How COVID has changed content – for the better!

We’ve put concepts like authenticity and being genuine on a pedestal for brands for the last few years. We want them to be real with us – to be transparent in who they really are when no one’s looking. With that in mind, there’s been an interesting shift over the last few months. If we wanted “real” back in January, we’re getting a healthy dose of it now, and it’s transforming how we view and produce content for our businesses and organizations. Here’s what we mean…

Let’s start here. COVID, social distancing, and our new work home norms have radically forced us to rethink how we communicate with one another. We’ve evolved quickly, taking conversations with our teams and clients from our offices and conference rooms to where we live. Kitchens, living rooms, and home offices have become the habitat of many working professionals. ZOOM, Skype, Webex, GoToMeeting, Teams, and Hangouts… these platforms have become our conference rooms and water coolers. We’ve quickly adapted and become comfortable (out of necessity) with these digital tools.

In the backgrounds of our new digital conversations and connections, there’s been something delightful going on. Occasionally, a dog will climb into view and join our discussions, or a cat will slowly meander through the kitchen behind us. Even more amusing are the kids who show up in the background… little ones tugging and asking questions, and teens trying to entertain themselves while enduring the pandemic’s boredom. We see your messes, your imperfections, and the mayhem that we’ve been able to keep at bay during a typical day at work. We see your real lives – all your imperfection in its glory – and it’s making us all feel a little more normal. Thank you for that.

This transition has created something that has us really excited from a marketing perspective. As people have gotten comfortable showing up on these digital platforms, their fear of being on camera is melting away. Our previous expectations for polish and perfection are diminishing. We’ve let go and are no longer allowing our need for flawless execution keep us from creating content. That’s not to say brands are creating less valuable content… No. Instead, the content being created is powerful and real and authentic – all of those things we said we were craving back in January.

This shift is leveling a previously out-of-balance playing field. In the past, brands would only create video content if they could afford a full video content budget. Video was expensive. Multiple cameras, a studio, sound, editors… and as we shared above, the measuring stick was based on perfection and polish. It’s what held so many brands back and kept them from creating their own content. Until now…

Today, as we’re embracing these new norms, there’s no reason any brand can’t record content. The barriers are gone – you simply need to show up. Whether you’re using a laptop with a camera and a microphone or just grabbing video from an iPhone, any brand can record high-quality and shareable content. And today, we’re more comfortable than ever with using the technology AND seeing ourselves digitally. Where there used to be fences, there are now wide-open spaces. We just need to wander outside the lines a bit.

Here’s a tip from us as your guide. The key to creating good content remains the same as it’s always been – add value for your customers. It’s that simple. Great marketing has never been about selling. It’s been about creating relationships, building trust, solving problems, and sharing knowledge. Focus on those things first, and everything else falls into place.

One of our clients, Water’s Edge Counseling & Healing Center, has taken on this challenge in a powerful way. Providing counseling and therapy services here in the Twin Cities, their staff has recorded videos on topics including mask-wearing resilience, channeling our emotional energy, thought management, and some of the struggles that men and women face every day. You can view them here. The content they’ve created is authentic and genuine, as they share some of their own challenges, and explore the ways they’re coping through the pandemic. Value is being added in every one of these videos, and they are presenting themselves as guides, experts, and real people who can help navigate today’s challenges. When shared on their social channels, this content out-performs everything else. It’s engaging and meets people where they’re at. It’s real.

If you haven’t already, consider adding video to your marketing portfolio. Find those spaces where you can add values, share knowledge, and inspire your customers and clients in new ways. If you have questions about how to get started, or what kinds of things you could be sharing, reach out, and we’ll help you brainstorm. Looking forward to seeing you online!

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