Your inbox is likely still being flooded with daily emails from companies you forgot you ever did business with. You may have even clicked through to this article from an email as part of our outreach to share ideas with our business partners. But outside of outreach to their customer base via email and owned social channels, many businesses are shifting their paid media to focus more on communications. But what’s the difference? Simply put, advertising is a way to drive awareness and action, while communications is a way to evoke an emotional response or connection to the message you’re putting out. It’s a fine line, but many businesses are walking it right now. However, if your business can’t achieve the highly produced and slick videos with tight turn-around, what can you do right now?
The heart of branded content is storytelling. So many businesses have compelling stories to tell right now and using branded content placed within the context of trusted news organizations is an effective way to make sure your target audience knows what you’re doing during this time. Whether that is ways you’re supporting your local community, your employees or those on the front lines of healthcare, telling that story is an important way to connect with your customers.
Like we said at the beginning, inboxes are flooded with messages from companies announcing the ways they are persevering through unprecedented times. As we get deeper into “shelter in place” orders throughout the country, consumers will be looking to local businesses to serve them in a way that meets their needs but also keeps them safe. Email is a very effective way to communicate with your customers and you’re likely already doing that with your own database. But look for ways to reach new inboxes. This could mean ad placement in emails already being sent by your media partners to their audience. Or using your media partners to build dedicated emails that reach targeted inboxes using 3rd party services.
Now is the time to be building your marketing database by engaging with consumers and capturing valuable data. We’ve published before about the benefits of using sweepstakes and quizzes to build your database and reach new audiences, but we are seeing some great use of interactive content to celebrate the hardest working, and often underappreciated, people on the front lines of this crisis.
Check out an example from the Orlando Sentinel, A Tribune Publishing newspaper.