Coronavirus Response: How and Why to Ramp Up Your Blog Content Quickly

17 Apr 2020

CORONAVIRUS RESPONSE: HOW AND WHY TO RAMP UP YOUR BLOG CONTENT QUICKLY

As more and more Americans self-quarantine or are asked to work from home, online activity is skyrocketing. In fact, from January 29 to April 8,  usage rates rose 105 percent (from 22.6 million people to 46.2 million people in the U.S. using the internet during peak hours).

While the circumstances aren’t ideal, most business owners are asking themselves how they can capture the attention of all of those online browsers. In other words, it’s time to think about how you can attract those new visitors and grow your business (or brand). Even though it’s true that more people are surfing the web, it’s also true that how you approach your content during this sensitive time can determine the future health of your brand.

To Pivot or Not to Pivot

People’s interests have shifted during the pandemic, and content creators should consider this shift when creating their content over the next few weeks or months.  In general, content creators have two choices: pivot or don’t pivot. For some, pivoting will be easy because virus-related content easily fits in with their current content. For example, a business that focuses on working from home could write articles that include information about overcoming social isolation.  For others, pivoting their content may be more difficult.  Or, perhaps, your company believes pivoting to coronavirus-inspired content feels unnatural, contrived, or just downright tacky. 

Pivot

Those who can easily pivot their content may have an advantage during this unusual time. For instance, hunker.com typically publishes articles about home design and improvement. But the site has recently changed its content to keep up with the new demand trends. Today, you’ll find articles like “Grocery Stores Empty? These Cleaning Solutions Will Help” and “How to Disinfect Your Washing Machine After Being Sick”.

Royal Caribbean is publishing articles such as, “Fun, Royal Caribbean Indoor Activities for Families”.  Verizon Wireless’ latest post is titled, “Everyday heroes help us all, Verizon supports them.”  Amazon has gone so far as to devote an entire blog to coronavirus.

Don’t Pivot

Some companies will continue business as usual and keep putting out the same type of content that they always have.  As of this writing, for example, you’ll find little to no COVID-19-related content on the Costco Blog. Exxon has decided to keep its Energy Perspectives blog content true to its original purpose without straying into coronavirus territory.  Even if you decide to (mostly) ignore the pandemic in your content, you can still ramp up quality content production, which will help your site to take advantage of the global increase in internet traffic.

What Not to Do

Whether or not you decide to write a lot of COVID-content or just a few paragraphs, you will need to learn to be sensitive with your wording and approach.

Here are three things you should avoid in your content:

Don’t Pretend the Pandemic Doesn’t Exist

People’s lives are being affected by the virus, and companies that come off as insensitive may experience a negative impact on their brand. If you completely ignore the current situation, you could publish content that may be considered inappropriate. For example, an article about the best local places to eat out may fall flat, as will an article about arranging travel plans to Europe.  Publishing content like this could cause you to come across as tone-deaf during this crisis.

Don’t Blatantly Use the Coronavirus as a Marketing Tool

It’s natural to want to reach out to your customers and the general public to offer support. But even if your products or services can benefit them in these times, you should be careful in how you approach them through your content. For example, a blog titled “How to Take Advantage of the COVID-19 Quarantine by Using our Data Organization System” will come across as insensitive. Instead of trying to sell consumers something right now, try creating content that helps them get through these trying times. For instance, if you’re the data organization software supplier, you would do better by writing a blog entitled, “5 Ways to Be Productive While Quarantined” and subtly mention your data organization system as one of the talking points.

Don’t Spread Rumors or Criticize Politicians

These are polarizing times, and the last thing you want to do as a business is to take sides or spread rumors that may prove to be false. For example, if you don’t agree with a politician’s actions related to managing support efforts, keep it to yourself. Otherwise, you could end up offending the readers who don’t agree with you.

 You should also be respectful of the consequences of the virus when mentioning it. Only use official sites to relay information and stick to the facts. Some of the official sites you can use for reference are:

What to Do

Successful content creators will focus on a few strategies during the pandemic. Here are some key points to keep in mind as you create your content.

Talk About the Things Important Your Customers

Don’t try to fit a square peg into a round hole.  You still need to stay relevant to your customers.  Don’t write about the phases of coronavirus on your pottery website, even if it does show up is an oft-Googled search trend. However, if you run a financial blog, you could write about stock market tips for today’s unruly market. A real estate blogger could publish tips about house showings during quarantine, or a dating site could write articles about how to maintain relationships during social distancing.

