How a PR Punch Helped Put the Pandemic to Bed

Feb 19, 2021

As numb as we’ve all gotten to emails that lead with “in these unprecedented times”, COVID-19 continues to remain an active crisis. In March of last year, when the news first broke, nationwide fear was at its peak.

But that didn’t stop our inspiring client, Aurora Storage, a subsidiary of Richards-Wilcox, Inc., from springing to action. By combining their empathy and ingenuity, this Aurora, IL company converted their entire factory to create and craft Emergency Quik-Bed™ and Quik-Cot™ Temporary Beds. Versatile, easy to transport, coated in antimicrobial paint, and requiring only a mallet to assemble, these temporary beds proved an ideal aid to ease patient overflow and help emergency responders combat the crisis.

press interview

But this invention with the best intentions would be for nothing unless we could wake the world and get the word out. MACLYN rose to the challenge:

We called on the pros who never sleep: our PR department (okay, our PR peeps receive perfectly adequate sleep and PTO, honestly, we promise).

After developing a media relations strategy, our ninjas of the news cycle drafted the perfect press release to pitch to media outlets. With a well-built B-roll and photo package to go with it, we dropped it to key groups, from national public health organizations and local government agencies to prominent national, state and local media groups.

See, writing a PR pitch is like crafting that first message on a dating app. There’s a lot of people vying for a limited amount of time and attention, and you’re only going to get one chance to “shoot your shot.” Get it right, and you’ll get a real chance to share your story and create a lasting bond. Get it wrong, and it’s crickets while you reach for another sleeve of Oreos.

Our press release shared the initial story of how all 3 business subsidiaries under Richards-Wilcox dedicated their resources to the cause of converting to an emergency bed manufacturer, their collaboration to adapt their current shelving products into beds, their partnership with Moonlight Slumber, Inc. for the mattresses, and their social distancing practices in the still-open factory. We also expounded on RW’s rich 140-year history: these heroes also leapt in and lent their manufacturing talent for both WWI and WWII.

The pitch paid off and landed successfully (we still ate a sleeve of Oreos). We won 25 placements on ALL major TV news stations in the Chicago market: ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, Telemundo, Univision, and WGN all picked up the story and ran with it. Aurora Storage even got radio shoutouts on stations like 101.9 The Mix.

With our targets acquired, we coordinated all the ‘hits’. No, our PR department are not hired assassins (our lawyers say to add “no comment”). A hit is our industry term for any unique news item on a broadcast station or website. It’s a win to land a hit on one major regional network; it’s a true feat to land all of them. But no time to humble brag: we’ve got to make the most of it.

So next, we prep the approved spokespeople for interviews. Richards-Wilcox, Inc. President Bob McMurtry is an old pro, but even Rocky needed a coach in his corner, right? Of course, the segments were a success on all channels, even playing twice on CBS 2 and thrice on FOX 32.

As the final part of our PR process, we monitor the media to see how it performed. Advertising and PR both carry unquestionable value, but the beauty of earned media is that it does what paid media can’t: it garners views and readers that you would have otherwise had to pay to advertise to. So, by gauging and analyzing how well hits perform, earned publicity can be assigned an approximate value. In Aurora Storage’s case, the Emergency Quik-Bed™ and Quik-Cot™ Temporary Beds coverage was worth $877,829 of publicity and an estimated 64,584,595 impressions.

Our PR pros leverage the science of media with the art of story, so that everyone can rest easy. Sweet dreams.

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