Business Australia (formerly the NSW Business Chamber) has been awarded the best Content Marketing Launch of the Year at the 2020 Content Marketing Awards after Covid-19 forced it to pivot into a content powerhouse to help struggling businesses navigate the new challenges.
CIM spoke with Business Australia’s general manager, content and acquisition, Genevieve Brock, about the organisation’s own challenges along the way.
How quickly did you have to change your strategy? Within 24 hours, we had restructured our launch communications strategy and set up a newsroom – a dedicated coronavirus hub with ramped up content production specific to the quickly evolving situation for business owners. At the beginning of the crisis, we went from generating five pieces of content a week to 40; and in the 10 weeks. From March to May, we published 248 pieces of new, timely and COVID-related content, from articles and tools through to the second season of our ‘The Company You Keep’ podcast and eight webinars.
Like the event sector you had to quickly pivot to a virtual content model – what were the challenges? With only three people in the content team we had limited resources to deal with the volume of content we needed to produce. We had to make decisions quickly and identify what was most relevant to businesses – and filter out what wasn’t.
What did you learn as you overcame those challenges? In a crisis people will rally, even more so in a purpose-driven business like ours. Effective, focused leadership and clear direction is essential. Any silos were quickly broken down. We borrowed people to from other teams to join the Content Marketing team and reached out to employees from all over the organisation to contribute content (uncovering a few talented writers in the process). We also learnt the importance of having a reliable network of agency partners and freelancers. Particularly having a content agency who can scale up using their own freelancer networks, rather than being limited by only having in-house content creators.
What was the first priority for the content? It was not strategic at the beginning, we were extremely reactive, responding to the latest news and government updates. After the first couple of weeks we looked at our pre-Covid strategy and target audience, and realised we needed to ensure we were supporting all businesses, not just employers. Our planned content mix had included sharing inspiring stories of successful businesses and we noticed that good news stories were getting some traction across our comms channels. So we pivoted this to a series on businesses were benefiting from Covid, starting with feature articles and then into producing the second season of our podcast – The Company you Keep.
How did you ensure the content was relevant by the time it aired? We had one person in the team dedicated to monitoring latest news and we published news related content within 15 minutes of a press conference, and sent a breaking news email within a couple of hours.
What are you hearing from those businesses most affected? We’re hearing that business are looking for information on how to access money, make money and save money. Some are optimistic that they’ll survive, or that they’ll start something new. Others are feeling positive because they’ve been able to thrive during this time.
How will this change the way you operate in the future? We’re considering the role we could play in business news, that wasn’t something we’d considered in our previous content strategy. In the short term we’ve changed our state business awards to a member recognition program, to celebrate the business who survived everything that 2020 has thrown at them and have come out the other end by demonstrating innovation and resilience.