Scrapping former marketing plans and leaning hard into COVID-19 content creation has proven to be a winning strategy for businesses looking to build their brand during this crisis. 

A great example of this approach is the professional employer organization (PEO) TriNet, which provides HR, payroll, and benefits services to thousands of small and medium-size businesses (SMBs) across the United States.

TriNet acted fast at the very beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, scrapping former marketing plans, and building out a robust COVID-19 content hub. Today, TriNet is publishing several pieces of COVID-19 content per week, and sentiment from customers has been overwhelmingly positive.

“As a leader in providing HR solutions to SMBs, we have spent the last two months proactively guiding our 18,000 plus customers through this difficult time,” said Michael Mendenhall, TriNet’s SVP, CMO, and COO. “We are continually providing helpful and timely COVID-19 webinars, blogs, and videos in addition to our payroll, benefits, and HR support to help them through these challenging times.”

“The customer feedback has been incredibly positive and underscores the importance of helping these businesses as best we can. We have also received notes of appreciation beyond our customer base,” added Mendenhall. “The team and I are pleased with the impact that TriNet has achieved in support of our customers and their valued employees. There has never been a more important time for us to leverage our expertise, reach, and scale in service of these amazing customers.”

But what makes TriNet’s COVID-19 content strategy so effective? Let’s take a closer look.

Accessibility

TriNet took the smart step early on of creating a COVID-19 Business Resiliency & Preparedness Center on their website to house all of their COVID-19 content (since then, many brands have followed suit). This page is easily accessible from many pages on trinet.com via a ribbon at the top of their website.

Within the hub, TriNet keeps a curated list of recently published content related to COVID-19. This guarantees that all visitors to the TriNet site can quickly review the latest COVID-19 news related to small businesses.

“As we navigate this ever-changing health crisis, which is top of mind for everyone, we wanted to ensure that we placed the COVID-19 Business Resiliency & Preparedness Center in a prominent position on our website along with its subsequent and highly informative pages,” Mendehall explained. “This website resource is an efficient and easy-to-access online center for all TriNet COVID-19 communications and content--allowing our customers, non-customers, and others to access relevant and timely information. In fact, over the last two weeks, we’ve seen on average just under a thousand daily visits to the site, which is encouraging.”

Furthermore, the COVID-19 content hub itself features a simplistic design that allows users to quickly find the information they’re looking for.

By making their content readily available and easy to access, TriNet removes any friction for customers trying to get help. 

Helpfulness

The second thing that jumps out about TriNet’s COVID-19 content is its usefulness. Our research has shown that readers want brands to inform and educate them, and TriNet makes that their top priority.

From their ongoing webinars on topics related to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, to their blog content providing actionable insights and advice, TriNet makes sure their target audience has all the information they need to navigate their business during this trying time.

Take this recent blog post on retirement relief implications for 401(k) sponsor plans. The article, written by senior leaders within the organization, provides readers with a comprehensive explanation of a complex and highly-specific topic in a digestible way.

This speaks to another strength of TriNet’s content: They steer clear of topics they don’t feel they have the authority to comment on. Instead, the brand stays focused on their areas of expertise by answering questions they know their audience is asking.

“As we are dealing with a highly fluid situation that changes daily, we are continually developing and shifting our content strategies in order to develop and share the most relevant, and timely content for SMBs such as new legislation updates and more ,” explained Renee Brotherton, Vice President Corporate Communications at TriNet.

Furthermore, TriNet includes links to other helpful resources, including the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), and the Small Business Administration (SBA).

This focus on utility showcases that TriNet has their customers’ best interests at heart, which aligns with their company motto: “people matter.” 

Empathy

Utility is important, but your COVID-19 content must also be empathetic. What does empathetic content look like? Take this article, penned by TriNet’s CEO Burton Goldfield and featured in TriNet’s COVID-19 content hub. In the article, Goldfield explains what TriNet is doing to support both its customers and its own employees. 

TriNet also recently put out a new national ad reassuring customers that they will be there to support them throughout this crisis. 


These sorts of gestures provide customers with a sense of comfort during a very difficult time. You’ll notice that nowhere within TriNet’s COVID-19 content hub is copy designed to be transactional. By appealing to emotion, rather than trying to sell, TriNet ensures that they’ll retain mindshare with their audience once the crisis comes to an end.

These SMBs need our help and that is what TriNet is doing. We want them to know that we recognize the enormity of what they are facing and they are not alone. We are here for them—like we have been for 30+ years,” said Mendenhall. “Our content and our advertisement campaign is for SMBs, which represent the backbone of our economy—and notably, SMBs will be the key to our nation’s eventual economic recovery.” 

Multi-Channel Approach

TriNet has blog content, webinars, and video content. This multi-format approach ensures that TriNet is able to deliver content to their customers based on their consumption preferences. Furthermore, utilizing multiple formats to promote your COVID-19 content can increase brand engagement and share of voice. 

Key Takeaways

So what can we learn from TriNet’s COVID-19 content marketing strategy? For starters, it’s important to make your COVID-19 content easily accessible, as this will likely be the one thing your customers care most about for the time being.

Create content that’s helpful, while also focusing on your area of expertise. TriNet knows that their audience comes to them for advice on how to run their business, and they make sure their content speaks to that need.

Don’t sell. Instead, put yourself in your customer’s shoes. What do they need to hear from you during a time like this? What could you say that would make a difference to them? You should be answering these questions with every piece of content you create.

Be innovative and creative with your content. Don’t just default to a blog post. Think about how your customers want to interact with your brand, and try to meet them where they are. That could be a webinar, video series, online course, ebook, or any number of content formats.

Lastly, weave your brand into all your COVID-19 communications. TriNet’s COVID-19 content works because it aligns with their mission statement: to power the business success of our partners through extraordinary human resources.

For more insights about COVID-19 content & communications, visit the Knotch COVID-19 resource center.