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Content in times of crisis

A time for communication

The COVID-19 pandemic touches all of our lives. No other event in our lifetime has had such a global impact. We’re still in the early days of the crisis, but one thing is clear: this is a time for communication. Online content is keeping businesses everywhere connected with their customers and employees.

We are seeing so many inspiring, innovative ideas. Think, for example, of gyms that now post online fitness videos so their members can keep up their fitness routine while practicing social distancing. Or retailers shifting focus to home improvement and gardening, with so many consumers spending all their time at home now. Companies are now using their social media channels, blogs and websites to inform, advise and entertain their customers in unprecedented ways.

Here are a few suggestions on making your content matter.

#1. Stay informed

Keep up to date on all the latest developments affecting your business, your industry and your audience. It’s important to keep your audience informed. This provides the reassurance and trust that people are so hungry for right now. But you cannot inform others unless you stay informed yourself.

Don’t run the risk of spreading incorrect our out-of-date information. Do your research. Your company owes it to its customers and employees to provide truthful, useful and transparent communications.

#2. Be helpful and supportive

Turn customer support into an integral aspect of your marketing strategy. Use supportive communications, like tutorials, FAQs and webinars. These build trust and show your customers how much you care. Excellent support content drives customer loyalty and repeat business.

Add a human touch to your support communications too. People will miss in-person/in-store interactions with sales and support staff. Use your social media channels to interact directly with customers and show them how much your company cares.

#3. Bring in the talent

Take your content seriously. The way you present yourself is crucial right now. That’s why it’s important to use professional writers and designers with a background in digital communications.

Gone are the days when you could just treat your company’s blog like a side project. Your company’s managers are undoubtedly brilliant at their jobs, but they may not necessarily be great bloggers. And they may not understand how to optimize content for an online audience. Avoid the risk, and leave your content creation to professional freelance talent.

#4. Make people smile

Corona-related stories are everywhere we turn now. People are inundated with bad news. Give your audience a pleasant distraction. Show off your brand’s playful side with humorous content. Look for unusual or unexpected angles to cover the topics important to your audience. Keep things light and upbeat. People want to be uplifted now.

Comedy and puppy videos may not be a great match for every brand. What matters in any case is that you strike the right tone. The unfortunate reality is that there will be difficult news ahead for many companies. Effective communication makes all the difference. Handle sensitive topics with due care. It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.

#5. Keep the content coming

People will be spending a lot more time online now. To satisfy the growing appetite for information and entertainment, you’ll need to publish content frequently. Just remember that quality is still more important than quantity. Work with a team of freelancers who can quickly scale up your communications with large volumes of excellent-quality content.

It’s also smart to create a content calendar. This helps you plan and prioritize content-related tasks. It serves as a guide for your content creators, and keeps the content flowing.

#6. Connect people

Social isolation makes it more important than ever to keep people connected—with each other, and with your brand. Let people know that they are a part of your brand’s community. Showcase the human side of your brand with stories about your employees and customer success cases.

This is important for internal communications too. With so many of your company’s employees working from home now, they can easily feel disconnected from your company culture. The right content promotes your employer brand and boosts company culture. Think, for example, of interview pieces that profile members of the team. Host online webinars and write blog posts on inspiring topics to keep people looking on the bright side.

#7. Stay true to your brand

The headlines are changing minute by minute. People feel increasingly uncertain about the present, let alone the future. It’s important to reassure your customers and employees. That means sticking to your brand’s values with clear, consistent messaging. Show them that your brand is still strong, even in uncertain times.

If your company does not already have a content strategy, this is the time to create one. Start with your brand’s values, vision and mission statement. Define your brand’s unique tone of voice. Then set the goals you want to achieve with your content. Important content marketing goals for this year should be building trust and growing customer loyalty. Remember to focus on brand awareness and employer branding too.

Create content that matters

Life has shifted almost entirely online. It’s more important than ever to use online content to show your business’s customers and employees who you are. Your content shows them what your brand is all about. And it reminds them of why they trust and value your brand in the first place.

Like most companies, yours will probably direct far more time, budget and attention to online content in the weeks and months ahead. This is a pivotal moment. It’s important to get things right. Put your money where your mouth is. Invest in high-performance content that adds value to people’s lives.