It’s a crazy time for every sector right now. And content marketing is no exception. 

But if your brand is going to not only survive but thrive, you still need content that educates, engages and entertains. 

During this pandemic, I’ve spotted several examples of brands getting it right with their marketing – and sometimes, very, very wrong.  

To help you navigate your brand through these unchartered waters, we’ve put together a few marketing Dos and Don’ts.

Don’t pretend nothing’s changed

Just like most plans this year, from holidays to house moves, your content plan needs reassessing and, in most cases, shaking up. 

Clearly, you might want to reassure customers about your company’s Covid-19 measures (but don’t overwhelm them with detail). 

You might decide to postpone your project, like Q Content did with the launch of our rebrand. You should certainly pause anything that’s suddenly become cringeworthy, such as KFC’s “finger-lickin’ good” ads.

Ideally, you’ll respond to crisis with creativity. I love this new twist on St Patrick’s Day from Guinness, urging people to “celebrate safely”.

On the other hand, you might re-assess your content plan and decide to stick to it with very few changes. Some 72% of consumers say they are open to brands which aren’t directly affected by the pandemic talking about “business as usual”. 

It’s a tricky decision. Whatever you do, put your audience at the heart of your content. That’s a principle that never changes. 

Do offer what your audience needs

Most of us have felt powerless at times during this pandemic. But maybe your brand can help, at least a little, by providing what customers need to get them through this crisis. 

So look at trending keywords to find out what people are searching for.

It could be information: about mental health services, for example. Content marketing is about education more than selling, and this piece uses infographics and text to turn a Lancet paper into something accessible. 

It could be your product or service: bicycle sales rose 60% in April as people sought to avoid public transport and stay fit.

It could even be dreams. The travel industry has been hard hit, but TravelZoo’s 20 Amazing Places You Can Visit Without Leaving Home speaks to people’s wanderlust while recognising the reality.  

However…

Don’t be opportunistic

Never shoehorn in mentions of Covid-19: people don’t tend to like opportunism. In fact, 71% of consumers say that if they perceive a brand is putting profit over people at this time, they lose trust in that brand forever. 

A better way to stay relevant might be to offer discounts to keyworkers: you’re saying thank you and building brand loyalty at the same time. 

Do think about your tone

Glibness or crassness are rarely good looks, and even less so now. 

If you’re a healthy 20-something, you might be eagerly planning post-pandemic pub trips. But show some empathy for customers who remain vulnerable and fearful. 

I feel for the marketing team at Corona beer – imagine trying to promote that name right now. But their February Twitter ad, “coming ashore soon”, was poorly judged, and they’ve avoided the association since. 

We all need a little humour to help us through, but there’s a time and a place. Be respectful and mindful. 

Do consider your formats

At the beginning of the pandemic, many brands scurried to communicate by social media and email. Some emails had great open rates, too.

But never produce content for content’s sake. It overwhelms your audience.

Instead, choose your formats and channels carefully. Mix up longer and shorter posts – or even say nothing at all. 

If you’re struggling, Q Content can help you get the right tone and format for your audience at the right time. That’s the secret to great content marketing, crisis or no crisis. 

Ben Hollom

July 2, 2020