In what felt like the blink of an eye, COVID-19 kicked down the door and turned everyone’s lives upside down. As our world keeps changing, marketing has been forced to change with it.
With people being forced to spend more time at home, digital consumption in Canada has increased by 28% since January and the total time spent on social media has increased by 70% (Source: Comscore).
People are not only spending more time on social media, but the things they’re searching for and watching have also seen some dramatic shifts. This presents both challenges and enormous opportunities in how brands can use digital content to connect and engage with their customers during this time.
Businesses who fail to adjust their content strategies accordingly risk being left behind and losing loyal followers. Here are some of the key things you need to do to adjust your blogging and content strategy during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Answer the Questions People Are Asking
A good content strategy should always revolve around answering the questions your audience is asking and helping them solve their problems. This hasn’t changed and if anything, it’s more important than ever.
COVID-19 has changed everybody’s lives in one way or another and they’re turning to the internet for help with this. They’re asking questions like how to entertain themselves at home, how to adjust to working remotely and how to keep themselves safe and healthy. They also need to know how to access your products and services right now and how they can help meet their newfound needs.
How to Choose the Right Topics
Not quite sure what your audience needs right now? Ask them! Try creating a poll on social media or sending one out via e-mail.
You should also compile a list of the questions you’ve already received directly from your customers. Chances are that for every person who’s asked you directly, there are a few others who never bothered to reach out.
If you’re not quite sure what questions to address or you’ve run out of ideas, check out Google Trends. It’s a quick, easy and free tool to get up-to-date data on what searches are on the rise and how trends have changed over time.
Avoid the Wrong Topics
It’s also important that you don’t waste your time on the questions that are on hold for now. Why share your tips on wedding hairstyles or party planning when they’re just not possible for the time being?
Select the Right Platform for Your Content
Beyond just adjusting your content topics, you should be thinking about how you’re producing that content. That’s right, yet another change in the world right now is how content is being consumed.
If your content strategy only includes blogs, it could be a good time to give videos a try. In the United States alone, YouTube usage increased by 15.3% in March (Source: New York Times).
Specifically, watching funny videos has increased by 42% (Source: Visual Capitalist) so you may see the most success if you keep a lighter and more humorous tone.
If you’re using Instagram, are you just sharing regular posts or are you using stories too? You should be using stories, because Instagram story usage is up 15% since the outbreak (Source: Business 2 Community).
Try repurposing the tips and info from your blog or podcast into a story.
The jury’s still out on whether podcast listening has increased or decreased right now. You’d think it would have increased but with many people listening to podcasts during their commutes, this time is now being used for other activities.
Overall, many podcasts are seeing a decrease in downloads of about 20% (Source: Podnews).
Podcast consumption has also changed greatly based on category and geography, so it’s best to make decisions based on your specific circumstances before you switch up your podcasting strategy or start one for the first time.
We can’t talk about changes in content without talking about TikTok. Already on the rise in the pre-pandemic days, TikTok had a 27% increase in downloads in the first 23 days of March alone compared to February (Source: Newsweek).
As a new and engaging way to entertain and educate users, it’s definitely time to think about creating Tik-Tok content for your brand.
Mobile-Friendly Content is More Important Than Ever
Along with an overall increase in digital media consumption, mobile usage has grown even further. For Canadian users, the total amount of time spent on mobile has increased by 36% since January, with the time on desktop decreasing by 2% (Source: Comscore).
Mobile-friendly content has been important for years now. If you’re still not on board, you’re even further behind than you were a few months ago.
Mobile content doesn’t have to be complicated; it can be as easy as formatting your blog so it’s easier to read on a mobile screen or turning your phone horizontally when recording video content. Whatever steps you take, your audience will appreciate it now more than ever.
Think About Your Distribution Channels
Moving beyond the content itself, your content distribution strategy may also need some tweaking thanks to COVID-19.
If you’re not already using social media as one of your distribution channels, there’s no better time to get started.
Time spent on social media is up 70% since January (Source: Comscore). If you’re not sharing your content on social, you’re missing out on a huge potential audience.
You should also consider e-mail. No, it’s not the newest or most exciting platform, but it works. E-mail open rates increased by 21% in March (Source: HubSpot), making it yet another effective way of reaching your audience right now.
Digital media usage will continue to evolve over time, but the world certainly isn’t going to abandon social media or e-mail in the post-COVID-19 days. By incorporating them into your content distribution strategy now, you’re making both a short-term and long-term investment in building your audience.
Constantly Evaluate and Adjust Your Strategy
It’s become a bit of a cliché but that’s because it’s true; the world is changing faster than ever. That means your content needs to keep changing with it.
There’s no doubt that it’s a hard task right now, harder than ever. It’s exhausting to keep readjusting plans and it’s even harder to make plans when you don’t know what the future will look like. Analytics tools should be your best friend right now.
Topics and Content Types
Is your audience loving your weekly recipes but not a fan of #MotivationalMonday? Sorry, Motivational Monday but it might be time to go. Are your video impressions through the roof but blog pageviews have seen the opposite? It’s probably best to shift at least some of that blogging time towards video creation.
Content Planning Timeframes
You should also shorten the time frame that you plan content for in advance. For example, if you’re used to working with a monthly content calendar try switching to two weeks at a time.
This will make it easier to be flexible and pivot your content strategy when necessary. What was a hot trend at the start of the month could be completely irrelevant by the end or a new need or trend may have emerged.
Planning ahead is still important, but doing it in shorter chunks will make it much easier to adjust your plans and avoid wasting time creating content that might have to be scrapped.
It’s a challenging time to be working as a marketer or content creator, but with challenges come new opportunities. Use these tips to adjust your content strategy to the new and evolving trends presented by COVID-19 to keep your audience informed and engaged during this extraordinary time in our lives.
Do you need some help with your content strategy? Looking to get started with digital marketing? Reach out to the Design Thinking team today and we’ll help craft the online content that your audience is looking for.