When March 2020 was knocking at the door pretty much everyone around the world was told to #stayathome. This situation, no doubt, affected not only our professional and personal lives but also changed the world. The good news is we’re all in this together (yay, trying to stay positive).
Sure, the pandemic has done away with all plans and strategies. Brands are not enjoying their best time. And though everyone knows what not to do with their content, very few know what to do with it.
Now, let’s make this clear once and for all. The fact that the situation has changed does not mean the customers have no needs anymore. It just means that their needs have changed.
The job of content marketers is to understand those needs and provide relatable content. That’s all. Pretty easy, isn’t it? Okay, maybe it is not as easy as it sounds, but it sure will be.
Any crisis brings not only a ton of difficulties but provides extraordinary opportunities if used wisely. For those in the content world, the 8 tips below will be the crucial base to taking chances in Content Marketing during any crisis.
- Stick to the Plan
Crises change a lot, and you’ll require new approaches. But this doesn’t mean that your plans have to change completely. We have to remember that the actions we take now will matter once this is over.
Content marketing is a long-term process. The benefits it brings do not come overnight. You can’t expect a blog post written today to reap its ROI tomorrow. Having a thoroughly developed content marketing plan is proven to be a key to marketing success.
You have to account for predictions and solutions to unexpected crises in your professional plan. And while it is impossible to predict situations like the Covid-19 lockdown, considering alternative strategies beforehand helps you stick to your initial plan as much as possible. You’ll also be more ready to tackle developments once this is over.
Make necessary changes to your initial plan as needed, but make your plan a priority at all times.
2. Adapt, Adapt, Adapt!
Staying close to the strategy’s roots will always help to be a step ahead of the crisis. However, it is vital to adapt to the new situation and play by the new rules, especially with using small business tools.
The marketing industry has never witnessed such a dramatic and drastic change in audience behavior. The unpredictableness of the crisis nature makes the situation unstable as the needs of the audience shift faster than ever.
The professionals able to adapt often and early are the ones who are going to benefit. For us, the content marketers this means creating new content for the new world while keeping our eys on trends such as the future of graphic design.
Rethinking topics is where we have to start from.
Good content marketing gives the audience what they want, and several topics became extra widespread during the pandemic. Those themes are directly connected and come from the fact that people have to spend more time at home because of the lockdown.
Below are some topics you can concentrate on during the crisis:
- Financial stability
- Remote working
- Finding a job in the crisis
- Staying healthy
- Long-distance relationships
- Dating via dating apps
- Couples’ yoga
- Staying positive
- Overcoming depression
Field professionals like Peter Thaleikis from Bring Your Own Ideas, predict that long-paced, in-depth articles are going to be more popular as people spend more time online. The traditional “quick and dirty bites” of a fast-paced world won’t be trendy anymore. So start learning new tricks, quickly!
3. Help and Contribute
As your audience has more time, they are watching you more.
The crisis is a great time to build a better image and connect with your audience on a deeper level. Showing how the Covid-19 lockdown affected you, will make the audience subconsciously relate to you and connect more. The key here is to remember to stay focused on how you can help your customers instead of asking for help from them.
In the case of Content Marketing, the “help” can come in very different and unexpected forms. These include writing in-depth articles, offering expert advice, gathering available information, or leveraging nonprofits & volunteer software to spread a good cause.
An excellent example of a company doing social good through content marketing during the pandemic is Intuit’s partnership with GoFoundMe to create a Small Business Relief Initiative and help small businesses learn if they are eligible for government-provided financial relief.
Another example is from the Care.com team, who leveraged their in-depth knowledge of caregiving best practices to share expert advice on the precautions for families and caregivers facing the global health crisis.
Different online professional tutorials and tips can be found all over the internet. They help to keep your business relevant to people who need the information by using only content marketing.
According to Edelman’s research, 85% of people expect companies to use their power to educate their audiences during the COVID-19 crisis. Facing the audience’s expectations is always a priority.
4. Increase and Ramp it Up
The fact that more people are home, jobless, and have nothing to do means that they will be consuming more content online. Spending more money on content marketing during a crisis situation may seem risky initially, but it can be the best decision you’ve made for your business.
There are a vast amount of new topics to be covered, and if you do it right, you will not see the organic reach drop once the crisis is over. You also finally have the full attention of the audience — use it.
TCF did precisely that. By tapping into the current situation, they rearranged their marketing strategy around people being home more often. Across all marketing channels, they gave valuable advice for sprucing up their followers’ homes. And in just a few months, they raised over $1.5M for their Pico crowdfunding campaign.
