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Skyrocket Your Content Marketing Strategy To The Time of Covid 19?

In this article, I show you how to adapt your content marketing strategy to the current situation.

It is a frontal shock, brutal, and unprecedented.

Beyond the astonishment, we must adopt.

The situation is new.

It calls for new behaviors.

Whatever the size of your company, its sector of activity, its offers, Content Marketing has never been so precious!

Let’s see why 👇

Companies in a wide variety of situations

As in all crises, but perhaps even more particularly in this one, some companies are negatively impacted, others enjoy more favorable conditions.

All businesses that require customers to have a physical presence are hard hit: bookstores, restaurants, clothing stores, DIY stores, furniture, hairdressers… Only food and pharmacies can operate.

But it is also whole sectors that see their business model wholly and brutally called into question: transport, tourism, hotel industry, non “priority” industries, building, events…

The impact is considerable, suddenly globalized.

The crisis will be long, tiring, exhausting.

New habits are created.

The “norm” we knew before the crisis will not be the same after the crisis.

Three phases are concretely emerging:

  1. The astonishment: all our “attention” is captured by the Covid 👉 here we are
  2. The transition: new forms of organization are emerging 👉 we are starting this transition
  3. Return to a “new normal” 👉no return to a world identical to the one we know is possible. Tomorrow’s “normality” will no longer be the same as that before confinement.

No one knows what this “new normal” will look like, but deep thinking will need to be done on:

  • ecological transition
  • the role of states
  • globalization
  • International cooperation
  • solidarity
  • the valuation of certain professions

As for companies, the famous digital transformation that we have been advocating for years is urgently needed.

The “satirical” tweet circulating on Twitter is not far from reality.

The "satirical" tweet circulating on Twitter is not far from reality.

This transition obviously involves the migration of a part of its online activity. But it would be far too reductive to stick to this one aspect of things.

By adapting to current conditions, there is an excellent opportunity to prepare for the future.

A majority of us confined to having to “occupy” our days.

A small portion of assets are drowned in workload, but many are confined without activity or with a reduced workload.

We have time.

Time to read.

To exchange.

To train.

To test.

To innovate.

To adapt.

Let’s take advantage of it!

Two possible postures: autarky or pivoting

As in every crisis, some companies will freeze.

They will choose autarky, withdrawal, waiting.

They put themselves in grave danger.

On the one hand, because they are not inventing new models to try to meet a demand that takes different forms from those known before confinement.

And on the other hand, because they do not communicate when consumers have time and are ready to listen to them.

Other companies choose to “move” and seek solutions.

There are “pivot points” to be made.

There is an urgent need to adopt a “Growth Hacking” mindset.

Which means:

  1. Identify business or future business opportunities related to its offer and its market
  2. Experiment: start “slowly,” testing on small scales
  3. Go fast. “Small scales” do not mean “slowly.” On the contrary, we must be able to accelerate by adopting new practices and breaking (finally!) Silos.
  4. Measure: really rely on data to measure the experiments carried out, retain those that work and deploy them on a larger scale

For example, a bookseller can:

  • Phone their best customers to offer to deliver at home and take advantage of the call to discuss with them, know their expectations, make recommendations (“I have this superb comic for your little Hugo”)
  • Deliver the works to your home
  • Possibly, take back the books sold if they have not been read
  • Charge after confinement
  • Make a selection from your catalog to put it online on Shopify, for example
  • Open a blog or a podcast (or both) to give recommendations, express oneself on favorites, share opinions on valid current readings on the Covid…
  • Take the opportunity to create a mailing list by collecting as many emails as possible.
  • Create a community of readers so that they can share their opinions, opinions, recommendations, favorites
  • Publicize your offer through digital relays (Google Ads, in particular, neighborhood blogs, Town Hall website, local newspapers, and influencers, etc.), and traditional relays (mailing campaign sent with Mediapost, for example, but also posting a poster on the front of the bookstore)
  • Facilitate order taking by phone, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, website
  • Facilitate payments via Paypal or Stripe, for example
  • Diversify the offer by, for instance, offering readings via a Webinar platform or the sale of board games

We see through this example that it is possible, with a bit of imagination, to transform your business model to adapt it to confinement.

But we also guess that some of the new services developed to deal with this very particular situation of containment will naturally continue post-crisis if they have met their audience.

