Content creation is hard.
It doesn’t matter where you are in this journey, but I could attest that while there is a seemingly bottomless pit of topics to explore, there will come a time where you’ll hit a wall in your content creation. Already hard, content creation is made even more complicated by the pandemic. So, we’re pretty sure we’re not the only ones grappling during this time. There are conditions to think about, sensitive issues to consider and health protocols to abide by. Coming up with fresh, relevant and not “tone deaf” content can be more difficult for some industries than others. Especially for industries and businesses not directly involved with the fight against the pandemic.
Although this is the case, don’t fret! Remember, many people are hunkering down in their homes right now. They are bored out of their wits, looking to consume content that inspires and amuses. And if you’ll look at the latest ECommerce statistics, you’ll also see an increase in ECommerce traffic and interest ever since COVID-19 made itself known in the global stage. And as a brand, you’re bound by duty to deliver.
For this article, we’ll give you some tips about how best to come up with the inspiration to continue creating, especially when your content stalls. Additionally, count on this article to give you samples about what content to release during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Finding the Inspiration to Create Killer Content for Digital
Inspiration is a tricky concept. There are days when ideas flow easily, when words shoot from your fingertips into the waiting (virtual) paper. These are days we live for. But if you’ve been in the industry of creating content for digital, you’d know that these days are hard to come by.
So, how do you get out of that rut and improve content creation when you lack the inspiration to do so? According to the French Chamber Singapore, an omni-channel approach is even more important now. This includes creating content for three focal points: your website, social media channels, and email lists.
And so, here are five ways to do that.
Start with the intention behind your content
Intentional content is what drives engagement. So, always start by thinking about what you aim to achieve and what needs to be delivered to your audience. First, ask yourself these questions: for this content, what are you aiming for: are you looking to inspire? To inform? Or to sell? Since people are also bound to fall into one (or all) of the three main types of user intent online (navigational, informational and transactional), you can also tie these in when creating your content. For instance, you’re working for an ECommerce shop that sells health and beauty products and would want your audience to know about your vitamins. In your social media assets (Facebook or Instagram), you could then make a carousel ad with your latest vitamin products. Or write and share an article about the benefits of staying healthy with the vitamins you have at your repository.
Understand the forces at work during this time
It’s harder to create content on some days more than others. But aside from the inner turmoil that may be adding to this difficulty, there are also other forces at work that may be making it difficult for you to deliver (so it’s not just on you—hurray!). Aside from the constant changes in the social media landscape, things beyond our screens are also changing. Case in point: the COVID-19 pandemic. As a global crisis, Coronavirus has greatly shaped how people are responding to things. Since no one’s working from a script because of the pandemic, it’s harder for ideas to spark. Things that might’ve resonated with your consumers before may no longer do the trick right now. As Lauren Cover of Sprout Social discusses, when the audience disengages, think critically about how the current events are affecting them. And then provide what they need during this vulnerable time—valuable human connection. This means putting your customers’ needs ahead of yours and being present to address their concerns.
Browse content from other related websites
Competitive analysis has always been part of a strategic approach to content marketing (or other forms of marketing, really). The upside in doing this is that looking at how your competition is doing will give you a deeper perspective about your own industry. It can also help you gain knowledge about strengths and weaknesses relative to your own product and service. The downside, however, is that many end up stealing ideas. So, while inspiration milling is important, you must add your own spin into content, so you don’t risk directly imitating your competitors. GoDaddy offers 7 areas that you could check out from your competitors to help spark inspiration.
Take inspiration from topics you’ve already explored
Nobody really starts with nothing. We all start with something. Most often, these are very general, very vague topics that need to be curtailed to fit niches. Most brands, when not looking at others’ content, tend to just revisit and review the content they’ve already published. Then they expand it or exhaust its potential. In content marketing, this practice is called repurposing content. Typically, repurposing content involves transforming a piece of content into a new format (ex. article into an infographic, video to an article, etc.). Lastly, a directory of your content can also help you see general themes. When organised, these general themes can help you spot what topics are not explored as much as the others, so you could give it the attention it deserves. Out of ideas? Read our repurposing content tips for greater SEO impact and breathe new life into your old content!
Read customer comments & reviews
Social listening picks apart trends and the overall industry chatter. But one of its more profitable potentials lies in its ability to read and oversee the sentiments of your audience. Their comments, basically. This is particularly helpful when you’re struggling to make a connection with your audience. Their comments and the conversation they steer into your brand or products will help you determine the gaps that you can address with your content. So, go ahead and read your audience’s comment. Your next big content topic may just be hidden in the comment section!
Types of Content You Could Explore
Some countries still have certain places on lockdown. And while most rules have eased, we still aren’t back to normal. Safety-first regulations are still in place and going out for non-essential errands is still not advised. So, everyone’s still at home, consuming more content than ever. Simply, the demand for content that is amusing and helpful is massive. And we’ve already said you must deliver. But deliver what, exactly?
Before we give you a few recommendations, remember that you have to strike a balance with your content; that means you can’t be insensitive (don’t do content that is oblivious to the reality)—but also make sure to not appear as a scaremonger (that is, don’t bank on people’s fears just to sell an idea or product).
LOGISTICAL CHANGES. One of the first things affected by the pandemic is the delivery and shipment of products. If your industry is affected by this, be sure to release content that reflects this change. People are noticing what you’re posting, so you must inform them of changes in your logistics so they could continue following your brand.
AT HOME AND SELF-ISOLATION CHALLENGES. Since no one is working from a script during this time, the more creative parts of our brains must be engaged. This is so we could come up with new and innovative content. Tap directly into the creative part of your brain and stitch this with the real-life moments unfolding before your very eyes. It’s mostly our creativity that gives birth to innovation—the same innovative solutions we need to keep our consumers engaged and inspired. A sample of content that does this greatly is the “self-isolation” or “at home” challenges. Depending on your industry, this content type can lead to more engagement from your audience. Just look at the Getty Museum’s Recreate Art Challenge that has stirred up quite a buzz!
"HOW-TO" VIDEOS. Another way of showing you care through content is by publishing informative how-to videos. Since most shops categorised as “non-essentials” are still closed, many brands are using this opportunity to release content that will help solve common problems for their customers. Think scheduled Zoom yoga sessions or the videos from British Gas which aims to help users carry out repairs themselves with a series of instructional videos.
CONTENT THAT SHOWS HOW YOUR COMPANY AND EMPLOYEES ARE HANDLING THE PANDEMIC. Still banking on creativity, content that highlights how your brand or company is handling the work from home set-up can help boost others’ morale and show a more humanistic side of you. In this, you could highlight your weekly Zoom meetings, ‘culture meetings’ (like Friday sit-downs with workmates where you talk about things outside of work), or “day in the life content” helmed by your employees themselves!
YOUR COMPANY’S RESPONSE TO THE COVID-19 SITUATION. While not every brand is directly managing the COVID-19 situation, it’ll help to show your audience just how you are helping manage the pandemic in your own ways. Here you could highlight your charitable initiatives (if any) or causes you want people to focus on.
It takes ingenuity and a nod to creativity to breathe life into your content when it stalls.
ET Brand Equity wrote that ever since the beginning of this pandemic, brands that are trying to stay afloat have a recurring question: should we still be spending on marketing or creating content? If yes, then what should we communicate if we can’t sell now?” Their answer? A resounding YES. Because of the tedious isolation, more and more people are looking to connect—especially with brands online.
For more information about the latest updates on Coronavirus, visit World Health Organization’s (WHO) website.