30 second summary:
- As the number of cases of the novel coronavirus rises again, content marketers face another challenge to meet consumer needs.
- Selling around the holidays needs to be approached sensitively as unemployment rises and families are forced to tighten their belts.
- Creating sensitive and emotionally motivated content is more likely to appeal to the audience in these times.
- The potential for future lockdowns will lead to a potential increase in the demand for video content, especially tutorials and explanations for new skills and products.
Although quarantine restrictions have been eased around the world in recent months, a revival in COVID-19 cases has led to a new round of measures to contain the spread of the virus before winter. Now that scientists have a better understanding of the nature of the novel coronavirus, it is more likely that these new rules will be less comprehensive than they were the first time – up to a drastic increase in number, of course.
However, this means that people under lockdown are still likely to be looking for content that is relevant to their current situation. We’ve already talked to you about what companies learned about content marketing during the first phase of the pandemic, and the ever-changing state of affairs shouldn’t stop you from keeping something close to your regular content plan.
But based on what we now know about the virus and what went and did not work with content strategies during the pandemic, there is a lot your company can do to prepare for the coming winter. There are four important points to note here.
Black Friday and Cyber Monday
Thanksgiving weekend is traditionally the day for huge savings on big ticket items and accounts for around a third of total consumer vacation spending. However, with Turkey Day fast approaching, many consumers are not even sure how (or if) they can safely see family. Stores need to find new ways to mark the occasion and give their customers the discounts they expect. Fortunately, for most companies, this primarily means giving their online offerings a chance.
However, in the midst of a huge global economic downturn, companies should be extremely careful with content related to sales and promotions. The products that you have for sale at a discount may need to be modified to meet and continue to meet the different needs of customers during the pandemic. Consequently, writing a copy highlighting your company’s reasons for doing so can help potential customers see your motivations on an equal footing and demonstrate an understanding of what consumers need on a broader basis.
Beyond Thanksgiving, the other focus of your content marketing campaign in the fourth quarter will likely be Christmas, but this festive season clearly calls for a different approach than previous years. In particular, as The Drum points out, “the way brands give back to communities and people will have a huge impact on shoppers this year.” This means that in addition to the keyword research you do to determine what you are writing about, the way you write your Christmas content also matters.
Economic impact aside, as a result of the pandemic, which is very likely to change consumer behavior, most feel far more reevaluated what is important to them at this time of year. The possibility of not seeing friends and family as usual.
Christmas means the content your company publishes must be written sensitively and take it seriously. However, Retail Week recently reported that nearly two-thirds of shoppers are more likely to “discover new products” this time of year than any other time. Hence, it is crucial to combine the emotional appeal with consumer appeal.
However, this is not just true for customer-centric businesses, no matter how easy it may be to forget that real people are responsible for a company’s decisions. In the wake of the pandemic, emotionally motivated B2B content was discussed in detail and strongly recommended. In a LinkedIn discussion held in early May it was found that “the B2B audience shares the same basic human priorities and is equally interested in their personal experiences being reflected in the content.”
The most effective form of emotionally-motivated content your brand could put together for the holidays is video, which has seen display times increase significantly since the pandemic began. This has been the case across all sectors, and Econsultancy reports that video ad spend has increased by 60% to 74% since the pandemic began.
Because of this, it has never been more important to create easy-to-digest video content to promote your products, explain your brand’s values, and make people enjoyable. However, once you’ve completed the final cut, your job isn’t done yet. If you want to watch your videos, it is imperative that you take steps to carefully optimize your video content.
Tutorials and explanations
From makeup tutorials and guides to creating your own face masks to step-by-step advice on developing new skills, video content was especially useful during the lockdown as people look for new ways to pass the time and feel like they are to have achieved something. DIY learning resources have become big business, and the most searched for terms that YouTube has publicly claimed to be “amazing” in consistency are mostly centered around picking up new hobbies or coping mechanisms.
This included baking (especially sourdough), yoga and guided meditations, and home improvement, all of which would be useful in less difficult times but are extra focus now. And brands that wouldn’t otherwise provide this type of content are on the rise. Nike and DoubleTree Hotels are redirecting their budgets and strategies to provide searchers with the kind of useful content they need. With no clear end in sight to the recent round of restrictions, videos of this type are likely to remain a great entry point for attracting new customers to your brand. So if you can find relevant topics, you will be doing well during the vacation.
Edward Coram James is the SEO expert and Chief Executive of Go Up Ltd, an international agency that helps clients navigate the complexities of global SEO and the technicalities of delivering location-specific pages to a target audience.