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Content

A content marketing strategy to grow your health and wellness brand

Strategies
Strategies

Stop doing what you are doing, take a breath and listen up

Content marketing shouldn’t be hard. It’s about connecting your audience to what you are offering and not done in too much of a salesy way.

It’s about you and them, entertaining and informing. It’s about you articulating in long form their problems, how you empathise with this problem, how you solve it then what they can do and achieve with your product and service.

The hard part for some is the planning. How do you start? How you carry through your messages from your brand? What tech do you need? What are the steps?

This post should help you with these questions.

Planning

Personas

If you know your target persona, who you are in business for and who you help, then great, you are way ahead of other folks. But if you don’t know who you are helping, who typifies your audience, get to writing this down. Start with simple broad demographics, then drill down further to understand their frustrations and habits.

Matrix

Then come your content matrix. This helps you categorise your content and connect the dots between your brand, your content and your audience. It should look like this. Feel free to change the headings to suit your needs:

TimelySeasonalEvergreen
Interests and Values123
Company and Customers456
Products and Services789

Brand stories

When you are introducing your brand the initial content you create needs to act on behalf of the problem and your customers. Your brand stories can easily be categorised in the following format: Your core offering, What you fight for on behalf of your customers, the answer to ‘there is never a good way to…’, your customer’s beliefs and what are the results of customers using your products. Then you can move onto core topics of your industry or audience interest and values.

SEO research

So people can find you, you can use tools like Google’s keyword planner, Answer the Public and Spyfu to find out the search volume, the relevancy and begin to gather headlines for your videos, posts and brand stories.

Article headlines

Now write the longest list you have ever created. A list of all the questions you can possibly think if someone was trying to find a solution to their problem that your business can uniquely offer. Start with 150 titles. Number each 1 to 9 mapping the matrix above to your titles. Don’t worry if they are rubbish you can always edit them.

Calendar

Now in a Google calendar or a spreadsheet or project management tool with a calendar facility, copy all of your titles to every other day or every 2 days. These will be the days you publish your content, the gaps being your production time. So you will need to work out what you need to hit those deadlines. Make them longer in the first few months and see if you can get stuff out more quickly as you go.

Creation automation

Before you start writing your first post or video script you should set up some automation to help you publish and distribute content more quickly. The first step, get yourself a zapier account, WordPress site and an email platform – Don’t be a snob, Mailchimp will do fine. Or subscribe to CoSchedule if you want to pay to help out your content game.

Set up a blog template in google docs

Set up a template in google docs with a Title, a Intro, a TL;DR summary and the body of your text. You can use variables in brackets for when you set this up like this: {{variable}}.

Calendar appointment creates a new Google doc

Creating an event  – or a post in this case – in your google calendar will create a new  document for you to edit from the blog template you have created. Your team can edit and approve too. Here’s what the zap looks like:

New Google doc creates a post in WordPress

Once you have created your event in your calendar create another zap to create the post in WordPress that can be set up simultaneously. This can be updated as you edit and are ready to publish your post. CoSchedule does a great job of this automatically.

Publish to Social from WordPress

There are a number of platforms, plugins and tools, if you can afford it then use CoSchedule. But if not then you can also set up some zaps to publish to each platform individually. You may have to install a seperate plugin for Instagram. Because it’s weird!

WordPress sends to email

Nearly there. If you are using email effectively you should also be creating a newsletter roundup from your recent video/blog post content from the month. You can integrate mailchimp and wordpress easily in Zapier. Like so:

Distribution

Email lists

Depending on how sophisticated you want to get, it might be a good idea to segment your audience via persona, demographics or behaviour. So if you have set up your posts correctly, a particular posts type can be sent to a particular list. For example you could create customer only content that people received after a purchase. You can plan this out with a separate calendar.

Partnership placements

Create a list of people who best serve your target personas, reach out, so they publish your posts, you guest post for them or you create something together.

Social influencers

These needn’t be approaching young women with their kit off, taking duck face selfies. An influencer can be anyone with an audience in your space who can amplify your story. Use Buzzsumo to find people who share stories in your niche. Send them a direct message asking if they would share your resent post(s).

Social commentary and channel management

Once you are actively posting on social channels, some of the comments and engagements will be useful. Be social, say hello, and actively comment like and share other profiles in the same way you would like people to comment, like and share your content.

