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Top 12 Recommendations for Association Communicators for COVID-19

Top 12 Recommendations for Association Communicators for COVID-19 – Less is Definitely More

I’m gonna go out on a limb here and guess that everyone else in the known universe has an inbox burgeoning with COVID-19 email messages ranging from their dentist to the guy who sold them an earthenware mug on Etsy.

About four of them have been useful, but I suppose it is better to send out relevant information proactively than wait on your customers, users, or patients to call one at a time.

It’s likely this onslaught is going to continue for some time. What should you do as an association marketing and communication person?

HINT: The answer is not “nothing.”

  • Immediately consider your audience(s) and assess the impact of COVID-19 on them personally and professionally.
  • Are you serving a high-impact (i.e. medical professionals) or high-risk (i.e. patients with underlying conditions) audience?
  • Is your information critical to their response to a global pandemic? That is a serious question. Only you know the answer. You might be the association of widget makers needed for ventilators. There is no one rule determining how important your message is.
  • Evaluate your entire queue of email sends and start weeding for the next 6-8 weeks.
  • Put nonessential messaging in a parking lot and integrate content back in when and if the rate of information allows.
  • Shorten messaging and consolidate into a periodic digest where at all possible.
  • Summarize all COVID-19 cancellations, closures, or responses into one email.
  • Make the content of your notifications related to COVID-19 available in a central place on your website.
  • Delay promoting events, products, and services now unless they are a) relevant, and b) virtual.
  • Be accurate and current. It is tempting to bury our heads in the sand some days because the news is hard to watch. However, situations are evolving rapidly, and any communicator needs to make sure your messaging is relevant and accurate.
  • Tell customers how to reach you in every communication and include any altered hours or methods availability.
  • BE CONSISTENT. Make sure your message is on point across all platforms. If an event is “tentative” in one place and “canceled” in the other, you are just barking for more phone calls.

In closing, consider adjusting your expectations and evaluate what is really important in the long run. That’s a commentary on both communication and life in general, but in regards to communication, decide which metrics are meaningful right now and lower expectations for responses or interactions. A lot of us are overwhelmed, and, while you want to know vital communications are being received, it is also possible your recipients are buried under the tidal wave of information we are all wading through right now.

Meanwhile, be safe, be well, and wash your hands.

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Rebecca Breeden

Becky is the Director of Digital Strategy where she works with clients to transform their thinking and approach to digital spaces. She is a long-time technology and digital strategist in the nonprofit community. Becky is a graduate of the University of South Carolina with a BA in Journalism. She relocated to the DC area in 1999 when she became the director of communications for a major association management software firm. Becky lives in Silver Spring with her husband, two children, and a menagerie of pets. She is a volunteer on winter weekends on the National Ski Patrol at a resort in West Virginia.

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