This is the perfect chance to re-establish trust with consumer-centric content. You have the full potential to get out of this situation in an unpredictably better position than before it all started. If you have the right content crisis strategy.
Just take a look at these statistics. HubSpot’s global customer base data analysis shows that marketing emails, website traffic, and live chat sessions have all been on the rise. Email open rates are 25% higher than usual, and their Marketing Blog gained a weekly organic traffic increase of 40%.
A great way of getting more exposure and brand awareness is by having press releases or guest articles published on reputed news blogs and websites like the London Business News Blog, which ranks in the top position on search engines. Many readers will find your news on such platforms and this will guide them to your business presence online, increasing traffic and conversions.
Keep in mind that whatever you do today will determine your business in the future.
5. Brand Awareness > Selling
Don’t let your audience forget you. With a few exceptions, consumers could stop spending.
Accordingly, the hope of having sales is quite unreal at least for the nearest future. But don’t let your customers forget about you — aim the opposite.
You have a chance to concentrate on rebuilding your brand image entirely, building trust with influencers, and getting the traffic that will later help you with sales.
Creating content that will influence traffic during and after COVID, without worrying about revenue generation is a must. Ad, affiliate and eCommerce revenue are variables but the focus should stay on rankings and traffic, with a focus on revenue postponed until after everything is back to normal.
By changing your Content Marketing Strategy and adopting a Crisis Strategy, you can help your brand be on top of your customers’ minds with a relevant social media presence. You can also use Facebook tools, Instagram tools, etc for best results on social media. Will it be cheesy if we remind you that content is king? We mean, you know it is.
Use your king wisely and get the traffic.
6. Choosing the Right Channels has Never Been this Important
Knowing what and where to distribute can make a substantial impact on your content’s future.
Having so many channels to share your content on does not mean that using them all will help. It is always better to spend money on the few platforms where your content is relevant rather than on different platforms where you’ll get no traffic.
During the pandemic, more intimate channels like email and push notifications work better as their open rates are higher. That is an excellent opportunity to subtly distribute important updates, info, and niche materials.
Not pushing too much and scattering your updates around the calendar is crucial. Just because people are online more does not mean that you have to remind them about yourself so much that it will have a negative effect on content consumption.
7. Being Promotional is Still Appreciated
It may seem like there is no point to promoting your company during the crisis, after everything you just read. That is FALSE.
People are still buying — more in some sectors than others — and you can still offer.
There’s no reason to be radical. It will not harm you to leave your products somewhere on the page. As one of the most popular Creative designers of the time, Doreen Vanderhart from Knap Creative says, “Put your offer out there. It’s MORE than okay to serve your audience with paid offers. People are still buying — let’s all do our part to keep this economy humming!”
There is nothing wrong with offering your services. They might be ignored, but it does not mean they will be completely useless, especially considering that you will be cutting down on spending as well. Don’t waste the chance.
Remember, crises offers cannot be the same as the usual ones. Try to position yourself as a more caring than selling company. You can do that by tailoring your offers so that they will not come across as overly aggressive. Reduce prices, give special offers, or provide useful resources.
Just be creative with what you do instead of giving up.
8. Do Your Research, Follow the Trends
DO focus on Covid. Do NOT focus on Covid…
When everyone is interested in something or writes and talks about something, it becomes impossible to ignore. Researching and understanding trends is more crucial than ever before. Situations change drastically, and following the different moods becomes harder.
On the other hand, when everything revolves around one subject, it becomes annoying. And consumers start to search for alternatives. It is vital to find the balance between news about the crisis and news that has nothing to do with it, to keep your audience engaged.
Testing your results and developing your crisis strategy based on these results is a definite must. But keep in mind that the material you provide has to be diverse. Our suggestion is to be flexible and find a way to both focus and not focus on COVID.
You may think there are contradictions in our suggestions. First, I’m telling you to try and stick to the original Content Marketing plan. Then I’m asking you to have a Crisis Plan and adapt. I’m telling you to focus on traffic instead of sales. And at the same time, suggesting you shouldn’t give up on sales. Even worse, I’m asking you to write and not write about COVID.
What a lousy adviser we are, you may think!
But what can be better advice during the crisis than to be flexible, ready to change, adapt fast, follow the trends, and stick to your values?
The crisis is all about contradictions. Just learn to use them wisely to your benefit. And who knows — maybe you’ll end up finishing this race in a better position than when you started.