Crises (and providing crisis press office support) aren’t anything new in the PR world, but when the pandemic struck in early 2020, none of us had ever dealt with anything on this monumental scale before. As an agency it’s our job to help clients navigate through any crisis, internal or external, using clear and strategic communication to support any changes to business direction as a result.
Having worked with our client Childcare.co.uk, the leading website for childcare providers, for three years when the pandemic hit, we had already planned activity for Q1 and Q2. However, as with all businesses in March of 2020, we quickly realised things needed to change – life doesn’t care about all your best laid plans and all that!
Given the pandemic and subsequent lockdowns’ clear impact on childcare and schooling, we pivoted to a straight crisis press office strategy, using its more than two million members to gather insight from both parents and childcare providers at every stage of the pandemic.
Crisis press office support – what we did
Childcare.co.uk is the leading site that connects more than two million parent, guardian and childcare provider members. Thanks to its access to all of these people, Childcare.co.uk was perfectly placed to be an authoritative voice when it comes to pretty much anything in the childcare and parenting arena.
Our work included responding to the media with member insights about childcare, parenting and schooling, providing comment and expertise, and running several creative campaigns. All of this was to ensure Childcare.co.uk was a firm part of the ‘parenting in a pandemic’ narrative and as a supportive ally for childcare providers.
Across 2020 we worked with Childcare.co.uk to survey parents to ask their views about homeschooling, vaccinations and breaking Government social distancing rules. The findings were packaged up and offered to the media. We had lots of hits with the interesting findings, like this piece on MSN where it was reported that one in six parents agreed that school holidays should be scrapped so their children can catch up on school work.
We also did research into childcare providers to learn more about their concerns and how the pandemic had affected their businesses. These stats were also offered to the media – and we landed a great mention (and a link) in the Guardian (which was one of our favourite results for 2020), as well as in other top tier media.
In 2020, we also pitched out Childcare.co.uk’s own experts to answer questions around specific rules such as co-parenting during the pandemic, such as this piece we got placed in The Mirror.
And true to form – because anyone who knows us as an agency knows we love proactive creative campaigns – we ran a few for Childcare.co.uk during the pandemic including creating the concept of ‘Zoom Nannies’ and highlighting the growing trend of working parents requesting the service during lockdowns. See it here when it was covered by The Sun.
We also jumped on the idea that during lockdown, parents were likely to be feeling guilty and running out of ideas to entertain their kids at home, so we created a list of the top 10 educational TV programmes (as featured by The Scotsman, among tons of other regional titles).
Our goals for Childcare.co.uk during 2020 shifted alongside its needs as a business – suddenly parents were looking for different, more flexible types of childcare to support their new realities and our aim was to ensure Childcare.co.uk was included in every conversation as a solution to this problem.
Where previously our primary goal from PR was to secure backlinks, drive traffic to the site, and generate new sign-ups, now we were targeting and securing high value traditional media like BBC, The Times, The Guardian, and The Sunday Telegraph.
For our crisis press office work throughout coronavirus we achieved 500+ pieces of coverage, all with mentions of Childcare.co.uk.
- 490 links to Childcare.co.uk’s website
- 47 pieces of coverage had a DA of 90+
- Average DA of 69 across all coverage
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