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  • Writer's pictureAlicia DeMatteo

Pause. Evaluate. Update. External communications in the face of COVID-19

COVID-19 has quickly altered almost every aspect of our daily lives. For businesses, carefully designed strategic plans are being reevaluated in the face of an uncertain future. Communications professionals have had to pivot away from planned projects to push out time-sensitive updates to employees, customers and other stakeholders.

As the dust settles and we get used to our “new normal,” how do we continue to communicate with valuable external audiences? Perhaps you had a robust social media calendar planned, or some great thought leadership content that was going to tell a compelling story about your organization. Or maybe you had a news release almost ready to go about a project that had been months (or years!) in the making.

And you’re wondering: what do I do with this now that the news is all COVID-19, all the time? Does it feel tone-deaf to proceed as planned?

First, take a deep breath — you’re not alone! But it is time to take a step back and determine how to proceed. Here are some steps you can take to help you through that process:

Pause. It’s ok to hit the pause button right now and not post news or updates as you had planned to give yourself time to think everything through.

Evaluate. Review the planned content or content calendar and think about how it may be perceived in the current situation. Does it feel relevant right now, or is it self-serving? Is it news that can wait until later?

Update. Some content and news can be rewritten to incorporate relevant details about the current situation. This can be a great way to show your organization cares and is adapting to the current public health crisis, as long as it doesn’t come off as being opportunistic.

Here’s an example straight from Lilja: we had planned some upcoming content and an e-newsletter on the topic of office wellness. Given that our work and clients’ needs have pivoted to COVID-19 related communications, we’re holding that idea for a later time and focusing on content that can be helpful right now – like this one!

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