The Rise of Content During COVID-19
As we transition into a new year of COVID-19 dominating the headlines, its impact on our daily life remains substantial to say the least. While society has strived to adapt, life has taken an increasingly virtual appearance, with online media consumption skyrocketing. Many companies had already evolved an increasing dependency upon new media and technologies prior to 2020. The impact of COVID-19, however, appears to have catalysed a further rise of content marketing. Here we discuss some of the potential consequences for content in the future.
What do changes in consumer behaviour mean for Content?
Annual statistics collected by Semrush.com suggest that content marketing strategies are becoming more effective since the COVID-19 pandemic.
- The number of companies reporting generally positive evaluations of their content strategy has risen 10%.
- The number of companies investing in content strategies of their own has risen by 7%.
- Those spending over £10,000 on their annual content output have grown by 9%.
Those still outsourcing their content requirements will now find an abundance of content professionals offering their services remotely, thereby providing a greater depth of choice and quality to choose from. This all shows a clear rise in the importance of content which is expected to increase further as we continue through 2021.
What do these changes mean for the future of content marketing?
Veteran Marketing Consultant Mark Ritson downplays the idea of a post-pandemic ‘New Normal’ within Marketing, asserting that an evolution of sorts is happening and has been at pace for over a decade now. He suggests the impact of this pandemic is merely a catalyst, moving us along at a quicker pace than usual. However, it is hard to predict what will happen in the future, especially with a vaccine rolling out and the relaxing of government regulations on the horizon once again.
Though it is considered likely that consumer behaviours will eventually revert to a close to normal state, it is hard to discount the possibility of a lasting impact within the world of content marketing. As new technologies and media have transformed the content marketing industry over the past decade, so too will the effects of COVID-19.
It is entirely plausible that some changes in interpersonal interaction will remain as we move into the future. Voice is replacing touch and there will be companies and individuals which will continue to take a hygiene-conscious approach to life and work, with remote working situations also proving to be financially beneficial for both the employer and the employee. This new approach leaves the gates open for content to continue its rise as the most influential form of communication between brand and consumer.
What types of content are people consuming?
- Commercially, the impact of COVID-19 on buying habits has been huge, with the vast majority of people accessing news, streaming entertainment, social media and searching for goods online as opposed to visiting in person.
- Those looking for employment are also using online sites to search for jobs and careers advice. Meanwhile, professionals are looking for insights and services to help improve their efficiency and cut costs.
Why has the success rate of content been so positive?
Companies are increasingly orientating themselves around indirect approaches. According to Statista.com, between January 2020 and January 2021, online transactions increased by a hefty 39.7%. As boredom has set in among many consumers during this unprecedented year, companies have rushed to fill this void with their content. Here, the brand doesn’t chase the customer; it is the customer who seeks the brand's products and services. This stands in contrast to adverts aimed at selling and convincing. The convincing value of content is its quality and informative nature.
Often, content can be highly cost effective. It doesn’t have to take up a large portion of your company’s marketing budget. This means that it is a great fit for those unable to sell their normal products and services, sometimes reinventing themselves in the aim to keep their audience engaged through new topics. Some examples of brands' innovative approaches to content are:
- Netflix - launched the ‘Wanna talk about it’ Instagram series, which looked at self-care during a pandemic.
- National Geographic - initiated the ‘Natgeo @ Home’ campaign, a series of educational content and resources can be accessed from the comfort of home.
- The Metropolitan Museum of Art - Gave its users free access to more than 1,600 art books.
It is clear that COVID-19 has done anything but hinder the progress of content marketing, creating a situation in which many consumers are deliberately engaging with brands and their products more often. This has led to the medium of content as the best tool of communication for brands during the pandemic, exhibiting its flexibility and endurance more than ever. While it is impossible to know what the future may bring for marketing as a whole, it is clear that the story of content during the time of COVID-19 is one of success.