Six tips for reducing PR budgets during lean times
May 04, 2020 by Leela Bozonelis
As COVID-19 continues to wreak havoc on the global economy, many PR professionals are faced with no choice but to trim their budgets and make do with less. If you’re in such a predicament, here are some tips for doing your part to keep your company or firm as economically healthy as possible.
Revisit Your Priorities Before You Cut
As you consider what expenses to reduce or eliminate, remember that the best place to start is, of course, with your strategic priorities. Too often in times of austerity, we can be tempted to jump right to the numbers, right to what this or that line item or service costs. Instead, evaluate your budget through the lens of what’s most important to your organisation’s goals. Be wary of thinking too long-term in this fluid situation. Hopefully, COVID-19 will be behind us before long. Besides, you can always cut more if circumstances demand it later.
Sometimes, Part-Time Work is a Win-Win
You may be able to reduce your payroll costs by identifying any colleagues who would actually prefer to work part-time during the pandemic. It could be that some on your staff have a child or family member to take care of and would welcome the chance to work less. Of course, you may not have the luxury of making part-time work—or even employment in general—an optional matter. In these situations, employers must do what they must, but hopefully with an abundance of empathy.
Lean on Some Affordable Visual Resources
Strong visuals are pretty much a must for effective communicating in today’s scroll-quickly-on-your-smartphone world. Fortunately, there are inexpensive offerings, such as design tool Canva, that can help cut back on your freelance design expenses. On a related note, rather than pay for stock imagery, try images available in the public commons, such as those at StockSnap, Reshot or Unsplash. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the host of charts and graphs available on your Nexis Newsdesk™ platform. Check out our COVID-19 global news tracker for the kinds of embeddable data visualization tools we offer.
Get the Most of Every Piece of Content
If ever there was a time to make the most of every piece of content, this is it. To help accomplish this, consider content atomization, in which you “sub-divide” larger pieces of content into smaller ones for other uses. For instance, if you invest in creating a whitepaper, you can break that into, say, a blog post, an article for your e-newsletter and an infographic for an email campaign. In addition, design templates can help you reduce the effort and costs associated with designing every piece of content as a “one-off.”
Take Advantage of In-House and Online Expertise
Yes, we live in a world where there’s something new to learn virtually every day, if not every hour. COVID-19 doesn’t need to stop professional communicators from learning and growing. There are a host of low-cost options to keep you and your team sharp. For instance, you can host a Zoom-based lunch-n-learn in which one colleague shares her expertise with others. In addition, there are a plethora of affordable online courses. For instance, Udemy offers classes such as “Media Crisis Communications” and “Advanced Agile Communication Skills for 21st Century Leaders” for less than $20 (US). Yale University is even making its most popular course ever, “The Science of Well Being,” available for free.
Examine Your Subscriptions and Services
Another way to save money is to be more selective about the services and other “nice to haves” to which you are subscribed. Now is a good time to review the magazines and journals you receive; if you’re like many, you’ll likely find you’re still paying for content you no longer need or that can be accessed through a lower-cost digital subscription. You might also fine-tune your approach to news releases by opting for less expensive—or perhaps more selective—web-only distribution.
Finally, consider how you can combine multiple services under one roof. For example, Nexis Newsdesk™ can not only provide real-time media monitoring, but competitive intelligence , journalist identification, earned media trends research and industry analysis support, all with a few clicks of your mouse.
We are all eager for the post-COVID-19 economy. Until then, hopefully these tips will help you make do with less.