Date of Publication: 15 May, 2020

Best Tips for Content Marketing during COVID19 Crisis

It is very difficult process to create brand content during this global pandemic. Brands are now forced to rethink their content strategy based
on their customers’ priority to understand what is worth communicating, while doing the balancing act of adhering to marketing goals with customer empathy.

Most businesses are sticking to a similar message making it difficult for audiences to differentiate between brands.

This blog explores how you could strategize your content marketing so that your audience can differentiate your brand from the pool.

Anirban Guha

Anirban Guha

Digital Marketing Expert | Media Strategist | Entrepreneur

Table of Contents


It now a common knowledge, both brand and consumers agree that,  user generated content (UGC) are more impactful than branded content. UGC not only engages consumers more effectively but also help you save on resources and time required to generate quality content by tapping into your community for ideas and pieces.

It is funny that we say “content is the King” yet it pinches us when we pay for content.  UGC solves that.

It is extremely important for you to determine how you can engage with your audience, to inspire them not only to share your content but to create UGC.

As as idea, if you are a real estate company struggling to sustain during this conundrum ask your existing customers to sent pics of their favorite lazy corner in their apartment, sending them personal hygiene hampers as rewards. You can create branded content based on these pics.

#2 Video as Content

Today we all are engaged with videos one way or the other. Video today is a critical asset in every stage of the customer journey. Videos may not help you sell but people make self discoveries through video – A key influencer in the buying process.

Well, the idea of creating video content send shivers down many a spine. But now you need not have to be a pro to create a great video. Fortunately, there are easy tools available.

List of easy Video making tools:

#3 B2C Behaviors Continue Influencing B2B Expectations

With the growth of eCommerce and now the COVID19 lockdown, we have become adept to shopping and paying bills online. This trend is expected to keep rising even after the the lockdown ends. People have found their convenience. This particular behavior have influenced many to shift to purchasing online even with B2B products and services.

Did you know, according to Accenture, 61% of all B2B transactions start online, and 51% of customers turn to social media to do initial research?

Hence, even for B2B businesses it would be every important to create online and social touch-points to keep an edge over the competition.

#4 Content Through Messaging Apps

Some of us might find it extremely irritating receiving loads of ‘Good Mornings’ on Whats App and Messenger very day. Well, with all the crap that circulates around from ‘share for benefit’ to ‘fake news’, social messaging apps have created a virtual university of themselves.

Not all content are useless, we tend to read content that is appealing at first and add value or find interesting as we read along. We even join community based  groups to share and read contents that are relevant to us. Businesses and brands could take advantages creating such communities to develope advocates. It also will give you to access UGC.

#5 AR and VR

I have mentioned the impact that AR & VR could have on your audiences in a previous blog post, Scope of Online Branding During Lockdown.

Use of Augmented Reality and Virtual reality in your content has the potential to increase engagement. Give them, your audience, a feeling of what it is to be outside, help them enjoy the beauty of the outside world.

#6 Create Structured and Quality Content

Gone are the days when random content worked. The number do not matter anymore. Quality does.

Today there are millions of content created everyday. Most of these contents are either too stereotype or lack quality. People today want to explore but they want quality.

Sticking to a channel helps. Audience get tuned and adapt to a specific type of content from you. Trans-media planning becomes a very important cog in the wheel. Combine and remix – each media telling a story by itself as it ladders up to a collective narrative.

Do not try to reinvent the wheel every time. Try creating less content, but make each piece of content you create more effective. The most effective marketing campaigns and advertisements are experienced over a period of time. Give them repeated exposure of the content in channels of their choice at well timed intervals.

Mapping the customer journey is very important. Each stage should help you plan which content they should be exposed to. If planned well the result would be mind boggling. For example, when you have just fallen in love and you get to listen to a beautiful love song.

#1 Wait & Watch

Don’t just wait be watchful. It is a very new phase and no marketeer can vouch for a repertoire to handle the crisis at hand. It is very important to understand how others are playing the game. Analyze their strategy like a bowler trying to work out a batsmen. Find what is working for them and why. Check out how some brands are being able to stand out while others are getting lost in the crowd.

It is not ideal to lay idle at this point in time. You need to be with your client. Know how best and where you can get their attention. Ones you have got your plans ready start exploring opportunities.

#2 Focus on New Opportunities

It is easy to become pessimistic at this point in time. But remember with every challenge there is a new opportunity. For example, with the rise of WFH, people are saving time on commuting while others are at home figuring out what to do next. There might be ‘infotainment content that your brand could put out — it’s still contextually relevant to your business, and at the same time, it’s entertaining in some way.

It is a very good time to engage with your customers to understand how they feel about your brand and how they would like to associate after the dust settles. Create contents to keep them engaged or try initiatives to generate content from them. But never be a stereotype. Don’t just focus on the COVID crisis and lockdown. Get your audience to forget the crisis and get engaged with you.

#3 Add Value to Your Communication

People are flooded with messages likes “Stay at Home” “Practice Social Distancing” etc. Don’t be a ‘me too’ here. You will get lost, you will get over looked.

Instead have contents that can add value to your client. Dig into how does this current environment change life for your customer and where can you be of assistance. Note, content marketing initiatives don’t necessarily have to be framed by the product solutions that a business offers.

#4 Balance Optimism and Sensitivity Your Communication

Acknowledge that something’s going on, don’t be oblivious, because then your customers ain’t not going to trust you anymore. It is not necessary to dwell on the negatives but you must understand the fact that world has changed and it will never be the same.

To understand whether something is going to land right, it is important to take opinions from people within your company across levels. You can try it with your existing clientele to understand what they have got to say. Note, both the health and economic impacts of COVID-19 are likely
to have affected some of the members of your own organization or their family members. Taking their experiences into account can help
you find the right tone.

