s marketing approach. Americans are sheltered in place and they are listening.
Virtual Summits Will Replace In-Person Conferences
It felt like overnight that thousands of large-scale conferences were canceled (i.e. Mobile World Congress, SXSW, Comic Con). Sports arenas closed up – in the middle of March Madness no less – and the conference and events business dried up in a matter of a few weeks. While this has hurt a number of small businesses that rely on in-person events to generate leads, it has also opened an opportunity for all businesses.
Before the pandemic, virtual summits or conferences were few and far between, but the technology existed, and most events were well-run. Now under the COVID-related restrictions, companies have to get creative. As a fintech PR firm, we’re seeing glimpses as to how this growing category will take on the challenge. Fintech Talents Virtual Spring has launched an impressive virtual fintech conference in London this June and has plans for a North American virtual event in Fall 2020. The theme of these events is to “make distance irrelevant”, a trend we expect to shape events for years to come.
There are a number of new videoconferencing solutions that have entered the market to compete with Zoom – Facebook and Google in particular – making virtual conferences a major possibility for 2020.
Crisis PR Planning Will Remain High on every CEO’s To-Do List
The pandemic has taught us an important lesson – preparing for a crisis should be as normal as budget planning. When the pandemic hit and businesses were forced to close, companies struggled with a contingency plan. Smaller organizations, in particular, were badly hurt and left at a loss on how to communicate with customers, employees, and be able to pivot.
The reality is, no one could anticipate what COVID has done to our lives, but it doesn’t mean companies can’t prepare moving forward. Airlines changed their security protocols after 9/11; banks and investment firms were forced to change after the financial crisis of 2008. Now, every business large or small has to create a crisis PR plan in the event that a global pandemic or attack strikes. No hypothetical situation is too crazy at this point. Just recently, the Pentagon released declassified footage of UFO sightings off the coast of California. As wild as it sounds, the post-COVID era proves that yes, your crisis PR team better be prepared for anything – aliens included.
It’s no longer “business as usual” in the post-pandemic world. If businesses expect to bounce back (and they certainly will), there are plenty of opportunities to get started. A lot remains to be seen but we can all agree, this isn’t the end for marketing and PR.