How to Build Links Through Reactive PR During the Covid-19 Pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic has forced almost all businesses to rethink their marketing strategies. This may mean pausing paid campaigns due to reduced demand, adapting your message to be sensitive to the current situation, or looking for alternative ways to promote your business.

According to a study by Kantar, 92% of people think brands should continue to advertise during the pandemic, and 78% would like brands to help them with their daily lives. It’s here that digital PR can be invaluable in getting your business relevant exposure in these challenging times, as well as earning your website some valuable links.

Links from authoritative external websites (such as newspapers) are an important factor in determining the SEO performance of your website. This is because they are one of the key areas Google takes into consideration when judging the quality of your website, so having links from other high quality website pointing to yours will increase your chances of ranking well for your target keywords, therefore driving more organic traffic.

What Kind of Content Are Journalists Looking For?

Publishers need more content than ever right now, because people are consuming more as a result of spending a lot of time at home. Some content subjects that have seen huge increase in interest recently according to Teads are:

  • Food, nutrition & recipes
  • Health & self care
  • Careers & business enterprise
  • Interiors & gardening


If these, or any of the other currently popular subjects are relevant to your business, you have an opportunity to leverage digital PR for link building. However, it goes without saying that any content should be realistic and sympathetic to the current situation, and shouldn’t come across as being self-serving. This means it should be genuinely helpful rather than overtly trying to push products & services.


How can You Leverage PR for Your Brand During This Time?

Here are some examples of themes that reactive PR content can take, that you may be able to apply to your business.


Positive or Humorous Stories

Journalists are looking for mood lifting stories about how businesses are surviving the pandemic. Have you been able to adapt your business model to fit with changes in demand? was launched by entrepreneurs in Jersey to enable local businesses to continue to sell their goods & services, by providing an online platform for them to continue to operate even if their premises have been forced to close. Users of the site can buy from different merchants at the same time, and arrange for delivery and collection as required.

Even if you haven’t gone as far as launching a whole new business in the last few weeks, any positive stories about how you’ve adapted and your experience of the situation are likely to be warmly received by local press.


Useful Tips & Information

If your customers aren’t able to use your products or servicing normally at the moment, can you provide them with information on how to still get the most of them?

This was a strategy we used for leading hair extensions retailer Beauty Works, to help their customers maintain their extensions while they can’t get to the hairdresser. We wrote a guide explaining why you should not remove extensions yourself and providing styling tips to keep them looking tidy in the meantime, that was featured in OK Magazine

We deployed similar tactics for an estate agent client to help people caught in the middle of selling their homes during the pandemic, by creating a guide on how to safely sell your house while adhering to social distancing requirements. This received multiple pieces of coverage online, such as on What Mortgage.


Provide Escapism

With thousands of Brits having to cancel their holidays, we saw an opportunity for a high end furniture client of ours to turn this into an outreach campaign by making the most of the increased interest in interiors. Leveraging traditional, produced focused PR, we produced a guide explaining how to bring your summer holidays to your home featuring products inspired by countries around the world. This was covered both online and in print, for example by Luxurious Magazine.

Data Journalism

Making interesting use of data in outreach campaigns is an effective link earning strategy, and it doesn’t have to be an expensive, time consuming process. For bed specialists The French Bedroom Company, we ran an Instagram poll to find out the impact working from home was having on people’s sleep, and 56% of those polled said they were getting more sleep as a result. In a climate of heightened anxiety and loss of sleep for many, this provided a positive angle to pitch to journalists.

Continuing on the theme of finding positive stories through data, we looked into Google Trends data to see what everyday ‘problems’ lockdown had actually solved. We found that searches relating to travel delays, dissatisfaction with work and losing valuables saw a sharp decline at the end of March, and produced this article summarising the findings.

Feeling Inspired?

If handled correctly, the enforced lockdown and social distancing measures can provide great opportunity to gain PR exposure for your business, and gain valuable links at the same time. We hope you’ve found this guide useful, and for more information on how to leverage digital PR to boost your SEO performance, get in touch with Return today.

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