Due to the ongoing economic crisis, businesses have made and will make cuts in spending on a list of items, including marketing and advertising, and will allocate all effort to improving the revenue and maximizing profits. Having acknowledged this situation, CREATIO would like to gather and share a few tips that are simple yet practical and ready-to-use that every company can follow right now, using internal resources own workforce without losing its competitive advantage during COVID-19:
A CHECKLIST OF ACTIVITIES THAT BUSINESS CAN DO DURING COVID-19
(extracted from ‘Corona Marketing’ by Joe Pullizzi, April 2020)
Businesses do not always need to outsource with an extremely expensive price when there are free-of-charge marketing tools. Here are 13 moves that enterprises can spearhead to self-promote their brands, winning their pioneering positions in the market:
- Take a Fresh Look at Your Goals
- Focus on Finding the Believers
- Update Your Content Mission
- Revisit Your Content Tilt
- Develop an Internal Marketing Initiative
- Inject Life into Your Email Newsletter
- Do One Great Thing
- Steal Audience
- Leverage the Best Talent in the World
- Prepare for Multiple Lines of Revenue
- Get Ready for an Asset Sale
- Start Killing Social Channels
- Once in the Clear, Diversify Like Crazy
CREATIO believes that a successful brand marketing campaign should start with an effective content marketing plan.
1. Take a Fresh Look at Your Goals
The needs and wants of the audiences you communicate with have been altered. We need to adapt for that in our strategies. Plus, let’s be honest, we are all dealing with less resources.
To reframe the project, ask yourself a series of questions: broad and specific marketing questions, describe your audience, content questions, distribution and measurement. Answering the above will uncover the opportunities and gaps in your overall plan.
Now, you can take this information and create a business statement, which will serve as an elevator pitch for the overall project, the kind of one-page report with a solid business plan and hypothesis for moving forward with this opportunity.
It’s important to keep this to one page or less. And remember, this plan is not set in stone...it can and should be updated regularly. Review it with your team often.
2. Focus on Finding the Believers
During a time of financial crisis, focus on the believers. There is a time for broad communication and content efforts, but this isn’t one of them. Now is the time to focus on your “true believers” within your audience. Questions to reviewed are:
- Within the audience you are targeting, is there a segment that could be more profitable than the others?
- Is your marketing effort contingent on radically changing people’s minds and behaviors? That’s extremely difficult in this environment. You may want to recalibrate and focus on rounding up those already interested in what you have to say.
During an economic crisis like this, it’s always best to focus on a smaller, more profitable audience group. When the economy begins to grow again in the future, you can absolutely broaden your audience base.
3. Update Your Content Mission
To find your mission, you first need to start with your sweet spot.
In the intersection of those two sits your sweet spot. Once you’ve fleshed this out, you can develop the actual mission statement.
The Formula: Our company (or content initiative) is where [audience X] finds [content Y] for [benefit Z].
Digital Photography School:
A website with simple tips to help digital camera owners get the most out of their cameras.
Home Made Simple (Procter & Gamble):
Consistent how-to information to help people have more quality time with their families.
Indium’s Soldering Blog:
Help engineers answer their most challenging industrial soldering questions.
4. Revisit Your Content Tilt
The content tilt is that area of little to no competition on the web that actually gives you a fighter’s chance of breaking through and becoming relevant. It’s what makes you not only different but so different that you get noticed by your audience. That audience rewards you with their attention.
Andrew Davis, author of Town Inc., calls the content tilt “the hook” – a simple twist on a familiar theme designed to entrap or ensnare your audience. Without “tilting” your content just enough to truly have a different story to tell, your content most likely will fade and be forgotten.
Using tools like Google Trends, you can uncover breakout terms for which there are few instructional resources.
5. Develop an Internal Marketing Initiative
Don Schultz, the father of integrated marketing, says that “internal marketing is more vital than external marketing. Customer-facing employees, not external marketing, drive customer acquisition and retention.” This is true right now more than ever.
There are two key reasons to invest in an internal communications initiative. First, as Mr. Schultz says, employees are critically important for your marketing. Business is going to be harder to come by, and you need employees to be positive and motivated. Second, it’s in times like this that content marketing projects get killed for no other reason than companies are cutting back. Even if your content marketing program is working beautifully, or any part of your marketing for that matter, there is a strong possibility it will get cut.
Joe Chernov, vice president of marketing at Pendo.io, breaks down three considerations to think a bit differently about your content marketing goals as they pertain to internal marketing: 1, Content can give you a recruiting edge, 2, Content can help boost company morale and 3, Content opens up lines of communication.
Remarkable content doesn’t just get customers and prospects talking; it also gets your internal clients buzzing. It also provides you with an opportunity to recruit advocates and participants.
