We are here to help show you that strategic marketing during the pandemic is still possible.
These are unprecedented times. Our world is in crisis, and our country is on lockdown. With many losing work or being forced to work remotely, individuals and businesses are struggling. Many companies are putting operations on hold and hiring freezes in place, and some can’t even keep the doors open.
Here at Farotech, we’ve been busy reaching out to our clients to get a temperature check on how everyone is doing. Fortunately for us, we’ve been a semi-virtual company for the last 19 years, so we’re used to working remotely and conducting business online. We got on our feet very quickly when all this hit. But many of our clients don’t have that luxury.
While we’re checking in on them, they constantly ask this question:
What is the number one thing that we should be doing for our marketing during this pandemic?
Many of our clients have been desperately trying to get any possible leads or sales right now. It makes sense when you consider everyone is just trying to mitigate loss and keep cashflow up. And, if that approach is working for your company, then carry on. However, for most industries during this time, hunting down new business is practically a lost cause. We’d warn against spending your time and money on that approach.
However, there is a way to maximize the opportunity you do have during this coronavirus pandemic. Business slowing down is certainly a challenge, but it doesn’t have to be a total loss. We are here to show you how to make the most of marketing during a pandemic.
The #1 Thing You Should Do for Your Marketing During Quarantine
(And the number one regret you will have if you don’t)
Our answer is not to go hunting for new business if it’s already obvious that you’re not going to succeed. Instead, the number one thing that you should do right now: stockpile content from subject matter experts. Select and create content that can be SEO optimized and used in various forms as long-term marketing assets.
You see, we have been deploying digital marketing strategies for our clients for nearly 20 years. In that process, we’ve seen firsthand how content development is a critical piece to establishing credibility as a thought leader within any given company’s industry.
Not only that, but content is also critical to ranking on the first page of Google, Yahoo, and Bing. Ironically, the top challenge that every marketing company faces (or rather, a good company that truly considers themselves a “partner”) is getting critical information from their clients’ subject matter experts (SMEs).
The Challenge and the Opportunity with SMEs
Because they are SMEs, they are often considered critical staff members. And, because they are critical, their time is invaluable. They are busy doing their specific jobs—the ones only they can do—and doing them really well. It makes sense, then, that marketing initiatives that require the time/knowledge of SMEs, get pushed to the bottom of the list.
We know this pain firsthand. When we launch an inbound marketing campaign for a new client, everyone is really excited and ready to roll.
Expectations and motivation are high!
The plan is laid out.
The various pieces of the marketing system start moving.
And then…a dead halt.
Everything is backed up because that all-important, subject-specific content we need is lodged inside the brain of someone who doesn’t have the time to eat lunch, let alone to chat with the marketing people about developing great, niche content. And we can’t blame them. They’re experts, which is exactly why their time is at a premium.
Here’s what’s so unique about our current situation, as difficult as it is. This COVID-19 pandemic has sent everyone into quarantine and put most businesses on long-term hold. We’ve found ourselves in a unique scenario where the SMEs are out of their usual routines and in some cases, unable to do all the tasks they normally would be doing.
Everyone is still busy, but they’re busy in different ways. With the uniqueness of the situation, this may be the only time in their career that SMEs even have the opportunity to think about spending their time on something different than the usual grind.
In light of this rare opportunity, what should your company do?
Make a strategic pivot in your marketing.
How? Ask your SMEs to consider prioritizing something that often gets pushed to the bottom of the list: stockpiling high-level content (we like to call it “marketing gold”) as an investment in your company’s future.
Gathering the content is step one, but what you do with it after you have it is just as important as the initiative itself. That’s why in the remainder of this blog outlines a step-by-step guide to answer the following questions:
- How should I determine what kind of content to collect?
- What format should I use to produce/publish the content?
- Where should I put it once it’s ready?
- How do I do all this without breaking the bank since we’re on a spending freeze?
- What can be done after this pandemic to maximize the results of the content that we create?
Step by Step: A Detailed Guide to Marketing During the Pandemic
Step 1: Identify critical questions to answer and start creating videos!
Your team needs to do a massive brainstorm and come up with the top 50 to 100 questions that you hear most commonly from your prospects or even from your current clients. Once you have your list, think through which SMEs in your company would do the best job answering each particular question.
The goal will be to have the answer to each question explained in it’s own, unique video. This requires some administrative heavy lifting, but don’t worry! We have some recommendations for awesome platforms that can make this a breeze for you.
Use a program like StreamYard ($20/month) to tag your subject matter experts. Assign one SME to each question to produce individual “assignments.” These tasks will then be used to create the video content to explain the answer to that specific question.
Each question should be its own video. StreamYard’s video tool will allow you to present yourself on the screen while also showing a PowerPoint or slide deck. The best part about StreamYard is that your presentations can be broadcasted live to three social media platforms:
- Facebook Live
- Youtube Live
You can also create videos like this using a Wistia product called Soapbox ($99/month). What we love about Soapbox is that although it is not recorded live, it allows you to do really high-level post-production without much technical knowledge.
In fact, your videos take only a few minutes to build in post-production! You get all of this without expensive equipment or having to employ a video editing professional. It also seamlessly connects to your Wistia account so you get the maximum functionality, aesthetics and analytics that video hosting has to offer.
