How Startups should adapt their Content and Communications for uncertain times

One of the advantages of being a leaner startup/ scaleup is agility. When a shock strikes the landscape you’re in, you should be better situated than most to move to higher ground and secure yourself for the opportunity ahead while larger lumbering competitors are still braced.

But when it comes to your communications strategy, you have to acknowledge that it’s dependent on the attention of your audience. And if you’re in what we call “unsexy tech” (B2B), that means your customers might be included in that audience still slowly acclimatising to the new world.

So how do you make the most of your ability to respond quickly, without wasting the effort by being totally out of sync with an audience that’s potentially still adapting?

Here’s some simple guidance based on our experience and what we’re hearing from founders and their customers in the midst of this struggle.

Good content IS thinking (and vice versa)

When you have limited resources, spending time thinking about what material you want to put out in the world could feel like a waste.

But it’s easy to forget that really great content requires really great concentration around a topic, which often brings opportunities for discovery and creation.

With so much of the commercial world on pause, this is a great time for the kind of deep thinking and consideration that creates value across everything from your product, to your go to market strategy, through to your content. Involve your team as much as possible.

It’s all part of the same picture. And some time off the treadmill to truly explore it is something that shouldn’t be wasted.

Reconsider your objectives

By now, it’s clear which deals have gone away for the short to medium term and aren’t coming back. But that doesn’t mean those relationships are gone.

The best organisations look at their sales process as one of developing and deepening relationships, which will eventually make you the obvious choice as a helpful partner. That objective can continue through this time, and indeed has been deepened in many cases by the uncertainty everyone is facing.

It’s time to ramp up your measurement and weighting of process in the start and middle of your sales lifecycle — perhaps including more stages, lengthening them, reconsidering what you have and what’s useful to share throughout.

Use this time to orient your sales team toward using content in these ways for the long game and those skills should pay off just as much when the world returns to normal.

Think about longer term plays that usually wouldn’t be feasible

How many times previously did you spend 6+ months on one mega piece of campaigning content?

People are busy, but this is a great opportunity to build up something large and valuable for when we return to normal times. If you managed to talk to 2x people a week in the next 3x months, that would be a resource of 25 interviews that you could assemble in useful content in various ways.

Think about how you can use the assets like relationships in your industry that don’t go away. Think about how you can create opportunities for exposure and connection among an audience possibly frustrated by their current lack of reach.

As they say, the only better time to start than yesterday is right now. This is a window any smart marketer finds themselves dreaming of in normal times.