This is the time to nurture those long-term goals
If you’ve clicked on a blog post in the last month, odds are you’ve been greeted with some variation on “In these unprecedented times…” or “Coronavirus has changed everything.” You don’t need to be reminded about how weird this all is; we live in a time where we actually look forward to video meetings because they’re human interaction.
Right now, every life and business decision is marked with uncertainty. And in times of uncertainty, c-suite executives tend to panic; the focus of action tends to be marketing, with marketing departments being the first cut and the last restored. Not only are jobs on the line, but in times when revenues are slow, marketing spends are halted.
This is the rote part of the post where we tell you not to panic. It’s going to be okay. And then we go a step further, in a move that seems almost tone deaf, we suggest that this pandemic is an opportunity. Because the reality is, not only are people starved for content, but while other companies are freezing ad spends, they’re leaving a vacuum for content marketers to fill.
Keep That Content Coming
The inclination in times of crisis and unpredictable revenue is to slow communications and wait to see how situations play out. It’s an understandable reaction to the unknown, but it may not be the best one, especially in response to a disruption like COVID-19, which has left millions in their homes, staring at screens, looking for ways to spend their time.
Content marketing isn’t built on the immediacy of direct response; rather, you’re building connections that may not see dividends for weeks, months, or even years. And, whether it seems that way or not, the market continues to operate. People are still buying things, there is still a demand for goods and services. And, even if the markets were somehow completely shuttered, they would reopen at some point. Slowing or halting content at this stage removes your company from the conversation entirely. So, not only will potential customers not have you on their radar, but once the markets jump back to full capacity, you’ve sacrificed your visibility for short-term cautiousness.
The truth is, investing in content marketing strategies now could yield much more substantive results when normalcy returns than before the crisis hit. By choosing to ramp up content, even though it’s a bit riskier because revenues are less consistent, your investment goes further because it’s standing out in opposition to companies who have slowed operations. A ramp-up in content marketing is a smart investment not only from a brand-building standpoint, but also from an SEO standpoint: targeting specific keywords and building traffic around them could help you leapfrog competitors in similar positions who have given content a backseat for the time being.
What Kind of Content Should I Be Creating?
The billion-dollar question around content marketing is always, “What type of content should I be creating to get the most for my investment?” The truth is, answering this question is a bit like fortune telling: there are some context clues that can lead you in a general direction, but there’s no exact right answer, and there’s no one answer for every company. So let’s get it out of the way early: we do not have the single right answer.
Generally speaking, however, there are strategies that are proving more effective than others given the nature of the crisis. The common thread that connects everything is the attempt to replicate the loss of human connection that everyone is feeling.
Content marketers have been espousing the virtues of video for decades now, and if there’s a better time to witness it’s efficacy we’d like to see it. Video content brings words to life, and puts a human face on the content you’re distributing. Again, replicating human connection. The addition of short, easily digestible video in lieu of longer written content will make clients feel seen, and puts an identifiable face on your brand.
One of the major ways Coronavirus has impacted marketing, is the postponement and cancellation of countless trade shows and in-person events. On average, 30-40% of marketing budgets is dedicated to trade show sponsorships, booths, collateral, travel, and other conference-related expenses. Finding new ways to innovate that in-person experience is a major challenge for content marketers. Webinars, digital events, leveraging live social media are all options as ways you can put yourself in front of clients
Additionally, replicating human interaction through interactive content is a great way to boost engagement during this crisis. Polls, surveys, quizzes, or shoppable posts are great ways to engage with customers to stimulate an in-person response.
How Do I Speak to Customers?
Content marketing can take on countless forms, but how you express yourself through your content is just as important. Coronavirus has caused a huge influx of brands and companies speaking in conciliatory tones (how many times have you read “We’re in this together”?), to the point where some consumers are seeing these messages cynically.
Of course, it’s important to remain positive. Speaking to customers, you always want to present an air of optimism. But it’s important to be more than platitudinal during times of real crisis. Telling customers that you feel their pain is one thing, but demonstrating meaningful action is how you build those long-term relationships with customers that will resonate beyond this epidemic. Taking this opportunity to mobilize employees towards charity, or offering charitable contributions is a real-world action that fuels content marketing and helps bolster long-term goals.
Additionally, take this time to look internally. While everyone is in sort of a purgatory, use this lull as an opportunity to improve through dialogue. Answer customer questions, communicate directly with clients on how you can improve your business, and take it all to heart. This dialogue can not only build strong content, but it can improve your overall communication strategy and customer knowledge which can have long-term implications.
Build to the Long-Term
As we’ve said, content marketing isn’t a short-term solution; it’s a way to build your brand over time, engaging and influencing customers by forging relationships through your brand voice. In the beginning of this article we talked about how you’ve read “in these uncertain times” a million times in the last few months. Well, the fact of the matter is, you can be that voice of certainty for your clients right now. By regularly contributing to the conversation in sincere, honest dialogue, you bolster relationships and reinforce pipeline goals that can see major dividends when the dust settles.
Want to learn how N6A can help you develop and amplify compelling content? Contact our team at email@example.com
Posted by Valerie Leary