While we’re all inundated with discussions of how the economy is going to reopen and speculation of when that will actually happen, you should be asking what is going on with your marketing strategy. Specifically, what kind of content are you putting out there? Has your content strategy changed since the start of the pandemic? What about since the start of the lockdown?
Here are seven steps to follow to help you tackle your content marketing during this uncertain time.
Step 1: Identify current organizational goals
You may or may not be able to continue to offer the same products and services as before. However, the way your customers consume those products and services will absolutely change – whether it already has or when we find out what our “new normal” is.
How you prepare for the coming months is just as important as how you are managing on a day to day basis right now. You may think that stopping all marketing efforts is a great way to save money if people can’t buy from you, but what happens when you can re-open? Are you planning on starting from scratch to build relationships? You need to plan and figure out what today brings for tomorrow.
What are your goals right now? Are you trying to maintain a presence on your marketing channels so you don’t get forgotten about even if you can’t sell right now? Are you trying to maintain or grow your sales? Are you focused on building a community of loyal followers? Are you prioritizing educating your customers? Something else?
Once you figure it out, you can begin to build your strategy.
Step 2: Identify how your audience behaviours have changed
Audience behaviours are constantly changing these days as more information becomes available. Any time their behaviour changes, you need to adapt your approach to communicating with them. Figure out how your audience behaviour has shifted by asking yourself a few questions about your audience:
- Are they directly affected by Coronavirus?
- Have their priorities shifted during this time?
- How have their purchase habits shifted? Are they comfortable buying more online? Are they buying less? More?
- Can they still use my product/service? Do they have to alter the way they use it?
- Are they spending more time on social media? Watching videos online? Participating in discussions on social forums?
These are just a few things to consider when you are figuring out how your audience behaviour has changed. Answer honestly and, where possible, ask your audience directly.
Step 3: Figure out what your competitors are doing
Look at the types of content your competitors are putting out there and figure out if there is anything they are doing that you think might work for your own customer base or even things that you think won’t work at all. It provides a good foundation to figuring out what type of content you should be creating in a time like this.
Step 4: Develop new messaging guidelines
Your key brand messaging should remain in tact (unless you have shifted the entirety of your business) because people still need information about what it is you are selling and they still need to get to know you as a brand. However, you should draft messaging to reflect the current situation that we are in.
A healthy mix of messaging is good because people don’t ONLY need to hear about Coronavirus updates and information from you. Your content should still reflect who you are as a brand.
Step 5: Develop content to help you communicate clearly
Your content should help you meet your goals, but it should also help you connect with your audience in the best way possible.
Focus on visuals to stop the social media scrolling and the type of content that will resonate with your audience. Are you hoping to inform, entertain, educate, promote, a combination of all the above? Your task at this stage is to create content for the needs of your audience.
Step 6: Engage your audience daily
While your scheduled content is important, your day-to-day interaction with your customers and target audience is equally as important. Now that we’re all stuck in a socially distanced world, making human connections will help you grow your community. You can use content in many ways to help you build a loyal community. For example, you can host webinars, create podcasts, develop an IGTV series, and so much more. The challenge is that you need to think beyond this time period to ensure you can carry it on beyond social distancing to show you value your community.
Step 7: Monitor content and engagement daily
Things are changing on a moment’s notice. You can’t just schedule your content and forget it. Keep revisiting the same questions throughout this time to ensure your audience behaviours and overall goals haven’t changed.
Candace Huntly is Founding Partner at SongBird Marketing Communications, an award-winning agency working to take organizational and individual brands to the next level. With a passion for all things related to creativity and strategy, she specializes in business intelligence, marketing & branding, content strategy & development, media & influencer relations, and social media. Basically, if you need to put your brand, product, or cause in the public eye, she will find a way to do it, while making the approach unique to you.
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A version of this article was originally posted to the SongBird Marketing Communications blog.