How has content marketing changed over the past year?

It’s been more than a year of ups and downs, with almost every aspect of every sector undergoing significant changes.

Content marketing is no exception. The past year has seen the landscape of this area change in noticeable ways, and savvy business owners and marketers have been quick to update their strategies in order to meet the market.

Here’s how content marketing has evolved during these unprecedented times.

It has become more positive.

For more than a year now, consumers have been faced with upsetting, stressful and negative news every time they switch on their devices. Unsurprisingly, they are tired of the negativity and are seeking more positive messaging anywhere they can find it. They may also be more liable to simply skim over negative content to avoid it.

That’s why content marketing has pivoted to meet that demand for more positive content.

Messaging has shifted towards optimism; to how products can solve problems, and to inspiration and positivity for the future. Rather than focusing on pain points, content has shifted to what the world would be like without those pain points.

RELATED: eBook: How to create standout online content for your business.

In early April, Tourism Australia created a short ‘With Love from Aus’ video, with a beautiful script focusing on ‘stuff that makes you feel better’ – showing scenes that were positive during a dark time. This simple video ranked third in the world in Unruly’s Global Chart of Most Emotionally Engaging Coronavirus Campaigns, and received an uptick in brand favourability in Unruly’s emotional testing tool as a result.

It has met the demand for even more online shopping.

Even though online shopping was already popular in early 2020, the challenges of the past year have further increased the tendency for consumers to turn to their nearest device – rather than their nearest bricks and mortar store – for goods.

According to the 2020 IBM Retail Index report, the shift to online shopping was accelerated by approximately five years during 2020.

That’s why content marketing has similarly ramped up its focus on supporting e-commerce. This could be additional eBooks with educational information about products and services, or helpful blogs that point customers in the right direction to meet their needs.

RELATED: How SEO and content marketing work together.

It has become more human.

In a time when many of us could not socialise with loved ones or meet new people, and when that human connection was missing more than ever, content marketing has done what it can to create more of a human connection with audiences.

For example, when toilet paper began selling out in supermarkets around the world, leading-producer Cottonelle came up with #ShareASquare. This campaign suggested that rather than stockpiling supplies, people shared supplies and focused on kindness instead. By reminding them of their humanity, Cottonelle offered reassurance and warmth at an uncertain time, centering their messaging across their content around looking after one another.

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