It’s clear that we’re seeing an unprecedented situation across the world. The Coronavirus has caused panic and fear across most countries, with people being compelled to stay indoors to stop the juggernaut that is COVID-19. At the time of writing this article, the virus has infected close to 800 thousand people across the world, and nearly 38 thousand people have died as a result. While first-world countries struggle with getting basic medical facilities in place, developing economies like India have added woes as migrant workers and daily wage labour struggle to make ends meet.
The impact on the economy is no less dire. According to the latest UN trade report, the global economy (with the likely exception of India and China) will go into a recession, and recovery could take a while.
As the outside world becomes increasingly chaotic, people are shifting their focus online. For many people, the internet is now their only connection to human civilization. Which means that they’re consuming content more than ever before, and in a way that’s much more involved.
In some ways, this is a golden opportunity for brands looking to reach their target audience. Getting strong, value-adding content out there can really help you build long-term brand awareness and loyalty. But before you dive right in, here’s a list of things you should keep in mind:
First things first — be mindful of the situation
The first thing you need to remember is that is global pandemic is like nothing the world has seen before. People who are locked down in their homes, away from their workplace, social life and all forms of human contact are going through severe mental and emotional journeys. Any content that you put out there as a brand at this time needs to be mindful of this.
This is not the time to put out click-bait articles or fear-mongering videos about the virus and its fallout. It’s also the time to be especially careful that every piece of content you put out there has been thoroughly fact-checked and is completely accurate. If you end up content creation that adds to the general fear and panic, it may result in some views and engagement in the short run, but you will end up losing a lot of goodwill in the long term.
Take a medium-term view — relate the situation to your brand and industry
There is enough news about Coronavirus. There’s also enough information about the disease and how to prevent it. It’s also true that it seems to be almost the only kind of content that people are consuming these days. So how do you relate the situation to your brand to create content that adds value and also comes from a helpful and authentic place?
There are some companies for whom this is easier than others. Healthcare platforms, work-from-home software, etc can easily build content that is relevant to people’s everyday lives. But what if you don’t belong to this category?
What you need to remember is that everyone is grappling with the economic fallout of this situation, wondering how it’s going to impact different industries and businesses. So this is a great time to build thought leadership content — especially if you’re a B2B brand. Getting opinions from experts within the company and the industry to generate insights about your industry and where it will go as a result of this unprecedented pandemic will undoubtedly generate a lot of interest.
The best part about this kind of far-sighted content is that it can stand the test of time, making it semi-evergreen. You would have to keep updating the content, of course, as the situation evolves. With the right kind of insight and analysis, chances are people will start looking to your content as the ultimate word on the situation within your industry.
What about ordinary content?
This is a question a lot of brands are asking themselves. At what point do we move on from the Coronavirus and start talking business as usual? This is a slippery slope. On the one hand, you don’t want to be insensitive at a time like this, ignoring the fact that the ground realities have shifted so significantly. On the other hand, you want to move beyond this one topic which is already garnering so much fear and panic.
A good way of approaching this is to publish non-Corona-related content but to begin any such content by acknowledging the situation first. This will show people that you’re not producing content in a bubble, but that you’re mindfully moving on to discussing other topics that will add value or provide entertainment.
This is the time when fear and anxiety are at an all-time high. There’s tremendous uncertainty not only about the present and the immediate future but also about the long-term picture. The best way to build brand loyalty at this juncture is to content creation that respects the enormity of our situation while also adding value to the lives of our audience at this time.