Businessman conducting marketing research on laptop
Some transformations that reshaped content marketing during the height of the pandemic were likely to happen eventually anyway. Key technology-powered activities, such as remote learning and working, telemedicine, streaming entertainment and online shopping, were already on the rise. The pandemic simply triggered a massive acceleration of those trends.
Other transformations, though, we were as unprepared for as we were for the global pandemic itself. People worried about their health and safety experienced a huge shift in priorities. What had seemed enormously important to them before the pandemic moved to the bottom of their lists. This shift prompted a sea change in purchasing decisions, accompanied by a downturn in discretionary spending.
Brands jumped on opportunities to reach a literally captive audience with a proliferation of content. Many efforts were knee-jerk reactions as marketers hoped to take advantage of circumstances to reach new readers. Like many other things during the pandemic, content was created on the fly.
Now that the worst seems to be behind us, brands are examining content strategies that will succeed in a changed world. Although the major lesson learned has been that we really do not know exactly what to anticipate, here are three content marketing trends brands can expect.
1. Agility Will Be Essential
A universal key to survival during the pandemic was the ability to pivot. Some brands did this in major ways, such as distilleries making hand sanitizer. Others did it in smaller ways, like restaurants and retailers offering curbside pickup.
Brands had to pivot their content as well. Prior to the pandemic, brands largely focused on telling customers what they wanted them to know about their products. Brands knew what problems customers had, and their content told them how their products could solve them.
To survive once the pandemic arrived, brands had to start listening to the cacophony of customer concerns, some as novel as the virus itself. Customers demanded that content be about them, not products, and that it empathize with their situation. Brands had to respond with authentic concern, offering customers value devoid of even a hint of self-serving opportunism.
Completely reassessing consumer needs and adjusting content marketing strategies accordingly required tremendous agility then and will continue to in 2022. Brands will need to identify pivot triggers and devise processes for making those pivots in content strategy smoothly midstream. Choppy changes were acceptable during the pandemic; they won’t be in the future.
In a climate of wariness on all issues, consumers are spending their money only with brands they trust. Earning that trust requires sharing content that is timely, easily accessible and honest. In a world of constant and unknowable change, content marketing strategies will need to remain both nimble and responsive.
2. Analytics Will Determine Winners and Losers
Great content isn’t just creative. It’s informed. As more and more content is pushed out into the world, readers will find the kind that relies on data and analytics. The rest will disappear into obscurity. Brands can no longer afford to throw …….