In the webinar I watched and wrote about
Thursday from MCI USA, one of their first suggestions was to have conversations with your customers. "The natural inclination at this time might be to withdraw [knowing how busy and focused people are], but the opposite should be true. It's the time for strategic conversations and important questions. 'How are you?' should be the lead question. It's a great time to be human and lead with empathy and understanding. 'What do you need the most help with?' 'What are your pain points?'"
I poked around a little to see how some SIPA publishers are initiating these conversations and designing specific content.
Put your commitment to conversation up front.
When I went in to Ragan Communications' website
this morning, I was met with a pop-up:
Talk to Us
The Ragan editorial team wants to help you with your COVID-19 crisis challenges.
- Tell us how we can best cover this crisis for you.
- Share with us how you are communicating during these challenges."
Send a survey. The editorial team at Access Intelligence's PRNEWS is requesting feedback about the type of content most desired by communications professionals. "In order to better understand what you need to perform your job well, we rely on your feedback, which in turn helps us develop our platform to meet your needs. So, let us know what type of content you look for on a daily basis...we're listening
Create content to cover COVID-19 within your niche.
Example 1 - Columbia Books & Information Services' Thompson Grants has created a specific new resource. To better assist the grants community, they've launched a free roundup at their Grants Compliance Expert website. The roundup provides a "list of links to memoranda and guidance issued by federal agencies—as well as the Office of Management and Budget—that are specifically relevant to grant applicants and recipients dealing with COVID-19's impacts on grant programs," writes Jerry Ashworth,editor for Thompson Grants.
Example 2 – SIPA member The Company Dime covers business travel management so their lead story is an important one: Coronavirus Exposes Weaknesses in Business Traveler Tracking. I've read many articles on stranded business travelers. The next article focuses on a support group for laid off travel industry professionals.
Example 3 – California tax experts Spidell Publishing has two sessions this week for "COVID-19 and Filing Extensions: What Tax Pros Need to Know." They also have a full page of resources titled Coronavirus tax information and Spidell's live webinars and seminars." In the middle of that page they write: "Spidell seminars: The safety of our customers and our employees is our top priority."
"Over-communicate"—in-house as well.
In an interview
with Digiday, Bloomberg Media CEO Justin Smith
spoke about the importance of in-house communications as well. "We have been working from home for just over a week but our approach has been to ramp up communication as much as possible, almost over-communication. We ended up increasing the number of one-on-one meetings and group meetings in the first week. In some ways, you can have a more focused and less distracted conversation virtually."
Evolve our work. Smith added that a lot of that communication has been "around the importance of responding to this change, how can we be entrepreneurial, how can we do things differently and adapt and evolve our work, our workflows, our product, our relations, or business relationships in ways that are better suited to these times?"
"Above all, maintain empathy for your users—
and their changing needs and challenges, and focus on the data, not fear or anxiety, to make the right decisions for your business," writes Ashley Mo
on the Marketing Land site
. "Staying strategic in this time means making quick adjustments as news cycles and performance reports dictate, so make sure you're monitoring the macro landscape and your company's internal and competitive reports aggressively to set your course with confidence."