I hope you’re healthy and holding up well in the COVID-19 lockdown and seeing the same demand I’m seeing for COVID-19 product messaging. Having been around the block with a number of such projects, here are nine tips for making such messaging work best.

Go easy on the “We hope you’re safe and the health of our employees and customers” boilerplate. It’s nice to know but we’ve all heard it multiple times. And in the end, this is business, not family.

Don’t hyper ventilate and make every challenge (like the security of home Wi-Fi networks) into a life or death emergency. If there are quick and easy fixes (such as remote configuration of users’ systems) it’s enough to point out this is a good time to implement them.

Don’t “virus wash” every trend. If customers should move to the cloud for better supply chain tracking during the pandemic, this is (as with Wi-Fi___33 security) a continuation of an existing trend, not a revolutionary insight. Skip the breathlessness and describe, in practical and actionable terms, how to achieve this in the unique circumstances of a pandemic.

Don’t publish until you’re sure you’re saying something different and useful.  Review the “state of the art” of COVID-19 messaging in your industry to ensure you’re not repeating well-known statistics and self-evident advice.

Go deep on details when there is a genuine new or more significant risk. One example is relocating workers who deal with very sensitive data from your office to  their homes. What specifically must customers do to secure everything from their internal networks and servers and employees’ home networks?

Be practical. If you’re recommending, for example, employees use headsets for sensitive conversations (so children, roommates or spouses don’t hear both sides of the conversation) do you supply headsets or let employees buy those most comfortable for them? How do you enforce compliance?

Cite real world examples to prove you’re talking to actual customers. Don’t make a vague reference to  “manufacturing supply chain issues. ” instead describe how a lack of a specific buffering compound from a plant in n Wuhan, China, closed an ibuprofen plant in Spain and caused empty shelves in St. Louis.

Describe non-technical challenges specific to the pandemic, such as the difficulty of getting executive attention (and budget) for needed long-term improvements when the business is crashing around them. Then explain how you helped meet the challenge.

Describe the hypothetical success of, for example a data management or AI or collaboration platform that could be useful in the COVID-19 world but that you haven’t sold for that purpose yet. But make sure you can deliver what you promise.

In short, be specific; say something new and useful, go short on the happy talk and long on your value-add.

And stay healthy!

Author: Bob Scheier
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I'm a veteran IT trade press reporter and editor with a passion for clear writing that explains how technology can help businesses. To learn more about my content marketing services, email bob@scheierassociates.com or call me at 508 725-7258.

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