10 ways to get content marketing right during the crisis
These days, most blog posts address Covid-19 in one way or another. But of course, the aim isn’t just to ride the wave; it’s to respond to customers’ needs and provide timely advice about how to operate during this unprecedented time.
In this blog post, we’ll take a quick look at some of the best practices companies should adopt when addressing – or choosing not to address – the coronavirus crisis in their content marketing.
Here are ten things you should and shouldn’t be doing to support customers, take advantage of the downtime and plan for recovery:
1. Be agile with your content strategy
Like most businesses around the world, your content plans for the coming weeks have likely gone out the window. We have never seen our audiences’ needs shift so quickly, and to borrow a line from the great Bob Dylan: the times they are still a-changin’.
For content marketers, this means we must continue adapting our plans for content as often as needed to best serve customers. Agility is the key.
To find out what your audience wants to see or read about, monitor your engagement rates and ask your customers for feedback on the content that you put out recently. You can also learn about your audiences’ immediate concerns in Facebook groups relating to your industry and find out what types of content they’re sharing.
2. Keep publishing scheduled content
But while your plans may have changed, there’s no need to scrap every piece of content that you planned to publish. Not all your content has to be related to the coronavirus crisis, but you do have to be careful not to be insensitive.
Go through your scheduled blog posts and see which ones you can go ahead with, and which ones you need to shelve. Pay special attention to headlines – think about how each of them sounds in the context of the current situation.
Your non-virus related posts may not get as much attention on social media as they normally would, but you can still continue building SEO – which is a long-term process that may very well bring results once the crisis is over.
3. Avoid appearing tone-deaf
The biggest challenge that marketers face today is how to strike the right tone when talking about their products and services during the crisis. Appearing insensitive or opportunistic can seriously damage your brand. So what can you do?
First off, carefully scrutinise each piece of content that you put out. Avoid all language that minimises the impact of the crisis or makes you appear tone-deaf to other people’s problems. Make sure to acknowledge that we’re all in this together and reassure your customers that you understand them.
If you can, try to give back in some way and support struggling businesses. We’ve seen great examples of startups offering free products and services to make life during the pandemic a bit easier. You can also show that you care by donating money or items that are needed to hospitals or other organisations.
4. Deliver value without asking for anything in return
If there was ever a time when people didn’t want to be sold to, this is it. During a global crisis, the best you can do as a content marketer is dial down the sales talk – which shouldn’t be your job, anyway – and focus on publishing content that’s genuinely helpful.
Look at this time as a chance to prove your commitment to supporting customers when things get rough. Invest time and effort into identifying your customers’ pain points and coming up with ways to solve their most pressing problems.
Don’t just write for the sake of contributing to the noise around the novel coronavirus. Only post content that is relevant to your business and to your audience.
5. Plan content for after the crisis
The future may be shrouded in uncertainty, but that’s not a good enough reason to put your hands up and stop all planning.
Talk to your customers to find out what recovery strategies they’re contemplating, and try to figure out what they might need help with.
Do some research and see what experts are saying about your industry’s future. You may find predictions for trends that will inform your content choices, and give you some ideas on topics to tackle once life returns to normal.
6. Publish original research
Statistics and data insights are very popular types of content all year round, but they are especially sought after in times of uncertainty when people are looking for reliable resources to answer their questions.
This is as good a time to put your internal data to use and publish original research or case studies. The more unique your perspective and the more precise your data, the more successful your content will be.
You can create a case studies page on your website or gather data from before and during the crisis to publish in an ebook. You will have endless opportunities to recycle the same data in different types of content, from social media posts to webinars.
7. Host webinars and live videos
This brings us to our next point: webinars. During the lockdown, it’s important to communicate with your audience and maintain the most meaningful connection possible. Webinars are a great way to do this since most of the world isn’t able to attend offline events right now.
Pick a trending topic in your industry and announce your webinar in a blog post a few days in advance. Create an Eventbrite page for it and drive traffic to it on social media. You can host the webinar on Zoom and do a live stream on YouTube and Facebook at the same time.
Make sure the topic you cover is something that is timely and helpful to your customers. Doing Q&A session at the end is a great idea.
Alternatively, if you don’t want to get into all the hassle and the potential technical glitches that come with hosting a webinar, you can also do simple, quick Instagram lives where you answer your audience’s most pressing questions.
8. Update older blog posts
We spend so much time coming up with new content ideas, doing keyword research and writing awesome new content that we often forget to look back on our older posts. It’s a shame since a few small adjustments could make them rank higher in search engines.
So, if you feel like your content marketing has slowed down a bit since the start of the lockdown, why not take advantage of the downtime to update the oldies – but goodies?
Old content that has been attracting traffic from search engines for months or years has a lot of potential. As you start going through your blog posts, you’ll see that nearly all of them could use a glow-up: from outdated information to broken links and less than perfect SEO, there’s a lot to work on.
If you’re in need of a tool to help you update your content and climb higher in search engines, check out Clearscope. It’s a platform that tells you how your article compares to your competitions’ articles targeting the same keyword, and what you need to do to outrank them.
9. Gift ebook bundles
Speaking of recycling old content, another great move right now would be to bundle together a bunch of ebooks you’ve created and send them straight to your customers as a gift.
Most people in the world have more time on their hands than usual, and they’re more than likely to welcome the gesture. Pick a few titles that you had success with and inspire your customers to use the downtime to educate themselves.
Remember, no asking for emails and trying to stuff your CRM with new leads. You need to shift your mindset, focus on giving and wait a few weeks until you can resume your usual lead generation efforts.
10. Communicate with optimism
This should be a no-brainer, but we’d still like to point it out: empathy and a positive mindset are so important when approaching the current situation.
Be understanding of your customers’ problems and try to do little things to make their day. Get them to join you in completing silly at-home challenges and make them laugh. Reassure them that there’s no need to panic. Provide some light-hearted entertainment to take their minds off the problems they’re facing.
Whether you’re active in LinkedIn, Instagram, TikTok or any other social media platform, there are endless ways you can engage with your audience.
We hope these ten tips will help you get content marketing right during Covid-19. If you’d like to share your own advice or have any specific questions on how to adjust your content strategy, talk to us.