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  • Writer's pictureAnnie Ianko

11 Things Content Marketers Should Avoid During a Crisis

Content marketing managers everywhere are currently facing unimaginable challenges. COVID-19 and the global pandemic are turning priorities, marketing strategy and the entire industry upside down.

The steps you take during this crisis will impact how your customers feel about and connect with your brand going forward. A thoughtful, respectful and empathic reaction is essential.

Sometimes the actions we avoid are just as important as the actions we take.

Be sure to avoid these 11 mistakes as you and your content marketing react to the new normal.

1. DON’T expect the plan you design to remain intact.

Kudos to you if you’ve designed a content marketing plan to react to this crisis. You’re ahead of the game.

Needless to say, circumstances are changing rapidly. In a situation where it is nearly impossible to predict what next month – or even next week – might look like, whatever plans you create are more than likely to require reassessment and adjustment.

Agility and flexibility are paramount in navigating the uncertainty that abounds in the current environment. As the situation changes, adjust priorities, strategy and your messaging accordingly.

2. DON’T pull back your content marketing efforts.

At some point in this crisis, you’ve likely experienced some degree of decrease in traffic. Some industries have been hit harder than others, but some have experienced an uptick in traffic. Now that most of the world is quarantined and working from home, you’ve got history’s most captive audience paying attention.

If it hasn’t already, your search traffic will return. Organizations that abandon their content marketing strategies will regret it. Maintaining your content marketing presence will increase your chances of acquiring new customers and promote a faster recovery for your business.

3. DON’T proceed with business as usual.

Things are different now. Make sure that your messaging acknowledges this.

To say things are changing daily might be an understatement. Marketing you planned last month, last week, or even yesterday might not make sense today. Reevaluate and redirect as often as possible.

4. DON’T assume that it’s ok to go dark if your doors are closed.

Many industries have been forced to temporarily cease operations. However, canceling communication would be a mistake. Remind your customers that your organization is planning to persevere and reemerge after this crisis. If you can, let them know that you are there to help them, even if the only thing you can do is to act as a source of information during this difficult time.

5. DON’T be afraid to show vulnerability.

Times of crisis often reveal the true nature of people. The same holds true for companies and their brands. Don’t be afraid to share emotions and the humanity of your brand. Share your story and encourage your employees and customers to share theirs.

6. DON’T be tone-deaf.

It is natural to be concerned about keeping your business alive. This is not, however, a time to promote recent wins or profit from the crisis. Instead, use an empathetic tone as you focus upon helping customers to demonstrate the values that are important to your brand.

7. DON’T spread misinformation.

During that first week of March, there was no toilet paper shortage. Without verification, that misinformation spread like rapid-fire and caused an actual toilet paper shortage that is currently persisting, over a month later. The content you generate must be legitimate. Be sure to verify your sources before sharing information with your customers.

8. DON’T recreate the wheel.

If you are struggling to generate the appropriate tone or content, there is no need to go it alone. Learn from what others in the industry are doing. Really Good Emails shared a few ideas to get you started.

9. DON’T blanket email your entire database.

Communication in a crisis should not be treated as a transaction. To avoid future deliverability issues, spam complaints and a firestorm of negative social media, segmentation is important so you contact only the appropriate audience.

10. DON’T disregard your data.

Structuring a sincere and genuine outreach doesn’t mean we should ignore the data. How are your emails performing? For less than ideal results, reevaluate whether the outreach provides the recipient with any real value. Emails that are not well received could alienate your long-time subscribers.

11. DON’T forget to look up.

This is a tough time. The temptation to hang our heads is certainly present. However, these challenges present opportunities to persevere and emerge from the crisis stronger, better connected and more educated than ever.

Now is the time to plan for a future that will likely look very different than it did before. Careful planning will establish your brand as a positive example and a survivor of crisis.



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