We are all adapting to a strange new normal. We will be known as the generation of individuals who lived through a global pandemic. Our “fight” and “flight” receptors are in a constant state of flux. And, unlike other crises – such as a natural disaster – it is prolonged with no clear exit strategy. This makes managing the distribution of content particularly difficult. However, there are ways that you can authentically engage with your audience at this time, if the content adheres to these principles:
Keep it relevant
The fast-paced nature of this outbreak will result in content becoming out of date quickly. As such, your content calendar should be agile and adaptive, and avoid political or divisive pieces. Psychologically we are approaching the crisis from our varying frames of references, whilst working through levels of panic and fear. Everyone has a different window on the world right now. As such, your content needs to be accessible and relevant to your audience, their fears and concerns.
Keep it timely
Any fans of podcasts will have noticed that the polished studio interviews have been replaced by chats, often in their respective bedrooms huddled under a duvet to cut out feedback. The sound quality, internet connections and editing can be hit-and-miss, however it means that these content producers are able to continue to put weekly content out for their listeners. Whatever your channel, ensure that you publish any new content in a timely manner. That isn’t to say that speed should override quality, it just means that your audience are expecting things to be authentically less polished right now. This approach was also the same one taken by the producers of the One World: Together At Home concert, where authenticity of artists recording in their homes took precedence over sound quality.
Keep it humble
Many social commenters have come under fire by suggesting that this crisis is a great social leveller. The reality is that there are huge disparities in society in terms of how people are living in this crisis. Humility is critical if you want your content to resonate with your audience. This is no time to brag about how you’re writing a blog in the hot tub in your large garden. We all know some are more fortunate than others right now and talking about it is unhelpful and not relatable to your audience. If, however, you’ve switched production of beer to hand sanitiser, with brands like Brewdog creating “Punk Sanitiser”, or you’re donating all your profits to fund the NHS, like Kindred Social have with their “Be Kind” rainbow T-shirt, freely shout this from the rooftops.
Keep it helpful
Consider what content topics your audience would find useful during this time. According to Google Trends, there has been a 350% increase in UK keyword searches based on the topic of “digital data”. Perhaps in light of the recent security concerns that have been raised regarding conferencing software tools, or the concerns around public health data reporting and contact tracing. If you have expertise in this field, then you could write informative content to fulfil these content needs. Seek out how you can positively contribute to your audience to cut through the fatigue of negative news.
Keep it honest
There has never been a better time to be authentic with your content. Advertising tycoon, David Ogilvy once said: “Don’t address your readers as if they are gathered together in a stadium. When people read your copy, they are alone. Pretend you are writing each of them a letter on behalf of your client”. These are unprecedented and isolating times for all of us, and organisations should be honest in their reactions. Several brands, including Virgin Media and Uber, are putting adverts out which use user-generated content – mostly captured on smartphones – to show how we are all coping with this crisis. It’s an honest, unblemished account of how we can maintain connectivity and shared creativity.
is not a productivity contest
When creating content during this time keep front of mind that this is a global health crisis. Content objectives are changing constantly right now, but the wellbeing and health of you and your colleagues is of paramount importance. Your brand equity is only ever the sum of their parts. Consider their needs first and your content will follow.