Updated: Jan 31
The new coronavirus is affecting shifts in media consumption habits, consumer mobility, and supply chains, such as concerns about and shortages of goods manufactured in China. Marketers must plan their moves more carefully than ever in this dynamic situation.
Above all, they should direct investments into content driving online sales. Short-term sales are no longer a priority. A button like “Buy now!” or phrases like “Don’t miss out on this opportunity!” won’t have the effect they did pre-pandemic. In fact, they may have the exact opposite.
Best Types of Content
To decide what the best content for your brand is, ask yourself if COVID-19 is or has impacted your audience. If so, in what way? Can you help them? Will their priorities change post-pandemic?
Also ask yourself if COVID has impacted your offerings in any way. If it has, you need to communicate that to both existing and potential customers.
The good news is that most of your content will remain relevant. You just need to tweak and make an effort to promote it. Post-pandemic, people will still need information and products and companies will still have to provide them. Writers will still need to cover topics other than COVID.
Best Post-Pandemic Content Strategies
Link building content will still be a very beneficial and relevant strategy in terms of increasing brand awareness and referral traffic. If you’re writing an email pitch, it’s a good idea to include the most important takeaways of your piece in the email body. It’s also a good idea to write about COVID-related topics if your brand doesn’t represent an industry that’s 100% relevant to the pandemic.
See if there are any COVID-related subjects you could create content around. This will work even if they are remotely related. These might include homeschooling, working from home, politics, time management, health care, or psychological constructs like introversion and extroversion.
Increasing User Engagement
It’s safe to say consumers will be more discerning when it comes to brand authenticity. However, this doesn’t mean you should stop promoting your brand! “Consumers are going to need support from the brands they love, and people will be turning to their most trusted brands to lead the way and deliver content that shows true consideration for the consumer,” says Taylor Gathecole, founder of Kindwood. Social content in particular will revolve around the new coronavirus as local, national, and international news updates increase exponentially.
Show empathy. Almost everyone experiences anxiety over something today, be it directly or indirectly related to the coronavirus. You risk alienating your audience by ignoring their concerns. To weave empathy into content, use words to reinforce a sense of safety, such as “virtual,” “online”, “remote,” “contact-free,” “downloadable,” “in-home,” and “delivery.”
Some big brands have gone silent in this dynamic and delicate situation. It’s crass to be selling at a time like this, but dropping off the map is just as unfeasible.
Brands Setting an Example
Slack pinned a COVID-19-related post to the top of their feed, offering tips in line with the brand’s image. Sephora are retweeting optimistic COVID-related tweets, expressing their message clearly: we acknowledge what’s going on, but we are not going to stop working. We will survive this.
Online Experiences are a Must
This is not true only for retail, but if you’re in that industry, it’s critical to take this tendency into account. Before the pandemic, ecommerce had reached 15% of total retail. By 2025, it was estimated to reach 30%.
Post-pandemic, only the year of this estimate has changed. This is projected to happen much sooner as ecommerce has become the only shopping option for many.
If your brand optimizes customer engagement, it will be a win-win situation. The key is making it as easy as possible for people to find, assess, buy, and return products.
Who Will See the Highest Engagement Rates?
The answer: brands that focus on social commerce, dynamic websites, and other real time commerce experiences. Brands that use a combination of tools that help experience products and artificial intelligence will see a rise in purchases. Examples are IKEA’s Place app, with which you can see how a piece of furniture will look in your home, and Zappos video reviews of products.
As scheduling moves online, businesses that ask people to make appointments and expect them to wait must transform those experiences. Value is in expertise, not in-person conversations. Contact can be via Zoom, FaceTime, and other apps in most sectors.
The Inevitable Rise of Cause Marketing
Recent data show that given a similar quality and price, 91% of consumers are willing to switch to a brand that supports a good cause. 67% have bought a product with an environmental or social benefit in the past year and 92% would do so given the opportunity. Cause marketing, which is where a for-profit organization takes up a not-for-profit initiative, serves genuine business goals. It is also a way to make the world a better place. Your brand can promote itself by supporting a cause. Tailor your content accordingly.
How Will Experiential Marketing Change?
Marketing has always been about experiences. Post-pandemic, this tendency is stronger than ever. Winning businesses are the ones evaluating each customer interaction to see how they can improve those experiences. The importance of brand experience is one of the biggest developments derived from these circumstances.
According to a Salesforce report, the service or product a brand sells is just as important as the experience created by the brand to 84% of consumers. And this data is from late 2019, pre-pandemic – the number has certainly increased!
Brands are going out of their way en masse to improve user experience. This is due to the shift to new methods of communication, but only in part. Post-pandemic, we need someone we can trust more than ever. By improving experiences, brands will be able to sustain their audience’s trust and loyalty. Consumers are developing a newfound appreciation of time. Time is valuable; it is of essence. Brands who place value on efficiency and give users their time’s worth will meet with unwavering support.