I’m going to say this up top.

We’re in the midst of a global pandemic and national emergency.

I think that’s important to say because the novelty of the situation is so severe that to not address the situation is to invalidate the feelings of everyone who is collectively experiencing this moment.

Whether you think social distancing is a lifesaver or a bane, you still recognize that we’re in the midst of a unique experience. The cognitive dissonance, which is the state of having inconsistent thoughts, beliefs, or attitudes, is such that acting as if we’re not going through this all together right now would be akin to emotional invalidation.

It’s like the “Emperor’s New Clothes”; someone has to say that the king is nude!

Focus on empathy

This is the advice that Rand Fishkin, founder of Moz, offered his readers on the April 3rd edition of Whiteboard Friday. He also added that the best approach is to be helpful and empathetic, offering people opportunities for assistance as opposed to cash grabs fueled by a desperate consumer base.

These points were echoed on later Moz posts on how to incorporate empathy into your marketing and how to be a helper, which Moving Traffic Media did weeks ago by compiling a list of resources for digital marketers and the population at large.

Read the room

Fishkin went on to stress the importance of reading the room on Sparktoro’s blog. His take is that the Covid Pandemic will take three stages.

  1. Nothing But Covid March & April 2020,
  2. The Transition to life online May 2020 – February 2021 (woof!)
  3. 3. The New Normal March 2021+

No matter what you think of Fishkin’s timeline, his take is accurate: the world has changed and history will not look kindly upon those who pretended otherwise.

Luckily, sometimes just putting into words the feeling of tension that’s collectively being experienced is enough to provide a laugh or respite that can get a meeting rolling.

John Battelle makes a similar point on his own blog, but he takes it one step farther.

Embrace the news

Battelle points out that not only is denying the reality of Covid a bad idea, but embracing good journalism that provides accurate information about Covid is actually the best place to direct one’s marketing efforts.

That’s because, right now, the news is really the only place that everyone is tuning into all at once (other than watching Tiger King or playing Animal Crossing). So, take advantage of all our collective peepers peeping at the same medium!

Make data-driven marketing cuts when needed

How does one go about that? Seer Interactive suggests making cuts to one’s digital marketing campaign with a scalpel rather than a chainsaw.

Cutting Budget with Search Marketing BI

What that means is that, ideally, you’ll be working with a company like Moving Traffic Media: data driven marketers who balance outstanding service with results.

Aquisisio makes the same point: take a data driven approach. This has always been the best approach to take in general. It’s just that pre-Covid, you may have had the luxury, as Seer points out, of going with your gut and course correcting.

Not so post-Covid!

You simply can’t afford to make mistakes. You don’t need to have 100% Covid-19 themed content, though, just the occasional article that allows you to positively contribute to our collective struggle against Coronavirus.

So, read the room, be helpful, take an empathetic rather than exploitative approach, and use data to guide your decisions rather than instinct.

These are best practices that should have been employed pre-Covid as well, but back then you could have gotten away with a few fudge ups because there was more time and money to spend. Not so any more!

The figurative belts have tightened (although the literal belts may have loosened from all the quarantine snacking).