It’s a delicate PR balancing act that brands have been thrown into all at once and with no warning. And as often is the case with digital content- there’s no right or wrong way. We learn as we go. (And if you aren't being agile with your content strategy, you have bigger problems.)
A month ago I was coaching clients on how to acknowledge COVID without being overbearing. To focus their content in a helpful manner, reinforcing an emotional connection to their audiences and not selling to them. How best to keep this virtual conversation going with followers without seeming tone-deaf to the obvious. Acknowledging things are very different, but not fixating on that dynamic.
Fast forward to today. I have an inbox that still is filling daily with subject lines akin to “We Can Help”, “COVID-19”, “The New Normal”. Granted, the volume of these has lessened a great deal since the initial onslaught, but as a receiver when I come across a COVID-centric message now I find myself wanting to just click delete. A knee-jerk reaction to the relentless messaging of today’s “uncertain times”.
I’ve built up an immunity to the “help” you could say.
I’m COVID-ed out.
I find myself now much more receptive to an email or social media post that approaches me in an optimistic and helpful way. One that is no overtly kowtowing to the general principle of "helping" in itself.
What are you actually doing for me? And if your brand isn't doing anything for me and still reaching out, that's okay! But don't pretend that you are. Move on with your content. Not in a manner that is completely oblivious to the fact that everyone's lives have completely changed. But give COVID a nod and then keep it moving.
I want to start thinking about what the future holds. I think our audiences are getting to that tipping point too. We've all been forced to dwell in the overload of now. Let's help people start thinking about the next.
The Short of It: When everyone’s messaging is the same, you have a unique opportunity to be different. What content could differentiate yourself from your competitors right now? And do it now. Don’t overthink it. Because next week may look completely different and you may have missed out on a chance to capitalize on it.