I am thinking in particular of the following points:

  • Make a selection from your catalog to put online
  • Open a blog or a podcast (or both) to give recommendations, express yourself on favorites, share reviews of readings.
  • Create a community of readers so that they can share their opinions, opinions, recommendations, favorites
  • Facilitate order taking by phone, WhatsApp, Facebook Messenger, website
  • Home delivery
  • Facilitate payments via Paypal or Stripe, for example
  • Diversify the offer by offering, for example, readings via a Webinar platform or the sale of board games

The “new normal” will be a “digital normal.” But this is not incompatible with more “human interactions” and more “local interactions.”

Quite the contrary.

I took an example of a sector that is able to rotate.

So, I hear you say to me: “yeah but takes a hairdresser, for example! Huh, how does the hairdresser do? He cannot move, we cannot move. The hairdresser is screwed up”.

It is indeed more complex for him!

But it is not impossible to innovate.

What will be our problem shortly?

We’re all going to end up shaggy!

Except for the bald, of course 🙄

We can then imagine that an intelligent hairdresser produces video content to give advice on how to cut your own hair.

Or how to properly maintain them during confinement.

Or how to maintain your color for as long as possible.

But he can also call his best clients, say hello, and check in.

Take advantage of the time available to create an online reservation system that will help retain customers.

Create an Instagram account to distribute the most beautiful shaggy cuts of confinement or even the most failed “house” cuts.

There too, you are going to tell me that I am delusional, that there is not really a subject.

intelligent hairdresser produces video content

So obviously, unlike the bookseller who can generate a specific volume of business by delivering their books, the hairdressing salon will not cause any by producing content.

But he will prepare the best way to end the crisis.

Her clients, and especially her clients, will be grateful for having been attentive to their hair problems during the crisis.

But he will also experience the “power of content.”

A growing audience that will allow it to make itself known beyond its usual catchment area.

Customers will probably share its content and positive opinions, thus amplifying the visibility of its salon.

He will be more experienced in “digital” and will be able to better manage his visibility: Facebook, Instagram, Google My Business, online reviews, local SEO…

He will have developed an online reservation application. This will allow it to save time, collect data, offer a practical solution for its customers so that they can choose an available niche, obtain reminders, discounts after a certain number of reservations…

The two examples cited concern retail. But they are perfectly transferable to other sectors and other sizes of companies.

Some can pivot part of their business and innovate and make it known by creating content.

For those who cannot, they still have the “hairdresser” solution: create content to remain visible while making themselves useful.

Content to help.

The “generous” content, without a second thought.

These are the contents that prepare the future, the way out of the crisis.

We will see later in this article what types of content to create. 👇

Ads & Automation

Let’s take a quick detour to the subject of Ads and Marketing Automation.

When it comes to automation, I recommend that you go through all of your marketing automation scenarios to ensure that they remain relevant in the current situation.

For example, a training organization that lets its marketing scenarios run to sell face-to-face training with dates scheduled in the coming days, or even weeks, would only destroy value by discrediting itself with its audience.

Scenarios that no longer need to be must be stopped.

And if you’ve created relevant content, like free online training, showcase it with new storylines.

The same goes for your advertising campaigns.

Anything that promotes offers that you can no longer provide now should be cut.

It is common sense.

Also, pay attention to your popups; make sure that they are not promoting an offer that you can no longer market today…

More generally, do not seek to sell at all costs now. You can, of course, continue to market your offers when it makes sense, but do not communicate directly and commercially about them.

How to quickly audit your marketing campaigns to avoid the odds during this period of confinement?

Advice from Sylvain Davril, Marketo preacher – Founder and President Merlin/Leonard.

Good upstream preparation makes it easier to deal with a crisis situation such as the one we are currently experiencing.

And if you lack this preparation, don’t panic; take the opportunity to organize your marketing automation scenarios.

This will allow you to get a global view of these.

You will therefore be more responsive for:

  • Stop those that are currently inappropriate
  • Stop those who, even in normal conditions, is not performing enough
  • Create new scenarios adapted to the current period
  • Restart your strategies easily once the crisis has passed

This overview will also very likely allow you to identify avenues for optimization.

Here is how I organized the marketing campaigns at Merlin/Leonard.

1. We have developed a taxonomy that allows us to identify, name, and classify campaigns that run “continuously.”

2. This allows us to instantly find current nurturing scenarios, programs linked to content downloads, those attached to site forms, commercial campaigns, etc.

This makes it easy to check and stop currently inappropriate workflows, such as those related to face-to-face training.

3. We made the initial choice to avoid too complex campaigns with too long flows. This makes it very easy to understand how they work even long months after their launch.

We therefore strongly recommend opting for short and straightforward scenarios. On the other hand, it is then possible to mesh several to cover the entire customer journey. This chaining will always be easier to understand than a complex scenario with multiple branches and conditions.

