Have you ever gotten an email that starts with, “Hello Tish!” but that’s not your name?
It’s just one example of content marketing gone wrong. You’ve probably seen the results of inappropriate content marketing in your own inbox and social channels.
- Messaging that seems too sales-oriented or untimely
- Email greetings with the wrong names
- Generic product pitches to anyone but you
- Spammy, scammy, opportunistic noise
We know that you work hard to make content relevant to your audience. In fact, during a crisis or major shift in the market, you absolutely have to. Smart professionals like you know when to step back, turn off the automated campaigns, pause digital ads and stop pre-scheduled social calendars…and think.
What needs to change now that things have changed?
Well, Tish, let’s dish on these very real challenges:
- Anticipated marketing is canceled
- Staffing and budgeting are reallocated
- Planning is happening in quick bursts of real time
We’re all for digital marketing automation at Ingenuity, but real time marketing requires a human to intervene on quality control and think about the other humans receiving your content…especially when those humans are living with evolving stress and maybe even decision paralysis.
Recognize the Team and Regroup
Our consultants often participate in telemeetings and video calls with other professional service providers and marketers within accounting and financial services, engineering and associations. Each industry has its own unique challenges, but the one thing these professionals all appreciate is an acknowledgement that they are doing the best they can under strange or changing circumstances.
That’s what crisis communications is about. It’s not normal. It’s rarely fun except for certain adrenaline junkies…and even they need a nap sometimes. In crisis, most people seek a place of calm.
Therefore, the healthiest thing to do in a rapidly changing market is to focus on what you can do.
Go back to the drawing board. Look at your current content assets and your helpful outsourced relationships. Look at your calendar and team. Identify your role going forward in communications and content marketing. Are you best at:
Research and analysis?
Writing and editing?
Strategy and logistics?
Use those strengths to establish daily, then weekly, then biweekly, then monthly, then quarterly priorities until the crisis eases. But realize that an annual marketing plan may no longer fit your market or even the world. And while content marketing can be automated for efficiency, it needs surveillance and measurement monthly to stay relevant.
To help you regain a foothold, here are tips for both marketers and business developers to launch content marketing and communications activities with renewed energy and enthusiasm…in any environment or crisis.
For Content Marketing and Communications
- Manage the message (go personal and empathetic, but avoid trite phrases)
- Establish priorities (mobilize teams based on strengths)
- Anticipate short-term and long-term (weekly triage; quarterly review of tactics)
- Ideate on alternatives (external and internal communications)
- Stay on top of trends (what will the future look like?)
- Strengthen media relationships (media training anyone?)
- Build in efficient processes (e.g. online networking tutorials)
- Acknowledge and publicize early wins (to build influence and team motivation)
- Share stories of client success (like, always)
For Professional Business Development
- Reach out (current and past clients/prospects)
- Oversee web queries (direct queries to your email)
- Help your referral sources (clarify your prospects and get clarity on theirs)
- Work closely with marketing (triage and quarterly planning)
- Identify new sources of revenue (what is emerging for top line?)
- Send handwritten notes (appreciate and connect)
- Stay connected to trade groups (serve and attend calls)
- Social network (increase connections; send messages; endorsements)
Professionals who do this now are the best equipped to manage a long game of change for their organizations. They will also be viewed as valuable and influential — something that every professional executive team needs to recognize now about their marketing.
Don’t stop marketing! Prepare refreshed and relevant marketing, and then act when the time is right.
And for Pete’s sake, update and segment your email lists so that Pete isn’t called Tish anymore. Respect the prospect.