The COVID-19 outbreak has become a major talking point. Not only did the virus affect human lives, but it also changed how consumers interact with businesses and how businesses market their products.
The economic depression that came with COVID-19 has also had a massive impact on the marketing strategy and execution of businesses. Online marketers can no longer rely on the strategies they finalized before the outbreak. Many things are different now.
However, at least one thing remains the same, i.e., the need for more high-quality content.
In this blog post, we discuss:
- The importance of content marketing — especially during COVID-19
- What’s different
- And how businesses and content marketing should cope up with the changes
Why businesses should keep investing in content marketing
When the COVID-19 outbreak started affecting the world, one of the first responses by most businesses was to shut down their marketing efforts.
It is true that conversions have dropped significantly in many industries, but there are still opportunities out there — especially for content marketers.
Besides, content is a long-term investment. You should not measure its effectiveness with short-term goals and KPIs anyway.
Here are four reasons why businesses should keep investing in content marketing during COVID-19.
1. Improvements in search engine rankings
There is no doubt about the crucial correlation between high-quality content and search engine rankings.
But it is not just about the relevance and quality of the content. Consistency is also a key part of the puzzle. Google prefers sending its users to websites that are regularly updated.
If you go completely silent for several months and don’t publish new content or updated older posts at all, this may affect your search engine rankings.
Moreover, what if — while you are biding your time — your competitors keep publishing new, high-quality content and capture a bigger share in the search engine results pages?
This will widen the gap further and make it more difficult for you to fully recover from the damage done during the COVID-19 period.
2. More people are surfing the web than ever
One piece of stats that content marketers can take solace in is that screen time is up in almost every country.
Quarantined and self-isolating people need distractions, and they are trying to find it on the web.
People are using the internet more than ever, and this presents a unique opportunity for content marketers and online businesses in the form of increased visibility and a potential for a higher number of traffic visitors and MQLs.
However, all these opportunities depend on you creating more content and being visible for evergreen and new trending queries as much as possible.
3. Build potential leads for later
While this may not be the perfect time for converting visitors into paying customers, this should not stop you from generating new MQLs and SQLs.
Content marketing is an excellent and proven way to drive free targeted traffic to your website. And although those visitors may not convert today, you can always push them to your sales funnel and use them later when the economic conditions improve.
Either way, this is a win-win solution and a huge benefit of investing in content marketing right now.
4. The bigger picture
These are difficult times, and sacrifices must be made for many businesses to survive. Usually, it all comes down to short-term KPIs and sales figures.
However, it is also important to look at the bigger picture sometimes.
The sales figures may not be increasing right now, but by publishing new content on a regular basis, you can benefit your business in other ways. For example:
- Building a loyal following of potential leads and customers
- Engaging with existing and new customers
- Informing or educating your readers
- Building a list of email subscribers
- Increasing your social media following
- Improving brand awareness
- Controlling your messaging in these uncertain times
As we just learned, there are plenty of reasons why businesses should keep investing in content marketing. However, it is also crucial to realize what’s different, and how you should tackle everything,
First, organic traffic has declined in many industries, including advertising, e-commerce, retail, and software. In other industries, however, organic traffic has increased.
Here is a chart shared by Neil Patel.
On the other hand, conversions are down in pretty much every industry — except the food sector.
That’s why we also recommended that you should not be overly concerned about short-term KPIs and the number of conversions in this period.
Three things to keep in mind when publishing new content
Because the world is so different right now, content publishers should be more responsible. Here are four things you should remember:
1. Fine-tuning your messaging
How do you communicate with your readers? Does your messaging need to be tweaked and fine-tuned during COVID-19?
Meghan Keaney Anderson, VP of Marketing at HubSpot, said:
“There are two ways that I would think about this:
- One is, ‘how do you communicate in direct response to the crisis?’
- The second piece of this is, after the [initial outbreak] of the crisis, there is a new world that you are marketing and selling in, and so how do you reflect those times?”
2. Identifying new content marketing opportunities
Apart from being supportive and empathetic to the readers, you also need to find new content marketing opportunities at the same time.
For instance, people generally have more time at hand. So many of them are trying to learn something new and acquire new skills. What can you do to engage your readers who want to learn something new? What type of content can you produce to fulfill that need?
For example, Unity Technologies, maker of a popular video game engine, has made available three months of premium to game developers for free.
The announcement came with the following statement:
“At this difficult time, we remain committed to making it easier and more intuitive for you to achieve your aspirations. We believe the world is a better place with more creators in it.”
This not only led to good PR and more credibility, but it will also likely increase engagement and, possibly, even more sales down the road.
In short, COVID-19 is affecting search behavior, and there is now an increased demand for certain types of products and solutions. Use Google Trend to see how things have changed in your industry and plan your content accordingly.
3. Revisiting KPIs and performance metrics
As we saw earlier, conversions are down in almost every industry. Measuring your content performance on the basis of sales and conversions won’t be a good idea.
We are experiencing a drop in conversion despite a significant jump in user screen time. This indicates that people are searching for information on the web — and even products — but they are not ready to buy as much as they used to before.
Therefore, this would be a good time to revisit your KPIs and perhaps put more focus on engagement metrics, organic visitors, and MQLs, instead of sales and revenue.
COVID-19 has affected certain types of industries the most, e.g., travel. However, there are still plenty of opportunities to explore. You will just have to be a lot more tactical and strategic to find those opportunities.
In addition, you need to keep publishing and sharing new content. That content may come up in the form of premium content, live videos, collaboration with successful influencers in your industry, virtual gatherings, updating older blog posts, or publishing new ones.
What’s more important is to be relevant and be a part of the conversation during this period. Don’t compromise on your visibility. While the sales numbers may be down at the moment, there are plenty of other ways to put your business in front of your customers via content marketing.