As content marketers, we know firsthand how important it is to possess a certain level of flexibility to remain relevant. The landscape of fresh content is over-saturated and ever-evolving, so changing, upcycling, or scrapping content regularly is a part of the job. Luckily, this means we are well equipped to adjust our strategy in times of crisis.
The COVID-19 pandemic has called for unprecedented shifts in every aspect of our lives, including the content strategies we planned before all of this went down. It’s easy to feel unprepared and overwhelmed, but I’m here to remind you: you got this. To help you get started, I’m going to provide you with a refresher and some helpful tips on how to rework your content around a changing news cycle.
Here are five ways to keep your content strategy flexible so you’ll be ready when the world pivots.
1.) Closely monitor the news and evaluate how it affects your brand and your audience
Monitoring the news is an important part of any content strategy, but during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s become essential to evaluate how the news affects your brand and audience. Content Marketing Institute recently published a post on how to determine whether or not to disrupt your content based on the news. In it, they offer a two-question scoring system that helps you decide:
- On a scale of 0 to 10, how much does this news relate to our company/client?
- On a scale of 0 to 10, how much does this news affect our target audience?
For example, if you had a piece of content written that details the best ways to maximize productivity on your commute to work, chances are that you’ll need to rethink it. Even if it scores highly as it relates to your company or client, it scores very low when it comes to how it affects your audience since most people are either working from home or not working at all. Your reader might find this content out-of-touch and disingenuous, which will result in them not trusting your company or client both now and in the future.
In any case, once you’ve determined you need to alter your content calendar, it’s time to talk strategy. Below, I go into more detail surrounding each tactic we’ve employed at Go Fish over the last several weeks.
2.) Re-purpose and pivot existing content
Does COVID-19 mean you have to totally scrap your content calendar? Not exactly. Instead, approach your calendar with a new lens and ask yourself, from an outsider’s perspective, whether or not your concept is still relevant or useful. Don’t get discouraged if you end up highlighting many items that need to be reworked. Some might only require minor tweaking.
Unprecedented times call for unprecedented flexibility. The good news is that you have a few options. Don’t be afraid to change up blog copy, rework graphics, or add data points to make something pitch-worthy in the current climate. Additionally, this is a great time to audit your existing content. Figure out if you have assets on your site that are under-utilized, and if they are, give them a facelift.
If you do find that some of your calendar has become completely obsolete, however, be transparent to your clients and to the larger team, and come in with a backup plan that you can turn around quickly.
3.) Identify and fill content gaps around “the new normal”
Now that you’ve combed through your content calendar and identified potentially problematic ideas, and adjusted them accordingly, you’re free to look at the changing media landscape with fresh eyes. With this new perspective, it’s time for you to see if there are any content gaps unfolding that you or your clients could fill.
Where COVID-19 is concerned, there are many gaps that need filling, from how people are dealing with “the new normal” way of life, to how to best prepare your business for working remotely. To get your client into the conversation, determine what they are an expert in and craft a message around how they can help ease people or companies into their “new normal”. Use this to guide your new strategy.
For this type of content, it’s important to craft your messaging AROUND the elephant in the room. Don’t try to force relevancy; only create quality content that is genuinely needed in the community you are a part of. And remember the long run. There is also room to brainstorm the type of content that you believe will be relevant after the current news cycle.
Don’t try to force relevancy; only create quality content that is genuinely needed in the community you are a part of.
4.) Offer unique data to the conversation
Much of our content at Go Fish Digital is data-driven. This provides us with the opportunity to contribute to conversations happening in our client’s niches and helps us steer those conversations as well. When the world is disrupted, people are looking for answers, and they want to feel connected to how others are coping. But in our ever-tightening news cycle, data doesn’t become available that quickly.
During this time, it’s important to think of ways you can offer your data and expertise to the public. Look through your internal data to find insights that may be useful for local journalists or public figures. Or, create your own unique datasets for public use by designing and conducting a survey whose insights will be massively helpful during this far-reaching event.
There are plenty of opportunities here to become an industry thought leader in a new era of online marketing. It may require working overtime to deliver, but with the dedication of a hard-working, savvy team, you could create stellar content that will serve your audience extremely well.
5.) Overcommunicate with clients and your team
Now more than ever, communication is key. In reevaluating your content strategy, you’ll want to be exceptionally clear with both your clients and your team to ensure that you have the best chance of success. Not only will it bolster the flexibility required for content shifts, but it will also establish an extra layer of trust. Your clients want to see you take the reins and be proactive in the face of a major shift, so come in with a plan, and be confident in your recommendations.
Meeting internally to strategize before your clients even start to wonder about shifting their content will go a long way toward both achieving results and preventing mounting anxiety for your clients. If you don’t have the time to draft up a strategy as quickly as you’d like, acknowledge that re-strategizing is on your radar and reassure them that you’re actively developing a plan. It’s all about consistent communication and being forthright with their business in mind.
When the world pivots, content pivots too. Your strategy should reflect the world around you, not stand in opposition to it. With a flexible content strategy, you’ll avoid appearing tone-deaf to the media and to your customers, and you stand a good chance of contributing something unique and positive to the conversation. It’s not always easy, but with these strategies in mind, hopefully, you’ll find adjusting your content strategy somewhat easier.
Alex Gaines, Audrey Small, Devon Cameron, Josh Koebert, Rebecca Wright, and Emily Berry contributed to this post.