Lee Groeger - 04/30/2020
Summary: The COVID-19 pandemic has changed how brands should prepare and distribute content to all their constituents. Here are some guidelines to follow in our new normal.
It’s not easy to navigate this new normal that’s been brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic—not for anyone, in work or personal life. As PR professionals, we find ourselves in the position of having to adapt all communication being disseminated by our clients to accommodate the sensitivities, urgency, and saturation this crisis has cast on society. This includes all channels—websites, marketing materials, social media, corporate communications, press and more. If you are responsible for creating content for a brand or an organization, avoid missteps by following these guidelines.
Keep Your Constituents Updated
With so many people working remotely due to the virus, engaging with constituents requires an altered approach. Be informative in your communications to customers, employees, investors, vendors and other partners, but don’t cause unnecessary or unfounded stress. There is so much—probably too much—Coronavirus-related information floating around that it’s almost reached total saturation. Updates are important, but leave out extraneous information.
When possible, try to infuse hope and positivity. It doesn’t have to be the next Some Good News with John Krasinski, but providing some silver lining to what is currently a very cloudy climate can go a long way in terms of capturing attention and creating a positive consumption experience.
Focus on Solutions, Not Sales
For all the brands getting it right during this sensitive time, too many have gotten it wrong. More than ever, people and companies are showing their best, most supportive side. Directly soliciting sales is generally in bad taste at this the moment. Instead focus on sharing how your company is giving back or providing assistance to others in their respective communities and industries with information, financial support, supplies or other support.
Recognize When It’s Time to Wait
Information that would be newsworthy under normal circumstances might not have a home in the marketing or media landscape right now. Everyone is inundated with content, from emails to news stories to social media posts and the conversations—and, of course, debates—that stem from them. There’s a better chance today that your content will get lost in the mix if it’s not relevant. Unless it’s breaking or timely, consider holding off.
Read the Room
One of the fundamentals in all forms of communication is to know your audience. The Coronavirus pandemic has impacted everyone in different ways. Before you write a word, much less send out any formal communication, examine how things like health, employment and industry are affecting your constituents. The more educated you are about what they are experiencing, the more empathetic and appropriate the messaging you create will be.
So, to recap, check your timing, approach all things with heightened sensitivity, and provide solutions whenever possible. This approach will serve you well in all content—blogs, social media, videos, emails, as well as internal and external communications. And if are looking for more tips on content development, or for an experienced team to provide you with developmental support, feel free to send me an email!