5 Tips for Content Marketing During a Pandemic

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As the coronavirus pandemic wears on, many businesses are thinking about how best to use content marketing to achieve business goals. It’s a complex undertaking. On one hand, no one wants to be seen as attempting to profit from the pain and misery of so many people. On the other hand, consumers are engaging with digital media more than ever.

During times of crisis or recession, a few brands always rise to the top.

In April, the New York Times declared that The Virus Has Changed the Way We Internet. How should you be approaching your content marketing during a pandemic? Here are five of our best tips for planning and executing the most effective content marketing during coronavirus.

Tip 1: Do You Know Where Your Strategy Is?

As the proliferation of “my plans vs. 2020” memes shows, this year has forced a massive reevaluation of existing marketing and content strategy. If your 2020 goals seem like fantasyland now, you’re not alone. It’s time to take a fresh look at your strategy.

First, know that change is okay. Perhaps you’ve already had to shelve some of your 2020 initiatives, but course-correcting now can set you up to bounce back in the second half of the year.

Your customers – just like your company – are going through a period of dramatic and unexpected change. Companies that pivot when necessary will be in a position to capitalize on opportunities.

Tip 2: Stay True to Your Brand’s Voice

It didn’t take long for many consumers to tire of the heartfelt “Message from Our CEO” content that brands created during the first weeks of widespread shutdowns.

Suddenly, it seemed like anyone and everyone who had your email address was sending a “we’re in this together” message.

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While there’s nothing wrong with that sentiment, it quickly saturated our inboxes and feeds.

What stands out today? Authenticity.

It can be easier said than done to achieve an authentic, on-brand message, but clarity is a necessary first step. Making sure your team is clear on the brand’s voice and tone – and how to convey it in your content – will help you evaluate whether the content you’re generating is consistently on target.

Tip 3: Focus on Your Audience

The third tip for good content marketing during a pandemic could easily be number one on this list because it is crucial. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected individuals in a range of ways.

However, it’s a safe bet that nearly everyone is feeling some increased stress from disruption to work, family, and community. The needs and concerns of your customers have to come first.

That means understanding your audience and looking at your brand from their perspective. Constructing, or updating, audience personas can help make your conception of your audience more concrete. If you can do that, you have the potential to create content that will move your organization ahead of your competitors.

Tip 4: Help First, Second, and Third

Now is not the time to sell directly. Now is the time to establish credibility and build brand loyalty by showing your customers some real love. How can you help make their lives easier?

Instead of saying, “we’re all in this together,” which can come off as glib and self-serving, show your audience that you’re here to help through smart content choices. Brainstorm some creative ways to do this.

For example, you could create some helpful content designed with the new at-home realities in mind. Or, connect customers to your brand by giving them a peek inside your company’s operations. You could profile staff members or highlight innovative ways your team has come together to get things done in these challenging circumstances.

Tip 5: Extra Time? Use It

You may have heard the phrase, “don’t waste a crisis” at some point in the last few months. How does that apply to content marketing?

As a marketer, you no doubt have a list of items that you’d love to get to. Maybe it’s creating some gated content, like a downloadable white paper. Or maybe it’s boosting the placement and effectiveness of the calls to action (CTAs) on your website.

Whatever it is, now is the time to check some projects off that “someday” list. Investing time now will mean that your marketing efforts will be stronger after the pandemic subsides. And give yourself a break if you can’t charge through those items at a record-breaking pace.

Every step you take, whether it’s improving your content governance processes or integrating a new digital tool into your workflow, has the potential to pay dividends down the line.

Conclusion: The Time is Now

So, should you be focused on content marketing during the pandemic? Absolutely.

By focusing on your audience, building authentic relationships with your customers, and strengthening the fundamentals of your marketing strategy and execution, you can help your customers, employees, and community weather this crisis and come out stronger on the other side. (Because – that’s right – we’re all in this together.)

Want content marketing that’s always on target? Drop us a line or give us a call at 717.457.0522.

Loren Blinde, PhD

Loren is the owner of Writing Power, a boutique copywriting and content strategy consultancy dedicated to creating communications that energize and engage. She works with clients across highly regulated industries on marketing communications from case studies, white papers, and press releases to articles, web copy, digital campaigns, content strategy, and others.

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