Inform People About Your Business—Subtly

Being sensitive doesn’t mean you can’t subtly promote your business. As with the example above, data organization content is helpful and lets consumers know about a product that could help them in this time.  Hunker is continuing to establish its brand as an expert on how to live well in your home, but the content shift is interesting to today’s reader. The key is to give readers the information they want, while in a non-salesy way, informing them how your service or product can help them.

Be Consistent

As we established earlier, people are online a lot these days, and they are establishing new browsing habits. They are looking for sites that offer the most relevant content and are likely visiting those sites again and again. Your goal is to create content that keeps them coming back to your site. Publish daily or weekly, but stick to your schedule so your visitors will know when to come back for more.

Use Content to Strengthen Your Brand

Finally, if you create a page on your website that tells people how your business is responding to the coronavirus, it can give your customers a sense of security regarding your business continuity.  For instance, everyone understands that gig workers are being financially impacted by the virus. Uber did a great job of addressing this problem by creating a page on its website outlining the steps it’s taking to ensure the financial well-being of its drivers.

A “coronavirus-response page” can also showcase how your business is helping your local community.  If you are donating medical supplies to your local hospitals, talk about it on your website. If you are organizing a food drive for the local community, be sure to mention it on your site. Or if you are taking care of your employees by allowing them to work from home, let the public know about it.  Just be sure that when you mention these things, you don’t come across as self-serving. Instead, focus on your community and the people you are serving.

5 Ways to Quickly Ramp Up Your Content

Now that we’ve talked about the do’s and don’ts for content creation during the pandemic, let’s talk about how to ramp up your content to reach all those people who are online most of the day.

Here is a 5-step plan to help boost your content fast:

1. Think About What Your Audience Needs Right Now

We’ve talked about the topics people are searching for right now, and if you can write content to match those needs, you are ahead of the game. You will first need to understand your customers and then determine how your brand can help meet their needs. For instance, if you sell pet supplies, you can write articles about how to exercise your dog during quarantine, how to keep your pets clean and, using the latest scientifically backed research, whether pets can transmit the disease to humans.

2. Create an Editorial Calendar

It’s always a good idea to create an editorial calendar when running a blog, but if you’re going to ramp up your content, it’s even more essential. First, determine how often you want to publish, and then begin thinking of the topics you will cover. This will require some brainstorming and research about what people are currently reading. Use Excel to create a spreadsheet or just make a list of your content for the next month or so. When you use an editorial calendar, it reduces the time spent on each article and allows you to concentrate on the writing.

3. Use Social Media and SEO to Increase Your Reach

If you want to bring more people to your blog, expand its reach by posting your blogs to social media. This will allow others to share your content. You can use any social media platforms you want—but the bigger your audience, the better this tactic will work for you. For instance, you can create a live steam on Twitter to talk about the highlights of your article or post your blog to Facebook or LinkedIn.

Also, using Search Engine Optimization (SEO) is a great way to drive traffic to your site from the search engines. Use a keyword tool to determine the best keywords for your article and then use them in the title, headers, and content. And if you use more than one keyword, it will increase the visibility of your article.

4. Open Up Communication with Your Readers

Everyone is isolated right now and craving communication with others—even if it’s online. One way to offer that is to open up the comments on your post and interact with your readers. Starting conversations with the people who leave comments is a great way to build your brand and readership. In addition, use your social media accounts to communicate with your readers by encouraging comments and then responding to them.

5. Hire Professional Writers to Keep Up with Content Creation

If the thought of creating additional content seems overwhelming, think about hiring professional writers to do the job for you. If you’re not used to writing, creating a daily or weekly blog can take a lot of time. But experienced writers have it down to an art—and they will make you look good without your ever having to write a single word.

Are You Ready to Ramp Up Your Content?

Even though more people are online, only savvy business owners will benefit from increased internet traffic. If you want to get more eyes on your blog and build your brand, be sure to follow the above steps and advice!

Author
Suzanne Kearns 
Suzanne knew she wanted to be a writer at the age of ten when she wrote her first story, and has spent the past 2 decades writing blog posts, magazine articles, nonfiction and fiction books, sales letters, white papers, press releases, website copy, and anything else that can be put in written form. She has written for Intuit, Avalara, NerdWallet, GoPayment, and as a ghostwriter for a few well-known CEO’s. Her work has appeared all around the internet, including on sites like World News and Reports, Entrepreneur.com, and Forbes. She loves nothing more than being presented with a bunch of data and asked to break it down into digestible content for readers. Most days you’ll find her sitting on her porch with her laptop, writing to the sound of the ocean, and marveling that life can be this stinking good.
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