For the first time in our lives, we’re facing a global pandemic. Its effects are catastrophic, and far-reaching. Not only is the current outbreak of Covid-19 tragic in terms of loss of life, it’s also hugely dangerous from an economic perspective. And small businesses are particularly vulnerable.
Businesses are facing enormous challenges as a direct result of the pandemic, despite many of the world’s top powers channeling vast sums of money into schemes designed to save companies and protect jobs. With thousands of companies forced to close their doors as a result of lockdowns and social distancing measures, the financial impact of Covid-19 is immense – and it’s still on the rise.
So, what can Covid-hit businesses do to limit the impact of the outbreak and put a more positive spin on the strange situation we find ourselves in? The answer to this of course depends on the industry in question, but there are plenty of ways in which companies can start to pave the way for future growth, while the world battles this deadly outbreak. The key to this is clever marketing.
Content marketing is enormously useful to companies in all industries, helping to improve brand awareness, build trust and establish a strong and reliable reputation. It’s vital in terms of brand building, and it often gives brands the edge over their competitors. For Covid-19 hit businesses, content marketing could be a lifeline.
What is Content Marketing?
Content marketing is a marketing strategy used by many of the world’s leading brands. It’s hugely beneficial in terms of increasing awareness, improving loyalty and boosting sales. It’s also incredibly cost-effective, which makes it a great option for Covid-hit businesses, which are likely to be facing tighter budgets as a result of the outbreak.
Content marketing is, of course, about content. But it’s the quality of the content that’s important. Strategies planned around content marketing tend to focus on the creation of a significant amount of well researched, detailed content, which has been carefully considered and created with specific audiences in mind.
The content in question could be anything from blogs, articles and social media campaigns to infographics, videos and tutorials. It should be shared consistently, to ensure the continued engagement of audiences. And of course it should be tracked and analysed for effectiveness, with insights used to determine future content strategies and inspire new ideas.
5 Content Marketing Strategies To Help Survive Coronavirus
There’s no one-size-fits-all content marketing strategy suitable for all businesses. Because content marketing only works if it’s created with your own audience in mind. It’s this tailored approach that makes content marketing so effective. Take a look at some of the following ideas and see how you could adapt them to suit your own target markets.
1. Create informative and educational content
In order to limit the spread of the coronavirus, we’re not leaving home unless our journeys are absolutely essential. And that means many of us are having to attempt the tasks and services that we previously would have outsourced without a second thought.
If your company provides services that can be done by your customers, then this could determine a valuable new content marketing strategy. Content that educates and informs followers is highly effective and incredibly engaging.
Think about the jobs that your followers might need to do around the house, and create a series of step by step video tutorials that they can look back on time and time again. You’ll gain a huge number of new followers, and a new level of trust from your previous customers too.
Take a look at this example of a recent content campaign by Wickes, where users were encouraged to share their own home improvement hacks.
- Consider the tasks that customers might now have to attempt themselves
- Plan a series of video tutorials, with clear messaging designed to help your customers
- Share your tutorials via social media and newsletters, and add them to your website
- Encourage users to share images of the tasks they’ve completed using your tutorials
2. Adapt your content for consumers staying at home
Whilst many companies are still able to provide services and goods for their customers, some industries have been hit much harder. The hospitality and hotel industries have been particularly badly affected, with the vast majority having to close their doors for an indeterminate amount of time. But being unable to provide the service that you usually do doesn’t necessarily mean that your marketing needs to grind to a halt. Quite the opposite, in fact.
If your content previously revolved around sharing stunning images of sun-soaked beaches and luxurious hotel rooms, now’s the time to switch your strategy. Consumers have been told to stay at home. So, why not make sure your business is the one that they keep thinking about by creating a tailored content campaign showing followers how to treat themselves without leaving the house?
You could share massage tips from spa therapists, tutorials on how to create origami towel animals, cocktail recipes by your mixologists, recipes from your chefs and anything in between. Take a look at these ideas on content marketing for hotels, and wait for inspiration to strike.
The Ritz is a great example of a hotel brand doing exactly this. We love this tempting shortbread recipe, recently shared by the hotel’s Executive Chef.
