Pandemic-Proof Copywriting: What to Write & How to Write It

By Scott Stevens

When times are uncertain, it can be difficult to know how to pivot your business strategy. But this isn’t the first time that business owners have faced threats to livelihood or threats to health. It just so happens that it’s all shown up at once.

I’m a copywriter who created a content writing service, and if you, like our clients, are struggling to find ways to change up your copy in the context of the new normal, this is your guide. Below I’ll show you how to create pandemic-proof copy that keeps you on top and moving with the times.

Employ sensitivity and compassion

The pandemic has affected individuals, families, and businesses globally and most have been scrambling, trying to forecast for an uncertain future. Appearing exploitative is a sure-fire way to turn off potential clients.

Try this instead: Be sensitive and compassionate in your copy. Talk about the elephant in the room. Business owners are more human than ever, stripped of their security and needing a breath of fresh air. Be that for them. Talk about what’s happening mentally, emotionally, and financially, and then position yourself as an ally. Be authentic and consistent with your brand’s messaging and be willing to meet your audience where they are. For example, Dove is a brand that has stood out from the crowd, choosing authenticity in their marketing, and appealing to all the folks out there looking to be acknowledged. And guess what? It’s worked.

Double-check your facts

The era of misinformation is alive and well. Most people don’t even know what news source or article to believe anymore. Don’t add to the noise.

Try this instead: Deliver your message with strong, credible citations that link back to authoritative websites. If your intention is to help others, displaying inaccurate, unchecked information will steer your audience away from you. Why? Because they won’t be able to trust you. Use globally trusted resources, like the World Health Organization’s website, along with your local Department of Public Health website when addressing the pandemic.

Modify your existing offers

Surely, all your offers make sense when the economy is doing well and COVID-19 isn’t knocking on everyone’s doors. But if you’re not allowing for modifications, you’re missing out on business. Most people are in fight/flight/freeze mode and aren’t receptive to offers that are only available for a limited time. They just don’t care at this point because other, more important events have overtaken their lives.

Try this instead: Review your messaging and alter words that display urgency — instead, use words that sound neutral, connected with the times, and caring. For example, change offers that read “Only available for a limited time. Don’t miss out!” to “We have your back. Find out how.” Then, lead through to your extended offer, the discount you’re offering with all things considered, and make that sale.

Keep it consistent

You may have automated emails and newsletters meant for holidays and birthdays that don’t include pandemic-proof copy. If you don’t alter all your messaging, the inconsistency is sure to come off confusing and off-putting.

Try this instead: Double-check your copy, shift it as necessary to ensure you are adding value, being informative, and tuning into your audience’s needs. Remove any words that sound insensitive for the times and remove any urgency tactics that don’t bode well during the pandemic. And don’t be afraid to include something off-topic in your copy. A favorite book excerpt that brought you peace can do the same for your audience.

Deliver a softer pitch

You may have done well with a hard pitch, but this is not the time for that. Anxiety is high and there’s a whole lot of uncertainty and vulnerability in the air. Nobody needs added pressure to their lives, especially with their decision making.

Try this instead: Dial your tone down. Sprinkle words of kindness into your pitch, acknowledge where your audience is, and bring the spotlight back to yourself as the ultimate support during these trying times. Be the go-to your audience finds refuge in.

Offer greater value

This pandemic has taught many businesses they can’t rely on a static location. Even if located on a busy street with a steady flow of foot traffic, restrictions have heavily affected incoming revenue.

Try this instead: Move content into a digital format with a landing page that provides a freebie your audience can’t do without. A week of yoga classes. An e-book full of healthy recipes. Guided meditations to ease the stress everyone is feeling. Whatever you create, make it relevant. Gather as many email addresses as possible and diversify your offerings. Therapists are offering telehealth services, yoga instructors and gym owners are offering online classes, and even artists have created online stores, advertising on free platforms like TikTok to garner large audiences and keep income streams moving. The digital world is limitless.

Be a source of comfort

Health and lives are being threatened. People are in survival mode. They’re looking for what they need, not what they want. Irrelevant offers are overlooked.

Try this instead: Even products like makeup become a need when a bright red lip brings comfort, and a new eye serum brings confidence. Reddit hosts a long thread of personal stories that highlight just how impactful beauty products are when it comes to getting through tough times and improving mental health. Position services and products as needs that bring comfort, serenity, sanity, and help keep your audience moving forward during the toughest moments.

Address doubts head-on

Of course, you know to study objections in preparation for a sales call. But you may not even make it to those calls if your copy is being coy.

Try this instead: Address those objections in your copy; let your audience feel seen and understood from the moment they browse your website, landing page, or newsletter. You’re on their side. Make that clear for them.

Prospects may be having a hard time seeing the opportunities right in front of them. Be the guide they need to discover just how much of life there is to explore and enjoy. When you’re in the dark, you’ll follow the one with the flashlight. So, go on, light their way.


About the author.
Scott Stevens is the founder and CEO of a managed content writing service, The Content Panel. Connect with them on Facebook or Twitter.