Press

Make friends with journalists on twitter. They have a quota to fill and you might be well placed to fill it. Start with regional or trade press and work your way up to the national press. This way you can build up backlinks and a PR portfolio if/when you approach the national press.

Landing page

Tech SEO

The landing page for your content will most likely be your website or your social media profile. There are a number of things to consider, especially on your website to help that page rank for the keywords you expect.

For your strategy to make sense look at the following on your landing pages for your campaigns: URL Structure, Internal and external links, Interlinking your pages and posts, Metadata, Keyword and topic analysis and Alt tags.

On page SEO

On your landing page you should also consider using your keyword(s) in your H1 heading, the first paragraph and in paragraphs where you focus on the main search term. As above link to where is relevant on your own site and make sure your external links have a ‘follow’ or ‘no-follow’ tag depending on how you want your content to be associated.

Internal links

Throughout your site you should be linking associated content. Links should be in your body copy, calls to action at the bottom of your posts and products and calls to action based on what you want users to do on your site. ‘Buy’, ‘Download’, ‘Read more’, ‘Give’, ‘Donate’, ‘Shop’.

Industry tools

Blogs posts are great and a well-written article about your audience’s problems and how you can solve it are always going to be your bread and butter. However to make your site and your content that much more interactive, are there any topics which lend themselves to be a tool rather than passive content? Could you make a calculator? A quiz? A feedback list? A comparison table or stats chart? Any white papers or downloadable resource, like this? Think of how to upgrade any written content to create something useful.

Tagging & conversion

In any campaign you need to be measuring its effectiveness and impact on traffic and sales. The content you send out into the world should be tracked so you know if a lead has read watched or downloaded your posts. You need to know if the effort has been worth it. Start by adding Google Tag Manager to your site. Makes things so much easier in the long run.

Tags

Google Tag Manager is easier than you think. Once installed (and it’s a few lines of code), you can use the interface to add event tracking codes to monitor forms, page interactions and the effectiveness of your content. So make sure you tag everything you can.  

Campaign click

Use UTM tracking links to monitor links you send out to other websites and social posts so you know it’s that article and that campaign that has brought in the lead.

Form

Use event tagging in GTM to track users on your forms and newsletter sign ups. Most email platforms will have a tag you can place in GTM.

Sign up

Track the user who has signed up to your newsletter or free content. Treat them differently from the standard traffic you receive. Then you are well placed to help them along your content journey. They can more easily be nurtured if you have segmented them and tagged them correctly.

Analytics

Analytics can be overwhelming, so it’s best to keep it simple to figure out how people are consuming your content. We tend to focus on these metrics to figure out ‘stickiness of content’ and what to change if these goals are not met: Time on Site, Scroll Depth, Avg. No. of Pages, Add to cart, Submit details, Purchase.

Audience advocacy

Automated post purchase sequence

Pretend to be your customer, what would you like to receive after you have bought something that would keep you coming back? Would it be personalised, would it be about you? Create a sequence of emails, posted materials or personalised content that tells your audience you appreciate them. If you have thought of this ahead of time and automated the delivery, then you can select a few customers , on top of your regular customers, to hand craft something special to send them.

Personal follow up

When you have a lead. Follow up. It’s easy to do, it shouldn’t cost you much in terms of time or money. Make the effort to create a sequence which lets the person you have their interests at heart.

Customer content experience

So when a customer has bought from you and signed up, what does that experience look like? Again if you were your own customer what emails, videos, webinars, articles, planned diary on boarding calls would you like to take part in? Make it easy for your user/customer to contact you and make use of these materials. It’s up to you to create this content exclusively for your customers. If they feel special they will tell their friends.

Loyalty drivers

Loyalty campaigns, if done right can be effective. If you have a product you can create discount incentives sure, but they also need to have something more attached to them, a contest or something tangible that the referrer can use to carry out the referral is all the more useful.

Ambassador incentives

You hope that your product and customer service would be enough. But in some cases for larger more commercial products, it can be a good use of ad spend to pay ambassadors to collaborate on your content. Don’t just send the product and hope for the best. Work with them and your brand guidelines to conjure the best experience for your ambassador and your customer. They should exemplify your audience. So help them help your customers.

Hope this helps. Please share if you found this useful.
Categories
Content SEO

50 blog ideas to get more traffic for your health and wellness brand

Blogging if done right is not dead.

