4 Digital Lessons The Coronavirus Has Already Taught Us. Lesson #3

Lesson #3 – Your Content and Content Management System Will Be Your Friend Or Your Foe In This Type Of Crisis. 

By my calculations, 58,742 people have claimed they coined the neologism, Content is King. In 2006, in an article written for Gannett Newspapers, I went out on a limb and said, Content is Commerce; that limb is now a tree trunk. After spending three days shooting 108 videos for Footlocker at the Green Bay Marathon in an experiment to see if short videos on product detail pages would increase stickiness and transactions, Content is Commerce was hatched.

Spoiler Alert: it increased stickiness AND transactions.

In pandemics, epidemics, tragedies, disasters -- both natural and manmade -- catastrophes, hardships and the like, words that are written matter; words that aren’t written matter; what’s between the line is now above the fold because people will interpret your words every which way to Sunday. That can be good. And not so good.

Let me lay some statistics on you from Edelman’s recent Brand Trust Barometer and Coronavirus Report:

  • Brands must do everything they can to protect the well-being and financial security of their employees and their suppliers – 90% Agree
  • Brands should shift to producing products that help people meet the challenges – 89% Agree
  • Brands should be a reliable news source, keeping people informed about the virus and the progress being made in the fight against it – 84% Agree
  • Brands should be an educator, offering people instructional information about the virus and how to protect themselves from it – 85% Agree
  • Brands should connect people and help them stay emotionally close – 83% Agree
  • Brands should use social media channels to facilitate a sense of community and offer social support to people – 84% Agree
  • Brands should keep the public fully informed regarding how the brand is supporting and protecting their employees and customers – 89% Agree
  • Brands should issue public statements expressing empathy and support for those most affected by the pandemic – 83% Agree

It’s not difficult to see what the common thread here is, other than uniform agreement. When it’s your job to help protect, inform, educate, connect and communicate, you need words to do that. The right words. That’s when content IS commerce, when content IS your friend, and your revenue stream, and your incremental sales channel. 

But a funny thing happened on the way to the forum. For some businesses, their content never saw the light of day. It disappeared from the narrative and the conversation. It was too late, too little, not prominent enough, or ill-timed. Just as this virus moves at unimaginable speeds, so does the communication about it. What might be this afternoon’s breaking news, could be tomorrow morning’s heartache, or a quantum-leap forward. Now, businesses are starting to see firsthand how they’ve become hamstrung without having complete flexibility over their primary communication resource; their own website. Can you imagine not having control over your own messaging, your own business? It’s like ordering at the Billy Goat Tavern on Michigan Avenue’s Lower Level; whatever you order it’s going to taste like a Cheezborger. You can’t control it. It is what it is. And that, as they say, is that. 

If you have no flexibility in managing and promoting your content, you’ll have no flexibility in your messaging, your communication, your words. At TMA+Peritus, we don’t stop at having our clients be flexible in managing their content, we’re uber-flexible. We develop our websites in Drupal (for big sites like universities, government, large businesses and heavy SKUs) and WordPress when the scale isn’t that large. 

Leave nothing to chance. The Coronavirus has taught us that in more ways than Carter has pills. Now’s the right time to get your communication house in order. Be the King of Content, or better yet, be the King of Commerce and cash-in on your words.

Next up, Lesson #4 – Strategize & Digitize; The New Normal Will Be Very One-Dimensional.

Tom Marks is a sales and marketing thought leader, speaker, and author. He has written Of Socrates, Plato & Aristotle: How Thought Leadership Drives Stronger Sales, Marketing and Corporate Ethics. He is also the creator of The 21st Century Disciplines of Market Leadership. Tom is the President of TMA+Peritus and a 66-time winner of the American Advertising Awards, he can be reached at