Written by: Payel Basu
About the author: Vice President Marketing – India, APAC, Africa at MoveInSync
The last 90 odd days have been unprecedented for everyone around the globe – ambiguity, uncertainty & fear were the key words. With lock downs and social distancing, businesses slowed down, consumption plummeted & most revenues are on a downward trend. Organizations are cautious of their spends and marketing budgets are typically the first expenses to be rationalized. However, marketing also happens to be one of those critical functions which has the power of propelling the organization into new growth trajectories. So, what do you do in these times?
You open the parachute called Content Marketing
Develop great content to communicate with your customers & prospects. Focus on both long & short format content – case studies, blogs, articles, teaser posts, newsletters, info-graphics, e-books……the palate is vast. It can be done in-house at no to minimal cost. The key is to be relevant and agile. If your organization is a thought leader, you can produce consultative content to reinforce your brand’s leadership position. You could become the go to information source for your industry.
Some guidelines which help in producing good content –
- Plan. Plan. Plan. Cannot emphasize enough on the importance of having a content calendar ahead of the month. If you could have it a month ahead, even better. The content that you put out needs to be coherent and tell a story across all the customer touchpoints. Content calendar lets you plan each piece while laying out the overall picture in front of you. Make the calendar as detailed as possible – What will be topic of the content? What format? Which distribution channels will you tap into? Date of publishing, Will it be one time, or will there be a sequel? Have these decided well ahead with a flexibility to incorporate any context specific changes closer to the publication date.
- Keep language simple. Adopt a conversational tone. When it comes to good quality writing, less is more. The most effective pieces of content are written in simple conversational tones. Write simple short sentences and use imagery or graphics as much as possible. This is especially true for long format contents.
- Build in data wherever you can. This is the time to mine, slice, dice & analyze all the data that you have or can get access to. Data driven content has a much higher recall and read rate. Customers find data driven content to me more authentic and useful. This is also a great way of establishing your brand’s thought leadership position.
- Put the right CTA. Whether it’s a blog or a short format info-graphic, don’t forget to put the Call To Action. Have well defined content goals, possibly have that etched in the content calendar and build in an appropriate CTA for each.
Time to capitalize on owned media
Once you have developed great content, how do you distribute? This is the time when your owned channels like your organization’s LinkedIn page, Facebook, Instagram stories & Twitter can bring the world at your feet. LinkedIn has over half a billion users, close to 675 million monthly users. Whether you are B2C or B2B brand, you will certainly find your target group among the above channels. And user research says that most of the target group uses these channels daily. So, focus on improving the follower-ship of your company’s social media channels. Useful, informative content & consistent updates can help you get there. And at zero cost. Dynamic content works better for Social Media channels. Gifs, videos, info-graphics get more engagement. Also channels like Medium are great for publishing blogs and curating a set of engaged followers.
Optimize all your content for key words. Do a key word research at the planning stage and make it a priority. Align it with your content goal. Adopt this as a hygiene practice. It is not much fun, if you have a masterpiece but it stays hidden in a closet. Make sure your content is discoverable by the right audience and it is out there when the prospect is searching for it.
Provide product insights. Build the next hit product
Marketing is the engine room of growth for any organization and should be pivotal in steering the ship in the right direction. Lean times are the best to focus inward, build capabilities and emerge relevant for the new normal. Do consumer research, think ahead and give those inputs to your product teams so that they can build what will be perhaps the next growth driver.
Last but not the least, use this time to communicate with your internal stakeholders, your employees. Marketing has the power to motivate the entire organization through positive, empathetic messaging. Keep everyone aligned to a common goal and show the light at the end of the tunnel. Internal branding in times of crisis are more important than ever before. Stay positive, keep motivating, bust myths, disseminate empathy & compassion. You are the story teller of your brand. Tell a story which spreads warmth to many hearts.