There are most definitely quicker routes to market but for your wellness marketing to speak to your audience on their level, search optimised blogs can not only bring in consistent and considerable traffic (free leads) but it can also be a great way for you stand out against competitors who may not have long form relevant content.

And with a robust content marketing strategy and effective content calendar these suggestions should be a breeze.

So after you have carried out your keyword research, here are 50 tips and creative prompts to consider before rushing to slap together those brain words on the screen.

So here are the 50.

  1. Invest in quality over quantity: Focus on creating fewer, but higher-quality pieces. If you’re currently writing three to five short posts on your blog, consider switching to one to two long-form, more “meaty” posts. Ensure your chosen keyword is in your metadata, page title and first paragraph.
  2. Define your ideal persona: If you haven’t already done so, figure out exactly who you’re writing your content for.
  3. Find new sources for high-quality images for your blog (hint: using cheesy stock photos can make your blog look cheap). Breath some personality into your posts. Maybe throw in a snap or two of you using your product or service.
  4. Compile a comprehensive list of industry statistics and research. These types of posts are great for getting inbound links. Your list should be more than 8 items so people will click onto your site, rather than just get the kinks from google.
  5. Write a top 100 (insert health thing here) post on a relevant topic in your niche. It could be Top 100 ways to prevent knee injury if you are a clinic or 100 things to do to reduce inflammation if you are a supplement company.
  6. Write a blog post responding to a controversial article or video in your niche. Show your feelings and opinions on this. Even if you have a bigger corporate website, customers value your expertise and opinions.
  7. Write a post predicting trends in your niche or industry. Future posts can be fun, but it’s always great to follow up on them to see if you were right.
  8. Audit your existing posts and make sure each has only one call to action. Also, update them with any brand or customer misalignment.
  9. Dig through your files for old decks you can put on Slideshare, then embed them on your blog.
  10. Create a decision guide: This can be text-only, an image, or an interactive tool. If you use WordPress I would recommend using gravity forms to create this.
  11. Test a pop up opt-in list to see how it affects conversion rates. Split test it – one with an offer one without.
  12. Ask your readers to submit a story of their experience with your product or service. This can provide long term gains.
  13. Pick a trend in health and wellness, holistic healing, for example, and create an informative infographic about what you know about the trend.
  14. Install ProBlogger’s Sticky Top Bar Plugin to display an opt-in box or another call to action at the top of every page of your site.
  15. Look through your analytics to see your top three blog posts, then write a follow-up post for each one. Make sure you link back to all your other posts. It’s called content interoperability, which is fancy talk for internal link building.
  16. Contact three key figures in your industry to talk about opportunities for cross-promoting content via your email lists, guest posts and social media sharing.
  17. Recycle some of your old newsletters by turning them into blog posts.
  18. Recycle some of your old blog posts by turning them into newsletter content. Aha, hey? See what I did there?
  19. Use Topic’s blog idea generator to find new ideas and headlines and first paragraph for your next blog post: https://www.usetopic.com/blog-idea-generator
  20. Contact leaders in your field and have them answer a question: Take all the answers and turn them into one awesome blog post.
  21. Do a poll or survey of your audience and publish a post with your findings. You may only need 100 people to make it a worthwhile study.
  22. Ask your readers, subscribers and social media followers to submit videos, ideas, or images: Choose the best ones and create blog content around them. You call it, ‘our champion healthista…’ like Barista. Get it? Ugh I need to her out more.
  23. Use Hootsuite or follow a hashing relevant to your health product’s ingredients to engage in social listening, and then create content based on trending topics or questions.
  24. Create a simple spreadsheet where you can jot down content ideas as they come to you (or your smartphone’s notepad application works fine too); this will ensure you never run out of things to write about.
  25. Subscribe to relevant subreddits to see what topics are trending in your industry.
  26. Join three private Facebook groups in your niche to see what topics your audience is really interested in. Then post links to articles that are relevant to the group and you will come across like a genius.
  27. Create category pages on your website or blog that can make finding your content easier for your visitors: These will be pages that are optimized around specific themes or topics, and that can help your visitors quickly find relevant content on your site. Ensure you create a top-level pillar page for each category, then create sub posts that link back to the top-level page.
  28. Use Ubersuggest to find tons of possible keywords or phrases for your next blog post.
  29. Create landmark articles that act as an ultimate resource or guide about particular topics. This is the best example of this: https://backlinko.com/hub/seo
  30. Plan to incorporate content curation into your marketing mix. For best results in terms of SEO, be sure to add your own ideas and thoughts to the content you’re curating.
  31. Create a blog post that includes an excerpt of your eBook; then encourage your readers to download the rest. That is if you have written an ebook. Having said that it would only take roughly 30 posts to create an ebook. #justsaying
  32. Try using Quora to find questions people are asking in your niche or industry. Then write a post about it. Link back to your article from an answer to those specific questions.
  33. Compile Top 10 resource lists for your niche: Top 10 blogs; top 10 companies; top 10 tools, etc.
  34. Create a ‘hack’ post: A list of workarounds for a common problem. I hate the word but you get it. How can you help people save time or money?
  35. Write a blog post about a conversation that’s taking place on social media: For instance, if your Facebook fans are having a particularly lively debate, write a post summarizing the main arguments and offering a solution or answer.
  36. Put your URL or website name on all the original photos you use on your blog; this way, if they get pinned or shared, you’ll be sure to retain credit.
  37. Take some time to learn about user-focused content strategies; it will pay off big time in the long term.
  38. Create at least one info product (such as an eBook) you can publish on your website to grow your email list.
  39. Dig down to find relevant sub-topics your visitors will want to read about: Choose a general topic and then commit to coming up with at least five to 10 subtopics related to that theme.
  40. Create a beginner’s guide with helpful, actionable information and tips. How customers can use, access, taste, touch, play with your product. Integrate it with behaviours or lifestyle landmarks.
  41. Write a blog post about a popular movie, relating it to your specific audience or industry.
  42. Write a post inspired by a comment left on your blog (the more controversial, the better).
  43. Write about a hypothetical situation, and ask your visitors what they do in the same situation.
  44. Review a recent book that would be relevant to health and wellness.
  45. Write a blog post but don’t finish it: Ask your readers to finish it for you in the comments or via an email submission (contest, anyone?)
  46. Compile a list of inspirational or motivational quotes your readers would enjoy. Publish them on your blog and in your social accounts.
  47. Create a blog post that lists all the most useful articles or resources on a particular topic (not just your own). Include competitors. You’ll thank me later.
  48. Make a video where you recount something that’s happened to you; it doesn’t even have to relate to your business. Sometimes your readers just want to be able to relate to you if they see themselves in you.
  49. Go through your old, outdated, potentially penalised content and improve it: Combine short pieces into longer, more “meaty” content, or get rid of poor-quality content altogether.
  50. Write a post listing and linking to all your articles on a particular topic or theme. This is great for SEO and for increasing readers’ time-on-site.
Bye for now. Be excellent to each other and get in touch if you found this useful.
Categories
Content