Complexity is the death of maintainability!

4. Also, remember to describe your scenarios in an intelligible way. This will save you a few knots in the brain. 🤯

5. Finally, if there is any doubt, all you have to do is open the workflows and check the emails to ensure their relevance.

This type of organization makes it possible to be very responsive in times of crisis but also to maintain coherent and effective marketing campaigns over the long term.

Take advantage of the current period to audit your scenarios and build a robust organization. You will be all the more effective at the end of the crisis and well after.

What content to produce, and how?

Take advantage of the period to get back to the basics, the foundations of your content marketing.

  1. Update your Persona or create them if you haven’t already 😱
  2. Audit your existing content
  3. Create content specifically related to the period of confinement & deconfinement (when it will be relevant)

Define your Persona

If we take a closer look at the recent history of successful entrepreneurs, we see that they all have two things in common:

  1. It is sporadic that they succeeded the first time. It is a succession of trial and error or even pivoting, which allowed them to create a successful offer.
  2. They have all developed undeniable skills in marketing (or they surrounded themselves with people with these skills)

What does that mean?

  1. That by groping, they “exchanged” with their market until they had an evident vision of their customers and their needs (discovery of a product-market-fit)
  2. That by knowing their customers and their needs perfectly, they were able to develop ultra-effective marketing actions

Whether they did it consciously or not, all of these successful entrepreneurs relied on the concept of Persona Marketing.

By groping and interacting with their market, they gradually discovered the precise needs of their Persona.

By fully understanding these needs, they were able to position themselves ideally and develop the right messages.

In other words, they’re all obsessed with their Personas and knowing how to read their clients’ minds.

Do you want to succeed?

Do like they 👉 become obsessed with your Personas.

And what better time to do it than NOW?

You have time. And your customers have time.

Contact them to organize interviews (from a distance, of course) in order to discuss with them and survey them.

Also, contact your hot prospects.

It’s not necessarily the sexiest subject, but it is fundamental.

It conditions the future performance of your marketing campaigns, your content, the design of your offers, or the redesign of your website.

In short, the “foundations” on which all your entrepreneurial, marketing, and sales actions rest.

But most of the recommendations given on the Personas are not very actionable.

They attach themselves to details or give recommendations that are difficult to use, such as: “you must know the pain points of your targets,” “their consumption habits,” “the social media they use”…

What is important is who to interview and how? How to conduct a semi-structured interview? How to ask the right questions during an online survey? How to use Facebook, Instagram, or even Linkedin to survey your audiences? How to analyze the data collected? What to do with it? How to use them concretely?

Most agencies sell this work in the shop and through some client interviews.

This is not enough, and it is, above all, a shame to outsource this work.

It will never be as well done as by yourself. You will learn A LOT from your clients by doing the interviews yourself. It’s a shame to put an intermediary in the middle.

Audit your existing content

The audit of your content will have several objectives:

  • Identify the Top Content in terms of performance (the 20/80 rule)
  • Update your “old” content
  • Remove totally outdated content
  • Optimizing the CRO

Let’s see all this. 👇

Identify your Top Contents in terms of performance (the 20/80 rule)

Pareto’s law applies wonderfully to content. By examining your statistics, you should notice that 20% of your content generates approximately 80% of your results in terms of audience but also in terms of conversions.

You will thus obtain obvious indications on the themes that create a real commitment to your targets.

Research these topics in-depth on Google to identify how you could strengthen your SEO presence.

Detect the subjects, angles, formats that you have not yet explored in these themes and schedule the creation of this new content in your editorial agenda.

Update your “old” content

It is a straightforward technique.

Identify content that is more than six months old and performed well when it was published and/or is still performing well.

Study them and ask yourself if they can be updated.

If so, do so, and repost them on today’s date.

Then promote it again as if it was original content.

Remove totally outdated content.

SEO is often associated with content creation. To optimize its visibility, the first instinct is to publish new ones.

Often overlooked is the impact of those who are already online on overall performance.

This is a shame because when it comes to SEO, the adage “less is more” can be applied wonderfully.

Deleting low-quality content or completely obsolete content can pay off.

This is the object of “content pruning“: detecting content that has a negative impact on the performance of a website and deciding to remove or optimize it.

It is very similar to the pruning of a fruit tree. By removing dead or unnecessary branches, we optimize the liveliness of the tree, which will lead to a better harvest.

The affected pages may have the following characteristics:

  • Completely obsolete content;
  • Content that does not generate traffic and/or engagement;
  • Content with too low a text density;
  • Content that is duplicated or that cannibalizes other content…

Once listed, it is necessary to decide either to withdraw them definitively or to optimize them (Cf.: above).

