Digital and Experience

Content Marketing in the time of Coronavirus

· Content Marketing, Digital and Experience, Trends, Tricks of the trade

With the latest Coronavirus update, Australia and the world at large is entering a period of extreme uncertainty. Government regulations, socialisation restrictions and economic forecasts we have not seen in our lifetime are impacting every industry, with many businesses going into damage control to reduce the potential impact over the coming months.  

As Australia moves towards a lockdown, social media platforms and online publications will be our biggest connections with our community – and Facebook is already reporting higher than usual uptake as social isolation is on the rise across the globe. This presents an opportunity for brands to ‘stay in the game’ and continue engaging their audiences online, but there’s a fine line between keeping morale up and capitalising on a global pandemic.  

While this situation is highly unprecedented and we’re all wading through these uncharted waters together, we have developed some guiding principles to help our clients (and ourselves) engage with audiences during this time.   

Don’t stick your head in the sand

Unless you’re in an industry that is called out directly by the government regulations or pose a high risk to the public, it may not be necessary to send out daily updates on the situation or your response. It is however important to acknowledge the current climate and how you can continue to support your audiences during the pandemic. This can be as simple as an eDM, LinkedIn or social media post letting your customers or stakeholders know how your business is reacting and the measures you’re putting in place to support your staff. It’s also important to alert them if any of your services may be affected in this time and how you’re working to maintain them in the coming year. 

Be respectful with your ads

It has never been more important to ‘read the room’ when planning your content and review the tone and content of your ads. Is it relevant to the current climate? Is it empathic to your audience’s situation? Run a careful eye over your copy for any seemingly playful phrases that could be misinterpretedThe public are looking for good news stories, but overly joyful visuals can be a bit jarring in the current climate. Promoting your coronavirus update itself can also rub your audience the wrong way so consider whether it is truly urgent before you amplify. Review everything three times before posting, just to be safe.  

Prepare to pivot

From the arts sector to sports, we’ve seen some of our biggest industries crumble in the past weeks. How you’re able to adapt is a strong sign of stability and resilience, so contingency planning should be a part of every conversation. Sure, nobody wants to plan for the worst, but by considering these options you just may develop a solution that could be even better for your business. From live streamed events to delivery services, this could be an opportunity for your business to evolve in ways you never expected. 

Shake up your strategy

While you’re pivoting your offering, make sure your strategy is agile so you can respond to the needs of your brand in this time. Customer-focussed and real-world conversions might need to be replaced with brand awareness strategies. Or focus on educational content that answers some of your audience’s biggest questions in isolation. All businesses are preparing for impact, particularly those in service-based industries, so building a strong brand foundation and stating in front of mind now can help support your business in the second half of the year. 

Don’t be a digital drain

The most important thing right now is that you’re being supportive: to your customers, your suppliers and your employees. We’re all going to get incredibly fatigued by any mention of COVID-19 this year, so even if you’re sharing content that feels relevant to these times, it may be best if you just leave the obvious thing unsaid and keep the COVID out of your captions. As much as possible, allude to the situation without spelling it out. For example, when you talk about spending more time at home, the public will understand the background without needing to be reminded about the virus. 

It can be difficult to feel positive when we’re faced with uncertainty about our futures and fistfights over toilet paper, but as content marketers we have an amazing capacity to support our online communities in this time, as long as the tone and strategy is right. For brands, consumers will want to be entertained, educated and inspired in the coming months, giving us plenty of opportunities to connect with them. After all, there’s only so much Netflix each person can binge. 

Alone, together: Pivoting to virtual events in the middle of a pandemic

· Digital and Experience, Tricks of the trade · ,

For industries across Australia, it’s increasingly hard to escape the impact of coronavirus (COVID-19) – especially if your operations rely on face-to-face interactions. From Bluesfest and the Grand Prixto AGMs and conferences, events of all sizes are being cancelled and postponed, leaving many businesses questioning how they will go on.  

Even the “Doing business under Coronavirus roundtable was cancelled last week – a harsh bit of irony for your enjoyment

But adaptation – especially in times of crisis – is in our DNA, and we must go on nonetheless. There will be jobs lost and businesses that fallbut we must band together to make the most of the hyper-connected world that has arisen over the past decadeAnd going virtual is a viable solution for the foreseeable future.  

