Content marketing vs Covid-19.
Content marketing, we’ve been refining it for years. But here we are in 2021 and it might just be the corporate communicator’s best weapon in the economic fight against Covid-19.
We know Coronavirus has fundamentally changed the way we do business. Every strategy, tactic and day-to-day activity has been affected.
With conferences and live events cancelled due to ongoing restrictions, the ways in which we usually connect with our networks, build trust with stakeholders and increase capacity across sectors, have been uprooted.
A recent survey suggests that even once restrictions allow for large-scale events, we’re likely to see slow growth in attendance, with only one in eight Australians saying they would feel comfortable going to a big event – corporate or otherwise.
How is the CEO meant to open doors? How are political leaders to influence the public agenda?
It can feel like opportunities are slipping through our hands, uncontrollably. But it’s possible – and necessary – for businesses to maintain their corporate communications through this crisis, albeit in alternative formats.
Websites and social media are now the only way to establish thought leadership, to establish unique branded experiences, and to authentically connect with audiences.
A new era of communication.
Businesses are in a new era of communication. As leaders adapt, they must review the key goals of their corporate communications, and understand precisely what new challenges are attached to them.
- Leadership and innovation. Businesses are trusted more than other institutions to ‘get things done’, especially in moments of social and environmental upheaval. How can leaders continue to lead and innovate for change in their sector, without the traditional platforms?
- Networking, collaboration and competitive benchmarking. For delegates, conferences are an opportunity to make new connections, and learn how their business could do better – commercially, socially and environmentally. How can we facilitate knowledge-sharing and meaningful connection in the digital realm?
- Training and professional development. Social distancing requirements have impacted the training events and sessions typically delivered by peak bodies to their memberships. How can we leverage and promote the benefits of online training, so our members continue to receive value for their investment?
By understanding (and overcoming) these challenges, organisations can strengthen their stakeholder relationships, and may even advance their standing through this crisis.
Virtually, everything is possible.
Budgets are tighter than ever, and it seems many of us are working a whole lot harder for a whole lot less. By working in content cycles, and repurposing content across channels, businesses can grow their corporate communications activity without draining precious time and money.
It means defining one idea or offering that’s meaningful to the target audience (because we’ve all switched off from the generic Covid-19 emails), and repurposing that content across channels to reach new and broader audiences.
A webinar becomes a blog; a blog becomes a set of infographics for social and eDMs; and from this, comes a package of materials and narrative hooks that can be pitched to news media.
A few examples show how it can be done:
- The Clean Energy Council (CEC) has moved quickly to engage its stakeholders on their vision for ‘A Clean Recovery’ in a post-Covid-19 world. Using existing elements of their advocacy, the CEC created a framework, a digital platform and a suite of resources for its partners and stakeholders to make the most of this moment, and collectively push for a clean energy future.
- Victorian Law Foundation has moved its annual Law Week festival online in 2020, to educate the community about their rights, responsibilities and how the justice system works. This digital-first approach means presenters can easily re-purpose content for their own channels – potentially reaching more people than in previous years, and better fulfilling the festival’s purpose to deliver accessible information about the law.
- Ellis Jones has moved everything online over the past two months – delivering webinars, training and workshops for our company, collaborators, clients and their customers. Not only is it easier to repurpose content, we’ve actually uncovered deeper insights about our audiences and what they want. With digital tools, we can field every question, review every reaction, and use this data to improve the way we create, re-shape and share content.
Although we’re several months into the ‘new normal’, many people still feel shy about moving their comms online. But, remember, almost anything is possible in a digital world. And people will stand by the organisations – the peak bodies, advocacy groups and industry leaders – that acted swiftly and smartly to support their customers, advocate for their sector, and deliver something of value in a time of crisis.
Adapt your corporate communications for the digital space. With no conferences, industry forums and limited media, the only fight worth having is content marketing vs Covid-19.