COVID-19 has impacted every corner of business. Now that we’ve made it past the beginning, where does that leave tech content marketing?
It’s common knowledge that the pandemic has delivered a shockwave to the global economy across industries. It has touched every conceivable corner of business, leaving most tech marketing teams questioning how to treat their content strategy today. In the beginning of the COVID-19 outbreak, there was an overnight pivot. Landing pages had to go up, new product offers had to be developed, and coronavirus-related blog posts and resources had to be published so that IT and security customers had somewhere to turn in their search for answers to a new set of technology problems.
But now, we’re over a month into the pandemic and the social distancing that accompanies it. While the business environment has changed, it’s important to recognize that life has gone on in the background of the coronavirus chaos. Now that we’ve all established something of a repeatable operating state (though subject to change), it’s time to start thinking about how tech marketers should continue to evolve their tech content marketing strategies.
Consider the following data points collected by Hubspot:
- Data supports business slowdown predictions. In the beginning of the crisis, sales outreach increased, but response rates and deal volume decreased significantly.
- Sales email engagement has seen a rebound, but it’s important to note that the fluctuation demonstrates the uncertainty throughout the marketplace.
- Customers are researching brands even more heavily online and initiating more online interactions than they were a year ago. Increased interest in researching online brands might be leading to an increase in customer-initiated conversations with sales reps.
Furthermore, while the economic impacts of COVID-19 are very real, it’s worth noting many of the subindustries of information technology are well-positioned to survive and potentially thrive throughout the course of the pandemic, including cloud services, cybersecurity companies and data center component manufacturers, to name a few.
Three critical initiatives for tech content marketing as the IT & security industries adjust
1 .Prioritize content marketing. It’s one of your only ways to connect with customers now.
“In a business environment where trends and requirements are constantly evolving, it’s important to be a thought leader. The best way to do that is still through content.”
-Kendra Luciano, marketing specialist, Extreme Networks
It makes perfect sense that most IT and security companies took the time during the onset of the crisis to regroup and create content that was responsive to the new landscape and challenges that accompanied it. But now we’re in a different phase of reacting to the pandemic. We’re still facing uncertainty, but the lens is beginning to focus.
This is not the time to slow down on content marketing. On the contrary, it’s one of your only ways to connect with customers now. Webinars and virtual events are good ideas for providing helpful resources to your customers and staying plugged in – but you need content to promote and support those initiatives. The majority of IT and security companies are facing the task of redeploying physical event spend. Don’t let digital marketing fall off the radar. Content must be a priority because it drives demand for the rest of the business.
We’re not saying COVID-19 is less important by any means. But people have been through a lot in recent weeks, and most would be glad for the opportunity to consume content that delivers value but focuses on something else. People are looking for inspiration.
2. Don’t forget the technology challenges people were facing before coronavirus.
“At this point, many of us have moved beyond the initial crisis response to COVID-19, with many organizations having adjusted to the new normal from a technology standpoint. I think it’s important to remember as we continue to adjust to this new normal that there are projects that were planned before this crisis that are still important today.”
-Jose Arvelo, business strategy advisor, Van Dalen
COVID-19 has undoubtedly shifted most organizations’ focus to different areas, but it hasn’t reduced the need for other technology projects to move forward. Tech companies were right to adjust their messaging in order to be sensitive and avoid making tone-deaf statements. However, at this point it’s okay to initiate productive conversations about other topics. Even with the greater part of many organizations working from home, businesses are still facing most of the technology challenges they were before, if not to a greater degree – so don’t lose sight of the long term. If you’re at a loss for content ideas and what you were doing before the crisis was working, it’s a good time to return to those projects.
3. Take the time to give your web and product-related content a refresh and facelift.
“Many of the business leaders we surveyed noted that they’re investing in or pivoting content to provide better value to customers at this time.”
People are relying on their online research now more than ever, so make sure they can find what they’re looking for. There’s no better time to update your content marketing strategy and set aside some time to give your web and product-related content a refresh and facelift. Is the information current? Has it been optimized for SEO? The increased interest in researching online brands makes it even more important for your content to be high quality, easy to find and a resource for answering your customers’ questions.
The main point is this: we’re not in panic mode anymore. COVID-19 of course remains a crisis, so we’re not under emphasizing the serious nature of the situation. You should of course participate in pandemic-related conversation when necessary and continue to publish supporting content as you see fit. However, now that the situation has evolved, it’s time to begin creating content on other relevant subject matters. Don’t forget about the additional business challenges your customers are facing.