Beyond Banana Bread

Bundling useful Covid-19 information for your organization

The pandemic has turned almost everyone into a “how to cope” content expert. Twitter vacillates between “learn all the things” and “watch all the Netflix.” But the approach that’s right for your audiences is something your organization knows best. 

While HR and benefits teams are naturally focused on employee audiences, one of our clients has prioritized making sure its retiree group isn’t forgotten. The COVID-19 microsite Smith has created for them could serve as a model for reaching your most vital audiences. 

The advantage of the microsite approach is three-fold:

  1. It’s both content-rich and very focused.
  2. Microsites are quick to implement.
  3. They can change and grow as needed.

Microsites: Focused and Content-rich

A microsite is a small website functioning within an existing website, or as an complementary auxiliary of a website. Microsites usually have their own domain name, or a domain sub-name. 

Microsites should, by definition, be compact. Limiting layers of architecture more readily delivers focused information, messages and links to users. When a microsite contains a lot of information, it’s especially important that it be well-organized and use smart graphics that help users interact with the dense content structure. 

Because our client’s Covid-19 microsite functions as a portal, consolidating the best content and linking out to it, we decided to organize that content into four discrete pages. Similar sites might include sections like COVID-19, Healthy at Home, Mind Your Money, and Complete a Challenge. We also added a contacts page and will bring an FAQ online when more user data is available. 

We used a flat website hierarchy, with no sub-pages. Limiting the microsite to four pages keeps all of the site’s organization in front of users at all times. No need for them to go searching for a topic, or following breadcrumbs back to the home page. A simple navigation menu across the top of each page is the only map needed. 

Following are examples of the type of information you might provide on a similar microsite. 

Covid-19 

Information about the Covid-19 pandemic at both official and personal levels, including: 

  • Links to official sites like CDC, WHO and state health departments 
  • Prevention tips and videos on best health practices 
  • What to do if you feel sick 
  • Preparing for isolation of a sick person in your home
  • Grocery, delivery service, and meal kit recommendations

Healthy at Home

Stay-at-home restrictions have reordered normal lifestyles and routines. This section offers advice and resources for staying physically, mentally and emotionally healthy for the duration of these restrictions.

  • Safely connecting with neighbors
  • Maintaining personal connections via social media
  • Keeping your brain active
  • Decluttering and organizing your home
  • Online learning opportunities
  • Podcasts, Broadway shows and other free entertainment
  • Workout apps and other fitness media
  • Gardening 
  • Cooking and baking from your pantry

Mind Your Money

The Covid-19 crisis is really two crises; the first is health-related and the second is a financial crisis. Consider including tips on:

  • Navigating market volatility 
  • Budgeting and paying down debt
  • Borrowing smart
  • Estate planning and sharing information with adult children
  • Managing beneficiaries within retirement accounts
  • Using automated banking tools
  • Being wary of scammers

Complete a Challenge

This page reinforces the site’s content by reframing information as discrete challenges. This way, instead of simply reading a recommendation, users are given an easy way to take action on the recommendations. 

For instance, the section on “using automated banking tools” becomes the simple challenge “watch this video on how to deposit a paper check electronically.”

P.S. If you want a good banana bread recipe, try this one from Kitchn. We recommend adding both mini chocolate chips and toasted walnuts. 

P.P.S. If Smith can help with communicating your COVID-19 response, please reach out to me, using the link below.

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