COVID-19 has disrupted nearly every industry across the world, creating chaos and uncertainty as to what the future holds for both brands and individuals. As shelter-in-place orders are extended and the opportunity to reach consumers in-person is quickly becoming a “thing of the past,” it’s time for companies to think about how to digitally connect with their audience and serve as a resource for them during this trying time.
As consumer behavior continues to rapidly shift towards spending more time in the digital space, it’s important for brands to understand how this “new normal” affects their larger goals and KPI’s. How can they communicate in a way that’s authentic, empathetic, and non-self-serving or sales-focused? Enter… CONTENT MARKETING! Now more than ever, brands should look at leveraging content marketing strategies to connect and “be there” for their consumers. Why should brands focus on content marketing as the vehicle to drive this communication?
- Consumers have a GENUINE NEED RIGHT NOW for information and resources. Audiences are searching online for answers to these unprecedented challenges that they’re facing. Additionally, Kantar reported last month that 72% of consumers even EXPECT brands to be helpful in navigating their new “everyday life.”
- Limited in-person activity creates an opportunity for virtual events. In light of shelter-in-place orders in most parts of the globe, brands can reallocate “in-person” budgets to content marketing and building digital relationships. Remember that this doesn’t mean brands need to “reinvent the wheel” in order to facilitate this type of initiative; look at high-performing blog and social media content that could be translated into a virtual experience.
- As time spent online continues to increase, so does the opportunity for your brand to be misrepresented. Combat negative PR and advocacy efforts by sharing specifics on what your brand is doing to help others during COVID-19. Campaigns addressing this misinformation need to convey the right tone but amplifying this messaging with content marketing provides an opportunity to strengthen brand loyalty.
Because every company has been impacted by COVID-19, clear, honest and truthful communication (both internally and externally) is more critical than ever before. An April survey from the World Federation of Advertisers showed that in light of the current climate, 79% of marketers are creating NEW messaging that responds directly to the impact of the crisis. How can brands create content that communicates in a clear and empathetic way?
- Acknowledge this new reality – don’t dance around the subject of COVID-19, be transparent in how your company and business is being affected.
- Provide credible, detailed and current information – use content marketing to become the resource that consumers are so desperately needing right now.
- Regularly update communications across channels — keep consumers in the know by consistently distributing updated content on all brand platforms.
- Be flexible and helpful — put extra emphasis on supporting customers with cancellations, refunds and customer service.
Now that we’ve covered the need for content marketing, why it’s important, and how brands can use content to digitally connect with consumers during COVID-19; it’s time to think about how to actually create content that will be most effective for your brand’s strategy. Looking at April search data from Google, these are the top five priorities of what consumers are currently looking for online:
- Assembling critical information.
- Discovering new connections.
- Adjusting to changes in their routines.
- Praising everyday heroes.
- Taking care of themselves and others.
Look at ways to weave in these narratives with your content marketing calendar but remember that this crisis won’t last forever. Make sure to strike a balance between messaging focused on COVID-19 and evergreen content to create a cohesive content strategy that’s sure to make a difference not only with your business, but also in the lives of your consumers.