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At The Ritz, we think a slice of shortbread is essential with a morning cup of tea or coffee. John Williams, our Executive Chef, is sharing his much loved recipe so that you can try for yourselves at home. . 1. Boil 1 egg in a saucepan for 10 minutes and then transfer it into a bowl of cold water. Once the egg has gone cold, shell it, discard the white and grate the yolk. . 2. In a large mixing bowl, cream 230g of softened butter and 75g of icing sugar for about 5 minutes. Mix in a pinch of salt and the grated yolk. . 3. Add 1tsp of ground cinnamon, 215g of plain flour and 40g of cornflour and mix until combined. . 4. Line a baking tray (30cm x 20cm) and put the dough in. Using a rolling pin, flatten the mixture evenly and refrigerate for 2 hours. . 5. Bake for 50-55 minutes at 140 degrees Celsius. Then cut into your choice of shapes and dust with caster sugar. . This recipe is extracted from The Ritz London: The Cookbook by John Williams published by Mitchell Beasley, priced at £30. 📸 by @johncareyphoto
- Think about what consumers who have had to cancel holidays and hotel breaks might want to see
- Inspire those staying at home to treat themselves to a hotel-style pamper evening
- Create a unique hashtag for your at home hotel experience
- Encourage users to share images of how they’ve used your tips
3. Share an important message to build trust
The buying decisions of today’s consumers are increasingly influenced by issues that matter to them. The coronavirus pandemic, and particularly the way that companies have reacted to it, is also beginning to sway purchasing decisions.
The actions of some companies have gained interest for all the wrong reasons, with consumers even calling for boycotts of brands that they feel haven’t protected workers effectively during the pandemic. But brands have also been given an opportunity to show consumers why they’re different, and how they’re helping local communities battle this virus.
If your company is supporting local healthcare workers, taking steps to protect the vulnerable or putting new measures in place to ensure social distancing in the workplace, now’s the time to tell your audience. Create a cause marketing campaign that tells consumers what your brand is doing to help the community, and your company’s reputation will benefit.
Take a look at Costa Coffee for an example of how to do this. The brand recently gave away 250,000 free coffees to NHS workers in the UK, and its outlets at hospitals remain open to provide healthcare professionals with their caffeine fix.
- Take a look at competitors to see how they’re helping the community
- Engage with local charities and support networks to find out about any gaps in the services available to them
- Use your company’s strengths to support those in need
- Share information about how your brand has helped, via social media and blogs
4. Plan competitions and giveaways to boost exposure and thank key workers
No one can resist a giveaway. Competitions provide a good opportunity to boost morale during these difficult times, and if you’re able to tie your promotion into supporting those who are most affected by the outbreak then it may prove even more effective.
Many brands are offering freebies to NHS workers, key workers and carers. This is a move that could help to increase exposure whilst also enabling you to support valued members of the community.
Take a look at this recent giveaway by online fashion giant ASOS, in which the brand asked its followers to tag carers who deserve a treat. The post received huge levels of engagement, with almost 15,000 likes and over 10,000 comments.
- Design a promotional campaign which ties into helping vulnerable people or treating key workers
- Share information on your prizes and encourage followers to tag those who they’d like to see rewarded
- Use a hashtag to create a buzz around your giveaway
- Ask winners to share images of themselves with their gifts to continue to spread the message and boost awareness of your brand
5. Use the challenges customers face as the basis of your content
It’s not just businesses that are struggling with the effects of the coronavirus. Customers are also facing huge challenges. They might be anxious about their jobs, worried about how to pay their rent or mortgage, or simply exhausted from juggling work and childcare.
If your content campaign addresses the issues that matter most to your customers, you’ll definitely get their attention. So, use tips and tricks designed to make life easier for customers as the basis of your content strategy.
Brands like Monzo are doing this incredibly well. Take a look at the company’s Instagram page or blog and you’ll see plenty of information on what customers can do if they’re struggling financially as a result of the Covid-19 outbreak.
This Monzo blog on steps customers can take if they’re unable to pay their rent is particularly effective, presenting information in an easily digestible format that will resonate with audiences.
- Think about issues which customers might be affected by
- Consider which ones are most relevant to your business and focus on these
- Create a series of tips designed to help customers navigate the challenges of Covid-19
- Share bite size tips via social media, and longer copy on your company’s blog
Coronavirus is dramatically changing the way we live, work and do business. But many companies are now beginning to adapt to the new normal, coming up with creative new takes on the products and services that they had previously relied on.
Marketing has always been invaluable to businesses, but clever marketing campaigns are now proving essential for companies that have been affected by the outbreak. If your company has been hit by the effects of Covid-19, consider how content marketing might help you to retain the attention of customers, or boost awareness about changes to the services you provide.
There are so many ways in which content marketing can be used to engage with audiences, and in these challenging times, it couldn’t be more important. So, be creative. Be original. And be heard.
About The Author
Sean Begg Flint is the founder of Position Digital, a digital marketing agency for ambitious start-ups and growing brands. They help companies get found online through creative content and targeted outreach. Connect with Sean on Twitter, Instagram or Linkedin.