Live streaming is, without doubt, a plan B

Nothing will ever beat the human connection felt in a bustling crowd, or the ease of learning and negotiating in-person. But as is the case with all survival, staying in the game requires creative evolution  

Thankfully, recent technological advancements have seen a massive swing towards live streamingBusinesses can already bring offline audiences together via a range of digital medium– from multi-camera broadcasts, 3D tours and webinars, to video-conferences on Microsoft Teams and casual chats on Instagram Live.  

In fact, you can curate a highquality livestreamed event for as little as $3k – a far cry from the thousands spent on a physical one. 

Starbucks just hosted its first online shareholder meeting. Entire music festivals are happening on-screen. Conferences around the world are taking place in virtual environments this year. Even funerals are going online. 

Just this week at Keep Left, we turned what was supposed to be a two-day event for a client into a live-streamed interactive webinar. The face-to-face training was scheduled to happen in Brisbane but pivoted to a digital broadcast from our Melbourne studio. 

With travel bans and increasing restrictions on gatheringthis kind of quick evolution is inevitable. 

But there are many tiers to virtual events

While social media may be immediate and intuitive, there’s a huge difference in quality and control between streaming live on Facebook and from a professional studio.  

As with all video content, a webcam or phone camera just can’t beat the quality and professionalism of broadcast cameras with a curated backdrop and expert focus-pulling.  

We’re in control of the lighting, we can switch angles and cut to supplementary footage, and we can capture high-quality content for other platforms as we go. And we can host the stream on an owned platform, so that we’re not relying on social media usage as a prerequisite for engagement.  

While both tiers can be experienced anywhere in the world via a strong, private internet connection, you can’t monetise social media. Being able to gate and ticket your virtual events is imperative if this alternative is going to work for businesses in the long run.  

Virtual events are not without benefit

By going online this week, our client actually increased viewership and engagement, reaching trainees in more states than originally intended thanks to the ease of digital access. Here are some other efficiencies we found:  

Extending the content’s shelf life  

Filming the program live meant that we could capture collateral content on set, to create a bank of resources that will be rolled out via a strategic content marketing campaign.

Smart analytics

Because we’re working digitally, whave access to quantitative reports on attendance, visitor traffic patterns and engagement levels that can be used as key learnings for future activities. 

Increased interactivity

Holding polls, surveys and group messaging capabilities throughout the virtual event encouraged the exchange of ideas among attendees

Cost efficiencies

We had decreased venue overheads, zero licensing and catering fees, and a significantly lower carbon footprint. Sustainability, in times like these, becomes even more paramount as we reflect on the impact of our travel and operations around the world.  

At Keep Left, our creative and digital specialists have spent the past few weeks pivoting our AV, tech and social engagement experience to this new life online.  

As devastated as we are for society and the economy, it’s time for us and our clients to do what we do best – innovate, take time to push our capabilities forward, and lean in to the forced acceleration of technology that will inevitably come from this.   

ANZ partners with Keep Left for content marketing

· Digital and Experience, Office updates · ,

content-marketing

ANZ has appointed marketing and communications agency Keep Left as its content marketing partner for its Financial Wellbeing Program following a competitive pitch in late 2019.

The appointment has seen Keep Left collaborate with ANZ to develop a mobile-first digital content hub aimed at motivating and inspiring Australians to get on top of their financial health.

Launched in January 2020 as the online platform for ANZ’s current in-market Financial Wellbeing brand campaign, the program gives both ANZ and non-ANZ customers an easy to follow, actionable six-step program that encourages good money habits and promotes overall financial wellbeing.

Keep Left Managing Director, Gillian Gosling, said: “Our brief was to help ANZ bring its brand proposition to life through this digital environment and develop content that inspires people to take action and realise it’s not about how much money you have, but what you do with it.

“We worked with ANZ’s brand and content teams to ensure the copy and content of the program laddered up to the core idea that it feels good to get on top of your money.”

As of February 2020, the Financial Wellbeing hub met and exceeded all performance benchmarks, including a 35% conversion rate of the online Financial Wellbeing Calculator. 162,000 people visited the ANZ Financial Wellbeing Hub and average time on site sits at more than three minutes, one minute above benchmark.

The program invites people to learn their Financial Wellbeing score, and then provides a range of program modules including planning a budget, managing debt, setting a savings goal, organising accounts and wealth creation.

The Financial Wellbeing Program will remain a focus for ANZ in 2020 as part of its commitment to helping Australians improve their financial wellbeing and therefore, their overall health.

Keep Left’s scope for the launch phase included developing a content marketing strategy, editorial planning, UX design and copywriting.

Moving forward, Keep Left will continue to work with ANZ on Financial Wellbeing, connecting content with different audience segments at key life moments.