The Power of Content Creation in Difficult Times

April 1, 2020

If we think about content marketing, we usually think about gathering leads, nurturing them with information, promoting something, and eventually selling it. But in hard and challenging times, like 2020 has proven to be for most businesses in the world, we must remember that constant content creation can also be a great way to deal with problems.

You can build the most powerful marketing campaign with the most amazing copy. But, if you make the wrong choice and place it at the wrong place at the wrong time (!), it’s not going to do much good for your campaign or to your business’ goals. In challenging times, always start by checking all the processes that are already in place – you really need to make sure your communication is appropriate in every channel you use.

Continue reading about communication in times of crises from our blog post:
Marketers & Marketing in the era of Coronavirus Pandemic

There is no magic wand for anything 

Marketing is everywhere. It might be visible and obvious, e.g. advertising, or almost invisible, e.g. expert comment and advice in the media. The challenge in hard times like 2020 is that content requires flexibility to adjust and it needs time to make it work. In order to become better in content creation during hard times, you need to transform your approach into problem solving, and you need to be consistent. 

  • Take a minute, write down the (biggest) problem your employees, customers, partners and other people around your business have, and don’t have at the moment. It is very likely that they are in the bottom of Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs which means as soon as their physiological needs are met, they are looking for personal security, employment, resources, health, property, etc. You may find that changing your regular promotions into a problem-solving model will help you a lot more and people will appreciate you for doing that. 
  • There isn’t one specific activity or channel that will guarantee success in your marketing. There isn’t one activity or thought that will guarantee success personally either. It does not happen in marketing, and not in any other industry or a person’s life either. The secret in life and business is simply consistency and choosing the right activities, channels, etc. based on your circumstances and opportunities.
  • The effective frequency of consistent content creation is quite controversial. There are numerous studies, each of which has their own theories or models as to what the correct number is. But the fact is that in hard times, when people feel stressed, they see things and situations as a “funnel”. Which means that they may forget what is happening around this problem or situation, and they don’t see many options or solutions. So, they need constant reminders. In advertising, it’s also hard to tell the exact number of times a person must be exposed to an advertising message before a response is made and before exposure is considered wasteful. But we know that due to constant information overload this number grows every day.

The behavior of a company in a crisis defines its success (or failure) after the crisis. 

Powerful Marketers

Thomas Smith wrote a guide called Successful Advertising in 1885. The saying he used is still being used today. Read & think about your business – do you think it still applies? Or should this list be even longer today, considering the information overload that everybody is constantly exposed to? 

  • The first time people look at any given ad, they don’t even see it.
  • The second time, they don’t notice it.
  • The third time, they are aware that it is there.
  • The fourth time, they have a fleeting sense that they’ve seen it somewhere before.
  • The fifth time, they actually read the ad.
  • The sixth time they thumb their nose at it.
  • The seventh time, they start to get a little irritated with it.
  • The eighth time, they start to think, “Here’s that confounded ad again.”
  • The ninth time, they start to wonder if they’re missing out on something.
  • The tenth time, they ask their friends and neighbors if they’ve tried it.
  • The eleventh time, they wonder how the company is paying for all these ads.
  • The twelfth time, they start to think that it must be a good product.
  • The thirteenth time, they start to feel the product has value.
  • The fourteenth time, they start to remember wanting a product exactly like this for a long time.
  • The fifteenth time, they start to yearn for it because they can’t afford to buy it.
  • The sixteenth time, they accept the fact that they will buy it sometime in the future.
  • The seventeenth time, they make a note to buy the product.
  • The eighteenth time, they curse their poverty for not allowing them to buy this terrific product.
  • The nineteenth time, they count their money very carefully.
  • The twentieth time prospects see the ad, they buy what is offering.

Consistency really is key, both in life and in your marketing activities

Make sure you find a good balance and don’t overload your audience even further. Bear in mind the following:

  • We live right in the middle of ads extravaganza. People cannot and will not focus on the majority of ads, as we’re becoming more and more distrustful towards ads in general. In 1970 people saw an average of 500 ads per day; today, this number has gone up to at least 5,000! Acknowledging this fact should make us conscious and respectful of our customers’ preferences. 
  • People like to feel smart and in control. Advertising for something of which the consumer lacks any previous information simply sounds like noise. In the words of Jeffrey Gitomer, “People don’t like to be sold, but they love to buy.”
  • People are looking for social proof that they are making the right choice. People want to belong, just like Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs shows. The 2015 Millennials’ Survey clearly showed that consumers want to find more information. They want to see that other people have used and recommend this product, and they want to interact with the brands that they love.

So what can you do? In hard times, generate content with the goal to prevent or minimize panic, reassure and calm people and boost your company’s reputation. If you will be there for people in hard times, you will come out of every situation even stronger. Do not disappear. Everybody will appreciate your honesty, authenticity and courage as you consistently provide the right content at the right time!

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