COVID-19 (coronavirus) is changing our world and the way we relate to those around us. From social distancing to full quarantines, we’re all handling this pandemic in different ways, including businesses. Companies are trying to find the right words for their audiences, as they, too, are struggling. 

In response to coronavirus, companies’ messaging strategies must change dramatically to foster a sense of empathy, sensitivity, and trust. The challenge we’re seeing is that content marketing efforts are already in motion: social media has been scheduled, blogs have been written, and emails are scheduled to send. 

This obstacle begs the question: How will you refocus your messaging efforts and respond to this situation appropriately? 

As we assist our clients with their messaging strategies surrounding COVID-19, we want to share our recommended areas of focus for you to consider with your messaging. We hope it helps you better connect with your audience in the days ahead. 

Evaluate Your Messaging Strategy

Your audience is desperate for information. Their schedules are changing as plans continue to cancel. They’re stuck at home to slow the spread of the virus. They’re anxious about getting the virus or spreading it to others. Your audience needs guidance, as fast as you can provide it. 

Here are a few quick tips for evaluating your messaging strategy:  
  • Put yourself in others’ shoes—employees, clients, and those affected by the virus.
  • Update your messaging plan to ensure it’s empathetic, sensitive, and informative. 
  • Communicate thoughtfully and consistently with employees and clients.

While you evaluate your current messaging strategy and create new content, the most crucial factor to keep in mind is empathy. Ensure that you are approaching each message in the most effective and sensitive way you can. 

Ask yourself these questions:
  • What should our audience know about how we’re handling this? 
  • How can we calm our audience’s fears?
  • What might our audience be nervous or scared about concerning our company? 

Once you’ve evaluated your strategy, you can begin diving deeper into the factors that go along with messaging: social media, website, and other communication tools. Read on for more specific suggestions on how to modify your strategy to align with the current climate.

Pause, Audit, and Modify Your Social Media 

Social media is currently a pressing issue because it’s the most common way we communicate with our audiences. When looking for information, your audience will likely check your social media account first. It’s vital that you pause social media communications and evaluate the tone of your content. Ask yourself: Is there anything that could be irrelevant or insensitive now? 

Here are a few quick tips as you modify your social media content: 
  • Review already-scheduled social media posts for relevance and sensitivity. 
  • Pause social media efforts to evaluate how you want to better communicate with your audience.
  • Avoid messages that your audience may perceive as boastful or sales-driven. 

Use Your Website as Your Main Communication Tool

Your website is your home base. As many of your clients look to social media for information, they will go to your website to learn more. Apply your messaging strategy to your landing page and blog articles to provide your audience with resources they need rather than relying solely on social media and email lists. 

Here are a few quick tips on where to begin incorporating your new messaging strategy: 
  • Review upcoming blog content to identify topics that may be insensitive.
  • Identify helpful information to share in blogs or other areas of your website.  
  • Consider what your audience may need to hear from you for comfort and trust.

Along with clients, ensure that you are communicating with your employees as much as possible. Their livelihood depends on you, so it’s essential to remember that they need support and clear communication. Let them know that you are there to answer their questions. Give them ways to cope through this time as well. If your employees are working remotely, provide them with tools to stay connected to their team. Send positive messages to help them through these difficult circumstances.

Your primary focus during a crisis should always be clear communication. The more understanding and transparent you can be, the more comforted your audience will be, ultimately helping them see that you are acting in their best interests.  

Thank you to everyone doing your best to help those around you. We’re all in this together!