However, mistakes are bound to happen. Sometimes you may accidentally say something that is out of tone and likely to get bad reactions or get trolled.  A classic example is the “Wuhan se yahan le aaye!” ad by Amul. Happens with everyone. Try listening the criticism with open mind, own the mistake, apologize for it and move on. Never just sit on it.

#5 Publish Through Shareable Content

You need to understand what people like. Best way is to search the social media for content. Try understanding why some are successful in creating engagement.

For example, people searching about healthcare facilities might want to see more images and videos than text content. So you should adjust your content marketing strategy according to it.

Some ideas for shareable content that are suitable for most niches are:

  • Top 10 lists…
  • Best of lists…
  • How to …
  • 10 ways to…
  • Most popular ways…
  • Best tips for…

#6 Create Content that Differentiates You from Your Competitors

Content marketing helps you get traffic to you portal which contributes to sales. But the thing is you are not alone doing it. So if you want to perform good you have to outplay your competition.

Sometimes, it is important to be different from the rest to be successful. For example, in Bollywood you have the Super Khans led like Shahrukh Khan, yet late Irrfan Khan had created a niche for himself, and everybody across loved his work and he had become successful in Hollywood as well.

Before creating your content search Google, Facebook, twitter, to understand what type of content comes in the top positions.

Analyze things like content length, content type, quality and format and try to make your content, though not a stereotype, yet, better in all aspects. Remember, content that is not better than what is already ranking in Google, has no chances of getting high rankings.

So, better spend more time and make the content better, than to run in a competition to publish more content.

#7 Optimize Your Content for Conversion albeit Long Term

To make money from content marketing, you first need to spend money and time.

To have conversion you need a decent amount of traffic visiting your website and a good number of followers on your social pages. Then with content marketing you can try and turn those visitors into customers. It is easier said than done though. You need to invest time and money for the traffic to flow. Eventually, you will get more visits and gradually these will create enough business so that you make profit from content marketing.

If you need faster results you can start with PPC Campaigns, but, if you want consistent results that can generate a long term sustainable return then invest in content marketing.

Hiring a professional company is always your best options for not just getting better results but also to give you more time to concentrate on what you are doing best.

#8 Try Creating a Good Story with a Data Driven Concept

It is a common mistake that many make, to sacrifice the art of storytelling in pursuit of being data-driven. People find interest in your story if it is well written and in tune. Try injecting storytelling into your data-driven content.

Original research is one of the easiest way to drive social engagement, press, and backlinks.

#9 Invest in Smarter Distribution

If you have content you need people to know about it. Paid media could be your friend when you look to build an audience for your content. Particularly, Facebook Ads remain one of the most cost-effective content distribution channels.

Believe me if you have a good content, paid distribution has a tremendous trickle-down effect. It helps you generate more email subscribers and social followers, and can even boost up you SEO. This is called the compounding returns of content.

#10 Boost up Your SEO

A content can give you sustained result when it ranks up on the SERP.

A good keyword and trend analysis can help you create a SEO friendly content. Remember, the dynamics of SEO is fast changing with every new algorithm. As I have stated before that, if your content is not better than what is already ranking in Google, it has no chances of getting high rankings.

Spend time enriching the content with creative internal links and quality anchor text. Use alt text for images and be precised how you best use your header tags. Your focused keyword must be in the first 10% of the content. You can use the skyscraper technique to have great backlinks. Besides, the loading time should be as least as possible (TTFB should not exceed 600ms). With mobile access counting for about 65-70% of internet usage, you cannot afford a loading time beyond 3secs for the device.

Have a professional team working with you on SEO. It helps.

Search Data and Trend Analysis coupled with CRM Data could help you understand if there is an increase in demand of certain types of product and services.

For businesses whose services or products do not explicitly lend themselves to the crisis, opportunities can still be found by exploring the thoughts, emotions, and challenges that their audiences may be facing right now.

Content that provides value will find takers. So continue to create, based on how you can best leverage a situation (Don not be exploitative) . Here’s how you can ensure that happens:

  • Understand the real importance of content in your marketing strategy by asking yourself some hard questions.
  • Identify the trends that are reshaping the way we communicate and do business, and then leverage them to create content.
  • Your brand’s choices matter. Use content to position yourself as an empathetic, helpful, and supportive brand.

The answer to this question is not simple. The best way could be to employ the estimation and elimination strategy.


# Step 1> Lay down your Pre-COVID Content Marketing Strategy

You must have had a content marketing strategy that may have worked for you in the pre-COVID era. Try to lay down every details about what you did and what KPIs worked for you. Check CTRs, SERP Rankings, Traffic, Conversions, Platforms in social media that have worked for you aligned with you business goals.

# Step 2> Analyze the Data - Understand the New KPIs

Try putting more emphasis on qualitative data than quantitative right now. If you check quantitative data you might not be able to arrive at any conclusion. Switching to more qualitative measures of engagement to monitor whether your contents are being received positively or negatively, will help you to adapt on the fly. If your analysis tells you that KPIs have shifted, you have to set new expectations for your business goals. 

# Step 3> Elimination & Re- Strategizing

Setting & communicating the appropriate KPIs helps everyone understand what you are trying to focus on, which will increase the odds of success. All you have to do now is eliminate everything that doesn’t align with your business goals.

If you find your audience to be not as responsive and suffering, you will have to invest some of your content budget in addressing their current needs, spending time no matter how painful it may be to re-work your strategy.

On the other hand if your audience isn’t facing much hardship, rather, burdened with loads of idle time, start talking about current events in-line with your brand. Find ways how you can provide them an opportunity to engage with your content. You can also consider to continue producing content as you normally would.

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