Updated: Jan 31
One Crisis After Another
As many of us are wondering when the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis will finally peak, companies around the world, and their brands, are experiencing significant difficulty. The world is watching as major brands like Nike and Apple take significant losses. Quarantine regulations are causing customers to avoid shopping in brick-and-mortar stores, logistical issues to hampering e-sales, and closures in China’s manufacturing plants have businesses without enough inventory.
As this impending crisis affects an increasing number of people, countries are feeling isolated, businesses are going bankrupt and retirement savings accounts are plummeting. Natural disasters and disease have been wreaking havoc on our world as of late. As we endure one crisis after another, the pressure increases on content marketers who work tirelessly to support companies facing real trouble, some with products in impossibly high demand and others struggling to make ends meet.
Content is a valuable tool for companies in times of crisis. In times like these, investing in content has never been more important. Well designed content can help mitigate the impact of these types of emergencies by doing what content does best – informing the public.
Once informed, people begin to feel a sense of reassurance that everything will be alright. The idea of normalcy begins to come into focus as a real possibility. And, as a by-product for the company, effective content provides a clear advantage over any competitor who is ignoring the power of and not investing in good content.
The Importance of Content
Content has proven its value recently. Analysts at Technavio predict that the content marketing industry will be worth more than $410 billion in less than a year.
We can see support for those projections in the software market. Over the next three years, that content market is expected to experience exponential growth. Just over $4 billion back in 2018, the market is predicted to surge to almost $10 billion by 2023, according to GlobeNewswire.
Among many contributing factors, here are some major drivers of this success:
Content marketing is more cost-effective than traditional advertising.
Content marketing is particularly good at building brand awareness.
Sales thrive behind content. When content marketers focus on building trust with their consumers, sales convert much quicker than when the focus is placed upon the brand.
In this last point is where good content not only benefits the brand and the company, but good content can benefit the general well-being of the audience.
How to Invest in Content During a Crisis
For companies who have content plans, rethinking how you invest in content can make that content even more relevant during a crisis. As long as you continue to inform and provide valuable information to your customers, you will gain advantage over your competition.
Here are four ways to invest in content during a crisis:
Encourage Community through Communication: Content can serve as a communication platform, providing announcements that help consumers prepare themselves for what is to come. Content can provide updates about warnings and response efforts. The content should be communicated in a timely fashion and then shared to quickly reach the targeted audience.
Access to information helps mitigate worry, anxiety and fear. It can also empower those affected with a sense of control during a crisis situation that is emotionally overwhelming. Connection to others happens through content and is an important factor that encourages resilience. Content can also provide a sense of community to let consumers know they do not face crisis alone. The ability to bounce back from the stress of a crisis is critical. If your brand can provide these things to consumers, they won’t forget it.
Show Support and Leave the Sales Tactics Behind: Now is the time to forget about the sale and support customers. L’Oréal understands this and recently pledged, with no strings and very little fanfare, more than $700,000 toward fighting the coronavirus. An increasing number of companies in China have also put their money where their marketing mouths typically reside. One luxury company, LVMH, recently donated $2.3 million to the Chinese Red Cross.
Donating money, products or services to those in need is not only the right thing to do – it also happens to be good for your brand.
Concentrate on Helpful Online Content: With so many people home – whether sick and confined due to quarantine or healthy and staying home to avoid those infected – gaming apps and video apps are approaching new download volume records. Researching and creating content geared toward exercise or healthy cooking videos may help the sick regain strength and help the healthy remain that way.
Implement Multiple Channels to Communicate Content: Many businesses are facing logistical issues when it comes to timely delivery because of the virus. Those issues, coupled with high demand and the struggle to maintain inventory levels because of plant closures, are a recipe for disaster for product delivery to your consumers. Keeping them educated and informed is of the utmost importance at a time like this.
Investing in content can keep customers updated and help them know when to expect deliveries. When customers know what to expect and begin to understand why delays are happening, even a late delivery won’t be as frustrating. A more relaxed consumer is less likely to take their business elsewhere. To most effectively communicate with your customers, answer questions or address complaints in a timely fashion, use a variety of channels – social media, website messaging, email communication – to convey that engaging content.
Invest in Building Trust and Providing Value
Content marketing is experiencing explosive growth due to the fact that today’s consumer uses the internet for just about anything and that consumer is getting what they want from content. Using the internet began with communication, shopping and entertainment. But now consumers turn to the internet for education as well as news and information. In times of crisis, content is satisfying a critical consumer need by giving the consumer what they want and need.
We know that consumers are savvy. They can tell when a brand is genuine and they can feel when the brand is just after the money. The business model of content marketing creates relationships between the consumer and the brand because it removes the feel of the sale.
Content has always proven to be cost-effective, trust building and good for brand awareness. These same attributes are contributing to the importance of content during a crisis like the coronavirus and causing many people to realize how important investing in content is now, more than ever.
According to Forbes magazine, if we look back to the SARS epidemic, the road to recovery for coronavirus will have retail back in business by June. But with the current market situation, be sure you design content to demonstrate support for consumers and continue to communicate with them. If you make continuous adjustments to your strategy, your brand should be well-positioned for health and happiness until June and beyond.