Virus giving you downtime? Write something!

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is hugely disruptive to businesses, but it might mean you have time to finally write or commission that blog post, white paper, website or internal strategy paper that you’ve been meaning to get to.

Further, producing content may be one of the few viable marketing options, at least for the next few months, with industry conferences, expos and business travel in general being cancelled. Content, of course, is also a fundamental component of many digital marketing initiatives, such as website revamps or electronic direct mail (eDM) campaigns.

But where should you focus your energy? Here are some ideas for projects you could write yourself, ones you could develop with a team and some strategic items.

Why write?

Around 60 per cent of marketers say content is ‘very important’ or ‘extremely important’ to their overall marketing strategy, according to HubSpot’s 2020 marketing report.

We’re only surprised that figure isn’t even higher, given content’s critical role in digital and social marketing and search engine optimisation (SEO). Google has said time and time again how important good content is for improving your site’s search ranking.

It’s arguably even more important in building credibility and trust with customers – especially those making big-budget decisions on, say, enterprise IT or professional services.

For example, a LinkedIn study found that 83 per cent of business buyers said thought leadership builds trust in an organisation. On the other hand, 49 per cent said their opinion of a company declined after reading poor-quality content, according to a 2020 thought leadership study by LinkedIn and Edelman.

What to write?

Deciding what type of content to write will depend on your situation and business. But if, say, you’re a business or marketing leader currently working at home, here are some ways you could put your time to good use, starting with writing for external audiences.

Solo Projects:

  • Thought leadership articles and blog posts: Writing a blog post (like this one!) could be your first step in becoming a trusted authority in your industry. This in turn could give you a big competitive advantage – particularly in the business-to-business world, where trust is valued so highly. We’ve written a book about it if you want to learn more.
  • Video, webinar and podcast scripts: Video is now the number one form of media marketers use in content strategies, according to the HubSpot report. Podcasts are more popular than ever, while webinars can be a powerful way to educate business buyers. But it’s not just a matter of firing up a microphone or camera – you need to prepare a script. See our guide to creating podcasts.
  • Brochures and white papers: Brochures are still a staple sales tool, but if your customers are discerning business buyers, a white paper might be more compelling. It will allow you to drill down into technical details and explain the business benefits of your product or service in more depth. See our guide to how to write a white paper that works.
  • Presentations: Have you been meaning to update your sales presentations? Now might be an ideal time.
  • Books: Well, if you have a great idea, why not? Especially if you have a few weeks in quarantine to fill … Writing a book is a big undertaking, but if successful, you could become a leading authority in your industry or occupation.

Team Projects

The spectre of widespread mandatory or voluntary quarantining also has many business and marketing leaders wondering how to shore up demand for their products and services. Again, good content can help, but this type of project might need more of a team effort or external help

But it's easy to collaborate remotely, right? You could use your time to plan, commission and oversee these projects, which might include the following initiatives:

  • eDMs: An email campaign may be the quickest way to generate leads or boost conversions. According to HubSpot’s 2020 marketing report, email marketing delivers a return on investment of $42 for every $1 spent – and 78 per cent of marketers have seen an increase in email engagement over the past year. See our blog post on how to write brilliant eDMs.
  • Case Studies and testimonials: Customer advocacy is still one of the best ways of enticing prospects to contact your business or even seal a deal. In fact, case studies are the number one content format for business buyers researching a purchase, according to a Demand Gen Report survey. It can take a bit of time and effort to contact, interview and gain approvals from clients, but if a case study proves too difficult, a short testimonial quote may be the next best thing. See our blog post on how to write effective case studies.
  • Website revamp: HubSpot’s report found that websites are still the most used distribution channel – and that 63 per cent of marketers are investing in a website upgrade in 2020. These are usually huge projects, so we would suggest starting with an audit of your existing site to assess what’s working and what’s not.
  • Microsite: A quicker and easier option than a full site revamp, a microsite can be a great destination for a new line of products or services, or a content hub on an important topic for your industry.
    • Research Report: Commissioning research on important industry or customer trends can become a centrepiece for a thought leadership program targeting business buyers. It would likely start with a detailed report on the research, but then you could spin off blog posts and use the stats and findings for content ranging from eDMs to speeches.
    • Social marketing: It goes without saying that social media is now crucial to marketing plans, but how should you use it? Brafton’s 2020 market report found that the average click-through rate for Facebook ads is just 0.9 per cent, which is why content should be a key part of your social strategy.

    Strategic Plans:

    Writing is also a wonderful way to get your thinking straight. So, if you’re a business leader with some downtime (relatively speaking), you could consider revisiting your business’s strategic direction and important internal documentation, by writing:

    • Vision and values statements
    • Manifestos
    • Strategic plans
    • Operating manuals
    • Tender and proposal templates

    How we can help:

    Yeah okay, we do have some self-interest here. We’d love to help you with all these ideas by editing and/or proofreading your awesome work. Or we could assist in writing new material from scratch. Let us know how we can help.

    ICON would like to thank the team at Editor Group for this insightful article.

    Powered by Wild Apricot Membership Software