Add Value, Not Noise

How to cut through in times of crisis

How many company blogs and newsletters have you seen recently about Covid-19 and the national lockdown? It’s a topic that affects everyone and all companies, but some are doing a better job of talking about it than others.

So what’s their point of difference?

The companies who are doing it well are the ones who have taken a unique angle to the topic, written something directly from their voice, and added value to their customer’s day with either education, information, or inspiration.

Let’s help you do the same.

Don’t get lost in the hum

Right now as the country is in lockdown, people are online more than ever before. They’ve got more time to browse, to read, and to research, and are crying out for quality content.

Here’s what you’ve got: a captive audience stuck at home on their devices ready to absorb your content. Don’t you want to give it to them?

Before we go any further, let’s be clear that we’re not talking about opportunistic marketing, or profiteering from a crisis. We’re talking about providing real value to your customers in the form of helpful guides, distracting entertainment, and thoughtful inspiration.

There’s a lot of noise on the internet, with thousands of companies and individual voices shouting to be heard. If you aren’t careful, you’ll get lost in the hum.

If you want to be noticed, here’s what to do …

1. Stand out — do you.

Maybe you read the first company blog about Covid-19, then the second or third … by the fourth you scanned over it or didn’t even bother — it was just the same as the rest of them.

If you want your company blogs to stand out and be better, you’ve got to do better. You’ve got to do you.

2. Start by finding a unique angle to approach the topic.

To hook people in with your content, you have to offer them something they haven’t seen before. This doesn’t mean to go ahead and make stuff up, but it means to find an angle no one has looked at before.

You can start by creating a brainstorm of all the ways your product/service/philosophy intersects with the topic. Has it affected you in a way that’s different? Have you found a unique way of dealing with it? Do you see it in a different way?

A great example of this is New Zealand Financial Planners’ recent blog, which highlighted the fears and potential effects of the global pandemic on investments and financial plans.

3. Add value, not noise.

Your company blog or newsletter should always come back to the question of “What will my readers gain from this?” If you can’t answer that question, stop writing until you can. Every blog post should fulfil a purpose — that is how you add value, and rise above the noise.

When you’re planning your blog, take a few minutes to consider what you want your purpose to be — do you want to offer light relief? Comfort client anxiety? Provide a practical course of action? Activate your customers to engage or form a community?

This should compliment your angle, and will set you in good stead for cutting through to reach your target audience. Nose To Tail achieved this with an informative, practical guide to caring for your dog during lockdown in their recent blog.

4. Use your brand voice and show your personality.

When writing, you want to make sure that what you’re saying and how you’re saying it aligns with your brand principles and company philosophy — this will also ensure you don’t sound like everyone else out there using standardised corporate speak. Be a human, use your voice.

Having a clear and unique angle can make this easier, as you already know that you’re approaching the topic from your own point of view. Our recent BizStory blog postused my voice and point of view to approach the daunting step into working from lockdown in March.

People want to know you’re one of them, and that they can connect with you. A human angle and personal perspective often resonate best in times of crisis, rather than taking a distanced or objective stance.  

5. Make your words count

Time is precious, and even bored people in their third week at home won’t waste their time reading something that adds nothing to their lives. If you want to capture your audience’s attention, you need to give them something in return whether that’s educational, entertaining, or inspiring...

I. Content that educates

To educate, you have to offer insight, guidance, or actionable steps that will help your customers with their pain points. Take for example the current lockdown situation, plenty of companies have been offering educational articles about working from home including tips for video calling etiquette and setting up a body-friendly workstation.

You could look into creating a series of educational posts that encourage readers to come back to your site for more, or join you on a journey of exploration through a topic or theme.

Consider what your unique angle, perspective, and product/service can offer to your audience. What tools can you offer to help them to do things better?

II. Content that entertains

Laughter is the antidote to most stressful situations, and entertainment makes a great distraction when the world gets too heavy. Entertainment content often takes the form of a listicle or round-up from the web, such as Fast Company’s Funniest Memes About Working From Home.

Entertaining content seeks to add value by offering positivity and a smile to your customers, especially in times of hardship, but it’s important not to make light of a difficult situation. Make sure your humour is in good taste, and fits to your brand personality. If you wouldn’t share it on your personal page on Facebook, don’t share it on the company page.

III. Content that inspires

For many companies, even writing high-quality informational content can be a struggle. Very few can write content that transcends beyond this level and truly inspires or motivates their audience toward a cause or purpose. Inspirational content doesn’t just tell you how to do it, like educational content does, it encourages you to think outside the box and find your own approach.

This could be a case study story of turning around a failing business, a motivational piece that helps you realise the tools for success are already within your possession, or a heartfelt call to arms that moves you to change the world.

Just like charismatic speakers at the centre of a room, inspirational content draws readers in and makes them feel empowered. It’s that feeling you want to give, in exchange for their time and attention. As Maya Angelou said: “People won’t always remember what you said, but they will remember how you made them feel”.

You can’t expect your customers to pay attention if they don’t get anything in return. Give freely with your words, add value to their world, and cut through the noise to stand out online


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