9 Content Marketing Lessons Learned From the Pandemic
1. Empathy and honesty is the best policy
Everyone wants to get that sale, but right now, selling people just doesn’t feel right. Our content and marketing materials need to have a sense of empathy and understanding of what your customers are going through. If your audience feels your main goal is to get their money, you’ll lose them as a valued customer every time so this is one of the most important content marketing lessons.
“The ongoing pandemic has taught us the importance of communicating with honesty and empathy. We’ve found how important it is to strike a balance between prioritizing individual needs and continuing to perform our job to the best of our ability. When it comes to marketing, adopting an honest and empathetic tone is essential. We can’t ignore what’s on everyone’s minds, but we can communicate with our customers that we are doing all we can to manage the situation and keep our employees safe.” – Monica Eaton – Chargebacks 911
“When it comes to content marketing lessons, I’d say that the biggest lesson I’ve learned is to be really sensitive about the tone of our messaging. Over the last couple of months, we’ve had to rethink our customers’ priorities to determine what’s worth communicating, making sure that we’re balancing marketing goals with customer empathy. Given that we’re in a pandemic, there’s the conundrum that businesses are generating nearly identical messaging across site banners and emails. The content din makes it more difficult for audiences to discern one brand from the next. So we are constantly looking at ways to differentiate our content marketing strategy so that our own brands still stand out from the competition.” – Allan Borch of Dotcom Dollar
2. Giving value in your content is more important than ever
Your content goals may be to increase leads and conversions, but your number one goal to achieve this is to provide value to your customers. More than ever now, your customers need that value in order to realize/remember what you can do for them (and not the other way around).
“Due to COVID-19, I focus on creating informational content instead of commercial content. People are tight with their money right now and need a bit more of a push to get to a sale. Conversion-focused informational content allows you to do that (content that has strong call-to-action to commercial content). For prospective leads and clients, it’s not about selling them more services right now. It’s about being the ultimate resource during tough times. Being their fiduciary during these times will make them clients for life.” – John Pinedo of Freedom Bound Business
“Ask yourself what you can offer your readers, users, clients, or customers during these times. For example, can you offer free content, training, or discounts to help those who are impacted? How you handle these turbulent times as a business will truly be reflective of executing on your brand promise.” – Charlie Patel of Triberr
3. Content marketing must go on… once you learn all the content marketing lessons…
When business went south, many with limited budgets stopped spending. The problem is, if you stop your marketing, you’ll be forgotten by the end of this and everything you worked to achieve prior to the pandemic will have been a wasted effort. Those who stopped their content marketing efforts realized this mistake very quickly. Those who kept it going noticed the uptick in business.
“One of the content marketing lessons that we have learned is that over communicating is a very good thing. We have taken to repurposing content as well as ramping up the production of content. This is not a “more is better” strategy, but rather a staying timely strategy. Every week we were fielding new questions or concerns surrounding how COVID-19 was (or could be) impacting businesses and/or processes, and keeping on top of it has been a challenge. However, this also provided an opportunity when it came to our nurturing of communications. This is (or has been) a time that people don’t want to be sold to, which is completely understandable. However, they do want to be informed. So, we have taken this perspective to heart and changed up our nurturing content to be 100% value-based rather than (almost) any focus on setting up appointments or direct selling. The response has been fantastic and will definitely remain a staple in our communications moving forward.” – Jaclyn Monaco – National Positions
4. Simplicity beats complication
Ever wonder why everyone is baking bread during the pandemic? They are longing for a simpler life and the pandemic has provided them the opportunity to get to that. Your content should reflect the newfound expectation of simplicity. Simplicity in content is a great content marketing lesson.
“While we are tucked away at home praying for the economy to open again, many of us have rediscovered a love for a more simplified life. Being unable to shop instore or eat out at our favorite restaurants has made many of us question what we truly value. In doing so, content searches have been focused on more value-based blogs. This has been true for our financer.com/us/ site as traction has increased for content that includes ways to save money, and emergency funds. People are also reaching out for information on personal literacy. What is good debt, how to pay off credit cards. Because their values have changed, we have found our readers want content that understands those more simplified values.” – Kimberley Smyth – Financier
5. Collaborate with the competition to improve all of your chances
Truly, everyone is in the same boat. Your competition is feeling the pinch just as much as you. Rather than work against each other to earn business, looking out for each other and coming up with ideas on how to best get out of this alive is the best bet. That’s one of the reasons learning about content marketing lessons will help your business.
