With so many brands and organizations over-communicating, there’s more noise than usual. Cutting through is that much harder. So, props to U.K. Prime Minister Boris Johnson who snail-mailed a 500-word letter to 30 million British households with a straightforward message: Please stay home (see March 30 update below).
The letter obviates the chance that Brits might miss his message on social (or that they skipped a TV news conference to stream “Tiger King”).
Another politico communicating low-tech but effectively is Washington, D.C., mayor Muriel Bowser. This morning, District residents and non-residents who work in D.C. received a pre-recorded phone call from the Democrat. On the recording, Bowser urges the recipient to stay home, stating that those gathering on D.C. streets in large numbers could get hit with costly fines. It’s a clever pivot. Initially, D.C. police were patrolling streets as squad cars played a recording covering the same ground. (Problem was, the recording was inaudible.)
Pick Up the Phone
Bowser was not the only call waiting. Actor Ryan Reynolds left a voicemail on Friday to his Mint Mobile customers. He offered a free, unlimited data plan to help them stay connected through the pandemic. Though Reynolds' script opens with a professional tone, AdWeek gives the actor credit for injecting some fun into his message. A part owner of the mobile carrier, Reynolds is nothing if not relatable. He jokes on the recording that he’s bored and has ignored his to-do list during this unforeseen break. He'd wanted to do more yoga, read more and be a better parent.
As PR pros struggle to cut through the noise, journalists are getting significant numbers of pitches urging them to interview this or that executive. Many open with a long-winded intro about how coronavirus "has changed everything," (really, we hadn’t noticed). Speaking with our expert, the pitch often says, will help clear up things for you and your audience.
A better approach arrived this morning via email from University of New Haven communicator Carolyn Meyer. She opened with one sentence, noting that the school has a bevy of expert sources ready to help content creators. She next lists the 10 sources, their topic areas in bold, a head shot and one sentence about the person’s expertise.
For example, “Jan Jones, PhD, is professor of Hospitality and Tourism in the College of Business, and is available to discuss the impact on the travel industry.” Each miniature bio also contains a link to the person’s email.
"At this time most journalists know what they want to write about," Meyer tells us. "I'm giving them the top line information. Our faculty experts, once contacted, take it from there." Bravo!
This article is part of PRNEWS' daily COVID-19 coverage, click here to see the latest updates.