Content in a crisis: a guide

There have been worse times. There have been better. You might be worried about your beautiful content calendars and social queues. You might be worried how to deliver content that still has relevance and helps your customers. Here are some ways to think about delivering content in this age of ‘never-befores’.

Below is a top level guide on how you as a content marketer can get through this.

Be very clear

As self-interested as consumers were, they are now only thinking about themselves and their future. Questions like: ‘What is this?’ ‘How does this help me?’ ‘What do I do now?’ will be in the forefront of their minds.

They will be more sensitive to things which answer these questions. They will be repelled by ambiguity and complexity.

Brand identity and brand affinity happens when you have successfully helped people overcome their immediate challenges.

So, every word needs to make sense, provide assurance and be understood.

Write shorter sentences, break down paragraphs, shorten ideas into easy to understand chunks.

If you have written two paragraphs, see if you can say it in one.

Deliver consistency

In the coming weeks and months audiences will need rely on new routines and content consumption habits. So, show up more often. Deliver the ‘show’ of your business.

Setting your content schedule to publish new content consistently is a must. If you can build a daily cadence of producing and publishing your content that would be a goal worth reaching.

Write more often and personalise

We have already seen that volume works when content marketing is linked to gaining attraction. To see any results now though, you will have out-produce your competition and segment your audience.

And since 90% of all content marketing is now linked to the COVID-19 the volume, to keep up to date, will need to increase. The delivery will have to be strategic. Some of your customers will have different needs and will have already tuned out to Corona related messages. Pick out audience segments to deliver specific personalised content to. Something that only matters to them. These segments will also need to be served as equally as the larger groups.

Relevancy has taken on a different meaning now and you will need to personalise all of your content to make it that much more relevant to every type of audience member.

