MAT Releases During Coronavirus

Writing in the New Normal: Can Your Message Still Help People During COVID-19?

A few months ago, you were ideating and creating a spring campaign. The plans you made suited the normal world, one filled with workdays, coffee, gatherings and outings.

Now, with the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic, those ideas don’t really fit in to the world as we know it now. Not when people are dealing with serious life-changing realities of the pandemic, both health-related and economic.

As weighty as these matters are, many people are looking for ways to live in this temporary new normal. And they’re looking for information.

[Read more: Where does branded content fit into a media landscape dominated COVID-19?]

So a question worth asking yourself is whether you can adjust your idea to meet people in the new (hopefully temporary) normal. You might even be able to provide helpful information in some of the new and challenging situations they find themselves in, even if it doesn’t explicitly address the pandemic.

Let’s explore a few possibilities, by looking at how you might approach these six categories of Guaranteed Media Placements.

1. Health care

First, let’s take a look at how health priorities have changed. Obviously, people are deeply concerned about keeping their families healthy, and at first blush, any non-COVID-19 article may come across as irrelevant or out of touch.

But people will still have questions around their health care. Allergy season is starting and people also have ongoing medical needs, like managing their blood pressure or dealing with a chronic illness.

[Read more: 6 Things communications professionals should do during COVID-19!]

Do you have an opportunity to help people meet their health care needs in a way that is convenient and safe?

The other side of health care content is promoting healthy living. In these anxious times, tips around exercise, mental health and nutrition can help people feel like they’re taking back some of the control in their lives.

2. Food

Food is the glue that pulls together social gatherings. But that campaign you planned around Easter, barbecues and perhaps even graduations is now on hold or maybe even off the table.

But the hunger hasn’t subsided for food content, not by a mile. In fact, demand is growing in some pretty important areas.

Pivot from the celebration feast, and rebuild the concept around hosting a special date night at home.

As the weather warms, people will still want to head outside and fire up the grill. Message-wise, you’ll more than likely take a more subdued, family-relaxing-on-the-weekend vibe. Rather than pulling out stops with a spread made to impress the crowds, the messaging might be around fresh new ways to top burgers or delicious sides on the grill.

Instead of putting the focus on big gatherings, would a family-focused approach work?

People still bond over food. If you present them with something delicious and special they can create in their homes, you’ll give them something to look forward to.

3. Family

Here’s what a lot of family content tends to focus on: Optimizing time. That’s because when we’re in normal operating mode, families are busy, busy, busy. They’re rushing between practices, games, scouts, meals and lessons. To help families function better, you’ve been dreaming up new ideas and solutions.

So, making an adjustment will be more than a pivot. We’re talking about slamming on the brakes for a full-stop at home. But that doesn’t mean the possibilities have disappeared.

Here’s something to think about: Everyone’s talking about how kids will remember COVID-19 for the rest of their lives. This is a defining time in their childhoods, a shared experience. Ask yourself, how can you connect to that in a way that feels authentic and human?

Redirect the time-saving tips and streamlined recipes to target parents of school-age kids who may be learning to cook and prepare family meals. Yes, maybe skip the recipes that require lots of knifework and a food processor. But you get the idea. The point is, instead of focusing on saving time, think about helping families make the most of their time together and make it meaningful.

4. Finance

In times of normalcy, wealth-building is a big focus in financial writing, whether we’re talking about creating a retirement strategy or getting ready to buy a new home.

The uncertainty around COVID-19 will surely put some of these aspirations on the back burner. That’s where you can find a good space to shift into: Helping people regain their peace of mind just by regaining control of their finances.

When it comes to financial information, think about the information they’ll need to do just that. A back-to-the-basics approach can be a great starting point.

General tips around building a budget and prioritizing spending and financial goals will resonate.

But consider the fact that people often put off the task of getting their affairs in order. Now that they have some bandwidth and motivation, you can help them get organized.

[Read More: Coronavirus and PR: 6 Things PR Professionals Should Do During COVID-19]

5. Home and garden

The overriding advice when it comes to refiguring your campaign during a time of crisis is taking a fresh look at what’s changed in people’s lives. If you’re like many people sheltering in place, you’ve already taken on some home projects, large and small, that you’ve been putting off.

Now’s not the time to get people revved up for a full-scale bathroom remodel that captures a high-end look. But you can certainly go for the DIY weekend updates, like painting the walls in an on-trend color and hanging a new light fixture.

With Earth Day around the corner, there are plenty of home improvement project ideas that promote greener living without breaking the bank.

Out in the yard and garden, many people will find new motivation this spring to get outside and make their yards into an extension of their homes. They’ll be looking to you for ideas!

6. Technology

When you look at what’s happened over the past month, technology has played a starring role in keeping everyone connected.

Imagine what the pandemic would have been like, say, 40 years ago. Without the devices and reliable source of Wi-Fi, life in America would have come to a complete halt. As you know, everyone’s relying on technology to keep their children engaged in schools, and workers connected to their jobs at the office. With devices, kids and grandparents are staying in touch, while musicians perform free online concerts. By making contact-free food delivery possible, it’s also keeping people safe. The list is endless.

In a nutshell, people are leaning on technology in a big way to get through the crisis. How can you help them troubleshoot issues or make the most of their tech tools?

Where’s your pivot?

These are, as they say, unprecedented times. A shift in your approach and messaging can make your original idea better suited to the reality that people are living in today.

Instead of the sophisticated, aspirational vibe, see if it works to pivot to a message of empowerment, helping people rediscover a sense of control over their lives.

Rather than planning the big celebration, present ideas that make milestones meaningful when people can’t get together.

Rather than upgrading, look at ways that people can build on what they have.

Instead of emphasizing efficiency, your message might be more about bridging gaps and forging meaningful connections.

Not all ideas can make the shift. But it’s definitely worth looking into. Can you find your pivot?

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