Content Marketing in Uncertain Times: Verblio’s Response to COVID-19

Editor’s note: The following is an email Steve Pockross, Verblio CEO, sent to all Verblio customers on Friday, March 20th amid the state of affairs in the world given the outbreak of COVID-19, with his assurances that Verblio is still tirelessly committed to helping our customers and writers.


I’m not going to attempt a lofty preamble about what’s going on in the world right now. It’s beyond words. I’ll just say I’m deeply saddened by the loss of life and the economic challenges that people around the world are facing.

I also know that this isn’t the first COVID-19 email you’ve gotten in your inbox, maybe even in the last 30 minutes. So, straight to the point: I wanted to share three things with you today— first, Verblio’s commitments to our stakeholders—customers and writers. Second, a few ideas and questions. Third, how we’re here to help you today, or in the future.

Our commitments

I’m humbled and grateful for the position Verblio is in today: we went 100% remote a week ago, and with the flip of a switch our entire company can operate virtually, indefinitely. I realize this is not the case for many businesses, and I believe our position means we need to look for ways to support our customers and our writers on an even deeper level.

We believe that in times of uncertainty, content marketing can continue to propel your agency or business’s marketing forward, and it is marketing that can be done from anywhere and can provide high-ROI marketing assets for years (Self-serving? Yeah. But we really do think so, and we’re hearing it from experts already too).

We are also particularly grateful for the opportunity to continue to provide our home-based writers access to quality, flexible work that can be done from anywhere. Creating valuable and interesting work for our writers has been part of our DNA since the day we were co-founded by a journalist.

To our customers: First, thank you for what you do—it is the hard work of agencies and businesses like yours that keep our economy going in tough times. Our commitment to you is to remain a flexible source of high-quality content, content ideas, and content strategy in the coming months.

Our view of the impact on marketing

The economic impact of recent events has already been enormous, and many thought leaders believe an economic recession is inevitable at this point.

Like so many other business leaders, I’m concerned about the impact this may have on our business, and I vacillate between two big trends on what we will see. The first trend is that in recessions, marketing budgets are the first to go, with average budgets during the Great Recession being cut by 30%. The more hopeful shift is that businesses who focus on building flexible operations and refocusing marketing efforts toward digital marketing, which only saw a 2% drop during the Great Recession, can remaing strong. Here’s an example of that this week from the CMO of SAP.

It’s clear this is a trend all of us want to know and need to understand quickly, and that my team and I will be watching closely.

We’d like to help.

We’re thinking about what else we can do to help. If, now or in the future, you have ideas about how we could help your business, please let me or our team know. This is clearly an email blast, but this is my personal email. In addition, our customer support team is always available—support@verblio.com.

Hyper-relevant content

Look out for more from us soon, starting with a content series with experts—like yourselves—on best practices for agencies in the current environment. You’ll receive these if you’re already on our monthly Verbcast newsletter emails. If not, and you’d like them, click here.

Guidance on shifting tone in content

Getting tone right in your content and marketing in this time is critical. The wrong word can make your marketing come off as obtuse or thoughtless. We wrote this blog post on some best practices, and will be guiding all of our writers as well.

Remote team guidance

Lastly, we also have extensive experience running a distributed company with work-from-home employees, as many of you do, and are happy to share thoughts on how to set yours up, too. I’m personally seeking suggestions for how to stop my refrigerator from talking to me all day long about how there’s a month’s supply of food that I should eat this afternoon. Not to mention keeping two kids entertained indoors for what could be a long time.

I know we’re all going through these challenges at the same time. I wish you and your agencies and businesses all the best.
Steve

Steve Pockross

As CEO, Steve brings more than 20 years of startup, nonprofit, and Fortune 500 experience to not only running the business of Verblio, but also setting the culture, vision, and purpose of the team. Outside the office, Steve enjoys ultimate frisbee, telemark skiing, hosting jazz concerts, and spending time with his two boys.