Running a business is hard on a good day but running a business during a crisis is especially tough. It’s hard to know to what to prioritize, where and how to change messaging, and how to try to maintain work (and even grow) while still striking an appropriate tone of voice.

Marketing is still important, your business can’t just stop completely, but what you put out to your audience in your content might need to change a bit. While every organization is different, there are some universal rules of content marketing during crisis that we’ve learned from our 20+ years in business.

Act with empathy

This rule is first because it is the most universal saviour. When you create, or review, any type of sales or marketing material, do a quick gut check. The last thing you want is to create negative PR with a misinterpreted or untimely outreach.

Here are some questions to ask about any of your marketing materials that will go out during times of crisis:

  • How you would feel as a prospect or client engaging with it?
  • What message would someone get from seeing this at a glance?
  • Does this feel like something that would be important to your audience right now?
  • Who is this message targeted to and what are there main concerns at this moment?
  • Does your message add to their stress or seem relevant to their concerns?

If your answer to any of these adds negatively to your audience’s current state of affairs, hit pause.

Check your pre-scheduled posts and adjust them accordingly

A lot of marketers rely on pre-scheduled social media posts, blogs, and other forms of content to make their day-to-day lives more effective. Unfortunately, what was planned for in good times does not always translate well in turbulent. The first step any marketer should take in a time of crisis is to check their scheduled posts and either pause them or update them to reflect the times.

The biggest culprit for content blunders is usually promotional material. If you’re running a sale or promotion, examine it very closely to see if it could be interpreted as opportunistic.

Ask yourself: does your brand need to contribute to the conversation?

It’s easy to see a million emails flood your inbox about an event and feel like your brand has to respond too but that’s not always the case. Ask yourself a few quick questions before you decide to take a stance or say something about a topic on email or social media:

  • Is what we’re saying helpful to our audience?
  • Do we need to email our entire list about this, or can we just update our customers?
  • Is the voice of our brand relevant to this discussion?
  • What is our audience already hearing from other brands?

During crisis communication, there will come times where you will need to respond swiftly but marketing is a little different. Chances are people are already having their inbox flooded from other sources.

For instance, if there is a health crisis and you run a grammar editing software, you probably don’t need to email your whole marketing email list. You might just need to email your customers to let them know if there will be any changes in your ability to provide them with support or service.

Fear marketing is almost never the right choice

Trying to capitalize on public panic is playing with fire. The risk of losing customers, facing a PR backlash, and hurting your brand reputation are high. You can more heavily feature what makes your product increasingly useful and relevant for people during a tough time but approach it with a helpful and empathetic tone.

Be more human in your outreach

Crisis will often flip normal life upside down. Personal lives and professional lives will blend into one big, blurry mess and that’s good to acknowledge. When you create any kind of outreach or marketing during these times, it’s ok to sound more human and to be honest about what’s going on. Addressing the elephant in the room can actually ease some of the pressure.

There’s no one size fits all for response in times of crisis, but these are some helpful tips for any organization to work with.

Please know that you’re not alone in this. If you ever need any advice on handling your marketing or ways that you can strengthen your outreach during challenging times, Everbrave is here to provide a free consultation. Our inbox is open to you at [email protected].