How to Maintain PR Relationships During Times of Uncertainty
Globally, we are facing unprecedented times. Everything has changed, including how we perform the daily duties of our jobs. At Caster, we are fortunate enough to have established a client base within industries that have been able to stay afloat during the COVID-19 pandemic, which is keeping our team, and the media busy during all this uncertainty. I recently conducted a Q+A with Caster’s Account Supervisor, and one of our professional connection experts, Pete Girard, to see how he’s sustaining his client, media, and colleague relationships during this unfamiliar time.
How are you maintaining relationships with the media?
When I first started at Caster, one of the most memorable pieces of advice I received was to “not always be pitching” and it is something I have tried to live by as my career has advanced. That advice has become even more important now, given the times. A major part of what is going on in the world today is that every single person is experiencing this health crisis differently and it is likely they are dealing with hidden struggles. I think one of the most meaningful things we can do is to reach out to folks within our circle and honestly check in on them, ask them how they are, and see if there is anything we can do to help them out. Even if there isn’t anything we can do in that moment, the kind gesture of genuine outreach is going to go a long way with the folks we have already established relationships with and it will help us maintain that simple human element of our jobs.
How are you maintaining relationships with clients?
By keeping things real with them. We’re all in the same boat and in this together. Our internal team and our client teams are working different hours, are facing different distractions, and are having new life events being thrown our way, many of which we have never had to deal with before. At Caster we have always done a phenomenal job establishing lasting relationships with our clients and making them feel like they can count on us as a natural extension of their team and lately, I’m seeing that that has become magnified. We are learning more about our clients’ personal lives and what is going on in their world and honestly, it’s just making us better at what we do.
How are you maintaining relationships with coworkers?
Frequent video chats with the team are keeping me in higher spirits. As mentioned above, we are all living differently. Some are sheltering in place with their whole family, some with roommates, some with their significant other, and some solo. Each scenario comes with its own set of challenges, so to get on a conference call and see everyone and hear how they are weathering the storm, or what they have been doing differently, has been a big help for me. While video is not always necessary, it helps me to connect to my team better. If I just have a quick question for a team member, audio-only Zoom calls or Slack phone calls have also been a huge help. They reduce confusion and offer the opportunity to speak with my coworkers like we would if we were all together in the office.
Has it been easier, more difficult, or has there been no change in how you maintain all these different relationships?
It’s hard to say if it has been easier, more difficult or the same but it has definitely been different. One noticeable difference is the beginning of each call, whether it be with the media, a client, or a Caster team member, starts with a discussion round about how everyone is coping. While our agency has always been good about humanizing phone conversations, there have certainly been times in the past where the call has started, and it is immediately down to brass tax. While there are situations where this is needed, it has been nice to have a bit of a round table before starting a conference call just to check in with everyone and see how they are. It is one aspect of this whole thing that definitely strengthens the human element of everything going on and something I hope to see continue as we get back to business as usual in an unusual way.
Are you finding it difficult to stay connected, professionally, or personally during the stay at home order? Besides the tips above, we also have plenty of resources we use on a daily basis that keep us operating as normal as possible. Reach out to the Caster Crew on Twitter for more helpful communication tips!