Everything was running so smoothly, so perfectly. Isn’t it? And, suddenly time came when everything has to be shut down, no more people on streets, no more board meetings, no more strategy planning. The world couldn’t believe such pandemic could exist in 21st century. Presently, every one of us are holding on for dear life, yet we are worried for our businesses. So, in this time of COVID-19 crises, businesses are thinking of what to do, whether to stick to the path we are on or forge a new one for ourselves? This pandemic has changed everything, personally and professionally. From deciding where to go and what to do, businesses are worried about their brand.
Honestly, we just cannot hold things like this forever and we have to start from somewhere or the other. So, even if we are living in a situation of crises, marketing must go on. It is the time, where it has become important and a need for businesses to communicate with the world. Businesses need to offer reassurance, prepare for the worst and deliver critical information to customers more than ever now. So, even the content marketers have to play their part. Yes, we do agree to the fact that marketing of brand nowadays is more difficult than what it used to be. But, content marketers have to stay alert and adopt to this new normal.
Here are some of the questions which cropped up in the minds of business owners:
- How can a brand think about content during this crisis?
- What are different brands making with the content?
- How can brands market in a tactful and empathetic way?
Because these questions are coming to the mind, it is important to develop strategy for content marketing for businesses so that they can stay months ahead. Of course creating content strategies during the global pandemic isn’t in anyone’s experiences but why it is important is because businesses now have to think again about their clients’ requirements and priorities. They have to find out what is worth communicating, while keeping marketing goals with customer empathy in balance. No matter whatever crises we are living in, what is important for the brands and businesses is that they have to accept these new challenges, and find ways to engage their customers.
What kind of challenges marketers are facing during COVID-19 outbreak?
On an average, if we see about 30-40% of the marketing budget is reserved for travel, trade show sponsorship, attendance, expenses, and collateral. And, just from somewhere coronavirus came up and scattered the plans, so now marketers need to redistribute that budget quickly. Now that we know, we all are living in a fear of attending and sponsoring large events.
So, the option that is left with the marketers is content marketing. With the help of content marketing, they are able to deliver directly to subscribers online. Or what we can say is they are able to make their customers engaged with something or the other. There is no doubt in the fact that content marketing has evolved itself from just being blog posts and editorial strategies. Now, content marketing has become a holistic approach to the businesses which rely on a broad range of digital marketing strategies and tactics. They can be social media posts, emails, SEO, and paid media which are used to continue engagement with customers. As all the upcoming events have been canceled, brands and businesses have to extend their digital content marketing efforts in order to ensure they are in consistent and timely communication with the customers.
So, below mentioned are some of the things which content marketers should do in the time of crises:
1. Stick to your content marketing plan
Content marketing isn’t about just starting anytime and ending it. It is a long-term process. It not like one can write a blog post or content today and reap the ROI tomorrow. With content marketing it can take months and sometimes even years to see some revenue generation from the content which we may have created just today.
The key to have a marketing success is nothing but having a good content marketing plan or strategy in place. However, for some businesses it may seem a great idea to ditch all the current content marketing plans and just to protect the budget especially when they have decreased revenue. What is important now is to keep to your current content marketing plan in place so that when all of this is over, you are ahead in the game. The strategy for keep going is not to stop whatever you are doing. Sometimes when we come across unknown, our natural reaction is to put on the brakes. However, remember that market is still open and it is still running, people are buying things, so what’s the need to stop? So, for the content marketers that suggestion is to keep on investing in creating both trending and evergreen content.
2. Adapt with crises by making company announcements
Even during the crises, the components and elements of the content marketing still exists. Yes, because it is crises they serve slightly different purposes. All these days, you must have noticed a few common shifts that are happening across content marketing strategy. That is because, crises are magnified by uncertainties. You will also agree to the fact that in the absence of direct and clear information, it is human nature that we tend to get ourselves prepared for the worst-case scenario.
However, this overreaction of ours can exaggerate the problems. So, in this time of crises, what is necessary is to make a company announcement. What this will do is that it will remove the doubt from the minds of customers who are worried. Address the biggest concerns of customers such as:
- How you are going to service in the coming weeks and months?
- What kind of challenges you are anticipating?
- What kind of extra support you can offer your customers?
Demonstrate your measures with confidence and compassion. Let customer know of your service continuity and acknowledge that even you are in crises and business won’t be as usual. They will definitely stand with you.
3. Determine content marketing during crises
Each and every situation has pros and cons. So, even in the time of crises, you should be capable of finding the opportunities. These opportunities can be identified using search data which will help you in to understanding that there is a huge demand for certain types of products and solutions.
A lot of businesses are just worrying and looking for new ways, well what needs to be done is to spend their time commuting with customers. May be there is a high need to put content which contextually relevant to your business. Yes, we agree that few of these initiatives may not feed to your ROI but your audience will always remember the experiences which your brand has provided positively during a difficult time like this.
And, if you run a business whose products and services cannot lend themselves during the crisis, opportunities can still be found. Just keep calm and explore your imagination, emotions, and difficulties which your audiences may also be facing right now. Take your time to assess: what kind of services are needed, how can you help, what are the emotions being associated, and many more. Anything by which you can help your customers in crises, they will remember for long term.
4. Create new content, COVID-19 related
Yes, content creation is not that easy, especially related to the specific brand or business. It may need you to quickly turnaround and think creatively. But remember for most of the businesses, it is now the time to take this opportunity and reflect on how your users may be affected by COVID-19.
This also means that you may have to pause the current content track and focus on a brand new post that interrupts which is related with current crises and current content schedule. However, this turnaround just doesn’t mean that the quality should suffer. In fact, quality is much more important to stand out as most of your competitors are also doing the same. Because most brands have understood the need to create content, there will be more competition than usual.
5. Support and reassurance to customers during crises
It is not always about getting new business. It is about marketing to your current clients so they understand you better. Customers may seem to be confused, so it is highly important to reassure them and support them with what they need with what you could.
For example, Zomato. It is widely known as food delivery application where you used to order food and get it delivered at your door steps. But, now in this time are you able to order food from outside ensuring hygiene and safety, no! So, this means Zomato must stop its business? Of course not. This is where they have flourished. Zomato came with an idea of delivering groceries to customers. In this way they have reassured and supported the customers during crises.
What Zomato did explains two things which are:
- Their desire to help
- Details of the actions they’ve taken
At this time, it is important to show people what you’re going to do with anything that is in your power can build great goodwill in the coming future.
During this difficult times of crises, it is hard not to catch up with the stress. Your business may have stopped performing as it used to be but, losing hope is not the option. Search for opportunities, look what others are doing and take full advantage of content marketing. Take a moment to think about how your brand can bestow to the solutions in best possible manner that your clients need. Come with a short-term strategy and run it in long-terms for more profits.