File this column under: "Things that should never have to be written but unfortunately there is no choice." If I had a dime for every coronavirus email or text I got from a company this week that actually had nothing to do with the current crisis, I would probably be able to fund the development of a vaccine myself.
The problem is the entire world's attention is on Covid-19, so all the amateur marketers out there are independently coming up with the brilliant idea to leverage that attention and jump on the coronavirus bandwagon. If you are at that point and are contemplating whether to pull that trigger, here is my advice to you: don't do it.
The following are five guidelines to help you decide whether your marketing should be referencing a current global crisis or whether you should sit this one out:
Can you help solve the crisis or get one step closer? If not, step back.
I mean, really, there is no justification for my local pizza store to be sending me corona-related sales pitches by text. There just isn't. Just because Covid-19 is all anyone is talking about, leveraging it to sell more pizza is just truly transparent and cheap, if I am being nice.
Of course, if your product can bring the world closer to a resolution, then yes, now is the time to put your marketing team to work. But if your business has zero relevancy to the current crisis, do us all a favor and stay on the bench for this one.
If you want to increase sales by riding the traffic wave, think twice.
This just makes my blood boil. In fact, not to get to meta here, even writing this article knowing it addresses Covid-19 felt a little off to me, but after receiving so many spammy emails and messages, I figured someone has to write it.
If you are interested in creating content about the current crisis, ask yourself a very simple question: Is your goal to increase sales by leveraging the traffic generated by the coronavirus? If so, then just don't. If more sales happen as a result of your truly valuable content, that is OK. I am sure Purell saw an increase in sales, but their product is also helping to save lives. See how that works?
If you can add value to the conversation and stay objective, engage.
If you have a product for remote work, then by all means, feel free to share your insights on the industry, and please, for the sake of us all, keep that content focused on objective value and not on self-promotion.
If you have real insights or thoughts to share on the crisis, no one is telling you not to, but try hard to keep it focused on the readers and their needs and less on your company and your needs.
If your product makes life easier in a crisis, let people know about it.
You don't have to be developing a product that directly saves lives in order for you to talk about Covid-19. If your product helps people and makes their lives easier, really in any way, then by all means, share that with the world. What you should not do, however, is pretend you are solving the crisis. Be open and transparent, try not to come off as if you are capitalizing on the misfortune of millions of people. It is not a good look for your company, despite the short-term spike that it might generate.
Use common sense. Are you being sensitive or blatantly spammy?
Common sense is quite uncommon nowadays, if I am judging by my inbox. A global crisis is the time to be more sensitive, not less. Ask yourself if you are really trying to do good for your readers or your investors. If the former is the case, great, click publish. If it's the latter, and you want to achieve some sort of success by riding the train of the current crisis, maybe take a step back and think carefully what that says about and your brand's moral compass.