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Content marketing in a crisis

Content marketing in a crisis

These are challenging times in a variety of ways and being an effective content marketer right now requires speed and flexibility. That blog that you wrote about lockdown measures two weeks ago already looks like ancient history. There is a clear need to be topical at present – generic, evergreen content is unlikely to have as much impact, but you can’t decide today on what you will publish a month from now.

Prospects and customers are hungry for information that will help them to contend with current challenges if you can produce it. Be specific, be relevant and be current, but don’t be too long with it. Here are some tips for ways to keep on generating good, highly relevant content that doesn’t take too long to produce:

 

Single question surveys

One of the simplest ways to engage an audience on a topical subject is to ask a question instead of giving an answer. Single question surveys can be set up easily in email marketing and in most social channels. You could even tab it onto other things like Live Chat sessions or support cases. Make sure the question is something that your audience are interested in and can answer easily.

Examples:

  • Do you believe the furloughing scheme will be extended beyond 30th June? 
  • Have you sent a newsletter to your customers and prospects in the last two weeks? 

If you’re an e-shot user, you can see more guidance on building single question survey emails here.

 

Survey results

The lovely thing about the single question survey is you get two bits of content for the price of one. You ask the questions first and you then report back the results in a second piece. Those results will often see good engagement too when targeted to those who responded to the question.

It can also be good to reference other surveys if they are relevant to your audience and provide interpretation of the results.

 

Evergreen links

There will be evergreen content pieces that are particularly relevant at present and your topical blogs can reference these easily to provide the context of how an old solution can be used for a new problem. 

E.g; “The top five things you will need once lockdown is lifted”

A haircut and a holiday for me personally, but what is on the list for your industry specifically?

Look at analytics from your website and support systems to discover what is popular at the moment. We’ve seen lots of visits to automation articles in recent weeks as people seek to provide automated responses to processes that are normally handled manually.

 

Curated stories

You should be able to find examples of customers who have found ways to adapt to their current situation. Provide short explanations of what they’ve done, how it helped and if possible, how your product or service fits in that equation – mini case studies in effect.  Don’t worry if you can’t make a direct link with that last one – your subscribers should be grateful for you providing inspiration without it needing to link to selling something. Keep it simple and real as well – a short interview on a Zoom call is going to be easier than something with your usual production values. This is not the time for glossy.

 

Conclusion

It is vital to keep your contacts informed as much as possible at present. Let them know what is happening in your business if it is relevant to them and how you can help them. The humble email newsletter remains the single most effective way to ensure these messages reach the people you need them to and we have generally seen newsletter engagement rates climb over recent weeks.

On the dangerous assumption you don’t have resources like the BBC to produce content daily, then find efficient ways to keep your proverbial finger on the pulse and add value where you can. You may find that some of your competitors fall radio silent at this challenging time.

My recent webinar on communication in a crisis may also give you some further ideas on how to adapt your marketing at present. You can access the recording here.

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