The “do’s” of content marketing in a crisis


The world has changed. The challenge of maintaining customer trust in your brand has too.

At Smartology we’ve been hearing brands ask:

  1. Should I continue to advertise?
  2. Can I talk to my audience about subjects other than COVID-19?

The answers are yes and yes, and here’s why: Smart content marketers display empathy for their audience, including anticipation of their challenges and interests. Meeting your customers’ needs today, as well as their evolving needs tomorrow, is how brand loyalty is built and maintained. 

But that doesn’t mean anything goes. Striking the right note, at the right place and time, is critical to establishing trust with your audience. Misplaced content is a missed opportunity—or, at worst, a brand liability.

Here are three things I’ve learned at Smartology that are critical to providing timely, relevant communications to your target audiences:

— Eliminate out-of-context messaging: run digital ads that are responsive to editorial content as it’s consumed. Ensure you are positioned as adding perspective and insights that are valuable to the reader in real time.

— Publish for the now and for what’s next: mix timely content with longer-term ‘core competency’ content. The moment reader attention shifts away from today’s top headlines, your content will be primed to capture their interest. Run multiple digital content feeds in tandem to harness rapid response moments while continuing to showcase your core business.  

Be top-of-mind in the long term: adopt an “always-on” content strategy, which means being “always” responsive to your audiences. For your brand to be front-of-mind now and in future turbulent moments, you must deliver front-of-mind content—for many months ahead. Relationships and trust are built when providing long-term value via your content marketing program.

Lastly, I’d like to encourage you to be human-first in your communications in these difficult and scary times. Empathy and sensitivity are always important, and never more so than in a crisis. Let’s support each other in staying safe, healthy, and sane.


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