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Content marketing in a crisis: 4 simple steps to stay ahead

The Covid-19 crisis entered our lives unpredicted and unprecedented times and provides an interesting challenge for businesses who must now re-design their content marketing strategy to fit the current climate.

Most of us are in the same boat. Millions across the UK are making decisions relating to finance, strategy and re-structuring of staff that we just didn’t expect to face this year.

But whatever your situation, there’s a window of opportunity for you to bring in new audiences – and retain the attention of your current user base – using content.

During a crisis, content and communication has become a staple part of our lives. We look to our favourite brands, news outlets and public figures for engaging content that can inform, excite and offer temporary relief.

What are you doing to keep in touch with your audience? Have you re-structured your strategy in the light of what’s happened to the world this year?

Hopefully, our 4 tips can help you make the right decisions.

#1. Let your audience know how the crisis is affecting you, and what that means for them.

The world isn’t the same as it was 6 months ago, and you shouldn’t pretend it is. Your customers should be able to easily find out how the crisis affects their interaction with your business.

A dedicated website landing page featuring all of your coronavirus-related content, which can be easily found, is one way to ensure your customers can find what they need. Some brands are also using pinned posts on their social media platforms to highlight the need-to-knows. The same can be done via email, but it’s harder than ever to be heard amongst the noise with so many brands sending Covid-19 updates.

Let your customers know you’re open for business but include whatever you’re doing to genuinely help them and/or what might change their experience. Beware of virtue signalling in a time of crisis, though (the guys at SocialMediaToday warn of that in their article ‘Beware of Virtue Signaling in Brand Communications About COVID-19’).

#2. Create content to help and inspire.

A lot of people in the UK have been presented with an abundance of spare time they wouldn’t usually have access to, and are wondering what to do with it.

Is it a good idea to save or invest during a crisis? How do I stay fit while indoors? How do I entertain my kids? Should I learn a new skill?

These are the sorts of questions your audience is asking, and it’s a good idea to think about how your content could serve their needs.

For example:

  1. An online textile store publishes tutorials on how to sew your own DIY non-medical masks.
  2. A gym equipment provider teaches us how to perform exercises at home.
  3. A local language school is running Skype lessons to satisfy people’s wanderlust remotely.
  4. An E-learning provider has released multiple children lessons for free, to make home learning fun and easy for parents.

These are just some of the ways in which small businesses are filling peoples needs and attracting new customers. We’re currently helping multiple businesses do just that – contact us to learn more about how the above could work for you.

#3. Find out how you can connect to trending topics.

Inevitably, there will always be stories that cut through the noise and leave a lasting impact on people. Record engagement numbers usually follow.

But it’s not just the initial creators of standout content that benefit – brands that find interesting ways to engage with and connect to big moments like this can see real results, too.

Not too long ago, the #StayAtHomeChallenge was trending across social, with high-profile figures like Lionel Messi and UK music artist Dave showing off their keepy-up skills with a roll of toilet paper. With the hashtag beginning to blow up, brands got creative and invited their own audiences to join in with a twist.

Soon, fans of peanut butter brands could submit their record keepy-ups using empty tubs. Water bottle manufacturers could simply point to the original content and encourage their customers to try the challenge using their product. Whatever the product, it was a simple way to stay relevant and keep things light-hearted.

Another example is this cool piece of content made by film and television stuntmen showing off their skills during quarantine. Hundreds of thousands of people shared the clip overnight. Campus Univers Cascades, the stuntmen’s training school, had gained worldwide recognition using nothing but selfie videos taken on smartphones.

Within a week, top martial arts organisations like Cage Warriors (check out their example here) and One Championship had followed suit, gaining excellent engagement of their own.

Crisis or not, it’s always worth thinking about how your brand or business could take advantage of these spikes in attention.

#4. Take advantage of the help available to you.

Luckily, some of the world’s leading tech organisations are offering useful advice, support and initiatives that are designed to help small and medium sized businesses with their content efforts during the crisis.

Facebook is offering $100 million in grants and ad credits to small businesses – check out how to take advantage of that here.

Google has recently confirmed that it will unlock premium features on it’s brilliant platform Hangouts Meet, which is a great way to kickstart your live content offering with presentations, webinars and Q&As. More here.

Shameless plug…

Stay safe, stay creative, and don’t hesitate to contact us if you’re interested in any of the above and would like to chat about your business.

We’re a small team of digital marketing and web design specialists. We founded Octagon to offer agency-level services without agency-level prices and we’re pretty damn good at what we do.