Helpful Crisis Resources From SIPA Members

“If your small business has received approval for a loan from the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP), congratulations on obtaining aid to help get your business and your employees through the shutdown measures needed to stop the spread of COVID-19,” writes Bruce Brumberg of longtime SIPA member, in an article titled You Got Your Paycheck Protection Program Loan. Now What? Advice From Small-Business Lawyers.
“However, you need to use the loan carefully. First, you want to maximize the feature that makes the PPP loan forgivable. Second, you want to use the loan properly so that you stay out of legal trouble for any potential abuse of the program.”
Brumberg’s article, along with his previous post—How to Avoid Going to Prison for Your Payroll Protection Program Loan: Advice From Former Federal Prosecutors—both appear on the Forbes website. They are just a couple of the many great resources that SIPA members are providing during this pandemic—many of which can be of general help.
Ragan Communications posted an article today titled In the COVID-19 Era, Try These 12 Virtual Collaboration Tools. “Especially in volatile, uncertain times such as these, it’s crucial for businesses to maintain communication continuity and streamlined teamwork… The good news is that there are plenty of online tools that can make working together a breeze. Try these 12 tools to maximize your productivity.” The tools include G Suite, Nifty, Backlog and
Access Intelligence’s PR News site has a Q&A up today titled How to Communicate and Pitch During the Pandemic.
PRNEWS: What are some keys for an effective media relations strategy during this crisis?
LT Taylor, communications director at Burrow, the online furniture brand: “Tread lightly and reset your goals and expectations since so many outlets and reporters have shifted their priorities. It’s still important, maybe more so, to understand why you’re telling a story…and who might be interested in it. As always, spend time reading each content creator’s previous articles, see what they’re sharing on Twitter, and approach each pitch with empathy.”
Deb Hileman, CEO, Institute for Crisis Management: “In the midst of the overwhelming amount of difficult news coverage about the virus, some reporters are seeking pitches about feel-good stories that can uplift audiences. The caveat is that many of them will want virus-related, feel-good material. Stories about actions your organization is taking to help customers, employees or the community will add to its goodwill bank of trust and reputation.”
Business Management Daily has a host of articles that could be helpful to small businesses and the people who work there. Quiana Darden writes about Why You Need Standard Operating Procedures Now More Than Ever.
“When the workforce is turned upside down, not too much is standard about how you operate. Even so, having standard operating procedures, also known as SOPs, in place can help you maintain a sense of control and consistency in your business.
“You might be up against any number of situations now or potentially in the future—from staff on extended leave to hiring temp workers to manage tasks to possibly downsizing your staff. Since you don’t know what’s to come, now more than ever, you want to have SOPs in place as a tool to help your business operate more efficiently.”
The International Risk Management Institute has its own free COVID-19 Resources. One of the many articles is Coronavirus (COVID-19) Business Income Losses—Are They Covered?
“The coronavirus pandemic and the resulting efforts to minimize the spread of COVID-19 are wreaking havoc on all of us—individuals and businesses alike. Businesses that have purchased coverage for business income loss as part of their commercial property insurance may well be hoping that they will be able to recover under their policies for income loss due to the coronavirus.”
Here’s one last link that could be helpful—even if it isn’t from a SIPA member: 3 Meditation and Mindfulness Apps for Stressed-Out Event Professionals.

Niche Publishers Respond to the New Needs of Their Audience

In the webinar I watched and wrote about Thursday from MCI USA, one of their first suggestions was to have conversations with your customers. “The natural inclination at this time might be to withdraw [knowing how busy and focused people are], but the opposite should be true. It’s the time for strategic conversations and important questions. ‘How are you?’ should be the lead question. It’s a great time to be human and lead with empathy and understanding. ‘What do you need the most help with?’ ‘What are your pain points?'”
I poked around a little to see how some SIPA publishers are initiating these conversations and designing specific content.
Put your commitment to conversation up front. When I went in to Ragan Communications’ website this morning, I was met with a pop-up:
Talk to Us
The Ragan editorial team wants to help you with your COVID-19 crisis challenges.
– Tell us how we can best cover this crisis for you.
– Share with us how you are communicating during these challenges.”

Send a survey. The editorial team at Access Intelligence’s PRNEWS is requesting feedback about the type of content most desired by communications professionals. “In order to better understand what you need to perform your job well, we rely on your feedback, which in turn helps us develop our platform to meet your needs. So, let us know what type of content you look for on a daily basis…we’re listening

Create content to cover COVID-19 within your niche.
Example 1 – Columbia Books & Information Services’ Thompson Grants has created a specific new resource. To better assist the grants community, they’ve launched a free roundup at their Grants Compliance Expert website. The roundup provides a “list of links to memoranda and guidance issued by federal agencies—as well as the Office of Management and Budget—that are specifically relevant to grant applicants and recipients dealing with COVID-19’s impacts on grant programs,” writes Jerry Ashworth,editor for Thompson Grants.

Example 2 – SIPA member The Company Dime covers business travel management so their lead story is an important one: Coronavirus Exposes Weaknesses in Business Traveler Tracking. I’ve read many articles on stranded business travelers. The next article focuses on a support group for laid off travel industry professionals.
Example 3 – California tax experts Spidell Publishing has two sessions this week for “COVID-19 and Filing Extensions: What Tax Pros Need to Know.” They also have a full page of resources titled Coronavirus tax information and Spidell’s live webinars and seminars.” In the middle of that page they write: “Spidell seminars: The safety of our customers and our employees is our top priority.”
“Over-communicate”—in-house as well. In an interview with Digiday, Bloomberg Media CEO Justin Smith spoke about the importance of in-house communications as well. “We have been working from home for just over a week but our approach has been to ramp up communication as much as possible, almost over-communication. We ended up increasing the number of one-on-one meetings and group meetings in the first week. In some ways, you can have a more focused and less distracted conversation virtually.”
Evolve our work. Smith added that a lot of that communication has been “around the importance of responding to this change, how can we be entrepreneurial, how can we do things differently and adapt and evolve our work, our workflows, our product, our relations, or business relationships in ways that are better suited to these times?”
“Above all, maintain empathy for your users—and their changing needs and challenges, and focus on the data, not fear or anxiety, to make the right decisions for your business,” writes Ashley Mo on the Marketing Land site. “Staying strategic in this time means making quick adjustments as news cycles and performance reports dictate, so make sure you’re monitoring the macro landscape and your company’s internal and competitive reports aggressively to set your course with confidence.”