by Tim Dewald

October 14, 2020

The emergence of COVID-19 has changed many aspects of our lives. In the media world, it’s accelerated the pivot to the ‘home studio’. (My blog on that is here and it has tons of jokes about pant-less anchors and kids interrupting interviews – you’ll love it.) While we’ve been forced to confront and adapt to new realities, we’ve also been exposed to opportunities previously hidden in plain sight.

Here are a few personal examples:

Distance is a myth

When in person events shut down, we learned quickly to go virtual. Virtual races, virtual happy hours, even the NFL Draft went virtual – and let’s face it – to the dogs. But far from a band-aid to get through this crisis, virtual events have proven to be an excellent tool to engage.

Let’s take the virtual race example. I work with a local nonprofit that holds an annual 5k race. It’s a great fundraiser, but why limit it to the folks that could be there that day? This is Ohio – people leave so often we’re sort of known for it. It’s time to engage people beyond arbitrary borders we’ve established for ourselves. We’ll plan to institute a virtual event for the foreseeable future. There are whole audiences of people that were previously untapped. Don’t want to run around a group? Go virtual. Left your hometown to explore opportunities elsewhere? You can still be involved!

If you’re not thinking about how to continue to use these tools going forward, you need to be.

Turn your video on

Yes, the same rules that apply in your Zoom/Teams/Meet/Skype meetings can be applied to the rest of your communications strategy. Podcasts had their revival moment and I would argue video is experiencing its own during the pandemic.

Video can be a powerful motivator and you don’t need to empty your “well, I haven’t been going out that much lately” savings on it either. Between the ubiquity of the smartphone and the necessity of the video conference, people are more comfortable than ever capturing and viewing this kind of homespun content. So use it to engage your audience. If you stepped up during COVID-19 to provide relief to a community in need, grab some short testimonials from those you helped the most. If your employees are feeling disconnected and you’re worried about morale, create a platform that adds a little more visual creativity than just the typical Zoom meeting.

Easy, inexpensive video production can expand your ability to engage people – whether the cause is a pandemic or not.

The COVID-19 pandemic will leave us one day (mask up, people) but the innovative ways we’ve learned to communicate and stay connected don’t have to go with it. If you want to talk about ways to incorporate these learnings into your communications, drop me a line!