Lastly, if you decide you want extra help with editing and decide to go with Soapbox, we recommend that you use it in conjunction with a streaming service. You can still import your finished videos to a program like Restream, which will syndicate them to a wide variety of social media platforms.
Your video will then show live in its post-production form. You can get started with a free plan, or if you want to stream to more platforms or get extra features, paid plans start at $16/month.
Step 2: Maximize your videos by creating text versions.
Making double use of all this amazing, high level, subject-specific content is as simple as creating transcriptions of all your new video content. Now, for every video your SMEs have created, you also have the written content to produce a blog, which will serve you well for long-term search engine positioning.
- Submit your video to Rev.com. This service will take your video audio and quickly convert it to text. You can stream there for $1.25 per minute. To transcribe a five-minute video would cost $6.25. Not bad, considering the residual benefit of your website having this content published in written format too.
Note: We do recommend spending a little time editing the transcription to make sure that it’s in an easily readable format for your website visitors. You may have to make a few changes because no transcription is 100% perfect. But once you’ve given it a look-through, you’ll be all set!
Step 3: Publish all your new content in all the right places.
Now, it’s time to take the next step and create your company’s own podcast (if you don’t have one already). This may sound like an intimidating prospect, but remember that it’s a one-time task that will have long term benefits. Plus, you can use Buzzsprout ($12/mo) or Libsyn ($5/mo) to get started and also to take care of all your syndicating.
Even if nobody listens to your podcasts, Google still commonly gives an increase in SEO juice if you syndicate your podcasts. When they’re hosted by high authority sites (like the ones listed below), the backlink that’s generated from them to your own website is worth the effort.
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These high domain authority sites provide backlinks to your site, helping you improve your rankings.
Buzzsprout will distribute your podcast to:
- Apple Podcasts
- Google Podcasts
- iHeart Radio
Libsyn will distribute your podcast to:
- Last, you need to apply both your video and your written content to your own website. This may sound like a no brainer, but you wouldn’t believe how many companies have amazing content at their fingertips and never publish it to their own site. This is critical if you want to have potential sales targets find you on Google, Yahoo and Bing. You can see in the following example where we applied the video above the fold, and the corresponding blog content (created via transcription on Rev.com) just below:
NOTE: When the crisis is over, and your organization has money to invest in marketing, this content should be sent to a professional marketing agency that has talented SEO writers that can turn this content into SEO gold.
Step 4: Develop a Knowledge Base on your website.
Besides putting quality content on your website and blog pages, there is one other critical place where you can put all SME-generated content on your website.
We recommend developing a Knowledge Base.
A Knowledge Base is an interactive component built into your website where customers can go to access all the answers to their questions about your company, policies, and most importantly, products and services. It is a platform that includes a collection of questions, answers, articles, guides, and you guessed it—videos— that are viewable to users by simply typing a few words or common questions into a search bar. Think of it like a searchable FAQs page on steroids.
If you are a well-established company that has a client base that would benefit from your thought leadership, we highly recommend that you create a knowledge base. There are several companies that offer knowledge-base platforms. We’ll discuss our two favorites below.
Hubspot’s knowledge base platform allows users to type in questions and refine searches based upon product, type of resource, topic, etc. High-level tagging options allow users to get information quickly and simply. When talking about any kind of content development, we always emphasize the importance of QWASI (questions with answers in simple information), and Hubspot’s knowledge base format definitely uses this principle.
Zendesk’s Guide is arguably the most established Knowledge Base Platforms in the world. It offers many of the same features as Hubspot and also has a ton of third party integrations at a much lower price point. It’s built to help you and your team continuously improve your content, keep it up to date, and make it accessible to customers.
The Result: Making the Most of Your Marketing During the Crisis
While this is certainly a tough time for the world, it could be an incredible opportunity for your company. Don’t waste this chance to invest in your SEO, social media, video, lead nurturing, and content strategy all at the same time with this strategic approach. And when this content ranks, it will be like an annuity that pays off for months—even years—to come!
And don’t make the assumption that your competition is also doing this. As straight-forward as this strategy is, most companies will not be disciplined enough to do it. You’d be surprised how buckling down now could really allow you to leapfrog over your competitors in the long run.
As a recap, here’s what we’re looking to accomplish:
- The main goal in all of this is to generate as much quality content from subject matter experts as possible.
- Next, you want to systematically push that content through social media, podcasts, your own site blog, and a knowledge base.
- Once things return to normal, we suggest handing the content to a marketing agency that knows how to edit it for SEO purposes and help you create a paid social media and paid ads plan to further promote your content.
- Ultimately, the objective is to take your website from an online brochure and turn it into a utility that will educate your potential customers, while at the same time cementing you as a thought leader in your industry.
We realize that there is a lot of information here. We tried to make this blog as user-friendly as possible, and as the crisis continues, we plan to add to it. If you have any questions about this process, or what your next steps should be to implement this approach, please don’t hesitate to contact us to discuss your marketing efforts.
Like you, we’re stuck in our homes, but our team is busy at work helping companies like yours make the most of this time by using the opportunity to do some strategic marketing during the pandemic.