The COVID-19 pandemic has put millions of businesses around the world in a difficult position. With the vast majority of their customers under lockdown and/or wading through tumultuous financial situations, engaging emphatically with existing and potential customers demands new ideas.
Most content marketers have already put their pre-planned content marketing schedules on ice and are currently looking for new approaches. Here in this post, we will discuss four takeaways for content marketers in the time of COVID-19.
Focus On Brand Awareness
This is not the time for sales-focused content marketing as it will not thrive in most industries right now. So, focus on brand awareness instead.
Internet usage is up by 50 to 70%, as per preliminary statistics. In-home media consumption due to the COVID-19 pandemic among Internet users worldwide had gone up by 40-70% as of March.
Caption: In-home media consumption as of March 2020 | Credits: Statista.com
As the majority of the population remains indoors indefinitely, you can direct your content marketing efforts to elevate brand awareness. You can, for instance, prioritize social media engagement. In the age of ‘social distancing,’ people desire human interaction through social media, live broadcasts, video conferencing, etc. You can fill that need for your target audience.
Planet Fitness, one of the largest franchisers and operators of fitness centers is the United States is offering free “work-ins” on Facebook Live daily at 6 PM Central amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Credits: Planet Fitness Facebook Page
Named ‘United We Move,’ the campaign by Planet Fitness has already fetched significant media coverage and traction among the company’s target audience.
Discover New Content Marketing Opportunities
We don’t know when exactly the world will get out this crisis but lockdowns and quarantine won’t last forever. So, even if a content marketing campaign that you took months to plan for seasonal launches or festivities this year couldn’t take off, there may be other content marketing opportunities out there.
Depending upon what a brand represents in terms of products, services, values, goals, etc., content marketing campaigns in the time of COVID-19 can focus on showcasing your brand’s human side, values, and concern for customers. Such campaigns can be backed by intangible benefits including but not limited to subscriptions, a valuable piece of information, training programs, etc.
Nike, for instance, has been pumping up engagement with its target audience by pushing carefully crafted content marketing campaigns over the last two months.
The company launched ‘Play for the World’ campaign that demonstrates how athletes (endorsers) are keeping in good form during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Video Embed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nL_UDABXLX8
Nike recently offered a subscription for its Nike Training Club app for free; the mobile app offers expert advice, training works, and streaming workouts. The company is also pushing content to its other apps such as Nike Running Club, Nike.com, and social media channels to serve millions of customers worldwide who are currently under lockdown and trying to remain fit.
Besides clever copywriting,
Highlight How Your Brand is helping or can help
Whether your brand is still offering products and services or you are temporarily out of business due to lockdowns, there’s always a possibility to offer something that enhances people’s lives while they stay indoors.
Your content marketing campaign can focus on communicating philanthropic efforts undertaken during the pandemic with clever copywriting, visuals, etc.
Take this graphic from Heinz, an American food processing company, for instance.
Credits: Heinz UK Facebook Page
RepairSmith if offering car repairs in Las Vegas to all those severely affected by the crisis.
Such campaigns can have a lasting impact on how your target audience perceives your brand. Just remember to avoid bragging; marketing campaigns during the pandemic should exhibit a spirit of empathy and humility.
Yes, it is not possible for most businesses to make such investments at a time when they are experiencing negative growth. But, it is always possible to make an effort to offer some value, even if it is in the form of useful information (articles, videos, etc.) to existing or potential customers. After all, that’s what brands stand for.
Pret A Manager, a high street sandwich shop in the UK at first offered free hot drinks and 50% discount on everything in their stores to NHS staff at first. When their stores were closed due to lockdown, they asked their customers which recipes they’d like to try at home and offered recipe details to help them do exactly that. Many other brands are doing the same.
Put simply, even during a crisis so severe, it is possible to remain relevant as a brand with the right business strategy and a content marketing campaign to back it up. The key takeaway here is to be useful.
Evaluate Your Tone, Message, and Imagery
You need to think about the message your brand is communicating through words and visuals as far as ‘push’ content is concerned.
Given the current situation, you may need to tweak how you create content or craft your marketing messages. For instance, your content marketing campaigns during the COVID-19 pandemic should ideally avoid visuals of people touching, gatherings, etc.
You may also need to revisit marketing language that explains certain calls-to-action such as ‘get in touch,’ ‘walk hand in hand with us,’ ‘stick together,’ etc. Any message that goes against the idea of ‘social distancing’ is likely to be scrutinized and even ridiculed.
Whether you are communicating crucial information pertaining to the business to keep people informed or want to promote a free offer, be sure to mind your tone (e.g. using a tagline like ‘Hot COVID-19 offer’ is an extremely bad idea) and strictly avoid sounding alarmist.
About the Author: Simon is one of the founders and head of operations at 405 Ads. Simon serves as an online marketing manager to businesses and agencies worldwide. His overall business and marketing experience has helped hundreds of business owners get their presence done right when it comes to today’s online world.