Mekky Media Relations CEO and founder Michelle Mekky talks with Doug Simon about how her experience as a journalist taught her the skills needed for communications success in the age of COVID on the latest "PR's Top Prof Talk" video interview.

"I think my news background has been incredibly helpful to our success and ability to withstand all the challenges that COVID brought to us," she says. "Mostly because I come from a live TV background and we had to jump and move super fast and change direction and book guests day to day and cancel guests if news hit. So, I'm used to that kind of having-to-move-fast background."

Mekky also tells Simon about the advantages a boutique firm has in the fast-changing marketplace that COVID has brought about. For one thing, she says that being a boutique agency gave her firm a larger degree of flexibility as regards both the communications game plan and allocating the budget required to carry out that game plan.

"I just educated the team and told them, listen, guys, it's OK. We're approved to handle other things that come up right now because we don't know exactly what the future is going to be," she says.

One big challenge, Mekky tells Simon, is finding an opening for client stories in a news cycle dominated by COVID and politics. "There's not a lot of room left for our restaurants, or our chocolate makers, or some of the fun stuff."

Because of that, she says, communicators have to get creative. At her firm, for example, they recast promotions around Valentine's Day to emphasize celebrating at home, with advice on how consumers can make those celebrations special.

That creativity has turned out to be especially important when dealing with Mekky's nonprofit clients. She notes the "added layer of complexity" caused the cancellation of galas and fundraising events, with social media and webinars taking on major importance.

She also stresses the role being played by nontraditional media, such as podcasts, as well. But then, she adds that PR pros need to think outside the box in everything they do—"being scrappy" and delivering exactly what clients need

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Interested in taking part? Contact Doug Simon at [email protected]

D S Simon Media helps clients get their stories on television through satellite media tours and by producing and distributing content to the media. The company also produces live social media events.