The coronavirus and its economic repercussions have disrupted operations for a wide range of businesses, leaving many brands to question their relevance during this time. But while it’s true that your core offerings might be deprioritized during social distancing, this doesn’t mean that your values and expertise are too.
Right now, people have more questions than ever as they navigate new challenges, which are sometimes as simple as finding a new show to binge or deciding what to do with that frozen chicken in the freezer. Brands should rise to the challenge to support these needs because it’s an opportunity to create relationships and build trust. And supporting potential customers now will establish a solid foundation for business when this crisis passes.
Content and search are key tools for reaching new and existing customers, so here are five essential tips to drive your content strategy during this tumultuous time.
Create Content With Essential Information About Coronavirus
First and foremost, if you’re a direct to consumer brand, you should consider what hesitations or information needs your customers might have that could be preventing them from converting. Are people unsure if you’re still delivering? Are they concerned about cleanliness or the safety of your staff? Are they worried about the ethics of ordering?
Create content that aims to alleviate hesitations or concerns and encourages customers to engage with your services. Make sure this messaging is visible on your most-trafficked pages to support better conversion.
Tip: Google Trends offers information about surging topics and questions, and Conductor Searchlight Explorer notes when searches are spiking in volume. The goal isn’t necessarily to rank for those keywords, but to research what topics to address for your customers.
Update Trending Articles With Relevant Context & Guidance
Some brands may find that older content or less trafficked pages are now experiencing a spike in activity due to the increased search volume for that topic. Guidance for cooking, working from home, or seeking out entertainment, for example, are all topics that are front-of-mind for people who are practicing self-isolation.
There are an endless number of searches that are impacted during the pandemic, and some brands might be surprised to see increased interest in certain offerings.
While these pages might be ranking well for the right keywords, the content should be refreshed and it should prioritize the most pertinent information for today’s searchers. If the content is old and less timely, then your brand might not benefit from the spike.
Moreover, if the topic is on the rise, then that space is about to get more competitive. Be proactive and update these trending pieces to be relevant and timely.
Tip: Use your organic analytics to identify trending pages. Review their top keywords to zero in on the specific searches that are likely driving the traffic spike, and consider optimizing the piece for these terms.
Create New Content to Target Trending Keywords and Topics
More people are bringing their external lives into their homes, and they’re looking for solutions for delivery, mental and physical wellbeing, access to experts, digital tools, social interaction, and more. Make sure you’re visible for searches that relate to your business by creating content that caters to these unique use cases.
While content is the natural solution, you can also consider adjusting your product offerings to cater to these needs as well. Many fitness studios, for example, have started offering virtual classes to support wellness at home.
Tip: Use Explorer in Conductor Searchlight to research various topics to find trending keywords, identified with a flame icon. Pay special attention to trending keywords where you’re already in striking distance; these are good candidates for a quick-win optimization.
Use Your Data to Tell a Story About Your Industry
The social and economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic is far-reaching, and every industry is scrambling to make sense of how things are progressing. Now is a good time to consider whether your brand has an interesting story to tell using data, insights, and anecdotes. Even a small observation can have a big impact during a time when industries and media are clamoring for information.
These pieces are unlikely to drive significant organic traffic, but they can generate engagement in the right social channels and increase the number of backlinks to your domain, improving the overall authority of your site.
Tip: Look for major changes in all of your data, including site performance, engagement, and conversion. If you have a user base that you can communicate with, consider creating a poll—but make sure the request is highly relevant and respectful.
Create a Lead Nurture Strategy for Awareness Traffic
It’s a very common occurrence for brands to have one lead conversion strategy across all of their content, regardless of persona or buying journey stage. Often, this strategy is most successful for higher-intent leads because these are the most likely to drive conversions and, as a result, they shape the strategy itself.
This leaves a ton of traffic on the table, usually from top-of-funnel awareness content. This low-intent traffic typically isn’t susceptible to more aggressive lead capture tactics, so these users bounce.
Most brands are OK with this loss because revenue is still coming from their high-intent audience. But when this source dries up, sites are left without a tenable lead capture strategy.
A good “awareness” lead nurture strategy prioritizes building a relationship before selling. Consider what information or services you have to offer that can reward a visitor and will encourage them to submit their information. Do you have expert advice or insider data to unlock? Can you provide custom guidance? Do you have a newsletter that will keep them informed? Can you provide free access to gated tools?
Once these users are captured, be sure to cycle them through a new user journey that considers what the most relevant progression of messaging would be to acclimate them to the brand. Again, consider how you can reward the user to encourage them to continue.
Even if you cannot convert this audience until the pandemic dies down, you’ll be creating a valuable foundation of users who are becoming familiar with your brand and value. And if you do this well, you’ll engender loyalty as well.
Tip: When crafting on-page lead capture CTAs on content that’s driving high levels of organic traffic, consider what the search intent is for the primary keywords. This will help inform what information will entice the user to submit their information.
No one knows what the full impact will be from the coronavirus, but one thing is certain: Your customers need you, and rising to the challenge now will solidify relationships that will yield fruit down the line. Now is the time to do the work and earn their trust.