Content, the Critical Factor
Despite the Coronavirus media blitz, many still feel confused by the lack of unified federal and local guidance about exactly what to do and what not to do during this crisis. This includes consumers as well as businesses – both large and small.
This uncertainty is happening at a time when mistakes or lack of leadership runs a significant risk of being amplified on social media outlets.
For example, the website Glassdoor allows users to post anonymous reviews of companies. At last check of that website, there were nearly 200 Coronavirus-related posts from angry workers whose employers failed to provide guidance other than advising against coming to work if ill and stocking up on sanitizing wipes.
The negative public response to the lack of information is making it crystal clear that, in times of crisis, distributing online content is the key to the survival of any business.
Companies without a marketing plan for crisis-management may waver when it comes to investing in content during a time like this, thinking that the safe move is to pull back and conserve financial resources. Silence, however, can be your worst enemy at a time like this and, of course, the opposite is also true.
You and your consumers can easily find a friend amidst all the confusion – in content. You simply need a strategy for effective deployment.
How to Strategically Deploy Content in Times of Crisis
The U.S. Small Business Administration recommends that companies with sales between $1 and $5 million per year spend 7-8 percent of their gross revenue on marketing and advertising.
Now more than ever, it is critical to stay the course when it comes to your marketing investment commitment. There is work to do with your marketing investment, however. During this economic downturn, you must ensure that investment is spent efficiently.
According to a study by Gleanster Research, the average mid to large size B2B firm wastes 25 cents of every dollar they spend on content marketing due to operating inefficiently.
Inefficiently can take many forms. First, effort and resources can be wasted choosing the wrong topics. Content that adds little to no value in the eyes of your consumers is an inefficient investment of both time and resources.
Another operating inefficiency can result from missed deadlines or lack of coordination among content creators. Even if you get the topic right, the content must be distributed in a timely manner to be efficient.
Keep an Eye on Evergreen Content
To understand evergreen content, first you need an evergreen topic. Like an evergreen tree that doesn’t shed its leaves – ever, evergreen topics are those that remain relevant – always. The topic “how to lose ten pounds” will interest readers regardless of the time of year, whereas “best time to shop for bathing suits” is seasonal for most.
Not all of your content – especially during the Coronavirus crisis – will not be evergreen. Of course, you will address your company’s response to current events.
You must, however, find a way to weave evergreen content into your communications. Why? Because evergreen content allows you to be more efficient. Your content will remain relevant without the need for changing and updating. Additionally, evergreen content drives traffic to your content and avoids decline in that traffic as time passes.
Creatively Repurpose Content
When you repurpose content, you are essentially finding a new use for something you have already created. Sound efficient? It is! Some readers may have missed the piece during its first publication. Repurposing gives the content a second chance at success and creates new opportunities to reach new customers.
The best place to look is your evergreen content. That archive of always relevant and interesting content still contains value for your customers and for search engines looking to drive traffic toward your business.
Just like you might with your wardrobe, go through your content, pick out the items that never go out of style and give them a quick update, keeping in mind all you know about SEO.
Select the Right Way to Connect with Customers
Creatively develop a strategy for offering informative news updates, social connection, simple reassurance, or tangible solutions or assistance to your customers during this crisis. The way you approach your customers during this crisis is so important. They will remember what you did and said in March 2020. Here are a few ideas to help you help them:
Open Up Discussion about Your Plans to Support Them: Let them know how your business plans to change and adapt to protect and support customers and employees. Encourage customers and employees to ask questions.
Consider Publishing Local Updates: If you are a local small business, what reputable information can you help disseminate with your web presence that will be helpful to your community?
Tackle SEO Initiatives
This time of isolated remote work is likely wreaking havoc on your to-do list. Business objectives and tasks that, just a few weeks ago, were top priorities are no longer relevant. Replace those items on your calendar with marketing tasks, like tackling SEO initiatives, that you’ve been meaning to tackle.
We’re all familiar with the acronym SEO. Or are we? Search Engine Optimization, is really just the practice of directing website traffic using search engines as best we can. Typically, a business will try to organize its content using key words that are relevant to and typically used by its customers.
Finding out what those key words are for your particular customers is the key to success. So many websites are out there to help. Take a peek at AnswerThePublic.com to discover areas of search demand that might just surprise you.
The entire SEO key word process is obviously beyond the scope of this article, but a quick search will yield great information.
Self-Care is Part of Any Good Survival Guide
Needless to say, during this pandemic, health is priority one.
In addition to taking care of yourself physically, you also need patience, hope and self-care. We’ve all reached out to family and friends in these difficult times. Consider also reaching out to other business owners to provide and receive support. Continue to look for ways to keep your chin and your overall spirits up. A few extra ideas:
See the Glass Half Full (with Opportunities!)
We can almost certainly count on the fact that many of our competitors will panic and decide emotionally to pull back on their content marketing investments. While unfortunate for them, this presents a time of real opportunity for those brave enough to stay the course.
As your competitors slow their own content production, their consumer engagement level will decrease and they may very well lose traction with their base customers. With a content marketing outreach strategy in place, you might just put your business on the precipice of an enormous financial opportunity.
Don’t Go it Alone
Does all of this advice seem beyond what you can handle at this moment amidst all the chaos? If so, you’re not alone. On a normal day without Coronavirus worries, many small to mid-size business owners barely have time to think beyond merely having a web presence. Maintaining and upgrading that presence in today’s environment can quickly become overwhelming.
This is where it may make sense to partner with a writing agency. Writing agencies are experts at identifying the problems facing companies and their brands. Armed with crisis-management contingency protocols, agencies skillfully create customized plans to address those problems. And with a talented team of writers at their disposal, agencies swiftly and efficiently produce the solid marketing content your business needs.
Working with an agency allows you to do what you do best – focus on your business. Imagine the peace of mind you’d have knowing a writing agency is promoting and supporting your business with a strategic content marketing plan.
Iris Writing International is one such agency. With more than 40 writers, journalists, editors and SEO experts on its team, Iris identifies the problems facing their clients’ brands and calls upon professionals from their arsenal with the requisite skill sets as they create customized content marketing plans together with the client.
The philosophy at the center of Iris Writing International is the conviction that the client’s opinion is of paramount importance and is therefore the driver of all content creation.
Iris operates with another guiding principle: being a one-stop solution for clients. Clients can rest easy knowing that Iris understands their business, their brand and their beliefs. By evaluating existing content, Iris crafts winning content strategies that plan for and create new content going forward.
In this time of uncertainty, whether you choose to craft your own content marketing strategy or you call upon the experience of a seasoned writing agency, you can begin paving the road leading back to certainty – both for you and your customers. In a time like this, that’s priceless.