The world we live in has changed forever and every aspect of digital marketing will need to adapt to reflect this new reality. For content and copywriters, this means changing the way they speak to their audience. Though there are no hard and fast rules, especially in situations like this, there are a few key things to remember if you want to avoid getting lost in the ever-growing sea of digital content. In this article, we offer some tips on how to create Covid friendly copy that will not repel your readers.
Beware of Overused Phrases
Though it can be challenging, avoid using phrases that seem to be cropping up too often in the media if you can. People will eventually begin to associate them with negative connotations and grow tired of reading the same thing over and over again. The phrase “unprecedented times” has now been used so frequently that it has begun to lose all meaning. Though it makes sense to highlight the severity of the situation, repeating phrases like this will make your copy seem bland and lifeless. Try to vary your word choices and select alternative phrases that have a similar impact. In this case “unprecedented times” could be replaced with “unparalleled circumstances” or “an extraordinary global situation.” It may seem like a minor detail, but the language we use matters. Variety and attention to detail are what define good quality copy.
Don’t Overdo the Drama
There is no doubt that what is currently happening around the world is one of the most significant events in recorded human history, however, it is also important to keep a sense of perspective. Copy that sounds too emotional or seems to be charged with negative energy can be difficult to read, especially for those who have lost loved ones recently or who may have experienced serious life consequences as a result of the outbreak. The key is to strike a balance between acknowledging the severity of the situation and communicating your marketing message clearly. Many of the industries that are enjoying a growth period at the moment have had some success by employing a tone that demonstrates both a sense of humour and a sense of genuine human warmth. In one sentence, they will acknowledge the reality of the situation by discussing the restrictions on our daily lives but then follow this with something light-hearted or more positive.
Avoid Relying on Reminiscence
Though we all miss seeing friends and relatives, taking day trips, and meeting up for drinks, these things are not going to be available to us for quite some time. Talking too much about the past can create a false sense of comfort and a sense that things are about to return to the way they were any day now. This is obviously not the case. Try to engage with the uncertain lockdown landscape as it really is, rather than relying on references to the way people lived before the virus if you can. Obviously, a certain amount of reminiscence is inevitable, but rather than trying to lead a campaign by talking about the best summer festivals from last year or the top ten bars in your city, consider focusing on digital events and delivery services. This means you are targeting people with information that is currently relevant to them, so they are more likely to become a customer as opposed to a passive observer.
Fact Checking and Understanding Industries
The information we are receiving about the Covid-19 outbreak has been extremely confusing and often contradictory. One unfortunate downside to the digital revolution is that fake news can spread faster than factual stories. When you are writing for a specific industry, always check what the official government guidelines are in terms how they are allowed to operate. Suggesting that physical, face to face transactions are still commonplace could lead to problems if social distancing is still being rigorously enforced. If you are faced with the task of writing for an industry that is still in a state of flux, consider using slightly less committal language and explain the situation as best you can. Making claims that aren’t true is never recommended in marketing and most customers and industry professionals will understand that you can only base your content on the information that is available to you.
Don’t Try to Exploit People’s Emotions
Though this is arguably one of the most well-worn and effective marketing techniques of the past century, using this approach will leave a bitter taste in many potential customer’s mouths. An element of human emotion and genuine compassion is a great thing but trying to inject a maudlin, overly sentimental narrative into an advert for something as mundane as banking or medicine can make your message seem forced and cynical. The deluge of advertising we are faced with everyday makes us far more attuned to anything that seems out of place or disingenuous than we were 30 years ago. People generally understand that businesses of all types exist with the primary function of making money and trying to convince them otherwise can backfire severely if you choose the wrong type of language.
Tone is Everything
“Tone” in the context of a piece of writing, refers to the way it makes the reader feel when they are reading. In this situation, most people will be experiencing a confusing mix of emotions as they struggle to adjust to a new way of life. Take this into account and ensure that what you create comes across as genuine. Being overly cheerful, too provocative, or too dry and factual will all cause problems for your copy. Consider how you would like to make your audience feel and how this will affect their behaviour in terms of making a purchase or deciding to use your services. Generally speaking, when people feel optimistic and positive, they are more likely to spend than when they are feeling helpless or miserable.