Nothing about 2020 has been normal — and this strange new world has an impact on your marketing strategies. At Found Conference, held earlier this year and for the first time virtually, Tyler Cameron from Seer Interactive spoke content creation that fits with the current climate. How do you create or maintain content that provides the support users need now, while still creating content for future use? In order to set yourself up for success, Tyler says it’s important to recognize your audience’s new needs during These Unprecedented Times.
How do you create or maintain content that provides the support users need now, while still creating content for future use? Your organization needs to prioritize content resources based on your customers’ current needs, while keeping an eye on long-term growth. Some starting points:
- Identify current business priorities and audience needs. Where’s the overlap between your goals and the needs of your audience?
- Prioritize timely evergreen content that is helpful to your audience in the short- and long-term. Look for content that is relevant now, but will also drive lasting impact later.
- Monitor and analyze trends to determine if the content calendar should be adjusted. The one thing that has been constant in 2020 is change, so it’s important to stay agile and redirect your efforts as needed.
So, what are your readers looking for?
Tyler says that his agency scraped subreddits relevant to seven major industries – e-commerce, higher ed, healthcare and others — to gain an understanding of what people were talking about in those industries. They found five common themes of what people were searching for and chatting about in those subs. Let’s dig into those themes – and what Tyler says may be key to marketing through a pandemic.
Many users are looking to their peers for guidance about how to handle specific situations, such as “should I cancel my vacation?” or “which grocery stores have re-opened?” So, what topics can you help provide guidance on?
Consider content that outlines the options available to people in specific situations (of course, check with your legal team before providing any legal or financial guidance. Remember that people are likely googling these questions as a response to anxiety about the future. This isn’t the time to hard-sell products or services. Instead, offer unbiased, expert opinions that answer user questions directly.
We’re all overwhelmed by the sheer amount of information being pushed out daily, and even hourly. They’re turning to communities they trust to ask things like, “is my money safe in the bank right now?” and those communities may include both public spaces (like Reddit) and branded spaces (like your site’s chatbot).
Try writing content for questions specifically related to your industry. However, because the only certainty this year seems to be change, be sure to update this type of content regularly — and provide the dates of changes to your articles.
Lots of users are concerned for their own health, safety, and economic well-being. They’re looking for ways to actively mitigate damage. Just like in the advice piece, people are asking for guidance. They’re thinking about how to maintain their safety from a health or financial perspective.
Consider writing content that provides tips on how to prepare for events, strategies to ride out current market conditions, and ways to keep their businesses going. This may prove to be evergreen content: crises can happen on a smaller scale, and “how to make it through tough times” is advice that’s usable in and out of the context of the pandemic.
Because Reddit is so community-based, Tyler and his peers found lots of users turning to the online community to ask for stories. Often, people are asking questions on how others are handling the impacts of COVID: “I’m considering suspending rent for my tenants; is anyone doing the same?” “I’ve seen a downturn in my freelance business, is anyone dealing with the same situation?
As the pandemic has isolated many people from meeting fact-to-face, it’s more important than ever to provide spaces for people to connect. While it can be hard for businesses to provide personal stories, you may choose to highlight clients or consumers who are managing relatable challenges during this time.
In this time of uncertainty, we all want to know the future. Though nothing is certain, the desire for expert opinions is understandable. Leverage industry experts, either within your community or externally, to provide their opinions on what could happen within months or years. As your users attempt to plan for their futures, you can provide some expert insights that could help reduce anxiety.
How can you use data to inform content strategy?
- Read through forums like Reddit or Quora to find real-life questions and opinions on your client. Look for what people are talking about, and apply your findings not only to your onsite content, but to your social media and email campaigns as well
- Use surveys and polls to gather feedback. Use data from your current customers to help determine what your users are seeking. Tyler recommends HotJar, a tool that pairs surveys and heat mapping.
- Identify common themes in your own data: such as PPC data, reviews, call logs, and chat logs. Use n-gram modeling to easily synthesize this data. This modeling is basically a type of data mining that captures repeating strings of letters and phrases. If you’re not familiar with n-grams, try a free online tool like this online n-gram modeler. It allows you to paste any amount of text into the tool and analyze it for common strings of words.
- Analyze Google Search Console and site search data to find out what your audience is asking. Look for topics that link indirectly to the current climate. For example, Tyler realized that one of his banking clients was seeing a lot of on-site searches related to drive-through banking. So, he used that information to create a drive-through FAQ.
Use all this data at your fingertips to figure out what categories and themes you see most often. Use all of this free information — Reddit, site search data, chat and call logs, Google Search Console data, and more — to identify common must-talk-about topics. The best part? All of this data is already at your fingertips.