Create at least 1 video per week people need to see your face

We are seeking new communities and taking stock of our options. As such your audience will most certainly be responding to new messages and more importantly friendly faces of encouragement.

You are your brand. You represent your company and the values that you should have been practicing all along. So get your face out there, show your audience you exist and they can rely on you, not some faceless corporation.

Personal brand marketing was already a hot topic in 2019, now is the time to invest in this if you can.

Respond

Your audience and customers have questions. Make sure anyone and everyone in your organisation is available to answer them.

 The higher up the company someone is the more impact and re-assurance this will have when they respond to a customer. A message from the MD will carry more weight than a generic corporate message or one from customer services. A crisis relies and responds to authoritative voices.

Reassure as often as possible, but under no circumstance over promise

Brand trust is precarious even in prosperous times. One angry tweet could be very damaging. Customers seem to have brands by the short and curlies and have all the leverage.

Even at a small scale we are very cautious of how are perceived. In this current crisis the reactionary thing to do is to bow, curtsy and even discount to your hearts content.

However, you still need to make a living. You need to be straight with your audience. Tell them what is to come but provide an equal measure of reassurance that you are doing everything you can to help them solve their immediate challenges.

If expectations are set and you have set clear rules around dialogues, then you will not need to gasp in anticipation at every customer query.

Moreover, we are all doing what we can. Including you and your business. So the promise needs to be just that. Not that you are going to make everything great again.

Demonstrate you understand the root of the problem

You will need to demonstrate you understand the supply chain. In a B2B space, businesses will be reeling and not be able to either articulate their issues or know what to do to fix them. You will need to go the extra mile to show the customer, or potential lead, that you have their interests at heart and know their business.

 If it takes a few more words or paragraphs or an infographic or video, then do it. Show them that your service or product is the solution to their complex issue. And you as the solution can offer a way to support them.

Your services and products are not as important as how you can help

 Brand and companies who are concerned with maintaining the status quo will die.

Protection of how great their product is or how wonderful their new AI-science-based-neuro-linguistic doodad is, won’t matter anymore. Features and to an extent the benefits, on their own, won’t be enough.

From a content marketing perspective, one that compliments a customer’s journey, you will need to demonstrate people using your product and service. And more than that, them succeeding in overcoming challenges when using your product or service.

Testimonials, social proof, endorsements recommendations will become very valuable in articulating your value proposition and worthiness to the market.

Don’t worry too much about production value

People are responding in different ways to the current crisis, but the overriding emotion is fear.

Speed and authority, in this case, will be rewarded more than quality. So, if you can get content out, that showcases the idea clearly and the message genuinely helps them reduce their fears you will come out looking great.

With this mind people’s expectations of artistic extravagance are lowered. Something that is deemed ‘great’ won’t come from a place of chin posing artistic judgement but rather a place of connection. If you can serve your customers, help them, connect, then you are making great looking content.

 Get your technical SEO in order

If you have not already done so…sort your SEO OUT NOW!

If your website is the central point for your business either people brochure shopping or transacting, SEO will take on a greater importance. The algorithms will change, and there is already signs that some sites have been suffering in terms of visibility and keyword attribution. So you need to get your ship in shape to make sure you can whether the storm.

These are the things you should have optimised already:

Google my business  – https://www.google.com/business/business-profile/

URL structure – URLs on your site containing keywords and being intuitively linked to your site navigation.

Content structure – Making your content easy to navigate, using action based intuitive and logical call to actions, organising posts based on topics and customer needs.

Internal and external links – Interlinking your pages and posts more than just the navigation.

Metadata – Making sure your meta titles, meta descriptions are filled in, not for ranking better but for clicks.

Keyword and topic analysis – Making sure you do your due diligence on what your site ranks for, what you would like to rank for and what you need to do in order to bridge the gap.

Alt tags – Use alt tags in your images to introduce the keyword in question and make your image relevant to the content you produce.

Backlinks – Make sure your site is not linked to a dodgy site or better yet the backlinks you have worked to get are still active. Or if your brand is mentioned on another site then you are able to get a link to your site. 

If you have time, use sites like Uber suggest or Spyfu to see how competitors search has been affected in the last month.

Thank you, I love you, good luck.

Andrew

 

Categories
Branding Content Digital Marketing SEO

19 ways society and marketing have changed forever

I know sexy title right?

