“I learned that a long walk and calm conversation are an incredible combination if you want to build a bridge.”
– Seth Godin
Writing this post, week five of lockdown, day 9, 598. Roughly.
How have you been holding up? Personal Covid:19 highlights include my 13 year old Zoombombing me with Mini Eggs, as I go from one virtual webinar to another Google hangout, and back. I don’t know about you, but my x1 walk a day has been my absolute saviour. It made me think about this Seth Godin quote, and how we can all use conversations to build the bridges we’ll need in coming weeks.
Covid:19 has meant breaking new ground in content and marketing. Think back four weeks. The message was: “Stop. Marketing. Now.” This quickly became, “It’s ok to market but, you know, don’t sell.” Now, there’s a viral poem using the first line of CV19 marketing emails. It’s a fast changing picture.
And the question is, where does this leave our content strategies?
Is your content marketing in hibernation?
Now is not the time to stop having essential conversations with customers. It’s about finding new and meaningful ways to keep our clients connected and engaged.
But, what I’m seeing is businesses so afraid to put a foot wrong in this time of heightened sensitivity that they freeze, putting comms into total hibernation. Yet it’s the brands that are already leaning into marketing who are staying visible, relevant and able to make a difference.
Creating a thoughtful content strategy
To help you stay in tune, on point and helpful, I’ve pulled together these key guideposts for a thoughtful content strategy, to lead your clients through these times:
Refine your message – It’s more important than ever to be clear on your brand purpose. Many of us have pivoted how we deliver services and products, and our clients need to know about these- especially if they’re new markets or audience groups. One startup client has moved from a pure play consumer platform to a B2B white label, requiring a complete message reset. You may want to check yours reflects any core changes too.
Acknowledge coronavirus upfront – It’s on everyone’s minds anyway. We need to acknowledge the reality of the crisis -from health through to financial impact – or risk coming across as insensitive or tone deaf.
Be mindful of tone too. Clients are looking to brands for messages of positivity and optimism, understanding what’s possible in the new normal, through storytelling and thought leadership.
Experiment with new formats – Reaching customers in lockdown is tricky, in particular for brand strategies dependent on in-person events, speaking and networking. On the flipside, there’s a captive audience, and a perfect opportunity to test new content formats.
Reading based cloud experts Amito has been encouraging its sales teams to connect with customers via expert videos. Why not try a well thought-out LinkedIn or Instagram Live? Test what engages. Do more of that.
Isolation also means that super premium, curated content isn’t necessary – it’s the human to human connection that counts.
Leverage collaborations to inspire and connect – Strategic partnerships will help build and engage with audiences at this time. It’s not about being as ambitious -or unlikely- as Google and Apple. Well aligned collaborations – a joint virtual event, educational webinar series or shared thought leadership content will put you in service to your customer base – and those of your partners.
Connect your client community – This, for me is the most authentic strategy businesses can engage with right now: bringing your client community together to network, connect, share insights and learnings. It’s huge for brand loyalty as your business becomes that super-connector.
Edtech startup Blackbullion has been hosting weekly customer Zoom calls, inviting industry leaders to share latest thinking on Covid-19 responses specific to their market. At the same time, clients exchange tips on how they’re working, helping their audience, creating a ripple effect of best practice.
The power of online community is shifting. Be the business that enables client engagement, growth and support.
Be consistent – I’m recommending well-timed, regular communications to my clients right now. Commit to content – whether it’s a LinkedIn post every Thursday, a new advice-led video or thought led commentary. Keep showing up, with care and class.
Thank you for staying with this one. If your content strategy’s feeling stuck, let’s book in a Mini Egg-free Zoom chat. Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Stay healthy, stay well and I’ll look forward to seeing you next month,
PS I loved being part of this micro-community crowdfunded project, delivering 300 bottles of personalised hand cream to local hospitals and NHS teams. Grateful for everything everyone’s doing at this time.