This article was originally published on March 25, 2020, and was updated on April 1, 2020.
COVID-19 is pulling no punches. Decreased foot traffic, mandates prohibiting large gatherings, and increased digital engagement are changing the game for entrepreneurs everywhere. With Shelter-In-Place procedures starting to be widely enacted, businesses must adapt and communicate early and often.
You’ve likely implemented changes and safety measures already, and you’re not alone.
People are getting a lot of emails right now
Here’s everyone who’s emailed me their response to COVID-19:
- My family doctor
- Every spa I’ve ever visited
- My optometrist
- Every blog I’ve ever read
- All of the rideshare services
- Every hotel I’ve ever stayed at
- My veterinarian
- Every non-profit I’ve ever volunteered with
- My cable company
- Every sports arena where I’ve ever seen a match
- My electric company
- Every concert venue that’s ever sold me a ticket
- A college I never attended, though I did email them once to book a hall for an event
And that’s just the last two weeks. It’s become a running gag on social media and the subject of a fair number of memes. If my own behavior is any indication, not a lot of those emails are getting read.
People are tired. We’re frightened, oversaturated and sick of hearing about it.
You might find yourself asking, “So what’s the point of spending my time writing this content if my customers won’t even read the email?”
Customers need to know what you’re doing during COVID-19
The content isn’t the problem, it’s the method of delivery. There are three things it’s really important for your customers to be able to find:
- Your status. If you don’t tell people you’re still in open, they might assume you’re not, or tie up your phone lines trying to find out.
- Precautions you’re taking. Again, if you don’t tell clients what you’re doing to keep them safe, they could assume you’re not doing anything.
- New services. There’s a theme here, if you don’t tell them about services you’ve added in response to COVID-19, they won’t know they exist.
So, how do you update people without becoming more digital noise in their collective inboxes?
Get them to come to you for information
Everyday Entrepreneur, Sabrina Atkinson of Tails & Feathers Home Playcare, has published a blog on her site to ensure her clients have the most up-to-date information, without feeling like she’s spamming them.
She wanted to give clients the option to get updates when they are relevant to them.
Links to her blog have been added to appointment cancellation confirmations, her regularly scheduled newsletter, and her social media sites.
In writing her posts, Ms. Atkinson made sure to stick to her area of expertise. “I’m not a professional content writer but I am an expert on pet care.”
She crafted posts about how her business can help her customers through a time when they’ve suddenly found themselves in very different circumstances.
“The meat and potatoes of my business is home visits to feed and walk pets whose owners are at work. If they’re working from home, they don’t need my services. In the last week, 52 out of 60 appointments were canceled. I mean, it makes sense, but that’s a blow.”
But Ms. Atkinson also recognized some unique opportunities. She invested in a DSLR camera and started scheduling pet photoshoots. “Who doesn’t need a bit of an adorable distraction right now?”
She also connected with other local businesses to engage in cross-promotional efforts, like a pet food delivery service with a pet supply store. “They provide the food, I do the delivery, our customers just pick up the phone.”
Finally, in the spirit of helping out her community, she started offering gift certificates for the public to purchase as gifts for hospital staff and other essential workers. “Nurses who are working overtime and getting home later than usual might really need help with their pets. Wouldn’t it be great if we could donate to caring for their loved ones, while they cared for ours? And support local businesses at the same time!”
What should you blog about?
If you’re looking to create some blog content tailored to your business, the age-old rule applies.
Write what you know:
- Personal service workers (nail techs, stylists, trainers): Write tips and tricks for how people can best care for their investment without their regularly scheduled visits.
- Chefs and Restaurateurs: Share little known dynamite flavor combinations or hold fun digital cooking/plating competitions judged by a pro.
- Local daycare providers: Publish shopping lists and instructions for activities that inspire and engage children while their parents work from home.
- Artisans and contractors: Highlight new certifications you’re getting, offer advice to protect antique/custom work, or solicit feedback on new trends in your industry.
Whatever you choose to include, make sure it’s informative, on-brand, and promotes your expertise and services.
How to add a blog to your site
Using Websites + Marketing
- From your product page, scroll to your Websites + Marketing site and click Manage.
- On the Dashboard, select Edit Website.
- Select the + button or Add Section where you want to put your blog posts.
- Choose the My Blog section and pick any layout to get started, you can always change that.
To add posts, click Manage Blog on the right. Select Create Post to start writing. Image and layout settings are on the right for you to customize how your posts look. Once you’re done, you need to publish before your new blog will appear on the live site.
You can read the full instructions to add a blog to your website here.
Create the blog page
- Sign into your WordPress Dashboard.
Pro Tip: If your web address is https://www.coolexample.com, your WordPress Dashboard will be https://www.coolexample.com/wp-admin
- Select Pages, and then select Add New.
- Name the page something like “Blog” or “Our Blog” or “COVID-19 Updates.”
- Select Publish.
- On the left-hand navigation, select Settings, and then choose Reading.
- Select Static Page, and then choose your Home page from the “Front page” drop-down menu and your new Blog page from the “Posts page” drop-down menu.
- Specify how many blog posts you want to display at a time, and then save your changes.
Add the page to your site’s navigation
- Select Appearance on the left navigation, and then select Menus.
- Select the box next to your blog page, and then select Add to Menu. If you have multiple menus, like a Top Navigation and Footer Menu, you’ll need to select which menu you’re adding it to.
Editor’s Note: Once you’ve added the page to your menu(s) you can drag and drop to change the order the pages appear in.
3. Select Save Menu and your site’s navigation will be updated.
Add your blog content
- Select Posts on the left, then Add New. Or + New from the top navigation,and then select Post from the drop-down.
- Write your content, making sure to Save Draft early and often.
- Publish new (or updated) posts to make new content appear on the live site.
Update the author information
Depending on your theme and/or plugins, posts may display author bios and photos. If you don’t add those, readers will see a generic silhouette next to your profile name.
To change your info:
- Select Users on the left.
- Select Edit under your name.
- Choose your Display Name, add Biographical Info, and select Update Profile to save.
To add a photo:
Certain themes and plugins allow you to simply upload an image and save. More than likely you’ll have to create a Gravatar account to upload an image. Don’t worry, it’s free.
- From your User Profile, select You can change your profile picture on Gravatar.
- When prompted, create your account. (Or Sign In, if you already have a Gravatar.)
- Select Add a new image, confirm it, and give it an FCC rating.
Give it a few minutes to show the changes and that’s it! It won’t hurt anything, but you don’t need to publish again. Changes to Profiles and Gravatars are automatically published when they’re saved.
Don’t have a GoDaddy site builder? No problem.
There are hundreds of blogging sites out there, pick your favorite and get the content written. When you’re ready, follow these instructions to forward your domain (or a subdomain like blog.coolexample.com) to your new content.
Thanks to our #OpenWeStand initiative, you can call us if you have any trouble and we can walk you through it.
Bottom line is, you need to inform your customers about how you’re operating in the ever-evolving climate of COVID-19. But how you do that, matters. A blog is a great tool to educate and inspire. Done well, it will establish brand goodwill that your customers will remember.
You can do this!
If you need a helping hand, we’re here for you.
- Check out our How-To videos for content aimed at helping you navigate through COVID-19.
- Looking for stories and inspiration? Visit the GoDaddy YouTube channel.
- Dig into resources on the GoDaddy blog.
- Connect with like-minded people in our #OpenWeStand community forum.
- Find answers to product questions in our Help Center.
- Call or chat with one of our GoDaddy Guides.
Above all, have faith in yourself. We have faith in you.