This time in our lives will be remembered for many things. Amongst them are the ways in which our society has already changed, responded and hopefully in all circumstances will have prevailed. And in a very short space of time.

Following are things I have noticed about the current state of play and what will happen in the next few weeks and months:

  1. There is more of a social licence to pass judgement

The usual throng of social justice warriors in some circles have gone a bit quiet. The rage against casual insensitivities against any group seem have paled against the current crisis. They have also been silenced by the media barrage of every article, post and video referencing the current crisis. This has left a gap. A gap for those who would otherwise remain silent to pass judgment on others with impunity – citing the coronavirus as a convenient smoke screen. And largely, in personal and in public forums, I have seen this pass by people’s attention without so much as a disgruntled sniff. We should be careful as we tread lightly into our new world of ‘never-befores’ that we remain respectful and in fact, use our isolation, as a future reminder that our tolerance, understanding, compassion are stronger bonds in the progress our society than childish blame games, name calling or public shaming.

Of course there are people who should be pointed out as being bad examples of bad behaviour, but there are others whose situation is much more nuanced and challenging than appearances would suggest. And as we sit in our homes, we have time, finally, to reflect and conjure up what our new society should be. We have an amazing opportunity to create new rules and use a collective, common, public voice to change things for the better.

Basically, cut the shit, cut come some slack and think hard, now you have the time, about the future you want.

  1. People’s lives will change forever and there will be no ‘going back to normal’

We’re all islands shouting lies to each other across seas of misunderstanding.

Rudyard Kipling

It’s now, today, where you have a glorious opportunity to imagine a better future. The end of Fight Club, with the financial debt set to zero. The end of the Matrix, where they make a new society without being controlled by machines, are both reminders that our opportunity is now. The world will have to reset.

And rather than creating a new world based in fear, anger or hammering home the message of what should have been, we can rebuild. As societies have done so many times before, we can rebuild it in whatever way we want.

It’s our choice.

This is an unprecedented time. In the respects that a society has never had this kind of opportunity, with as many resources as we do now. Only if we see this opportunity as a point to launch massive campaigns to benefit pockets of society which were otherwise overlooked, neglected or treated unfairly. We can demand a government that is systemised by accountability, less agency, less reliant and thus pressured by financial institutions.

We can be more compassionate business people and decide to run our companies with values that we actually follow. That we can use different bottom lines and non-negotiables other than the pursuit of profit. Our marketing can be more transparent, our sales cycles can be shortened because we can sell things to people who actually want our products.

We can distribute wealth, resources, education fairly. We can demand it, we can action it. And this is not sentimental, leftist clap trap, it’s seems as though it’s a necessity for change and long lasting prosperity in response to consumer and citizen demand.

So with that in mind, wouldn’t it be a shame if we went ‘back to normal’?

  1. The algorithms have changed and will change more dramatically.

This one is easy. The algorithms have to change. In terms of Search, Social and machine learning. They only respond to our online behaviour and whilst this time will be an anomaly, the way in which we consume, communicate and transact will continue to develop in new ways. The response, much like our response to the outbreak, has to mirror the dramatic change we have gone through. Companies who don’t reflect these changes will be left behind for the one’s that do.

  1. If brands are not talking about COVID-19 they will be left behind

Simple, Google has determined that attention is closely linked to relevancy and intent. The closer your offer or content is to what someone is thinking or what they want, gives you competitive advantage. If your content for the next 6 months, does not reference people’s struggles during this time, how you can help or how you can distract and entertain then people will switch off.

  1. There is a job shortage in marketing, and it will get worse

For every job listing in marketing, there are, on average, 350 applicants at Manager level and above and over 370 at graduate level and above.

Having analysed the major jobs sites there are roughly 165, 770 open marketing positions. According to statista.com there are over 979,000 people who are marketing professionals, either in a job or not. So if we apply the current rate of unemployment at 3.8%, which will undoubtedly increase, and add in a further wiggle room for people who are moving jobs, there are far too many candidates for the amount of jobs.

This has been a growing problem in marketing for the last few years. Employers expect to get more for their money and there is always someone who will do it cheaper, faster, better (maybe not better, but certainly cheaper and faster.) This has not only left a skills gap, but a distrust in results vs pay. Freelancers budgets are squeezed in particular and it’s only the bold and brave who are able to command proportional cash for their effort.

