4 messaging keys for communicators navigating the coronavirus

Reaching out to internal and external audiences amid any crisis can be fraught with potential hazards—and especially now, with the stakes sky high. Prioritize these elements for success.

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The spread of the novel coronavirus has thrust us into unprecedented times.

Many communicators are cautious, and rightly so. In this environment, we must make sound choices to drive impact and minimize risk. The key is to pay careful attention to four elements of communication: relevancy, context, tone and timing:

1. Relevance. Some content, when juxtaposed with the backdrop of COVID-19, is irrelevant. For example, one client produced an amazing piece regarding go-to-market strategy. Right now, however, companies are trying to protect their businesses during a crisis, versus considering new thinking on going to market. We therefore advised the client to delay launch until a time when the target audience will be more receptive.

2. Context. Even though coronavirus is consuming the airwaves, other issues warrant attention. For example, we are entering flood and hurricane season, which will come regardless of COVID-19, and businesses and consumers must be prepared. Communication in this context would be appropriate to add to the conversation. Though coronavirus is the main topic of the day, there is room for other news—as long as it has context.

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