About three months ago, we began sharing ideas to help you adjust your content marketing in light of the pandemic’s impact.
But for many, how to adapt their content marketing wasn’t top of mind then. Now, as businesses and communities gradually reopen, we’ve packaged the advice to help you reorient your approach and your skills. (Frankly, these curated articles can be helpful almost any time you’re reflecting or revising your content marketing.)
As usual, everything starts with strategy. You probably have a content marketing strategy – at least in your head. (Documenting it is better, as research shows, but start where you are.)
Ann Gynn offered a great, step-by-step approach to reviewing your strategy to address the short-term repercussions (which may or may not be particularly brief) of COVID-19 – or any other major twist that affects your audience and your business.
This process isn’t intended to be a long exercise. After completing the seven steps, you will have a one-page strategy you can revisit again and again.
Because the thing about the short term? It changes quickly.
Once your strategy is up to date, it’s time to check what you’ve published with two goals in mind: (1) Find existing content you can refresh with new angles and (2) look for pieces that now feel out of touch or outdated.
In your strategy review, you identified your audience’s current needs and concerns. As you think about how to address them in your content, check what you already have before you create anything new. Refreshing an existing piece with new angles and updated information is much faster (and more efficient) than starting from scratch.
Learn how: The Why, When, and How of Republishing Blog Posts
Walk through your recent and most popular content with fresh eyes. Do the images, words, and tone feel appropriate now? Jodi Harris put together a useful list of what to look for (and which pieces to focus on) in light of COVID-19. (Stephanie Stahl suggests some ways to do this review around diversity and inclusion.)
Learn more: A Quick Audit to See If Your Content Passes a COVID-19 Exam and Content Can Perpetuate Racism and Inequity. It’s Time to Do Better
Repurposing existing content lets you speed up an editorial plan that works for your audience now. If you don’t have sufficient existing content, you have two options: curate or create. (You can choose both.)
Curating content from experts in your industry offers similar benefits to repurposing – it’s typically faster than starting from scratch. It’s also a great way to publish diverse views and to build relationships with those experts who might promote the piece on their channels and extend your content’s reach.
There’s a caveat. Jodi Harris advises: “There’s a big difference between curating others’ content in an ethical and value-added way and simply cribbing their hard work and claiming ownership of it.” Her recent article explains how to do it right.
Learn how: Content Curation Tips and Examples to Fill Your Editorial Calendar
Creating fresh, original content requires heavier lifting. It takes ideas, time, people, and budget. (It’s also what drew many of us to roles in content marketing in the first place.) But there are ways to lighten the load. Here are a few ideas we shared recently.
Make idea generation a team effort. Make the most of your team. Work together to come up with new content ideas and story angles. Don’t let stay-at-home orders and social distancing stop you. Remote teams still find ways to share and build on new ideas.
Learn more: 25 Tools and Ideas for Brainstorming in a Remote World
Set up systems to help you write faster (and better). Waiting for the muse to strike isn’t helpful when you’re trying to adapt quickly to your audience’s changing needs. Ann Gynn, one of the fastest writers I know, shared a process that can help anyone write faster.
Learn how: You Can Write Faster With This Guide
Just don’t go so fast that you find yourself relying on cliches and jargon or – worse – breaking your audience’s trust with factually incorrect information.
Learn more: Stop With the Overused and Incorrect Words in Your Writing and Get an A for Accuracy With This Fact-Checking Content Checklist
How much did the first half of 2020 resemble the forecasts and projections you made at the end of 2019? Probably not a lot. The original projections and goals you created for your content probably aren’t relevant either.
But don’t take that as permission to ignore the numbers. Do take it as an opportunity to adjust how often you check them, what you’re looking for, and how you’ll use them.
Learn more: Metrics Matter More During COVID-19 Than They Ever Did
It’s always a good idea to keep your skills (and resume) updated. Today’s economic volatility makes it even more important. I’ve put these suggestions last on the list because I framed the article around a content check-in. But don’t read that sequential order as a judgment about priority. The content you plan, manage, or create will benefit from the investments you make in your own career. Here are a few ideas to try.
Although that phrase “unprecedented times” gets thrown around a lot, Dennis Shiao has been here before in a way. He lost his job in the economic downturn of 2008. At that time, he applied what he knew about content marketing to build his personal brand – and continues to do it more than a decade later. He shares his thoughts on how he did it and, in another article, gathers suggestions on how to plan your next career step from a Content Marketing World presentation by Salesforce’s Amy Higgins.
Learn more: How to Build a Personal Brand After a Job Loss and Actionable Tips to Map a New and Successful Career Path
Whether you’re looking for a new job or not, it doesn’t hurt to expand your skills. Here are some resources that encompass skills that go beyond article writing:
Our advice focuses on the practical side of things to help you with the changes you face. But as you navigate those challenges, remember this thought from CMI General Manager Stephanie Stahl:
We’d love to hear about the changes you’ve made and how they’re working for you. Chime in in the comments.
CMI responded to its audiences and the pandemic challenges by moving its ContentTECH Summit to be all virtual. Join us this August.Register today.