With the current climate as a backdrop, I don’t know the solution is for the industry as I am sure more than just marketers have been affected. My suggestion though, for any marketer is to expand your network, get your face and ideas online, publish often and create a body of work that is not just your CV.

  1. Agencies are scared for their livelihood

I have been on more than 17 agency/freelancer slack, facebook and linkedIn groups. The general concencus, is either fear or pivot. And pivot fast. Everyone in these groups have been very helpful, willing, if not clambering for attention (me miss I know the answer!). But as I am sure the landscape will change for all industries, agencies and clients will need new ground rules on engagement, fees, tenders, pitches and communications.

  1. Content marketing will get harder and the internet got noisier

In scary times people want reliability. The threshold for gaining consumer trust just went up. People need to have more guarantees that their time or money will not be wasted.

Content, then, will take on new meanings, and in order to survive, you will have to niche down. And niche down hard. Targeting, audience, segmentation, technical SEO, distribution to smaller groups will be where the opportunities are. Even just starting with 1 person, will maybe where some brands and content producers will have to start again.

More than this, now everyone, including me, are giving their stuff away for free, how do you gain attention or traction in a noisier environment? Check out my article on this. Which is why you should using more personal connection tactics. Make messages come from people rather than brands, use email, text and even, dare I say it, call people!

And now is the best time to plot your customer journeys and write and produce content that is mapped to their pain points and demonstrate how you can support them during this time.

  1. There has never been a better time to practice more ethical marketing practices

I have been a big advocate of achieving higher standards in how we market to people responsibly. And treat people’s attention as a privilege earned, rather than a right. It’s less about stats and revenue to markup on your analytics dashboard but more about connections. It’s about fighting for your customers’ beliefs, being kind, doing the right thing, in spite of costs or profits, and realising that this will be a big way of how consumers assess a brands validity in the market. ROI, can be more than just ‘revenue ÷ cost of effort + cost of goods.

I have even written a manifesto to this effect.

The world of never-befores or as Charles Handy called it, The Age of Unreason, models of marketing built on big traffic, clicks, conversions and retention will have to change. It might be more of a reverse funnel. Giving rise to usefulness first, building proven trust, then asking for money upfront, at a smaller price point, then reaching wider audiences with a more mass market offer.

And if you can prove all of this, then all the better.

With that mind brands will need to respond on an individual level, using technologies available, to drive understanding and empathy first then logic and the sale second. The heart then the mind.

Moreover a disclosure to spending habits and endorsement, differentiating between paid content and organic, tracking, how data has been obtained and generally conveying a better sense of decency will give you a leading edge as a marketer and brand.

  1. Marketing will need to be more transparent

Growth and scale of companies will shift to more segmented offers and transactions helping people on an individual level rather than on a group identity level. The consumer persona won’t be based on big macro demographics, but rather based on emotions and needs.

And as grand manipulators of the human conditions, marketers need to show their work. Let me know, as a consumer, why I might be buying and what I am buying. Any chance you are obscuring or not showing truth, then I am not buying. Even more so in an economic downturn.

Brands will not be able to ‘carry on’ they will need to be having serious trousers on, zoom calls, right now to demonstrate that they understand, they can help and they can guide their customer base to something better.

  1. SEO and Automation may be the only way to save your business

It’s clear. Search should be a large component of your business and if you don’t have the fundamentals sorted, then now is the time. You should update all your meta data, your google my business, your search profile and the health of your backlinks. The algorithms have already been updated and will have new criteria based on relevancy, yes, but also helpfulness. So you may find that you will be out optimised by a lesser brand, because you tried to maintain the current status of your Page Rank and content.

Automation will also be the first thing that can save you money. You will be able reduce process load, overheads, buy yourself some time to think and drive sales. You’ll also be able to automate your sales process. Think what is repetitive and manual and think of a way you can either get rid of it or a way you can automate it. More often than not, you can solve this through tools such as, Zapierautomate.io and braze. It does not have to cost the earth and whilst you may be quiet, there is no better time.

  1. When travel restrictions are lifted, business may not be able to keep up with demand

If you are thinking, ‘when this over, that’s it, I am booking a holiday!’ you can guarantee 15 million other people will be thinking the same thing. It will be tough. A boom for some, for others, smaller operators, will be left behind, when bigger operators will be creating offers left right and centre. And for those who have have been able to remain in business there will be plenty of opportunity.