6. Inject Life into Your Email Newsletter
All subscribers/followers are not created equal. As you analyze your digital footprint and begin to build your audience, if you have a choice, email subscribers are the most valuable, and social media subscribers are the least valuable, ultimately, because of control. And now is EXACTLY the time to focus on your email newsletter. Here are three email strategies: CVE: Consistent, Valuable and Exclusive. That’s really all it takes.
After that, building audiences on rented land (such as Facebook and YouTube). You and your organization do not control your followers on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook (to name a few). Those followers/subscribers belong to those companies. You are simply renting them. That said, make sure that your calls to action (CTAs) around your social posts and platforms promote your e-newsletter, move subscribers from one platform (Facebook) to another you can control (email).
Simply put, the brands that execute email and email newsletters better than anyone else in their industry will become the dominant players.
7. Do One Great Thing
You need to make a decision as to what your core platform is. It could be:
▶ A blog
▶ A podcast
▶ A webinar/webcast/Zoomseries
▶ A YouTube channel
▶ A Facebook group
▶ LinkedIn Publishing
▶ A TikTok channel
▶ An Instagram channel
▶ A Twitch following (if you are in the gaming space especially)
These are just a few to get you thinking. Remember that each one of these should be packaged with an e-newsletter.
Kill off what’s not working and place heavy bets on one winning platform/channel. Remember, you do NOT need a content initiative for every channel you are involved in. And, it won’t work anyway.
8. Steal Audience via Influencer Marketing
The goal of building a relationship with an influencer (defined as “the place where the people in your audience are hanging out on the web if they are not on your site”) is to steal the influencer’s audience and make it yours (I say this in the nicest way possible).
Most influencer programs, especially in B2B, revolve around the influencer “doing” something, such as appearing on a podcast or writing something original. While this is completely fine and works for many companies, the best way to involve influencers is to ask NOTHING of them. Just start creating content and publicize their efforts and expertise. This could be a research project, an e-book, a list, a book or some other compilation.
So, if you want your influencer project to gain momentum quickly, ask nothing of the influencer at first. Just let them know they were included in your project and how you are trying to help them with their own visibility. You’ll be amazed at the number of people willing to share this type of work.
Then later, once you build a relationship with the person, you could ask them if they want to assist in creating original content with you or be a guest on your podcast.
9. Leverage the Best Talent in the World
During recession, companies, both media and non-media ones, began to lay off, talents, quality writers, are without a job. It is time to hire personnel to fill up portions of your content teams.
You will find writers that are actively looking for work and happy for the work at your company as content marketers.
10. Prepare for Multiple Lines of Revenue
When you launch a content marketing initiative, you start with a marketing goal. It could be lead generation or to help in the nurturing process. Maybe the goal is to increase the value of current customers or to keep customers longer. Today, there is no difference between the media marketing model and the product marketing model. Procter & Gamble can do the same things as The New York Times (and vice versa). The sooner marketing professionals can get over the stigma, the sooner we can all be successful.
It’s your job to plan and anticipate these types of revenue opportunities. If done correctly, your organization could be self-sustaining.
11. Get Ready for an Asset Sale
Sometimes it makes sense to build. Sometimes it makes sense to buy. As you build out your content marketing strategy to grow your industry dominance, acquisition strategies are a natural path to follow. Blogging/influencer sites and media companies have two things that we want and need. The first is the capability to tell stories. They have the people and processes to churn out amazing content on a consistent basis. The second, and maybe more important, is that blogs and media sites come with built-in audiences. Non-media companies should start to get into this merger and acquisition game, to buy blogging sites and media properties that already have a built-in audience and content platform.
In 2016, Fortune 200 electronics-distribution company, Arrow Electronics, purchased UBM’s (now Informa) entire division of electronics print and media websites. Today, Arrow Electronics owns more than 50 media brands in the electronics space and boasts being the largest media company in the industry. That’s correct: The largest media company in the B2B electronics space is not primarily a media company.
The business objectives for a purchase might include: To cover a geographic area that your business is currently absent from with an in-person component. The ultimate goal would be to reach more customers for cross-selling, upselling, and decreasing your customer turnover rate in that region.
12. Start Killing Social Channels
Ask yourself these questions:
▶ Do you have a goal for each channel?
▶ Are you accomplishing your goals (or at least headed in the right direction)?
▶ Are you targeting too many audiences with your social channels?
▶ Is your content plan for that channel working? Is it consistent?
After this analysis you’ll most likely find that some channels are working well, some are okay, and a few are doing absolutely nothing and are a drain on resources.
The social channels that are a drain on resources should be killed and transformed into listening channels (feedback only). The ones where you are just “okay” need to be dealt with appropriately. That means either invest the proper content and resources to make them great, or kill those as well.
13. Once in the Clear, Diversify Like Crazy
If you put in the work during this economic crisis and become the leading expert on one platform, start planning to quickly diversify once the skies start clearing, to solidify your expertise and develop a leading content brand.
Now, and into the next decade, the trusted content provider will need to continue to focus on the three key legs of the stool - online, print and in-person.