COVID-19 coronavirus has brought treacherous times to the world. Intense social distancing and stringent national lockdowns have become the norm of the day. With manufacturing, logistics, and sales crashing, businesses have been finding it increasingly difficult to create demand for non-essential items. In light of COVID-19, high-speed Internet and an abundance of technology at our hands has helped us cope with the situation. If you are a business, then investing in a solid online content marketing strategy is your best bet at the moment.
More people are home now in front of their laptops and phones than ever. The global economy has been slowing down ever since the COVID-19 coronavirus outbreak and might get worse in the next couple of months. In such times, businesses must leverage mass viewership of the Web to build brand and focus on empathetic content marketing.
However, a lot needs to change in your content marketing strategy now, as you need to be empathetic to your customers and tactful about messaging. Smart and responsible marketing is the need of the hour. Here’s what you need to do:
Pick the right communication channels
Picking the right communication channels is vital now as you need to show your content on platforms that have viewership. Marketing in offline places will bring no business. You need to put an immediate pause on all offline advertising and marketing and re-route the budget entirely to online marketing.
Social media platforms and paid online advertising can help you create an active brand presence. If you had any upcoming social events such as a meet and greet or a networking conference, quickly shift it to an online event. Let all registrants know about the cancelation immediately, refund their registration fee (if any), and let them know how they can join the online event. Building content around press releases and articles or sending out a newsletter to your subscribers is a good idea. Share with your viewers what you have been doing to deal with the CoVID-19 coronavirus situation.
Engage customers using Webinars
Hosting webinars can help you not just educate your viewers but also create engagement. Incorporate high-quality visuals to hold the viewer’s attention and keep on-screen text to a minimum. You need to show your business’ humane side during this time – so make sure that there are fewer slides and more of the speaker in the webinar. Add polls or a Q/A section to boost engagement and make the webinar more interactive. This also helps make the viewer’s experience very personalized.
Try and include panels, discussions, and casual chats to create a more casual and breezy environment rather than a formal one. Help them understand which marketing initiatives – both online and offline – they need to start or pause. Make sure to end the webinar with a Call to Action. Provide them the link to a recent blog you’ve written or redirect them to download a text copy of your talk. The idea here is to keep the conversation going long after the webinar has ended.
Be active on social media platforms
People are more active on social media now and sharing bite-sized content is the way to go. Social media will be central to your content marketing strategy in the time of COVID-19 coronavirus.
Ditch long questionnaires and conduct one-question surveys. Do away with lengthy whitepapers and prepare blogs to share with your audience. You could also conduct live sessions on Instagram and answer any questions the viewers might have.
Talk to them about staying at home and update them on recent news but make sure not to create panic. Be relatable with your viewers and tell them how your company has been handling remote marketing efforts and work from home situations.
Use video content
Create high-quality video content that promotes hope, optimism and kindness. Rather than selling, focus on supporting your customers during these times. Give people a glimpse of how your company has been tackling COVID-19 coronavirus by sharing fun screenshots of your video conferences and showcasing your company culture and values.
You also need to pay very close attention to imagery and language in your videos. Do not use words such as ‘Come together’ or ‘Join hands’ and avoid images of many people in a crowded area having fun or people being social.
Consider Pay Per Click (PPC) advertising
According to Thrive Agency, cost-per-click has reduced by 6% across almost all verticals and is likely to go down further. This gives you the perfect opportunity to get higher viewership or engagement at a lower cost. It is a good time to try a PPC campaign if you are considering paid advertising in your mix of digital marketing.
Focus on local SEO
People are increasingly looking for local services and supplies. If you own a local business or have branches locally, focus on making yourself visible to your customers online and let them know how quickly you can deliver the products. Emphasize on free (if you offer one), quick, and contact-less deliveries. A great way to enhance online visibility is by focusing on local SEO. Optimize your ads and content to rank higher in your area of service.
Claim your Google My Business account and work on optimizing it. Verify your listing and update it with the most recent information. Make sure to encourage happy customers to review your business online and then respond to the reviews sincerely. Creating content on local news stories, charities, and activities can help you boost local SEO as well. This can also help you get rich backlinks. Get in touch with local influencers and ask them to link back to your content.
Communicate with empathy
Communicating with empathy, hope, and optimism is especially important in these times. Your content marketing tone of voice should essentially have these elements. Let your customers know that you care and will continue to do your best in providing anything they need. This is especially important for businesses that deal with essential products such as groceries, medicines, and more. Send an email to your customers updating them about recent news and how they can protect themselves better. Make sure to get your COVID-19 coronavirus information only from credible sources such as WHO and CDC.
Also, include how your logistics and fulfillment partners are making sure of hygiene and timely deliveries. People need to know that care and precautions are being taken in handling and delivering their purchased items. If you are a non-essential company and need to shut down operations temporarily, let people know about the same responsibly. Emphasize how you wish to curb large social gatherings, limit interaction with strangers, and protect your employees against the infection.
Whether your company deals in products or services, you need to build trust during this time and honestly communicate any company updates. Let them know that you are available for any urgent and flexible assistance such as refunds and cancelations. Companies providing services could also choose to show flexibility in payment terms and methods. Communicate to them any delays due to crunch in resources or low employee availability. End the email or social media post on a positive note by letting them know that you’ll be back soon. This rental income blog is a great example of how to change narrative to present situation and offer its audience useful information and advice.
Review and refine your content calendar
What seemed relevant and appropriate a few weeks back will not be now. With the outbreak of coronavirus, you need to review and refine your content calendar with microscopic attention. You will have to be super agile with your content marketing strategy, as the coronavirus situation is rapidly evolving and changing all the time.
Focus on the language you are using. If your company deals in industries that have been heavily impacted by COVID-19 you will need to prepare targeted content for the same and pause all other content marketing plans.
Make sure not to post any content that is extremely ‘salesy’. You do not want to come across as a shrewd business capitalizing on the situation. Try to bring variety in the content you post so that you aren’t talking about COVID-19 coronavirus constantly. Asking questions such as ‘How have you been spending your time at home lately?’ and ‘Which books have you revisited recently?’ or creating blogs around these topics is a good idea.
Surprise and delight your customers
The global population has been under a lot of stress lately and it is a good idea to surprise and delight your customers. People will always seek community care and attention in such scenarios. This can help tackle any anxiousness, stress, or sadness people might be feeling. Let people know of incredible acts of kindness between strangers through your social media sites. Mention news on how institutions and the common man are helping out hospitals by donating masks, gloves, etc.
Another great idea is to offer free delivery on all of your products or consider offering discounts on services or products. Host virtual meet-ups during meal times such as lunches or evening snacks and bring numerous people together to mingle digitally.
Be nimble and flexible with your content marketing strategy and plan
With the world being in tremendously troubled waters with no certainty of when things would go back to normal, you need to incorporate this volatility in your content marketing plans and prepare to shield yourself against it. Be nimble and flexible in your plans and prepare quick content on what is most relevant for the day.
It might not be possible to create long-term plans so it is best to focus on quick one-question polls, engaging posts, short-form blogs, newsletters, emails from the CEO and other relevant content. Now and then drop in webinars or live Instagram sessions.
The quarantine won’t last forever which is why you also need to make yourself flexible enough to take care of the surge in demand once things go back to normal. People would want to feel free and liberated again which is why you need to constantly engage with your customers to make sure they remember you in a few months. Enable your audience to tread through these rough waters with ease and help them stay productive, hopeful, healthy, and optimistic for a better future.