The coronavirus poses significant challenges and opportunities for content marketers and digital PRs. Whether it’s repositioning your business model to meet changed consumer behaviour, ranking for new keywords, or building links that strengthen your domain authority and help you rank higher for when the market returns to a level of normality, adapting your PR and content marketing strategy now is essential for businesses looking to thrive in the current climate. Whatever your position, there is a way through.
Here are five digital PR and content tips during the coronavirus:
Respond to changed consumer behaviour
As much as your customer base may still desire your product or service, they may be less aware or able to access it during the lockdown, so it is incumbent on marketers to alter their strategy. Whether its breweries making hand sanitizer or restaurant groups delivering, many businesses are switching short term production to meet demand. However, even if this isn’t realistic it is possible to switch your point of sale focus to ecommerce and really shout about available services during this period. Despite the current climate, there are plenty of opportunities to be clever about using content marketing to reach and appeal to your audience by targeting new keywords and considering how search volume and intent is changing in light of your customer base’s new reality. The good news is that with coronavirus dominating the news agenda, how you respond to it with your offering could also garner some PR attention, further building your website’s authority to rank for keywords and amplifying the reach and visibility of your brand.
Alter the narrative
The coronavirus is dominating every media sector, however, making small tweaks to your existing PR and content marketing strategies could maintain and enhance the level of media coverage and visibility you achieve. With links being a crucial factor in how your website ranks, and media being hungry for new information on how the lockdown is impacting each industry, there is still significant potential to talk to the media and gain coverage and links. Act sensitively and respectfully and create stories that meet this demand, but tie in with your brand ethos – avoid being opportunistic, and instead illustrate how you are part of an industry that is changing in response to a changed world. Things like remote working, divorce, long-range economic forecasts and tips for how people can continue their normal routines indoors are naturally doing well in the media. Your media target audience will likely be receptive if you have experts that can offer comment on industry challenges or insights and research on how the lockdown is changing your industry. There are endless ways forward.
Go back to basics and build domain authority
For some, it may be trickier to heavily engage with the media right now, however, there is still plenty of less intrusive way forward. If your domain authority isn’t stronger than your competitors, you’re just launching or you haven’t built links in a while, then now is the time to do it. With acquired links taking some time to have a real SEO benefit, building them now will mean that you’ll feel the power of them just as you’ll be relaunching and looking to capitalise on increased demand.
Broken link building; you’ll be surprised at how often people delete content that’s heavily linked to. Find those that are linking to now-deleted content, and pitch to them for those links. If you have a relevant content asset and are able to point out the benefits of linking, this can be a great way of building links
Link reclamation; find those unlinked brand mentions and develop content strategies that will help you pitch and turn those into links
Guest blogging and podcasts; you don’t just have to rely on the media – there are countless low-risk blogs, podcasts and information websites in each sector who carry relevant third party contributions
Contributing articles and forward features – if you don’t want to talk about the coronavirus then research trade forward features. Many will work 3-12 months in advance and are often looking for content on a number of themes
Relationships; deep dive into your and your colleagues’ industry contacts. Whether an advertiser, sponsor, supplier, client, collaborator or partner, if they have a blog with a decent domain authority then they are worth pitching to
Keep your foot on the pedal
Digital PR that is focused on building brand awareness can seem challenging for those businesses looking to avoid talking about the lockdown. But now is not that time to let your brand name fade, as you will need to rely on it when the market returns to normality. There may also be more opportunity to get in front of journalists right now, with less competition due to some competitors deciding to (often mistakenly) reduce their comms at this time. One tip is to take the usual PR stories you would run with and make them virtual to reflect peoples’ current reality. For example, if you successfully targeted regional media in the past with community stories, then still do this and PR around those things; just over video conferencing. If you were doing industry Q&As with your key spokespeople before the lockdown, then offer to cover subjects that are key to your industry and how things are likely to look in 6 months’ time.
Plan for the future
If you do have downtime, don’t waste it. Even if your comms activity is restricted today, it won’t be tomorrow and you can make time savings for the future. This will enable you to be more reactive later on, and increase the effectiveness of your campaigns in the second half of the year. For example, if you’ve done the planning and the content/blog strategy, gap analysis, content writing, release writing, media research and list building ahead of time, then you’ll make significant time savings on your campaigns that will afford you the time to more reactive and capitalise on other opportunities down the line.