Now more than ever, because of the COVID-19 crisis, communication is important.
You need to creatively reach and influence employees who are working remotely. You have to get your customers and prospects to be less nervous and still be willing to spend and purchase the things you know they need. You have to keep in touch with referral sources and strategic partners.
No matter the situation, as a leader, you have to communicate and leverage storytelling to effectively navigate these difficult times and beyond.
If you’re not sure where to start or you think your crisis communication is missing the mark, here are eight messaging musts for the COVID-19 outbreak.
Focus on key target markets with the greatest potential. You have to maximize resources and make sure your message is clear to your most essential target audiences. For a physical therapy clinic, that’s your top 10 referral sources and recurring patients.
Simplify Your Message
Commit to one big idea in each storytelling situation. Clarity and brevity are critical during this time of crisis. For educational institutions, it’s essential to calm students, parents, staff and prospective new families who might enroll when the crisis is over.
Make it Memorable
Touch emotions and capture people’s attention. We’re all stressed about the situation but we need to rise to the occasion and deliver value. You need to stand out by touching emotions, showing your expertise, and your understanding of the situation. If you’re a professional services firm, how are you keeping your clients informed of the ongoing situation? Are you leveraging video and promoting it on social media? Are you hosting a webinar that provides tips and tactics to help your clients and prospects work through common pain points?
Focus on Less and More
Less talking, more listening. This means fewer graphics, less copy, and more white space. Most companies sent a perfunctory COVID-19 email. We’ve all received hundreds of them. But the real question is, how many did you actually read?
We all have weaknesses. Whether you want to admit that or not, people usually know or figure them out anyway. So, that’s why you need to talk about how you’re overcoming the challenges with specifics. What are you doing this week to prepare for next week and beyond as a company?
Make It About Them
Speak their language, in their terms. Not only do you have to tell your story in their words, but you also have to deliver it where they want it and how they consume content. Remember, each of your target audiences consumes their content differently and spends a different amount of time watching your videos, reading blogs, or emails. Keep that in mind and create content accordingly.
Seinfeld is supposedly a show about nothing but those stories were really something. To that point, you can tell real stories about how you can meet your prospects’ and customers’ needs now and when we come out of the crisis. What’s the one takeaway you want your referral sources to have? Your employees? Build stories around those takeaways.
Make Sure Employees Know the Story
If you don’t give them the story, they’ll make it up. Not because they’re duplicitous or disloyal. Employees WANT to tell the company story whether in times of crisis or during regular activities. Make sure you provide them the overarching theme (Big Idea) and supporting storytelling pillars so they can tell the real story.
If you need help with your messaging during the COVID-19 crisis, contact us today. We can help you communicate clearly and frequently to each of your target audiences.