The COVID-19 pandemic has taught all of us many new things… how to become skilled in every virtual meeting technology; how to update our Google My Business listings; mastering parenting, teaching, and working simultaneously; and that “Cheryl” really is the worst coworker in the “office.” But while humor is certainly good medicine for our mental health during these times, we are also facing very real business demands as well. As marketing and communications professionals, how do we address the needs of our business and our clients during (and even after) the time of COVID-19?

Here are few tips to keep in mind:

  • Be clear

There is an overwhelming amount of COVID-19 and coronavirus messaging out there right now. Make sure your communication clearly – and briefly – articulates your message.

Many of us want to include personal and supportive notes in our communications right now – that is fine and it can add a welcome human element to your message, but be sure to put the reason for your communication up front so the reader sees it first and foremost. Then move into secondary messages.

  • Be transparent

Many of us are in undesirable positions right now, particularly from business operations and financial standpoints. If your company needs to communicate these types of messages to your audience(s), do so in as transparent a fashion as possible.

For example, if your business is considering budget cuts, salary freezes, and even layoffs as possibilities, it may be right to share this. Also, if you are looking into business stimulus loans or grants to recover some of your financial loss, that may be ok to share, too. These insights (even if they aren’t exact) let your audience know you’re addressing the situation and being open about the options you’re considering. It also builds trust.

  • Be authentic

“Quarantine hair, don’t care” isn’t just an internet meme. It’s a nugget of gold for all brands and businesses. People crave authenticity. It builds relationships and trust between you and your audience. COVID-19 is hard for all of us. Give yourself and others a little grace. Know we are all in this together. This could also be an opportunity to have a little fun showing some of your business behind the scenes in “COVID-19 life” or showing your employees working from home with their new “coworkers” (aka pets, spouses and kids).

  • Try different outreach tactics

Media consumption habits have changed since COVID-19. Knowing your audience and pivoting to where they are right now can be the key to better results. For example, we are seeing that TV (broadcast and streaming) and social media are being consumed at much higher rates right now than outdoor. And a recent Nielsen article also shows that radio is even as or more popular than before COVID-19. And in addition to increased consumption, understand that “virtual,” non-HD broadcast options are increasingly viable. We’re all adapting to a media landscape in which traditional broadcast standards are relaxed to reflect the times.

For owned media assets (website, organic social media, newsletters), be sure to include your message prominently. If you have your own COVID-19 response page, link to it right from your homepage and/or consider having a pop-up message appear when users arrive to your site. Pin COVID-19 related posts to the top of your social media channels for “sticking” power.

In closing, yes, the COVID-19 struggle is real. But know that you are not alone. So many businesses and communicators are facing similar situations. It’s even possible that the news you feel will be a “big deal” when it’s reported, won’t be. There’s a lot of bad news out there right now. And a lot of good news. The best you can do as a marketing and communications professional is be real. The above tips will help. And we’re here to help, too. Give us a shout any time here.

Good luck and stay safe out there