Content marketing is driven by the needs of rising above the noise, fueling engagement, and creating affinity and loyalty around your mission. This has never been more true and with consumer focus changing more frequently due to recent events, understanding what your business should be communicating and how is harder than ever.
To offer some support in this regard, LinkedIn has published a new guide that outlines a range of key points related to a changing environment, including how brands have found success in other moments of crisis. Here are some of the larger themes as well as insights into evolving conversation topics taking hold as of late.
Reevaluate: go back to the “why”
Above all brands need to re-assess their content approach, and what they’re aiming to achieve.
“Just because your products and solutions might see a drop in demand, that doesn’t mean your audience has dropped their expectations of you as a brand — they’ve just changed,” the guide explains. In this vein, going back to your core business mission will help you identify and justify expectations and how you can best meet them. A best practice as you do this is to be consistent with the conversations you engage with — demonstrate you are eager to listen and address concerns and questions along the journey. From these insights, you can navigate questions, big or small, such as whether your ads will still resonate or whether you need to devise a new campaign that uproots your strategy.
Avoid the ‘hard sell’ ad; lean into empathy
The guide also underscores the importance of not overlooking humility when trying to interact with your audience during this time. This may go without saying but in some cases is easily swept aside when looking to chase the next big shiny object. When faced with hardship, and in an age of social distancing, people expect self-awareness, generosity and agility. What this entails is going beyond the hard-sell tactics or vanity messages that emphasize content performance and instead, leaning more on the underlying message. To achieve this, start with integrating a few simple features into your ads as your guidepost:
- Established brand characters
- Repeated or familiar scenarios
- Ads set in the past
- Ads celebrating human connections and showing self-awareness
- Ads with strong connection to place and community
The big takeaway: Take a beat and dedicate quality time to brand awareness and trust. This will continue to pay-off as the world adjusts over the coming months and years ahead while also allowing you to prepare for unanticipated road bumps along the way.
How the Conversation Has Shifted
Overall message volume seeing significant upticks, and will most likely continue to do so in the coming weeks. But, what’s even more interesting is how the conversation within those messages has changed. Holler recently dug into certain topics that are relevant in the current moment and some interesting trends were revealed.
On its own app itself, it’s seen spikes of 26 percent since early March as people experiment with creative ways to stay connected whether Zoom, FaceTime or group messaging chats. Chat around words like “healthy” “home” and “family” in addition to more empathetic topics such as “thinking of you” and “safe” are used increasingly. In just a two-week span the word “bored” grew 127.6 percent while “thinking of you” is experiencing a 35.52 percent share rate. Aside from empathy, humor is at the forefront of interactions with a separate report finding that 73 percent use humor to help loved ones overcome difficulties, and 82 percent use it as a means to cope with the current state of the world.
Concern, care, levity, and support are themes that translate into visuals that help people meaningfully stay connected even when afar and alleviate stress and anxiety. Beyond this, visual communications and messaging have also played an increasing role in driving social impact. In the context of the Black Lives Matter movement, a dedicated sticker launched earlier this month now has been shared more than 76,000 times, and is the top sticker shared on Venmo.
Listening to the trends in conversations during this time and what your consumers need will continue to be integral long after the pandemic. By applying these insights to your approach, your brand can become a more valuable contributor to the conversation.
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