How to Keep Your Content Fresh During the Pandemic | Coronavirus Series

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Editor’s Note: This article is a guest contribution from Laura Oxler, customer success manager at soona

The message in your direct communication with customers is meaningful. Your customers want to hear from you and see what’s new with the brand they love. While the upcoming months are uncertain, you can balance taking immediate action with a relevant message and planning for the future. 

You’ve already pivoted your content strategy, so now you need the message and visuals to support it. So how can you deepen your relationship with your customers now and set yourself up for success in the future? 

Keep building your community. Keep sending them fresh and personalized messages. And keep showing them new visual content. 

Revisit your segments with a new point of view

Amid the crisis, ecommerce marketers have a key opportunity to continue building your community and creating even more personalized experiences for your audience. The more relevant written and visual content you have for your audience segments, the more they’ll relate and engage with your brand. 

Before you get started, take a trip down persona lane. 

It’s time to revisit your audience segments and see how each of their motivations, needs, and behaviors have shifted during this time. Look at multiple sources to uncover these insights—your data, social media engagement, and even having direct person-to-person conversations with your customers. 

Since you last visited your personas, what’s changed? What’s stayed the same? What are the new ways your customers are interacting with your brand or using your product? 

Take these insights and craft a personalized experience that you can execute on with written and visual content.

An added challenge to this personalized messaging exercise is to balance the timely “now” message with a sustainable message for the future. 

It’s easy to think that we need to water down our messaging to fit within the time of coronavirus, but communicating with empathy is what matters most. Having a greater brand-level message as your lens will help you navigate if your current message ladders up.

Think through what’s relevant now and what you can share that’s new. Keeping your message timely (the now) while focusing on making progress (the new) will help set you up for success. 

Remember that your message is important, but visuals can do a lot of the heavy lifting. 

4 different ways to keep your visual content fresh

Now that you’ve identified your personalized messages, how do you create the photos and videos to support them? Let’s explore a few types of content and some tips to help you keep your imagery fresh.

User-generated content (UGC)

Photo and video content from your customers is authentic, helps you build trust, and shows your other customers how people are using your products.

While your customers are at home, encourage or incentivize them to share photos and videos with you. Remember that they don’t always have to share visual content. You can turn a comment on a post or testimonial into a piece of content. Better yet, this type of written communication can inform other forms of custom content you might create. 

MeUndies recently launched a UGC campaign “Model for MeUndies.” The brand is sending fans products and asking them to photograph themselves in their undies and tag the brand on Instagram. MeUndies plans on using these images for an upcoming print launch and across digital channels.

Tip: When you would normally create the content yourself, what content could your customers create for you?

Traditionally, UGC was shared on organic social media. However, in the last year, we’ve seen more customer-created photos and videos in paid ads, website product pages, and email campaigns.

Take a look at your content mix and throw away the way you’ve “always done it.” Think through the updated personalized messages you can be sending to your audience segments and see if you have any amazing UGC that could relate to each.  

MeUndies fans will be creating the brand’s print launch which was traditionally a catalog shoot. What could your customers be creating for you?

Ask your internal team to help create content 

During this time, we’re all galvanized and navigating the coronavirus crisis together. Showing your employees in your content gives you an opportunity to share their authentic stories and leverage their advocacy. 

Your employees and team are your brand. When people can’t visit stores and interact with your employees, sharing updates and stories becomes the only line to the human side to your brand.

Colourpop’s Mother’s Day email campaign included a roundup of the “mamas of Seed Beauty.” The brand celebrated their own moms in an authentic way, featuring their photos and listing their names and titles.

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Tip: Identify the company values that resonate with your audience segments. What stories could you tell using your own people as the faces in your content?

Try a content series with a weekly employee highlight, curate an employee takeover, or give your team prompts to create and share content. Ensure you have permission from your employees before sharing and remember to credit the photo or video appropriately. 

Consumers are looking for ways to relate and connect. Bring a human element to your content through the stories of your employees. 

Curate existing content

Your current content library is a treasure chest. If you look at your existing content with a new point of view, opportunities will bubble up.

It can be as simple as adding a new message, choosing a different angle, or combining photos that you hadn’t considered before. Comb through previous user-generated or influencer content and see if there are new stories you can tell. If you have a Photoshop-savvy team, you can create new content by tweaking color, adding graphics, or sharing content on new platforms. 

Athleta and Banana Republic have repurposed existing content in a new way by sharing a business up top and comfy on the bottom email campaign. While the content isn’t new, the message is very relevant now.

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Tip: Breathe new life into your existing content. Review your content library with a new POV of a “now” message. What could you repurpose with a refreshed message?

Have a new team member take a look at your existing content and offer a fresh perspective. Your content manager might see the same usage for a certain asset, but someone with a new perspective might be able to break out of the norm and think of a new spin. The holiday campaign shoot you did last year might be perfect for a summer campaign with a different background color or graphic overlay.

Curating your existing content isn’t just a coronavirus stopgap. Repurposing your photo and video in creative ways is the key to filling your digital channels without them feeling stale. Even when you’re repurposing, keep platform-specific best practices in mind so your channels stay optimized.

Create new content 

After looking through your existing libraries and user-generated content, where are the gaps you still need to fill? From your audience segmentation exercise, identify the photos and videos you need to create to support these personalized messages.

Creating brand new content is still possible, even as we’re navigating the coronavirus and stay-at-home restrictions. By booking virtual photoshoots, you can get photography of your new products or create new seasonal shots with your existing products. 

Sherpani recently needed fresh springtime imagery for their website, email, and other digital channels. The brand did a virtual photoshoot with soona studios and got fresh content without missing a step.

Sherpani sent soona their products and creative concepts, and a photographer brought them to life from a virtual pop-up studio from her home. With a virtual photoshoot, Sherpani was able to view the new content in real-time: every time the photographer took a photo, it appeared live on a dashboard for the Sherpani team to review and give real-time feedback. They picked their favorites and got edits in 24 hours so they could quickly use the work on their website, social channels, and across their email campaigns.

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Tip: Think through your current content gaps, especially for your seasonal or real-time content needs. Instead of planning a costly shoot with the limitations of the current circumstances, try a virtual photo shoot you can direct from home. You can create brand new professional content without leaving the house.

Key takeaway

Parts of your business might be delayed, but sharing fresh content with your audience is still possible through curation and creation. 

Revisiting your audience segments and identifying any changes in behavior is your content strategy starting point. Deepen your relationship with your customers through personalized written and visual content, and evaluate your current content mix to see what makes sense and what you need to pivot. 

When you’re feeling stuck, revisit your content library with a new POV, call on your employees and customers, and create fresh content during a virtual shoot. While you’ll continue to pivot your strategies, you can still make progress during this time and create fresh content to support your marketing activities.

Wondering whether influencer marketing is a strategy you can use to create fresh content for your brand? Learn more.

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