We all know that COVID-19 has had a transformative impact on content, marketing strategies, and how we work (in fact, NewsCred recently commissioned Sirkin Research to conduct a survey to determine the specific impact of the corona virus on marketing teams).

However, we wanted to speak directly to some of our best customers to learn how they lead their teams in these unprecedented times and to get a better feel for how we can help.

In this issue of “COVID-19 Q&A,” Matt Malanga, CMO of NewsCred, meets with Ellen Gerstein, Senior Director for Content Strategy Engagement at Pfizer, to discuss some of the difficulties their team is facing in moving the Has focus on digital campaigns and customer loyalty.

Q: What are your biggest challenges in dealing with the corona virus for you and your marketing team?

EG: When we think about how we deal with communication during COVID-19, we have the feeling that we have been doing this for a very long time, but we really haven't. We started communicating in February, which is probably very early on when we got signs that something was going on in Asia. We paid attention. We saw what the United States talked about in relation to world events. We started very slowly with some hand washing content that we used for an earlier, I think world hand washing week, that is consciousness time.

We haven't been able to respond as the followers are looking for information about how we responded to coronavirus and we haven't responded yet. So we started with the hand machine hold and got a very good response. In fact, some senior management noticed this and said, “We have to do more of it. We have to be a trustworthy source of information. And we have to show that we are a company that is interested. “So from the start we had a north star that we could work towards. And I think that made it much, much easier. The biggest challenge we found is that the content was not always what we imagined what the followers were looking for.

Our audience was looking for very simple content that would answer questions. It's like everyone is going to a search engine at the same time and saying, "What is coronavirus? What are the symptoms? How do I know if I have it? Where can I get a test?" And if we followed these types of instructions, This has been very well received both in our feature stories that we have published on our website and in our social content and videos that we have created. It was surprising and challenging for us because we wanted more communication, but people really need trustworthy guidance. The fact that they are turning to a pharmaceutical company to provide it is a huge responsibility and we were more than willing to take it over.

I will say that one of the things we really relied on in this sense is the ideas lab at NewsCred CMP. Because I started using corona virus very early when it was the novel corona virus and it had no name. I entered that and saw which search terms appeared and where the traffic was. And one of the things we got used to early on and we still marvel at are the search terms for coronavirus in cats and coronavirus in dogs, which are very, very high, and still exist. But it was the CMP's ideas lab that brought it to light and really informed many of our subsequent content games and where we would go. To be a trustworthy source of information, you need to be able to answer the questions people ask. And that showed us what questions people were asking, and we could move from there.

Q: How have your priorities shifted? Your budget has shifted? Maybe the tactics have changed?

EG: It really brought the importance of digital communication to the fore. I said that one of the best things about this whole event, if you can say that there is a silver lining, is that silos have collapsed. During teams that don't normally look at us and think, "Oh, there's this internet thing. I don't want to deal with this team." Suddenly he comes up to us and says, "You know what? The meeting, which was due to take place in Frankfurt in June, was canceled. So at the moment everything will be online and we have to live Tweet live. What does that mean?"

I would say our priorities have shifted to the extent that … Our followers are still looking for information about COVID-19. When we post something about Earth Day that happened last week. We're still getting comments on "You haven't had any treatments yet? And what are you doing here?" So we understand that the audience still has this as a priority. At the same time, we don't want to give up the patient communities we have worked with for a long time to build relationships. Therefore, we, the prostate cancer community, the stakeholders of ulcerative colitis patients, must continue to provide content and connections wherever possible. We don't just want to give them up now.

In some cases we have been able to talk about how COVID-19 affects people with underlying conditions. One of the things that we did that was really helpful was getting our Chief Medical Officer and Chief Patient Officer for very easy videos. Where they speak to the camera, speak to the viewer and answer these basic questions.

We actually wrote an article and then turned it into a script for our chief patient officer. So she was able to answer these questions in real time, which was fabulously received. Again, it's these simple things that … I'm looking for those big whizzbang moments and there's something so simple that we got calls from other organizations asking if they could share it and use it internally and externally . So it has shifted priorities, but at the same time with this North Star and what we're trying to keep in tune with.

Q: How was the NewsCred Content Marketing Platform helpful for you and your team?

To be able to keep track of what people are working on and know where things are with permits. We are a regulated industry. So we can't just publish anything. In most cases, a medical, legal, and regulatory review is required. So if you have 20 or 30 content, it is very helpful to have the CMP and be able to track where everything is going and who is doing what.

In my fantasy world, one day they will also be part of the platform. We are not dealing with people who are interested in technology. Let's just say Someday. One day, Matt.

Would you like to learn more?

Contact us to learn how global brands like Pfizer manage their remote teams and change strategies during a global pandemic.

Originally published June 11, 2020 at 6:36 p.m.

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