In an age where a vast majority of our communications are now virtual, your online presence is a highly valuable pathway to potential clients. Fresh and inspiring content marketing captures prospects’ attention, which can be a great first step in your sales funnel. Your overall strategy is really the key to effective content marketing.
Your content marketing strategy becomes especially critical in times of crisis. As uncertainty and fear drive people to seek answers, they will naturally look to you as an industry leader. The content you are putting out can either help them or turn them away, so you need to be careful about the visuals and messaging that represent your brand.
As we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic one day at a time, it is a good time to reevaluate your content marketing efforts to ensure you are hitting the mark and winning over new followers (and clients!) through your brand’s authenticity. Here are four tips:
- Maintain an active online presence.
Do you know those brand accounts on Instagram that you can just tell are highly curated? The captions are almost too perfect, the photos all look the same, and you are starting to wonder whether a real human is being behind the page. This is a good example of what not to do.
People are drawn to other people. Sure, we all love beautiful aesthetics and cheeky captions, but we tend to relate to these things because of the overall identity we've assigned to it. The same goes for your brand: Your followers should be able to see your content and think of you as the face behind your company. All this takes is jumping on Facebook or Instagram Stories, sharing behind-the-scenes selfies, and getting candid in your captions from time to time. If you expect people to trust your brand, you need them to like you first.
Having an active presence also means being responsive and engaging with your followers. Follow them back, like their posts, and reply to their comments. Keep it light and friendly, allowing your personality to infuse your messaging.
- Run the “tasteful and tactful” test.
This is something I do for every piece of content that goes out, whether it is a lengthy blog post, a weekly newsletter, or a brief Instagram post--and I recommend everybody do the same.
Due to COVID-19, many small businesses are struggling to stay afloat, couples are having to postpone their weddings, and people everywhere are facing the impacts of the virus in one way or another. People are hurting, and your content needs to help with the healing process; otherwise, it can come across as callous and insensitive. That bouquet toss photo may seem harmless to you, but it can be a jarring juxtaposition against feeds filled with social distancing guidelines. Be smart and, when in doubt, err on the side of sensitivity.
- Become an informational hub.
If nothing else, you can use your online platforms to communicate factual information from trusted resources.
When the world has come to a standstill, perhaps you feel uncomfortable posting photos of smiling couples and highly curated tablescapes. Even so, you can remain active by curating relevant content to help your audience.
Articles about postponing a wedding, tips for making face masks, links to at-home yoga videos, and sources for disaster funding are all great examples of useful content that will help your followers. Look to organizations such as the CDC, WHO, hospitals, universities and your local government for news and updates that you can share with your audience.
- Update your Frequently Asked Questions.
Many of us have an FAQ section on our website that gives people a one-stop resource for common questions concerning your business. Consider following this formula and designing a page for COVID-19 FAQs that addresses some of your clients’ top concerns. This could include anything from your updated cancellation policy to local or statewide mandates that relate to your business. This dedicated approach will show couples that you are proactive and thoughtful about their response to the crisis and how you can support them.
Of course, all of these strategies can be used beyond the context of a global pandemic, so keep them in your back pocket and revisit them as needed. Perhaps rebranding will call for a new FAQ page, or you have relevant information to share within your community regularly. One thing is for sure: the “tasteful and tactful” test is always applicable.
Developing an authentic online presence that engages your followers is about presenting yourself as an industry expert, but also embracing all of the characteristics that make you unique. To the average person, you might measure up to competitors on paper, so your brand’s personality and connection with clients is what will make all the difference in setting you apart.
Kinsey Roberts is marketing coach for wedding pros, co-owner of Vista View Events and a Certified Wedding Planner through The Bridal Society. She is dedicated to helping women dominate their market and diversify their revenue streams through She Creates Business, a podcast, online shop and marketing agency. You can also catch her as a co-host on The Venue Podcast, which helps venue owners navigate trials and tribulations within the event industry.