By Wendy Marx
Unprecedented times. Uncertain times. Disastrous times. All terms used to describe the current pandemic. But what does that mean for your content marketing, thought leadership and personal branding strategies? Can you continue your content marketing during a pandemic? And how can you not just “get by” but excel with your content marketing strategy during this time? Let’s answer these and other questions.
Why Your Content Marketing Shouldn’t Grind to a Halt
Content is still in high demand. Even when people are stuck at home or dealing with the new curveballs that this virus is throwing at them, they still consume content — and in some instances, the demand for content has even risen.
Let’s think about your audience for a moment. Think about how their needs have changed. More are working from home. In order to reach customers, they’ve perhaps had to change their business model. For many, this is unchartered territory. Because of this, people are fast at work, researching new solutions to fit their latest adjustments.
This makes now the most crucial time to create personal branding and thought leadership content. Connect with people as they research solutions and they will no doubt remember you even after the crisis has passed.
But even if content marketing isn’t going anywhere, we still need to adapt our content marketing strategy to the changing world.
How should you do this?
Let’s dig into the specific ways that you can adapt in order to succeed with your content marketing during a pandemic.
How to Stand Out with Content Marketing During a Pandemic
1. Change with the Times
Now is the time to do some spring cleaning on your content marketing strategy. Examine your tactics and ask yourself, does this tactic make sense during this pandemic? If it doesn’t, get rid of it.
Similarly, consider what topics are on your calendar for content creation. Decide which topics still pertain to your audience and which ones are best saved until after COVID-19 has passed.
Now that you’ve “cleaned house,” so to speak, it’s time to think about what tactics are best for your brand during this pandemic. Should you invest more in social media? Is now a good time for a collaboration? Should you push forward with personal branding? All of these are questions you need to ask yourself as it pertains to your brand and what’s happening in the world.
2. Put Your Audience First
If you’ve had a successful content marketing strategy, then you’ve most likely been doing this. Good content always addresses the needs of the audience.
Of course, it goes without saying that your audience’s needs have changed during the pandemic. The question is, is your content changing to meet those needs?
Consider what worries and challenges face your audience during COVID-19. Then create a strategy that addresses those concerns and even provides a solution.
3. Be Human
Your human side is probably your most valuable asset at the moment. During this crisis, people want to connect. They don’t want to connect with a cold brand that simply flashes its latest products around, hawking a hard sell. They want to connect with humans.
So make your brand as human as possible. Showcase the things that make you human — your generosity, your humor, your self-awareness, and your humility, for starters.
For instance, you could feature customer stories that show how you’ve helped during this crisis. You could even show how members of your team are also coping with the crisis while providing necessary help to customers. All of this highlights a very human side that is integral to creating connections with your audience.
4. Think Long Term
These uncertain times make it difficult to really see how content marketing is going. Things can change suddenly, without warning.
Our recommendation? Don’t stress about the day to day changes you see in your content marketing efforts and ROI. Take a step back from your analytics dashboard and focus on content creation and engaging your audience.
Just like watching a football game, you can stress yourself out if you overanalyze every play, every fumble and missed opportunity. It’s best to take the whole game in before you start worrying about your team. In the same way in your content marketing and personal branding, try to absorb the big picture. Focus on doing the best you can and wait a few months to see what the numbers look like.
5. Create an Offer
While short blogs and social media posts are all great tactics in your content marketing strategy, those can be thought of as appetizers. But you also need a main course — the meat, if you will. This is a longer, more mature piece of content that will interest people. It could be an ebook, a video, a checklist, or a white paper.
Whatever format you choose for your offer, you want to take the time to make it really special. Pour as much knowledge and expertise as you can into it. Develop it to be the creme de la creme of your content offering.
Not everyone will want your offer — some people really do come just for the appetizers. But it will be a great way to distinguish the ones with serious interest and develop that interest.
6. Use Video
Video continues to be a top player in the content arena. Video has been proven to garner more engagement from audiences. Whether it’s consumers, executives or other marketers, everyone agrees that video is where it’s at.
I understand that video can be a daunting prospect. But it does get easier with time and is well worth the effort. Why not try a service like Lumen5 that can help you to create low-stress videos out of blog posts that you already have on hand.
As you get more comfortable, you can shift to recording yourself. All you really need is your smart phone and an app on that phone to perform basic editing functions.
Once you get comfortable with video, it opens up a whole new world of possibilities. You can use video to…
- Discuss industry trends.
- Introduce new products.
- Interview others in your field.
- Share a behind-the-scenes of your workday.
- Introduce members of your team to your audience.
The are so many ways to bring video into your strategy.
7. Work on Your SEO
Even with all the high-tech tools we have for content marketing, SEO is still one of the most important tactics you can use.
Google and like search engines are people’s first choice to search for answers to their questions. By devoting time to SEO best practices, you can ensure your top-quality content finds its way to new readers. If you take time to get your content on Google’s first page, your organic reach can skyrocket.
SEO starts with the right keyword or phrase. Choose keywords that fit your audience searches for but are not going to be so competitive that they’re out of reach. Then confirm that your keywords are found in all the right places in your content, including…
- 3-5 times in your article
- Meta description
- Alt text of images
- H2 tag
Keeping such SEO best practices in mind will help to boost your content’s visibility.
8. Focus on What Works
By now, you most likely have a good idea of what works and what doesn’t. This is true of your offerings, your blogs, even your social media networks.
So what do you with the things that have not worked? You clean house. This allows you to focus more of your attention on what works and unload yourself of what doesn’t work.
This can be particularly true of social media channels. You might have opened every social media account under the sun in the beginning and now you have a lot of accounts that barely see any action. It’s time to close those accounts and focus more energy on the accounts that have a substantial audience and engagement levels.
The same is true of your content library. Go through and see what content could be collecting dust on your shelves — it could be old, outdated, or even just not fit with your brand image anymore. Clean it out and see what can be salvaged, cleaned up and updated for your current audience.
Now that we’ve discussed how to succeed with your thought leadership and content marketing during a pandemic, we hope this helps you to go out and crush it in your own strategy.
What other tips have you found helpful during this pandemic? Let us know in the comments below.