We live in uncertain times. No duh. I’m not talking about the platitude you’ve heard/seen/read from pretty much every company over the past two months. I’m talking to you—the marketing team members who are probably in the same boat I am. What the hell do we do now? How do you keep content marketing efforts going when you're not sure what to say?
By Saint Patrick’s Day, most of us were scrambling to pivot our strategies and messaging to reflect the situation every single person on the globe was experiencing. No pressure, right? Organizations the world over were seeing disruptions to their business, clients and customers were pulling out, we were all stuck at home with our families or pets. What does a marketer even say to her/his audience at that point?
As April rolled along, so came the bombardment of reassuring messaging from every brand under the sun. We did it, too. It became cliche pretty quickly. Phrases like “we’re all in this together,” “in these uncertain times” and “the new normal” flooded our collective consciousness. I’m not trying to sound cynical or dismissive. Things are weird right now. They suck, even. But if you’ve made it this far into my post, I’m assuming you’re at least interested in my hot take. And that’s this: We get it. Everyone knows what’s going on. Time for some new messaging.
But here’s the other monkey wrench. May’s almost over. Most states have begun the process of opening back up (another cliche that’s gonna get real old). But we’re not quite there yet. So, what do we do? We’re well past the “we’re here for you in these trying times” messaging, but we’re not quite ready for the “return to normal” spiel either. As content marketers, what do we say during this COVID-19 purgatory?
Hey, look! A point to this post is coming!
Content Marketing Should Provide Information and Answer Questions
That’s it. That’s what content marketing is driving at. Show your audience you’ve got the know-how and encourage them to take more action on your site.
You want to return to normal? Get your content marketing back on track to provide value for your audience. Let’s take a step back from everything and remind ourselves what the goal of our marketing strategies actually is. You want to help your audience feel comfortable and excited about buying from your organization, to reassure them that you’re the best option.
Remember, your visitor probably isn’t necessarily looking to buy the first time they land on your site—whether because of a global pandemic, or simply because they’re looking for more information or answers first. But they’re definitely still looking.
For me, it’s been a little bit of both. Here’s a fun little yarn. I still have the first electric bass I ever bought. Like most guitar players, I’d love to tell you what I play, but certain instrument manufacturers are pretty litigious when it comes to mentions of their brand.
Anyways, a while back my bass crapped out on me. I was only getting static out of my amp. I’d just never gotten around to fixing it. With a little extra time on my hands, I decided now would be a great opportunity to get it rocking.
Keep Your Content Marketing in line with the Buyers Journey
Whether you realize or not, you’ve probably followed the Buyers Journey at some point. You’ve had a problem, sought out answers and solutions, and purchased something to help you solve the problem. This might be old-hat for some of you. If that’s the case, feel free to skip to the next section. I won’t be offended.
“My bass isn’t working.”
I googled that very phrase and found some great articles to help me troubleshoot the issue. It turned out that I needed to buy new pickups (the electronics that amplify the sound of the strings) to get the thing working again.
“New pickups will get my bass working again.”
A lot of the sites on which I found articles previously also had plenty of information on pickups. What were the best brands? Did I want active or passive pickups? Pre-soldered or not? You don’t need to be up on your guitar jargon to see where I’m going with this. Through countless blog posts and articles, I settled on the kind of pickups I wanted to buy. The important thing to note is that I actively looked for recent articles. I wanted fresh insights. Sure, most of these guitar companies had information about COVID-19, but it wasn’t the focal point. These guitar retailers were more concerned with providing me solid information and answering my questions.
“I’m going to buy this set of pickups to get my bass working again.”
My consideration stage research helped me figure out the exact brand and model I needed to get my old bass rocking out once again. I still had most of the articles bookmarked and started on those sites when it came time to do some pricing. Ultimately landing on the site that offered me the best information and the best price.
That item stayed in my wishlist on the company’s site for a few weeks. I’ve been a little more frugal than normal and I wasn’t sure I wanted to pull the trigger. Over those few weeks, I got a couple of emails from the company. Nothing crazy, just some good information about bass guitar maintenance and other products to consider based on my browsing. One even had a content offer with a title that was something like “The Ultimate Guide to Bass Guitar.” They were keeping themselves fresh, trying to provide me with more information and answers so that I felt totally comfortable buying from them.
I eventually bought the pickups and used another one of the site’s resources to help me figure out how to install them. My Jazz Bass sounds as great as it did when I was 16.
They site I wound buying the pickups from had content for each stage of the Buyers Journey I pursued the rest of their articles. Sure, one or two about COVID-19, but then it was back to business—helping musicians make informed choices about their instruments and gear.
This little drama I’ve laid out is pretty boiler-plate in terms of what content marketing is and should accomplish. But that’s kind of the point. I didn’t need any information about COVID-19 to make a better purchase. I wanted information about my bass guitar and what I could do to fix it. I got it. Your audience still has questions. You still have answers.
“Being There” for Your Audience: Show, Don’t Tell
It’s one of the first rules every writer learns. Throughout the coronavirus saga, we’ve experienced a seemingly infinite number of companies, brands, and organizations assuring us that they are “there for us.” Ok, cool. What does that mean? “Hey car company, can you drive me to the grocery store?” “Yo fast food chain, let me borrow $50.”
Sure, empathy is great, but truly “being there” for your audience comes from providing good information and answers when they’re needed. This is especially true right now. Your online presence has never mattered more than it does today. Maybe you’ve seen a decrease in leads or sales, but that doesn’t mean your audience has forgotten about you.
Most of us are still working remotely, trying to keep things on an even keel. We’re all pining for that day we can put this mess behind us. We’re getting there, but it’ll take a bit longer. Don’t roll over on your online marketing efforts, lean into them. Remind your audience you’re there for them with great resources and information. Remind them that you’re the best option for that time when they’re ready to buy again.
Get back to your Buyers Journey and show your audience you’re really there for them.
ProFromGo is Here, There and Everywhere When You Need Content Marketing Help
Oh, make sure you end all of your great content marketing efforts with a compelling call to action (CTA). If you’re on our blog, I assume you might be looking for marketing services. I’m not trying to convince you to sign on the dotted line after reading a blog post, but I’d absolutely love for you to download this nifty checklist I worked really hard on. It’s about redesigning your website to make sure all of that great content you’re creating has a beautiful place to live. Just hit the link below.