The choice is not always easy.

It is better to ask if they can be optimized.

Otherwise, outright withdrawal is required.

Be careful, however, not to remove the content in a reckless manner.

Optimizing the CRO

CRO or “Conversion Rate Optimization” is the art of turning your visitors into leads.

A CRO approach is essential and crucial if you want to make profitable your marketing investments (content, Ads, SEO, PR, etc.).

It is also a way of adopting a vision centered on the commercial results of its company, rather than being satisfied to manipulate “vanity metrics.”

The basics of CRO are:

  • Acute knowledge of the needs of Persona
  • Quality content
  • Quality traffic
  • Smart CTAs (Call-To-Action)
  • Effective Popups
  • From A/B Testing

Unfortunately, I do not have time to detail all these aspects here.

But take advantage of the current period to:

  1. Take stock of your conversion rate
  2. Identify the highest-traffic pages and optimize them by adding relevant CTAs.
  3. Take an interest in intelligent Popup solutions such as Wisepops
  4. Take an interest in A/B testing solutions
  5. Identify the premium content that you could offer for download or via registration to retrieve emails.
  6. Optimize your newsletter subscription

All these actions will allow you to identify opportunities to optimize your current system and make it super-efficient.

If you have the time, take advantage of it!

You can then ask yourself the question of creating content specifically related to the current period. 👇

You May Also Like: What is storytelling? Definition and Techniques

Create content adapted to the current period

The world is broadly divided into three castes:

  1. companies that have offers perfectly suited to the current situation
  2. companies that can pivot and create offers adapted to the current situation
  3. companies that cannot shift and have to wait for the crisis to end

Whatever caste you belong to, you must:

  • Avoid creating content that is too “self-centered” and geared towards business generation. Whatever your offer, you must find a way to communicate around it by bringing real value to your audience in order to help them get through this period with as minor “damage” as possible.

For example, we can imagine a SaaS software solution to create Webinars that develop specific content to help companies not very experienced in digital tools but who wish to get started during the crisis. We can even imagine creating free training to help them deliver impactful webinars during the containment phase: “How do you create impactful webinars to stay visible to your customers during containment? – Free training”.

  • Seek to add value to your audience. This value can come through something useful, entertaining, or funny.
  • Entertaining: this is the case of Philipp Klein Herrero, photographer, director, and skier, who gratifies us with this sublime video “Stay Safe. Stay Home”
  • Funny: it’s Burger King who plays the mockery card by mocking his competitor:
  • Or, who teaches us how to make The Whopper or the Big Fish.

A clever presence that allows Burger King to exist intelligently during the crisis.

  • Because yes, maintaining or building a solid brand is a vital issue in reducing risk and probably profiting from the recovery before others.
  • Do not limit yourself to creating content relating to the current crisis. In the example above, our Webinar actor speaks specifically for companies wishing to get started during containment. But he also has every interest in speaking with content that is not only valid during this particular period.

For example, he could create a guide to help traditional businesses go digital: “The Webinar for Dummies: 10 Methods that Work to Go Fast to Webinars and Wow Your Audience”.

This type of content makes it possible to capture leads that can be converted over time.

  • Create content that promotes empathy. We all currently need social connections, while of course, remaining confined.

You can therefore favor content formats that lend themselves more to interactivity:

  • Webinars
  • Q&A
  • Podcasts
  • Videos
  • Free training
  • AMA (Ask Me Anything)
  • Obviously, be very careful not to create content that could encourage confident readers to adopt inappropriate or dangerous behavior.

For example, a business that sells “picnic baskets” might want to create content like: “What are the ten best places to have a picnic when you’re in Paris?”.

Obviously, it’s not very smart… On the

other hands, she could speak on: “How to organize a “Stay Home” picnic using Whatsapp?”

  • If you take specific actions to fight Covid 10: donation, manufacture of gels, masks, securing the jobs of your employees, covering their medical expenses… talk about it, to set an example, but avoid over-doing communicate at the risk of it being experienced as a foul-smelling form of recovery.

In conclusion, create more content than usual (or start creating some).

Be generous: produce content to help your audiences, put business aspects on hold.

Engage audiences through formats that lend themselves to interactivity.

Strengthen your relationships with your customers, collect feedback, discuss with them.

Offer “free offers.

Please feel free to share this article if you found it interesting, as well as participate in the commentary by sharing your own ideas and tips. 👇

Stay Home & Be well!

Yours Sincerely, Devansh Pathak.

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