Photo credit: Foter.com
I didn’t feel like marketing the day after Vegas.
So I didn’t. I cancelled the post I had scheduled for that day and rescheduled it for later in the month, moving everything else back accordingly.
That’s not to say I spent the day curled up in bed hiding under my covers. It just meant I chose to spend that day focusing on client work and taking my dog for nice, long walks. It was just the marketing I decided to forego.
Was that a good idea? Or should I have kept my nose to the grindstone, always trying to reach that next client or referral partner who’s probably waiting just around the corner?
I know that may sound like a weak answer, but it’s true.
Your Unique Situation
First of all, it depends on your personal circumstances. Obviously, if someone very close to you was hurt, or worse, no one should expect you to worry about work when you have bigger things on your plate.
If you didn’t know anyone involved, but still feel like you need a day to process the fact that these awful things keep happening in our country, go for it. You do whatever you need to do so you can come back to work better and stronger than ever. I’m not one to tell people how they should grieve.
But is it bad for business to forego marketing, even for a day or two?
I know I’m always going on about how important it is to remain consistent with your content marketing schedule, so I might sound like a hypocrite by admitting I took a day off, but there are extenuating circumstances. Yes, my Google rankings may have taken a slight hit as a result of that single missed post, but it’s unlikely to have done much lasting damage, especially since I’m otherwise impeccably consistent. And I doubt many of my followers were looking for my latest post amidst that tragedy.
The Case For Taking A Break
As far as whether it could be bad for business to continue marketing when everyone else is talking about gun control and mental illness, that’s another question, and I’ve seen it done both ways.
As everything (including content marketing) continues to become increasingly automated, many people have blog posts, newsletters, and social media posts scheduled well in advance. If they don’t rush in to cancel them as soon as the tragedy happens, it can look crass. I’ve seen a few marketers apologize for tweeting about their business in the midst of a national disaster because the posts had been scheduled ahead of time.
Not only did I not feel like marketing last week, I just felt it would be disrespectful. I tried to think of a way to relate my business to the shooting, but I couldn’t think of a way to do so that would be respectful, so I refrained. I doubted anyone wanted to hear about content marketing on that particular day.
The Case For Going Forward
That said, I have seen people effectively market their businesses on such tragic days, and do it well. It partially depends on your industry. I’m sure the NRA and mental health professionals have been very busy with their marketing efforts since that awful day. If you can relate your business to what happened, without sounding crass or opportunistic, go for it.
It also depends on how you approach your marketing for that day. It can be done right, but it can be a very fine line, so I generally recommend abstaining until everyone has had some time to process the tragedy.
An Example Of Doing It Right
I have a friend who works with people to help them manage their energy. She was on Facebook marketing her business, but in a very tactful way. It was a short video that talked about the different ways we might all be affected by these kinds of events, and she even admitted she has been personally affected by certain shootings. She also talked about potential ways to handle the tragedy, and offered to talk to people who wanted more information.
It was respectful. It was full of understanding. It was personal and relateable (with the story about how she’s been personally affected by these kinds of events in the past), and the call to action was just a quick mention at the end before she signed off. She didn’t beat anyone over the head with her message, just let people know she’s around and available to talk. All the while she was stressing how she could help, rather than what people should buy. As a result, it didn’t feel salesy, but I wouldn’t be surprised if she got some business out of it.
Ultimately, it’s your choice. I don’t think anyone will punish you for choosing to take a day or two off from marketing when extreme things happen, but if you want to continue getting out there and letting your clients know you’re available, go for it.
Just be very, very careful to make sure your marketing is respectful, rather than exploitative.
What do you guys think? Is marketing during/immediately after a national tragedy a good or bad idea?
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