• Daryl Charman

Content marketing strategy & COVID-19: what changes do you need to make?

With the coronavirus pandemic sweeping the world, what changes should you be making to your content marketing strategy?

Content marketing and COVID-19
Is COVID-19 forcing you to change your content marketing strategy?

These are unsettling times for businesses. COVID-19 (coronavirus) is causing a drastic drop in sales and altering the way we operate on a daily basis.

In recent weeks, we’ve seen Apple, McDonald’s and Disney World close their doors to the public, the whole UK go into lockdown and a mad rush for toilet roll at supermarkets.

However, we will get through this. Not today, nor tomorrow. But someday over the coming months, the world will suddenly press play on everything and we’ll start moving at lightning speed again.

When this does happen, it’s important that you’re ready.

Why content marketing is more important than ever during COVID-19

The most common approach you’ll see when businesses open their doors again is content pandemonium. Those businesses who pressed paused on their content marketing while the pandemic wreaks havoc will bombard social media feeds, inboxes, search engines and letterboxes with communications.

Each blog, email, letter, flyer, PPC campaign and social media post will be created in a desperate frenzy to generate immediate income.

However, what those businesses don’t realise, or are simply choosing to ignore, is that the fundamentals of marketing are to generate future success, not immediate.

When you press pause on your content marketing strategy, you’re jeopardising your profits further down the line when normal business resumes.

And guess what? The dynamic of the market will have changed by then. The way your target audience will consume content and respond to it won’t be the same.

Not only will you join the thousands of other businesses in ‘stepping up’ their marketing efforts, but you’ll find yourself out of touch with your audience. Your email subject lines might not generate the same open rates they once did. Your blogs won’t contain the searchable keywords they need to rank at the top of the SERP.

Advantix Digital recently wrote an interesting piece about how COVID-19 is impacting behaviour shifts. With an increase in people working from home, there’s already been a 50% increase in internet consumption. Yet, despite this factor, the coronavirus pandemic is set to cause a 10-20% decline in ad spending.

Businesses who previously had a stranglehold on key terms in their PPC campaigns and bigger budgets to spend on social media marketing are cutting back.

The lockdown is giving people more time to consume content. An enticing social post and a thought-provoking blog can resonate, when it may have previously missed the mark.

No, I’m not saying quality content will necessarily generate you an influx of leads and get yourself out of this palaver. However, it can boost brand awareness, keep you relevant and add value, which in turn, will bear fruit at a later date.

Coronavirus isn’t a reason to overlook content marketing, it’s an opportunity to adjust your strategy and protect the success of your business moving forward.

"All failure is failure to adapt, all success is successful adaption."
Max McKeown

Content marketing ideas during COVID-19

The type of content and the volume you produce depends on several variables. For instance, if you’re operating in the tourism industry, you may want to minimise content marketing efforts. However, e-commerce companies may choose to capitalise on the increasing internet consumption by upping their lead generation.

It’s also worth revisiting your content strategy and seeing if what you had scheduled is relevant and helpful during the lockdown. Focus your content strategy on communications that are sensitive and helpful during this dreadful time, but also with an eye on upping lead generation and sales.

One of the first things you should do, if you haven’t already, is to communicate with current/recent customers or clients. Let them know how COVID-19 is affecting your business, what it means for them and the next steps you’re planning via email content and a dedicated website page or landing page. While lead gen is essential in securing future business, your loyal customers or clients are vital in keeping it running in the present.

With a recession inevitable, things will become very competitive quickly once this all blows over. As I mentioned earlier, if you press pause now, you’ll find yourself ill-prepared and desperately trying to compete with millions of businesses later.

Improving your ranking on Google for particular search terms takes time and thought. As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, work on SEO website content. Write dedicated pages focused on certain keywords and tweak existing meta titles, alt tags on images and take a deeper dive into technical SEO.

Build effective landing pages with an enticing piece of free hero content as bait, such as:

  • White papers – extensive thought-provoking pieces that draw upon market research to provide an insight into an industry or topic.

  • E-books – downloadable books that provide expertise on a certain topic or area.

  • E-guides – a smaller 4-8 page downloadable guide that focuses on answering a particular problem or relevant industry topic.

  • Mini lead magnets – usually a 1-2 page checklist, reference sheet or mini ‘how to’ guide.

Blogging at least once or twice a month about the right things will keep you relevant and enable you to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry too. These should be long, rich SEO pieces between 750-2000 words. The key is to keep the copy evergreen, so avoid mentioning COVID-19. Your customers or clients don’t need another reminder about the problem outside. If you feel it’s necessary to mention it, do it in your social post that links to the content.

Case studies are another form of hero content often overlooked. Yet, for companies working in the B2B sector, they’re an integral part of boosting brand credibility and generating leads. When a new prospect lands on your website, one of the first things they’ll look at before getting in touch is your case studies. This is your opportunity to highlight the amazing work you’ve been doing and sell your company further down the line.

For quick results, it’s worth investing in social media marketing. Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and LinkedIn feeds are currently littered with COVID-19 memes and posts. Can you cut through the noise and grab their attention with enticing copy? A video with a top script can make people stop scrolling, while a freebie or compelling offer will get people taking action.

The main thing is to tweak your content strategy and remain proactive. Whether you’re a recruitment agency where all business has come to a standstill or an online shoe company where sales are on the up, make sure you stay relevant and prepare yourself for the future by producing quality content now.

Need a hand?

The beauty of digital marketing in this day and age is that it can all be done remotely. So, if you need any support, tips or help, I’m always just a video call or email away.

Stay safe.

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