Hot or Not: Content Trends Pre- and Post-COVID-19

September 3rd, 2020 by Katelyn Mulkey

Key Insights

  • Business owners shouldn’t let the uncertainty of COVID-19 discourage them from marketing.
  • An empathetic brand tone is important.
  • As people stay at home, online user engagement has increased and brands are being more heavily scrutinized for mistakes than ever before. This creates an opportunity to reach users more effectively, but with a lower margin of error.

Person holding mobile device looking at Facebook news feed

Introduction

Navigating the harsh reality of changing phases, mandatory closures, and reduced capacity during COVID-19 has left many business owners feeling overwhelmed and uncertain about the future. With frequent changes affecting businesses everywhere, customer communication is more important than ever.

In this blog, I will unpack four evergreen content trends to determine if they’re ideal for communicating messages in a post-COVID-19 world. Some of this insight was derived from a SEMPDX presentation by Search Influence CEO Will Scott.

Conversational Content: HOT

Conversational content is—without a doubt—HOT. With the constant change of information since mid-March of this year, you should keep open communication with target audiences.

Conversational content is informal and encourages the user to initiate communication directly with a brand or company. Examples of this include a live chat on your website or hosting a webinar with live Q&A. Even before COVID-19, users looked for more human engagement; but months of isolation have created a greater yearning for connections of any kind. In regard to marketing, this need is evident in the increase in the number of B2B webinars during the early months of isolation. Comparing March to January 2020, the number of B2B Webinars increased by almost 50%.

In the Guide to Conversational Marketing, CEO Jitendra Gidwani explains: “The idea that you can build lasting customer relationships through quality conversation over time isn’t just anecdotal conjecture. Feeling as if they are genuinely heard is the single most likely thing to keep customers devoted to a brand.” Learn more about how to communicate with your customers by reviewing our guide to business continuity messaging during COVID-19.

Influencer Marketing: HOT

Influencer marketing is HOT. A post-COVID-19 world doesn’t seem like the ideal market for a social media influencer…or is it? Increased engagement combined with lower prices will result in maximum return in your marketing investment.

Influencer marketers have large social media followings and are able to effectively convey their experience to followers and promote different products or services by simply using them and posting about it. The brand or company featured typically pays a fee, which varies depending on the size of the Influencer’s following.

Engagement with Influencer content has surged because of increased screen time in 2020. Research from Later.com shows that the average screen time is up to 5h40m per day, an 18% increase from weeks prior to COVID-19 stay-at-home orders. Followers are paying attention in this new era of content creation, with nearly 80% of influencers reporting higher engagement from their followers.

In addition to increased user engagement, another perk of Influencer marketing in the current climate is reduced prices. According to Business Insider, sponsored deal drop-offs have devastated travel, dining, and event-based creators whose content depends on the ability to leave their homes. Some have responded by lowering their rates. In a survey sent to over 500 Influencers, it showed that over 40% are currently reducing their normal rates, and the reductions average at 30%.

Your business could collaborate with an Influencer by asking them to promote the re-opening of a business, and if applicable, demonstrate their individual social distancing and COVID-19 procedures!

User Generated Content: HOT

Content created by users is always HOT, not only because it’s free, but also because it’s honest. Why not let your users kick-start your content process?

User generated content (UGC) is indicative of its name; it’s content created by customers that features and/or promotes a brand/product. Keep in mind: it’s not all about ratings and reviews. If you’re on the lookout for brand mentions, even of adjacent topics, UGC can be a great source for your own content machine.

Oysters XO has the ultimate UGC success story. Oysters XO provides an innovative oyster-shucking experience that adds a lively, interactive touch to luxury events of all kinds. As events everywhere were cancelled, they adapted to the new restrictions and started to offer a virtual experience, teaching users how to shuck fresh oysters in the comfort of their own homes. One satisfied customer decided to create a video testimonial to tell his followers about his amazing experience. The customer was Neil Patrick Harris…yeah, you read that correctly. The video he created, on his cell phone, will now help elevate the Oysters XO brand in a way that a high production advertisement never could because it is raw (no pun intended) and sincere. Check out the video below.

High-Production Content: NOT

High-production content is NOT HOT. Pre-pandemic, it was valuable for certain industries; however, now there’s less budgeted for bells and whistles, and more demand for empathetic content.

High-production content includes any content created with a large production value, such as professionally produced videos or podcasts. As the world has adjusted to COVID-19 protocols, there has been a large increase in content created at home. Examples include television interviews on talk shows like “Live With Kelly and Ryan” being conducted virtually and musicians hosting concerts from their homes on Instagram and Facebook Live.

Businesses everywhere have been affected financially by the mandatory closings and other COVID-19 restrictions. According to Ad Exchanger, brands leaning into faster, cheaper production may not return to the old way of doing things post-pandemic.

For more information about adapting to the “new normal” of marketing, check out our “6 Messaging Adjustments to Remain Relevant During COVID-19.”

Want to keep your business hot? One of our strategists can help adapt your marketing plan to keep in line with best practices during this ever-changing time. Sign up for a free strategy session here.

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