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Content marketing in 2022+: post-pandemic and uncertainty

You’re not alone as a content marketer looking for your bearings. Economic downturn, uncertainty, changing audience behaviors, there’s a lot to consider and potentially adjust.

The years 2020-2022 will be recognized as having been years of upheaval, but I see them mostly as having been years of acceleration.

An acceleration of changes that were already present in the market.

However, now that we have passed this great period, how should we adapt our ways of doing content?

It was while reading a Speakers’ Spotlight article on what marketing will look like from here on out that I considered the implications for content of what Ron Tite, Swish Goswami, Scott Stratten and Nicole Verkindt raised as factors to consider in their respective practices.

The introduction to the article sets the table perfectly on what is discussed:

“We’re living in a marketing paradox right now — people may have money to spend, but it’s not burning a hole in their pockets. People are playing it safe, and today’s marketing leaders need to adapt their strategies to connect to this new wave of consumers; people who have changed just as dramatically as the world around them.”

Authenticity

Ron Tite, the great thinker behind the expression (and book) “Think-Do-Say” reiterates the importance for brands to be authentic, to “ditch the auto-tune that marketers often apply to communications”, and to dialogue and address their audiences in a human and real way. The population is looking for, and thirsty for, those brands that speak “for real.”

On the content side, this has a direct impact on your own brand’s content expectations and needs. Consumers want to know who this brand is that they are considering, they want to discover it and learn about it. The need for content that showcases your actions, your attitude, your beliefs and values, this content is more relevant than ever.

Consumers can afford to spend, but they do so in a prudent way and in content, that means they are open to reading, listening and viewing content that highlights who your brand really is.

Your website, your YouTube channels, your platforms should allow your audience to find this content, to allow them to know you better and thus create a stronger bond between the brand and them.

For those brands that are newer to the market, that have just been born or that are coveting a new territory, this content is even more important because by default, these new consumers will not trust you and it is your responsibility to reassure them, to show them that you are serious, to make yourself known and to differentiate yourself from the others in your market. And this is done through content, not direct response advertising.

Ownership of your data

There is a lot of talk about the importance of owning your data. Swish Goswani emphasizes just this by urging marketing leaders to invest in technology solutions that will ensure you’re not dependent on the big players (Meta, Google, etc.) to leverage your data.

In content, this means implementing tactics that allow you to collect first-party data. This may seem complex, but the solutions available on the market are more and more adapted and efficient.

However, nothing prevents you from inviting your visitors and content users to leave you their email address, a mobile number (for communication by text message) or even a postal address! These three data points are data that will belong to you and tactics that won’t put too big a dent in your annual content marketing budget.

Your teams are your allies

The labor shortage has been in the news for months and months, and we’re in for at least another decade of dealing with a decline and major shifts in the employment sector.

And it is in reading what Scott Stratten mentions about the importance of engaging teams, at all levels in the company, in this search for the truth about the consumer, how they have changed, their new reality, that I was realizing how they this is also for content. It is no longer realistic to limit brainstorms to marketing teams and invite creative and agency planners to find new avenues for growth. It is with your teams that you can find those opportunities.

And it’s by valuing their input that you’ll find new answers, that you’ll discover blind spots that you hadn’t considered. And in the process you’ll create that stronger connection between the brand, its actions and its employees.

And in a labor environment like the one we are in, there’s nothing like initiatives that can foster employee loyalty and retention.

What can you do in content to address this reality? By involving the front-line people, but also the different areas of the organization, you will have a unique access to the reality of the brand vis-à-vis its customers. You will be able to discover the needs and expectations of your consumers, uncover new content opportunities and position your brand as one that brings real value to those who come in contact with it.

Organic partnerships

I mentioned it at the beginning of the article, but you are not alone. All marketing leaders are wondering about the changes and reality of tomorrow.

So why not build organic and strategic partnerships into your communications?

Join forces with a brand from another sector that has a similar consumer profile, and build marketing programs that use the levers of both brands to create value for your audiences? Producing content and sharing a budget that serves both brands?

Co-branding, community building, multi-handed marketing, is for many an unexplored avenue that can yield great results.

Let me know if you’d like to learn more about a cobranding approach to content that allows you to discover brands that are naturally similar to yours in terms of audience and consumers. There are great opportunities in this type of cobranding partnership.

In conclusion

Authenticity, owning your data, using your team and the notion of partnerships.

4 key avenues that can guide your next content initiatives, based on the wisdom and experience of 4 great Canadian marketers.

We may live in uncertain times, but the possibilities and opportunities are there.