How a content strategy can help your brand reach out with intention.
When we actively connect with others–and when others actively connect with us– we feel grounded. Brands can help people feel connected too, and during uncertain times like these, brands should definitely reach out to their audiences. Depending on your brand, industry, or situation, the messaging may differ. But all messages can be meaningful so long as they’re authentic and sent with the best intentions.
How A Content Strategy Can Help You
In the wake of the coronavirus, there might be a million things you need to say right now. Or, you may have no idea where to start. Either way, navigating what to say and when to say it is a lot easier if you develop a content strategy. This is essentially a roadmap to organize both your messaging and how you deliver it to customers.
The strategy can be as simple or as robust as you need it to be, but it should cover the following:
- Identify the core message and supporting messages that need to be communicated above all others
- Identify the channels on which you’ll share your messaging
- Identify your desired message frequency per channel, as well as the days and times you’ll be publishing content
- Identify the people who are responsible for writing, proofing, or publishing content
- Identify metrics to measure content success to adjust your strategy if necessary
Creating a message hierarchy will keep your communications organized. The more organized your messaging, the better it will be received. Let’s start with the core message. What is the one thing you want customers to know?
There are a lot of frenzied messages flying around out there– consumer brain capacity is at full tilt! By writing out your core message, you’re creating an overarching theme to guide all your communications. This way, your messaging stays focused on the important need-to-know information. As you’re developing your core message, also think about the primary emotion you want audiences to feel when interacting with your brand. Sometimes we make an impact not with what we say but how we say it. Establish a tone to use and stick with it.
Once you have your core message, or theme, it’s time to think about identifying 3-5 supporting messages. These are proof points to back up your core message. Put another way: What actions are you taking so that consumers can still access your product or services? To keep employees or customers safe? To make consumers feel valued, safe, connected, etc.?
Try to organize this list by “most impactful” to “least impactful.” That way, if you end up with more than 5 supporting messages, you’ll know which you can cut from the list. As we mentioned earlier, consumer brain capacity is going to be limited since so many other brands are pumping out content. If and when you catch your consumers’ attention, maximize the opportunity by telling them the most important information.
Your supporting messages are like a script to help you stay consistent. You should stick to sharing 1 or more of your supporting messages in any communication that goes out. If you have a team of people writing content, they can all look back at your chosen supporting messages to tell the same narrative across any platform.
Ok, we know what to say and how to say it. The question left is when? A content calendar will answer that question. As the name implies, it’s basically a calendar that shows the date you’ll be sending messages on each channel. It provides a high-level view of all the messages you’ll be sharing and the sharing frequency of each channel. You’ll be able to tell if you’re sending too many messages or not enough.
As you know, each channel has its own vibe. Social media is a great place to make real-time updates and to connect daily with audiences. Usually posting 3-5 times a week is best practice, however, the circumstances right now are different. If you need to post daily or multiple times a day, social is the channel to do it on.
We love email because it gives you direct 1:1 access to users, but you don’t want to abuse that power! As we said, the circumstances right now are different and may call for more than 1 email a week, which is standard. But just be cognizant of how many emails you’re sending. Because you can segment and personalize emails, try to make email the place where you share more personal, tailored content.
As for your website, this is where you want to share all the in-depth details. Unlike social posts or email, you have ample room on your website to artfully organize large volumes of content for easy reading. You can create and continuously update a blog post, or you can create a new landing page that is updated regularly. However, you choose to share messages on your website, make sure it’s easily accessible from your home page. Perhaps add a pop-up message to highlight special messaging.
Call a team meeting and review the content process for coronavirus-related messaging since it may require more insight or approval. Who’ll be posting? Who’ll be approving? What processes need to be followed? By defining your roles and responsibilities, you’ll make content sharing go much more smoothly.
Putting It All Together
Using Moonlight as an example, here’s a sample of what you should end up with. We defined our core and supporting messages, as well as our content calendar for week 1. Your version can be as complex as you want it to be, down the very timestamp of each message. But you can also keep it simple, like the example below.
Core Message: We’re open and here to help our partners
Tone: Calm, reassured, positive
- We’re available. Email any Moon Crew member to get the fastest response.
- We can help digitize brands to make them more accessible during the coronavirus.
- We can easily create last-minute marketing needs to communicate important information quickly.
- Whatever you need, we’re here to help.
What Others Are Saying
A lot of companies will be using content to help them continue to deliver their products and services during this crazy time. However, there’s also a messaging opportunity to simply solidify your relationship with your audience and provide them something more valuable than a product: connection. Here are ways companies are sharing messages of connection, support, and encouragement:
Creative Mornings CLT
In light of the strain that the coronavirus has placed on the arts and entertainment industry, Charlotte is Creative, a local organization, launched a new user-generated-content campaign. “Enough about endings. Tell us about what you’re starting,” reads its blog, which goes on to invite creatives to share their photos, paintings, dances, compositions, videos, etc. The organization will share those narratives as a way to keep the creative spirit alive during this difficult time.
Artisaire – Providing Entertainment
Artisaire, a wax stamp company, developed a virtual care package for all their customers. It includes a list of resources to help brides who had to cancel weddings due to the coronavirus. It also has a bunch of fun and creative activities to brighten days spent quarantined at home.
AllBirds, an artisan shoe company, developed a campaign to give nurses, doctors, and medical personnel on the frontlines a free pair of shoes. The company promoted its campaign on social media and the response was overwhelming. Five hundred thousand dollars worth of shoes were donated. To continue to help medical professionals, the company created a landing page where customers could also donate a pair of shoes.
It can be hard to know what to say to customers during times like these. If you’re worried about not saying the right thing, take a quick pulse check with these tips:
- Is what I’m saying something my audience wants to read? Is it sensitive to the emotions and situations audiences are experiencing?
- Am I being authentic, honest, and true?
- Are my intentions to connect, help, or serve?
- Am I being transparent?
The worst thing a brand can do right now is either say nothing or say nothing about the coronavirus. Ignoring a problem that’s impacting so many people makes a brand look and feel distant and out of touch. Like people, brands can be a source of connection, emotional relief, or support. With the help of a content calendar, use content to make your brand a source of good in the world.
Looking for more tips? Stay tuned to our blog for the full 4-part series to get more marketing ideas amid the coronavirus.
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