Shifts in Content Marketing Following COVID-19

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on most industries. Many have had to reassess how they approach day-to-day operations and respond to the change in priorities of their core customer base. In a business landscape that has also shifted to primarily remote and digital operations, content marketing has become one of the most relevant and versatile tools available.

Content marketing has certainly been a successful approach for some time now. It capitalizes on consumers’ appetite for good quality online content and uses it to service all four points of the buying cycle: awareness, research, consideration, and purchase. When done correctly, taking into account elements such as keyword research, quality content creation, and effective promotion methods, it can make a big impact on a campaign. 

But content marketing also relies on an awareness of how popular consciousness can change, and how consumers’ needs develop. So how is this method likely to shift in the wake of COVID-19? What aspects should marketers and businesses be focusing on?

Shifting Focus to Values

In the wake of this pandemic, one of the areas in which we’re likely to see a shift is — for want of a better phrase — the content of the content. The world has changed significantly, along with many people’s personal and professional priorities. One study has shown that buying habits have shifted to more healthcare and hygiene-related items, with 64% of those polled stating that they are fearful for their own health, and 84% asserting that they are fearful for the health of others.  

This means that marketers are starting to lean into health and lifestyle-related content that reflects the increased interest and demand for cleanliness and hygiene standards. Some of this is directly related to COVID-19, including blog posts that highlight products and services as a source of added protection. This can prove to be an excellent opportunity to showcase company values and reinforce the customer relationship but must be approached with some care. The recent Disney World “Welcome Home” video was intended to promote the company’s care for visitor health as the resort reopened to a new normal, but its dubious sincerity, creepy vibe, and finale of a beckoning Stormtrooper inspired only ridicule and parody videos.

It’s also wise to consider that, during COVID-19, the public has had additional valuable time to apply renewed focus to vital human rights and social issues, such as the Black Lives Matter movement, and trans rights. This doesn’t mean that content marketers should move to capitalize on this, but it has emphasized that consumers are paying attention to how businesses are responding, looking into their records for diversity and ethics in great detail, and holding them to account. Marketers should utilize even the basics of content marketing, such as social media, web copy, and video streaming to show businesses are committed to being part of this dialogue, becoming more transparent and accountable and supporting the voices that should be heard.

Shifting to a Budget Conscious Model

Few industries haven’t been hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic. As the U.S. is still not being close to out of the woods yet it’s difficult to assess the full economic impact, but a Pew Research study showed that between February and May the unemployment rate grew from 3.8% to 13%. This means that many industries have had to make drastic cuts to their budgets. As a result, post-COVID marketing strategies may continue to shift toward financially cautious methods.  

Marketers are therefore less likely to utilize the more expensive, traditional content options such as TV and print, and lean into the already rising popularity of digital content marketing techniques. As one of the most cost-effective marketing investment options, search engine optimization (SEO) is currently a key focus area. The benefit of being able to track and assess popular search terminology in turbulent and changing online environments, and build relevant content that organically draws attention is particularly valuable when resources are stretched. Such insights also help to inform businesses of what is important to consumers and adapt accordingly.     

When budgets are tight, post-COVID marketing costs are best applied toward ensuring the longevity of the business. This means partnering with agencies and influencers to produce content across a variety of digital platforms, steadily building relationships that go beyond the panic-induced crisis handling methods of performance marketing that might bring in cash in the short term, but do little in the way of keeping the brand consistently visible. 

Shifting to Create Meaningful Connections

There are certainly forms of marketing that are designed to help businesses to simply make sales. However even before COVID-19, Millennials — who are the largest proportion of consumers today — were placing a higher premium on businesses that make efforts to forge personal relationships with them. Following a period where isolation through social distancing has been common, content marketers have needed to make further efforts to make genuinely meaningful connections with their target demographics.   

This can be achieved through techniques that include:


A newsletter subscription service is an inexpensive content marketing tool. It also has the potential to be one of the more personalizable methods available to the majority of businesses. After COVID-19, encouraging consumers to subscribe to your email marketing service can in effect open up a dialogue between a business and its consumers. This isn’t just an advertising opportunity, businesses are using the newsletter to show a more relatable side to their operations, and invite subscribers to engage with them. 

User-Generated Content

Providing chances for customers to tell their own story can make an impact on the relationship to the target demographic. Businesses are starting to invite their customers to contribute via their social media, website, and blog channels, which demonstrates that a company is keen to use their platform to boost the voices of those who are under-represented. This can also lend a sense of credibility, with a recent study reporting that consumers are more likely to trust content by fellow customers, rather than the brand itself. 

Seeking Feedback

Social media channels are an effective way to use content to engage with consumers directly. Following a pandemic, the public has a wide variety of concerns, questions, and emotions regarding how the world has changed and safety. Businesses can make an impact by reaching out via social channel content to ask consumers about their feelings, fears, and thoughts. Content can then be produced to demonstrate that the business has actively listened to their concerns, and talk openly about changes and suggestions. The content shouldn’t assume a consumer position, it should engage with them to explore it.


We are not yet free and clear of the effect of COVID-19; however, businesses already have to find new ways to deal with the impact the pandemic is having on the economy. Content marketing is a versatile, effective tool but our current crisis has meant that there have been shifts in how it’s used. A lean toward more values-based content, the necessity for cost-effective strategies, and a need to make more meaningful connections with consumers both reflects and capitalizes on the changing priorities of both consumers and businesses alike.