Keep calm and blog: How to market yourself in lockdown

Photo by Polina Zimmerman from Pexels

With 50% of brands reducing marketing spend according to a Marketing Week survey, many creatives are about to push the panic button.

But just because your clients are cutting back on marketing, why should you?

Your own messaging and online presence are things you can control right now. You have the golden opportunity to put yourself first and make your business the star of the show – instead of it always being the understudy to client work.

And the best place to start for your marketing? Your blog.

Your blog is one of the easiest, simplest and most effective things to invest in as a business booster - and it won't cost you a penny.

And it's also a great way to make a real personal connection. Which is precisely what we're all looking for during this time of crisis. According to Google, discovering and nurturing connections is of the five behaviours reflected in how people are searching online right now.

So if you're ready to join in the conversation, and bring some joy into people's lives at the same time (another thing we're seeking), then you'll be in prime position for post-pandemic opportunities.

Here's your quick guide to making your blog work for you at this time:

Why should I bother with blogging?

First, let's look at some data that shows excellent reasons to spend time blogging:

  • Data from Hubspot shows that companies that blog get around 55% more website visitors compared to those that don't.
  • Blogs are the 5th most trusted source for accurate online information.
  • 82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after reading custom content.
  • Blogging is great for SEO – regularly updated, customer-focused content is a big tick for Google rankings.

What sorts of topics should I write about at the moment?

The golden rule when you're thinking about what to talk about in the current climate is this: Now isn't the time for selling anything. Instead, now's the time for supporting. Everyone is looking for reassurance and comfort – and that includes clients too. How can you help with that?

For example:

Useful advice, tips or content

If you have advice, tips or content that you think could help people to navigate and deal with what's happening, share it. If you've done any projects in the community or your work has been used to help people, share that. There's a reason #allinthistogether is such a worldwide trend – we want to help not just ourselves, but others too.

For instance, many artists and designers have been busy creating illustrations and posters to help advise how to slow the spread.

There has also been the worldwide Spread Art, not the Rona initiative by artist Keith Hopewell, which reflects the spread of the virus around the world.

As a starting point to find ideas, think about what people are doing right now and ways you can make things easier. We're all remote working from home and Zooming. So if you're a photographer, why not share some tips on how to get the perfect lighting and background for a bit of professional pizzazz on a video conference call?

Or maybe you could you share some art tips to get the kids creative and keep them entertained while parents work?

'With me' content

During this time there's a great need for content that connects – ISO life is affecting us all, and that's why video 'with me' content is so popular right now. From March 10–15th, the average number of videos with "at home" in the title increased by more than 50% around the world compared to the previous period. Lots of creatives are choosing to share their talents with online classes, tutorials and more. Could you do the same in a weekly blog?

Work that will make us smile

In times of crisis, we seek joy, and this time the joy is pretty much what we can find online. So if you have any work that shines positivity and you think would spread a little happiness right now - like Jose Arias's cute Alphabet Monsters (yes I did look up my letter!) share it in your blog!

Or why not create something completely bespoke that reflects how we're all feeling? Renowned illustrator and author Charlie Mackesy (The Boy, The Mole, The Fox and The Horse) has created a series of special drawings to honour NHS staff and essential workers. He's even created a 'Love Wins' Comic Relief tee. And who can forget the Coronavirus haircuts by Drawtism (27,000 Facebook shares and 11,000 comments!)

Tops tips for successful blogging

Now you've got some ideas, here are a few tips to help you make your blog a success:

Make a plan of blog content

Including when you're going to post and what. This will help you to keep track of your content, insert any new ideas and allow you to be completely responsive to the current mood and what's happening – things are changing daily!

Post regularly and often!

We're thirsty for new online content. But remember that quality trumps quantity. Focus on good quality content that will really resonate with people rather than churning out posts for the sake of it.

Keep your blogs concise and easy to read.

Use headings, key phrases and words in your blog that people would typically use to find the content you have, such as 'drawing for kids'; 'how to draw aliens' or 'how to look professional on Zoom'.

Don't forget to share

Make sure you share all your content on all your social channels and with your email subscribers. A quick e-blast is all it needs with a link to your shiny new blog post.

And don't be afraid to vlog!

Video marketing is so effective, enticing and memorable. Seeing people and connecting with them in a shared community is what it's all about right now. Besides, social video generates 1,200% more shares than text and image content combined!

You'll soon see what's working for your audience – and what you should do more of. Above all, experiment and have fun. It's your blog!