The South African government has implemented precautionary measures to try gain some sense of control over the virus by imposing a nationwide shutdown. This means that companies are putting a pause on their projects or are finding ways to work remotely.

During this period, it is crucial for companies to maintain their brand and to reassure their clients that there are contingency plans in place.

This pandemic is difficult to navigate for companies, institutions and even government. Now more than ever, companies will be looking into their reserve funds to help them swim in an environment that would otherwise make them sink.

Budget cuts are inevitable at this time and most companies would think to cut out PR and marketing services to try to contain costs. However, PR is pivotal in positioning your business — especially during periods of uncertainty, emergency or crisis. It is essential to make use of PR in the most innovative way possible.

While it is necessary for companies and clients to prioritise their health and that of their employees, it is also very necessary to employ creative means to stay afloat. PR must now be approached in a creative way.

Here are five elements that accommodate for digital PR:

1. Digital marketing 

One should use marketing tools, like Google AdWords campaigns and Search Engine Optimisation activities, to keep constant and to provide updated content on one's website for onsite SEO.

2. Social media marketing

Marketers must post content to social media; boosting specific posts will help you to increase awareness and engagement from your targeted audience. 

3. Digital media interviews

One should ask their PR agency to schedule telephonic and Skype broadcast interviews (TV and radio) to reach more of their targeted market.

4. Online media articles

During the 21-day lockdown, digital media in the form of online news portals and websites will have more readers than print media, so it is important for companies to produce media releases, opinion pieces and analytics articles that can be published online during the outbreak.

5. Social media engagements

In the age of instant messaging and conversations online, live updates and posts are vital for strengthening relations between companies and their potential clients. Video marketing is essential for engagements.

CEOs should be encouraged to do Q&A's with their social media audience; that way, they strengthen the relationship between their company and the people who are interested in the company.

Media, as an essential service to the state, is working overtime to inform and educate the public on the developments of the COVID-19 virus and this means that there is space for breather content, including news related to other industries and subject matters. Putting your brand out there during this time will be a great move.

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