The entire world has been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. Even those who haven’t experienced a brush with the virus itself have been impacted in some way. Many consumers and businesses have watched their lives change seemingly overnight, bringing new values, perspectives, and priorities.
As a result, content marketing has also changed. Many content calendars and long-term financial plans have fallen by the wayside and are no longer relevant in the new normal. For businesses to thrive in a post-pandemic world, they’ll need to adapt to what consumers want and expect in terms of content.
How content marketing will change post COVID-19
Here are three overarching ways that content marketing will change post-COVID-19 and how your business can adapt.
1. Creating an authentic connection
While people enjoy shopping and buying things, they don’t like being aware of the sales process. Now, more than ever, consumers are more aware of sales language and less appreciative of pushy sales platforms. COVID-19 has severely disrupted the idea of brand loyalty, with over half of consumers making a switch to a new brand. Furthermore, they are more aware of when a company is trying to make a quick buck, rather than prioritizing the customer. This mindset shift largely stems from the massive layoffs and dramatic drop in disposable income.
This unprecedented negative event is a positive opportunity for content marketers to rethink their brand voice and messaging to create an authentic connection. The brands that did the best throughout the pandemic were those that put a human face on the business. Companies showcasing how employees were coping behind the scenes, sharing personal messages, and forging a connection were those who maintained customer loyalty throughout.
Consider how your brand can be more authentic when publishing content. Add a human touch to your voice and create content that resonates on a deeper level. Focus on authenticity and transparency, telling your audience about the challenges your company is facing and how you’re working to overcome them. In other words, don’t just put on a pretty face; the world is over it.
2. Combatting content overload
Competing with seemingly endless content options has always been a challenge in content marketing. When creating a social media content strategy for 2021, businesses will also have to consider content overload. Digital media consumption in March 2020 in the US increased 215% from the same period in 2019. This increase in consumption has many consumers experiencing content overload.
Similar to decision fatigue, content overload is the overwhelming amount of options available, paired with more time than before and the increased need for connectivity. This sense of overwhelming leads to endless scrolling without retention.
Businesses will have to find new ways to stand out and register with consumers in the post-COVID-19 world. You’ll need to strategize ways to present the right content at the right time to stop scrollers in their tracks and have them engage. Furthermore, the content needs to be compelling enough that they take off their proverbial coat and stay awhile.
3. Giving and showcasing value
Another significant challenge that businesses are facing is the reduction of marketing budgets in light of the pandemic. It could be years before enough revenue is recovered to return to previous budget levels.
Consumers are facing the same issue at home.
Marketers and business owners can bridge this gap by shifting the focus of their messaging to showcase value. Every piece of content created should present the value of your consumer relationships in some way. This strategy could include giving valuable information, providing tips and tricks regarding your product or service, and giving more than taking.
In other words, there should be a priority shift away from conversion toward nourishing customer relationships. Rather than focusing solely on customer acquisition, consider how you can improve your retention metrics. Work the churn list, thank customers for their loyalty, and build a strong foundation for the years ahead.
Tips for adapting your content post COVID-19
Adapting to change is never easy. Here are some helpful tips to guide your business and pivot your content marketing for the post-pandemic world.
1. Use granular metrics
Businesses will have to take a closer look at their analytics rather than a high-level overview. It’s important to drill down to a granular level to determine what’s working and what’s getting lost in the noise.
Look past the monthly metrics and get down to the weekly numbers to determine what’s most effective. Then, make adjustments based on those outcomes.
2. Adjust your content calendar
Your content calendar may no longer be appropriate for the new world. Content marketers will have to find a way to acknowledge the existence of the virus without fixating on it. After all, people need a distraction.
Adjust your content calendar to remove anything that may no longer be appropriate or relevant. For example, showcasing large events of people grouped together may cause backlash without the right messaging. Discussing life at the office when many people are working from home might create a disconnect.
Rethink what you post about and adapt it to the new world.
3. Perfect your repurposing strategy
One of the best ways to get the most out of your limited marketing spend is to perfect your repurposing strategy. Consider how each piece of content can be molded into something else. For example, a live video can be segmented into shorter clips and quotes. Additionally, those clips and quotes can be turned into image-based social media posts.
Consider how you can reuse and refresh content to share it in a new way. Podcasts can be transcribed into blog posts and optimized for SEO. Important tidbits can be shared again with a different graphic template. Having a content repurposing strategy will help get more reach out of less spend.
Adaptation to consumer behaviors is what skilled marketers are best at. Small businesses without in-house marketing staff should consider working with a freelancer or agency to get their content marketing on track for the post-pandemic world.
The key thing to remember is meeting the customer where they’re at and forging an authentic connection. Nourish those relationships, so your business is the first one they think of when the tides begin to turn.