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  • Writer's pictureSuzi Christie

Finding Opportunity in Lockdown

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised several challenges for those of us working in public relations. Many of our customers have been forced to stop working or, at the very least, reduce their operations as they began to work from home.

At the start of lockdown, it felt as if I never had a free moment. We were busy helping our clients with their business award entries, on top of their normal requirements, and then we shifted into crisis management mode as we worked with our clients to ensure they put out reassuring messages about any changes they were having to introduce. With a background working for Kent Fire and Rescue Service, crisis communications has always been an area of public relations I’ve enjoyed.

After this, we were lucky that our clients took a positive and proactive approach to running their businesses. I completely agree with Paul Bates, Managing Director of Cleankill Pest Control that, while it is important to protect and consolidate your business during this time, this time can also be seen as an opportunity.

For Cleankill, they initially worked with other pest control companies to support the British Pest Control Association’s campaign to get key worker status for pest control technicians. It must be remembered, 75% of their work is prevention and that includes the prevention of diseases caused by pests. In addition, they also saw an opportunity to get businesses to consider whether they are getting value for money from their pest control contracts. Too many businesses simply go with a national service provider because they have heard of them but, in many cases, they are not getting value for money.

For us, we had to find new ways to add value for our customers. Our customers want to be at the top of any online search and that means finding ways to boost their SEO (Search Engine Optimisation). This is achieved using a combination of factors, including the creation of great content on their websites. One way we do this is by writing news items but, during lockdown, we had to be extra creative.

One area where we created a surprising amount of traction for our clients was by refreshing their Google My Business information. Since the demise of Google+, many companies have neglected their Google presence. This is a mistake, as Google is the main search engine people use and so you want to rank as highly as possible. Without news, we refreshed photographs, updated services, and generally tried to regularly add content.

An example of how successful this approach was can be seen with Holland Harper LLP, a chartered accountant in Battle, East Sussex. The business has had a massive increase in the number of people viewing their photographs. This may seem like nothing, but research has shown people are far more likely to buy the services of a company when they have viewed images online

Finally, another opportunity for us was the introduction to a new client Vinissimo. This long-established Italian wine and spirit importers has a tremendous reputation among restaurants and specialist delicatessens in and around London. With the COVID-19 pandemic having a catastrophic effect upon their clients, Vinissimo has used this opportunity to diversify into home deliveries.

We were recommended to the owners by David Hassell of Cleankill’s website provider, Qdos Computer Consultants. When we got the go-ahead from Vinissimo, David said, “I’m really glad you are managing it all as I know it will be well organised”. It is a lovely thing to read!

At a time when things could have been a bit quiet, we are thankfully quite busy. The key has been to remain positive and keep our eyes open for opportunities.

If you need help with any aspect of your business’s public relations profile, contact us by calling us on 01323 449744 or e-mailing

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