What coronavirus (COVID-19) means for the future of content marketing

By Daryl Charman on

How does the content marketing industry expect the market to react once we return to work? 

Coronavirus (COVID-19) is one of the biggest challenges this generation has faced and it’s set to affect the way we work, live and communicate for many years to come.

Over the past couple of months, we’ve already seen consumer buying patterns drastically alter, including: 

  • An increase in panic buying 
  • More people favouring home-cooked meals over takeaways
  • A halt in the travel, tourism and hospitality industries with travel restrictions in place
  • A demise in luxury shopping with people trying to save their money
  • A monumental rise in online shopping through mobile devices

Looking ahead, the world we live in won’t be the same. Coronavirus will leave a long-term psychological impact on customers and permanently alter market trends. 

The question is; how will this new post-COVID-19 world shape our content marketing efforts moving forward? 

 

The state of marketing amidst the coronavirus pandemic

There’s no escaping the fact that we will continue to see a drop in sales and the increase in unemployment. In China, the virus caused retail sales to drop by 20.5% and the unemployment rate jumped to 6.2 in February. 

As it stands, organic traffic is down in most industries around the world, minus the financial, food, healthcare, media and pharmaceutical industries for obvious reasons. To no surprise, conversion growth has also slumped with customers unwilling to spend their money on non-essential products or services.

In terms of ad revenue, the latest reports suggest that Facebook and Google are set to lose over $44 billion in 2020 because of coronavirus. 

While the statistics might appear bleak and the role of the marketer and copywriters may seem obsolete, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. 

Making your content marketing strategy a success after COVID-19

The current situation should be viewed as an opportunity to pick up on consumer behaviour changes and find new ways to engage with consumers or prospects. 

Content consumption is on the up in the UK as people stuck in lockdown look for ways to fill their time. It’s a case of creating valuable content now and working on brand presence, instead of prioritising sales. (This comes later.)

A good content marketing strategy doesn’t aim to revolutionise instant sales, it ensures you have a constant flow of income in the future. Now is the time to nurture, enlighten and entertain. 

Use real-time data to identify current trends. What articles are gaining more traction over the past few weeks? Have you seen an increase in hero content downloads, such as white papers and e-guides? Is your audience reacting more positively to certain types of social media posts? Find positive responses and create more similar content or campaigns.

Personalisation in marketing has been increasingly prominent over the past few years. However, it’s taken even greater importance in light of the coronavirus. Customers will benefit from relevant, positive engagement that’s optimised for mobile technology and geared towards the new consumer behaviours. 

When we come out the other side, there’s a high probability that digital experiences will replace in-person ones, as we become more accustomed to virtual interaction during the lockdown. A successful content marketing strategy will alter the call to action and service offering. For example, you could run more webinars aimed at a specific part of your buyer personas, instead of doing big networking events focused on getting a vast number of attendees. 

The customer journey within a content marketing strategy must follow the evolving need for digital experiences too. Businesses should prioritise online shopping (where applicable), social media advertising and PPC campaigns to raise awareness of all the valuable content on offer.

The messaging and tone will need to reflect new behaviours as well. For instance, if you’re selling luxury items which are not deemed as essential, it’s vital to create content that proves its worth. Customers will be harder to persuade in the future and your content should reflect this by addressing the tone of comms.

In recent weeks, coronavirus has sadly caused a spike in the number of domestic violence and mental health cases as more people are confined to the same four walls. Are there ways you can take these problems and create a positive message within your content marketing? 

Positioning yourself as a purpose-led brand which consumers can relate to will benefit you in the long-term. Fine examples include influencers who have partnered up with fitness apps to help people stay fit during lockdown and businesses who have provided free e-learning content. These ideas build brand visibility which won’t be forgotten when we all go back to work.   

Can we compare the COVID-19 and 2008 crises? 

At this moment in time, it’s hard to say whether the current COVID-19 crisis will have the same impact as the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in 2008. 

However, there are similarities and differences which we can analyse and take heart from, especially when it comes to planning our content marketing efforts in the future. 

Uncertainty

The word “uncertainty” can be defined as a non-quantifiable risk and isn’t easy to trace or measure. Just like the 2008 crisis, it’s very tricky to predict how business’ budgets will be affected or how much extra business will be generated in a post-coronavirus world. Although, with the UK government offering financial packages to support the self-employed, businesses and the employed, the only thing that we’re certain about is that there will be repercussions at a later date, which could force businesses to push prices up to cover the cost of higher taxes.

This will create a dog eat dog environment where only the most proactive and relentless will survive. The key to ending up on the right side of this battle is to put in the work now. As mentioned earlier, the market and customer behaviours will change, it’s just a matter of adapting now by adapting your content marketing strategy.  

Duration

There’s a distinct difference in the way COVID-19 and the 2008 GFC occurred. While the coronavirus pandemic swept the world within a few months, the GFC brewed long before 2008, therefore, delaying the economic rebound. In fact, the effects of the crash weren’t felt properly until 2010. As a result, the recovery was progressive as it had to overcome several scars left from the damage caused before 2008. 

With COVID-19, the lights went off almost immediately. One day we were sat in an office working on our content marketing and the next we’re all on lockdown either working from home or placed on furlough. Nevertheless, there’s no doubt that the lights will come on just as quickly at some stage in 2020. 

No, this doesn’t mean the government will click their fingers and cinemas, pubs, businesses and shops will magically resume like a pre-mediated scene from The Truman Show. 

But it will happen swiftly and without warning. Before you know it, we’ll find ourselves in a new world, facing different consumer habits and challenges. If there’s one thing we can all learn from the 2008 GFC, it’s that prosperity and happier times do lie ahead. 

However, it’s only those who are willing to make the adjustments, be proactive and think outside the box in their approach now who will reap the rewards with their content marketing strategies later.

If you want to stay ahead of the curve, take a look at our CMA Learning page, where you’ll find webinars, networking opportunities and content marketing insights. 

Share This Post
Share on facebook
Share on twitter
Share on linkedin

You may also like...