Conversely, companies who stay afloat, offer a good service and have maintained contact with their customers, may well not be able to keep up with demand. People who won’t be able afford to go abroad, will look to holiday in their own country. Will small hotels, resorts, beaches and parks, be able to keep up? Will they be overrun? I think so.

  1. This will go on for longer than we thought, and it could get worse before it get’s better. 

I aim to be an optimist in most situations. But if this continues at the rate that it is, and continues to create financial fallout in its wake, then there will be untold difficulties that lie ahead. Yes there will be fantastic opportunities for those willing to try or those who are lucky, but many people’s lives will be upended. I have already lost 5 out of 7 of my clients!

Judging from how this disease and economy breakdown have spread, east to west, on a conservative estimate things should be looking better by June, in the UK. However, across the world it looks much worse. And whilst there is this disparity of people unaffected and people in the brink of despair, there will be so much repair and reclamation needed before communities can rebuild.

Being that optimist, I hope I am wrong and the virus, miraculously, when least expect it, will simply disappear.

  1. If you could not think for yourself to solve problems and relied heavily on the internet on how to do anything, after this we will become even more reliant on the internet. 

There are billions of searches per second. Most of them now are related to the current crisis. But one thing remains consistent, that ‘how’ is the most used word in searches. Our culture of immediate results has now expanded. We are physically immersed and inseparable from our content and screens, so the transition to a stay-at-home life, is not an immediate shock, but rather a slow decent into total internet reliance.

With a restriction to social interaction, which is massively important for brain development, we compensate by replacing what we can touch, interpret and interact with, i.e other people and places, with a screen. The screen takes something from you. Independent thought. Why think, to know how to do something, when you can search for it? Right? Why wouldn’t you? I do it myself. But if we could spend 30 minutes a day interacting with something other than our screen to solve a problem, then we will be far better off when this thing is over.

  1. Isolation does not mean we need to be isolated. 

Yes we are isolated. But we are not alone. And no-one should go through this without the support and help from their community. And as long as you moderate, in all aspects of your new life, why not meet new people? Why not get involved in new groups or re-connect with groups you have not seen in a while. It’s not as if you can say you are busy or you are going out.

And I entirely acknowledge that for some, this is a big challenge. Speak to people who you can trust, speak to people who are helpful and uplift you. But the overall message is to SPEAK!

  1. There already is and will continue to be a creative boom

I am on Dribble and Behance, the social and portfolio sites for creatives, and ‘people be busy’. It’s almost a wash with new projects, new ideas and creativity at a rate I have never seen.

It’s amazing, but also during any crisis or when we feel lost, we need to make sense of this. Just using me as an example, I have written over 10,000 words for work, written 4 poems, and created 3 videos. And I am working less hours, because I also looking after my kids. I am not saying this brag, but to show that I too am scared and need to make sense of this. I usually try and express myself by being creatively active.

There so many amazing creators out there already. And maybe some of the best have been waiting for this opportunity to hone their masterpieces. If given the time and space for thoughts to blossom into something spectacular.

  1. We need artists, musicians, actors, dancers, writers, comedians, DJs, designers, marketers, to express and channel our rage, anguish and fears into creations that let creativity and expression help us overcome and inspire. 

And further to the point above. A creative call to arms, has risen. If these groups could channel their collective might into messages of positivity, resilience to galvanise the populous, then this crisis will be so much more tolerable.

Creative people! Charge!

  1. There are some major opportunities for people with these business and skills: Online courses, cost effective coaches, digital marketers, cyber security professionals, financially savvy business development professionals, creatives, automation specialists, alternative non-VC investors. 
  2. Trends, stats, corporate reports are now meaningless and a bit pointless, unless they are health related or help people. 

Don’t send out industry reports. Just don’t. We are inundated by stats every day and don’t need some meaningless trend analysis. We need help. We need helpful tools, that will make us respond, quicker, act faster and be able to get us through this period. If a stat is helpful, sure, use it, but industry reports are a waste of time if they are not helpful and generally prove what people already know. And any stat that tries to incapsulate this time will have no bearing on the world in a few months’ time.

Be helpful, be present, give away your secrets, help those who need it the most, love first, judge last, build up, bear witness, cry, laugh, do ‘virtually’ anything you want and most importantly:

I love you.

Stay safe.

Andrew

Image credits – Open Peeps by Pablo Stanley.