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Here's how to create meaningful content during the COVID-19 crisis

At a time of crisis, businesses must ask themselves the right questions on how to adapt their marketing initiatives to the actual context.

Read our Covid-19 special advisory report

In the next few days, when all government measures regarding COVID-19 will be known and settled into place, the situation may level off. Brands must get ready to position themselves again and make themselves useful to their audience. Ken Wong, marketing Professor at Queen’s University Smith School of Business, pointed out that:

Brands should put their profit motivation on the backburner for the time being in order to make sure consumers are “there for you in the future.”

In the current context, content marketing is an essential resource to stay connected to your audience with compassionate and relevant messages that will make their life more comfortable or more enjoyable.

People have the need to feel seen, understood, informed and entertained, now more than ever.

Numeric platforms, especially social media, are the first line of contact with them.

They constitute an extraordinary form of exchange with your consumers to get to know more about their wants and needs. They also represent a public place where your actions, good or bad, might be highly discussed and shared.

Useful social content can be created without a big budget, with agile methods while benefiting the tools offered on the platforms. Consequently, here are 5 tips on how to help you evolve your content plan, so it adds real inestimable value to your audience.

→ Discover some examples of brands that made themselves useful during the actual crisis.

1. Identify the needs of your audiences.

In the current context, it is essential to remember who your audiences are. Young parents who need to entertain their kids while working from home have different needs than young professionals. Still, everyone will experience the same loneliness, with a high demand for information and enjoyment.

Stay on the lookout for conversations. Involving yourself in Facebook group discussion and following the treads of hashtags relevant to your audience is an excellent way to understand your community. Monitoring tools like Talkwalker can help you get a better portrait of your community's feelings and their needs, and help you act accordingly.

Follow the trends manifested on searching tools to better understand what people need. If your brand has the credibility to answer their questions and to feed them with relevant information, do so.

Lastly, there is nothing like going straight to the source. Your community is, more than ever, present on social media platforms because of the circumstances. Listen carefully. It certainly will answer the questions you may have.

2. Claim your editorial positioning in order to answer questions.

A good content strategy should subsist to truly engage with your audience instead of disturbing them with any sales pitch. More than ever, especially within the context, your editorial positioning should play its role and align your content with your mission, instead of your products, to the consumers.

  • Is your brand online to encourage us to get moving? Plan live workout sessions.

  • To get closer to our family? Offer ways to play board games online.

  • To promote collaboration? Share a colleague story that stays connected creatively.

A few good practices to keep in mind while creating useful content:

  • Stay true to yourself. Be creative in the field in which you have credibility;

  • Listen more than you talk. Do not publish content only to keep an online presence. Better to say nothing if it is not to add a specific value;

  • Adapt your tone, so that is coming off as empathic; show the human behind the keyboard;

  • Inform your audience: do not shy away to share useful content that your audience can and will use;

3. Capitalize on co-creation and strategic partnerships.

Creating photo and video content can be quite a challenge within an isolation context. There are still some easy ways to document the moment: by helping each other out.

Reach out to a few collaborators. Content creators that experience the same reality as your audience can help you create images that are closer to reality. A foodie mom can share her grocery shopping list to survive two weeks without having to go back multiple times.

Some experts can help you tackle the information or demystify ideas related to a lot of questions people are asking themselves right now.

It is as well a great occasion to strengthen some win-win partnerships with other businesses in order to produce content you guys both excel at.

Which are the other players in your industry, whom you could reach out to, to create more accessible, better content and multiply your impact?

4. Simplify production and embrace the codes of each platform.

Content is king.

If it is grounded in real needs and sincere intentions, your positive brand stories can have a real impact, whether they are documented with a ten people video crew or only with a smartphone. It is the right time to embrace social platforms codes and to create human-level content, unfiltered.

Within that context, many brands and influencers already banked on the live video trend. This natural diffusion, created with a smartphone only, allows you to create a meeting with your audience and share a personal social experience. Which type of Rendez-Vous could you offer your audience?

Written content also represents a great opportunity. This form allows us to dig deep into a subject or story while being easy to produce and distribute.

Do not hesitate to share the behind the scene and the humans behind your brand.

Grab your phone. Human to human contact is the main focus at the moment. Don't be scared to create content less curated, but more realistic through Instagram stories, but also on Facebook. In a time where the situation quickly evolves, production simplicity will help you stay reactive and flexible.

5. Migrate your initiatives to digital.

At last, quite often, content opportunities already exist, just not in the form we expect them to be. If the current measures forced you to cancel an event (conference, pop-up shop, sponsorship initiative, team offsite), are you capable of transposing the experience into a digital one?

A few movie festivals made available a few short films online, libraries are sharing free access to their digital collections, global conferences transformed into webinars. How can these reflexes apply to your brand? Which ones of your conversations transpose into a podcast?

In conclusion, it's all about mutual support

People will remember brands that grasped the opportunities of the context to boost their sales with no consideration of what their consumers are going through. But they'll also not forget useful businesses that acted for the great and good of others. This positive relationship, based on shared values, is what will ensure brands who commit in a helpful way to secure continuity in their relationships with their consumers, during these uncertain times.

If you wish to learn more about how to create meaningful content, contact us!


As a graduate in communication from Concordia University and with a master's degree in documentary content from UQAM, François-Olivier is responsible for directing ideation and content design, in addition to bridging the gap between strategy and creation.