How COVID-19 Changed Content Marketing
At this point, it feels like the height of cliché to talk about how COVID-19 has changed everything. As with most clichés, however, this one carries a kernel of truth. After all, virtually every aspect of our lives has been impacted by the pandemic. Content marketing is no different. Not only have marketing workflows had to adapt to life in lockdown, but consumer behaviors and preferences have changed, too. And as with many other COVID-related disruptions, this one may prove durable: For as much as we all hope to “return to normal” soon, the reality is that COVID will continue to echo through our lives for a long time to come.
So, even as most of us get vaccinated and shift back toward our pre-pandemic patterns, there are some significant ways in which content marketing will bear COVID’s imprint. Here are a few of the changes that marketers and small business owners should keep in mind.
Uplift Will Win the Day
Pretty much all of us would agree that 2020 was the year from hell. Thus far, its successor seems like it is moving in a much healthier direction (knock on wood), but the fact remains: There’s plenty of bad news to go around. Do not believe us? Just turn on the news or switch over to your Twitter feed.
There is so much bad news out there, in fact, that a lot of consumers are frankly numb to it. Content that is negative or pessimistic in tone is increasingly at risk of being tuned out, while content that’s more positive in its tone stands a greater chance of breaking through.
In short, consumers crave uplift, and that is something a good content marketing plan can deliver. Do not just focus on pain points. For your content marketing efforts to succeed, you may need to double down on problem-solving potential, on inspirational messages, and on anything that helps people feel good.
As you begin to feel a little optimism, a sense that COVID is finally beginning to fade, channel that optimism into your content marketing.
Honesty Will Be Rewarded
Pre-COVID, none of us had any experience navigating pandemics. We have all been doing the best we can, and as business owners have been forced to adapt, it has required a new level of transparent communication with their customers and clients.
In fact, the companies that have been the most honest and forthcoming with their customers, showing real candor about how they have been handling the pandemic, are the ones that have seen the greatest groundswells of support. As it turns out, consumers really value businesses and brands that are willing to shoot straight.
There is no reason that should end just because the pandemic does. Continue to make candor your policy, communicating with your audience in as direct and authentic way as you can. The alternative is to risk finding out just how little patience people have for content that obfuscates or beats around the bush.
SEO Will Be a Big Deal
To be fair, SEO has been a big deal for a while now. And yet, ever since the start of the pandemic, its importance in the marketing world has only grown. And we think that trend is likely to continue.
Why is this? For one thing, the pandemic led to a surge in e-commerce, for reasons that are probably obvious. And even now that people are feeling more comfortable in brick-and-mortar stores, a lot of consumers still prefer to do their research in advance, Googling around for local businesses to verify that they are still open, that they have good reviews, and that they seem reasonably safe.
As such, for any brand to succeed, it will need content that wins rankings in Google. To that end, we recommend a value-focused content marketing campaign that will provide something relevant and useful to search engine users, and thus find the favor of Google’s algorithms.