“I have found the best asset for content marketing during COVID-19 is talking to other small business owners. It’s important to check in with them and see how they are feeling and doing. Ask if there’s any way we can help and learn what they are doing to navigate through this unprecedented time. Their insight has been incredibly valuable. It has allowed us to create content that presents a call to action with audiences, but is also inspiring and uplifting to read and share. We will work together to get through this together.” – Deborah Sweeney of MyCorporation
6. Be ready to shift gears regularly
When the pandemic wave hit, no one was prepared. Those who were having a great business year were just as hard hit as those who had been struggling. The lesson learned here is that you need to be prepared to scratch all of your plans and come up with plan B. Many companies who stayed on the same path as they were on pre-Covid found that they didn’t do as well. Being prepared to take a foul ball is one of the best ways to keep your business afloat during unpredictable times.
“The biggest lesson learned about content marketing during the coronavirus pandemic is that uncertain times mean uncertain results. In other words, we based our content marketing efforts on metrics that mattered before – keyword volume, difficulty and search trends that are usually valid. When the virus came, people started reading different things, searching for different things and most certainly changing their buying habits. The takeaway for content marketing is to never rely on data which is several months old – always be on the lookout for new trends so you can write and optimize your content for what people actually want to read at the moment. There is no such thing as securing a #1 position forever for a certain keyword – you have to stay up to date and relevant.” – Jane Kovalkova of Chanty
“We’ve learned that no brand is ever safe enough and that if you’re working on long-term goals with a very specific calendar and to-do lists, you should be fine eventually, even for brands on a stretched budget. In fact, we’ve seen the biggest growth in content reach during the peak of this pandemic, as a result of our strategy that we’ve been working on very hard for a long time, so when it comes to content marketing – it’s really about providing real value to your customers by emphasizing biggest challenges with actionable advice.” – Joy Corkery of Latana
7. The focus on lead generation means something different now
We all want leads. We all want sales. But, this means something completely different now. How you generate those leads isn’t as simple as presenting your brand in a positive light. With many with limited budgets, those spending dollars aren’t going to be given away easily.
“We must all shift from a “lead generating” and “take” mindset to one that allows us to show potential customers why we provide a valued service or product. Consumers are tired of getting pitched and sold something every chance they get. Using this content marketing strategy will be a sure-fire way to set your business apart from the rest.” – Adem Selita of The Debt Relief Company
8. Giving value in your content is your first job
What can you provide your customers that others aren’t? Your products and services provide value, and your content definitely should.
“This is a valuable lesson for future marketing strategies. If you want to create an authentic and authoritative relationship with your consumer, which is arguably what consumers are demanding from 21st-century businesses, then you need to make sure that all your content has value for the consumer. How can you help? What does your consumer need from you? Creating loyalty and trust with the consumer has been a lesson during COVID and will continue to be built upon post-pandemic.” – Nate Masterson of Maple Holistics
9. It is time to figure out exactly who your audience is
Whether you need to broaden your search or tighten it, knowing your audience and what they need right now is job number one.
“Be sensitive and understand your target audience. Make sure that you know who will be possibly viewing your content and figure out how you will be able to satisfy what they want. Failure to understand this will not only waste potential earnings but will also lead to wasted efforts and ideas. Also, I always consider an emphatic approach with our content to avoid making our viewers feel that we only do it to increase our sales.” – John Howard of Coupon Lawn
“The most valuable lesson that we can take away from difficult times like COVID-19, instead of capitalizing on the situation as a marketing tool, is to make sure you are there for your clients and other collaborators. Adding another COVID-19 article to their already overflowing inbox is like throwing a thimbleful of water on a bonfire – it’s not going to make a whole lot of difference. Instead of adding to the noise, be the one that quiets it. Send out a message offering genuine assistance, and ask them what you can do to help. Then follow through! BE THERE for one another. This is what will truly make a difference.” – Amber Eberly of Design Collaborative
Our tactics and strategies are progressing, not restarting from scratch. The biggest impact of COVID-19 on Skedulo’s marketing efforts has been to shift our focus on what matters to our customers. We’re sharing the real implications of the Deskless Productivity Cloud on the human experience. Our messaging is softer, more compassionate and focused on how we can improve the lives of caregivers and front-line workers. COVID-19 has fundamentally changed so many things and affected the lives of so many people. We understand the implications are going to last long after stay-at-home orders are lifted. We’ll be keeping this softer, human-valued tone moving forward as businesses and individuals recover in the aftermath. – Miles Kelly of Skedulo
Creating content in this pandemic world isn’t easy. You’re going to make mistakes. Hopefully these content marketing lessons that others learned will help you. Why not book a call with our content strategists and find out how to present your brand in the most positive light in your content? We’ll tell you how to make your content valuable, empathetic and still lead generating.