Creating content during a crisis can feel like hammering a nail into a rock day after day.
People walk by and think you’ve gone mad. You wake up each morning wondering if you’re actually doing the right thing. There’s a little bit of dust, and a few tiny chips of rock have flown off, but for the most part, the rock looks no different. One day though, you’re finally rewarded: With one final blow, the rock splits into two pieces. But you realize that it wasn’t that single final blow that got you here—it was the 620 blows to the rock that came before.
Hammering a nail into a rock can feel unfulfilling.
Creating content during a crisis can feel the same way—or even worse. Insensitive. Foolish. Wasteful.
At the end of 2019, a worldwide crisis began to emerge, and grew rapidly. The exponential growth of COVID-19 created a global pandemic, causing social, mental, physical and economic upheaval that will influence the world for decades to come.
In the midst of the chaos, we’ve seen both the beauty and the fragility of humanity and society as a whole. For many makers and entrepreneurs, the crisis has been a complete disaster, wiping out revenue, tanking investments and causing verbal agreements to be canned in the final hour.
Much of this fallout can be attributed to people staying at home for the foreseeable future as a way to flatten the curve. Entire countries are enforcing lockdowns. Governments have shut down schools, restaurants, barber shops and museums. Massive events have been forced to cancel. And international air travel is on hold…
More people at home. More remote work. More education at home. More screen time.
The disruption is real…
But to keep food on the table and to meet stakeholder expectations, many companies and entrepreneurs must continue to move forward even during a global crisis. Businesses trying to operate in this landscape have tons of questions:
What do we do next? How do we pivot? How do we continue to tell our story? Where do we cut expenses? How do we keep employees engaged? What should we do with our marketing budget and resources moving forward?
My advice: Create.
What Happened During The Last Crisis?
If you look at the Google search volume for some of the most popular topics of the last decade (for example, “social media marketing” or “software as a service”), you see no real dip between 2008 and 2009. In fact, the search volume skyrocketed during the recession…
The same thing happened with search terms like “Salesforce,” “Facebook” and “YouTube.” The number of people looking for these companies—or content about them—grew during and after the recession:
Meanwhile, topics that weren’t exactly new or niche in the early 2000s (“fitness,” for example) showed relatively no change in search volume in 2008, 2009 or 2010…
What does this mean?
It means that even during the recession, people were online, looking for content and information. Since the 2008 recession, technology has gotten better and more people are online than ever before. Combine that with the fact that today’s crisis is forcing everyone to be home and it’s somewhat of a perfect storm for creators.
Change Your Perspective Before Changing The Budget
Time is the friend of wonderful content, the enemy of the mediocre.
Before you pump the breaks on your content creation efforts, take a step back and remember to think long term. Investing in content right now gives you a presence when activity is high and competitors are scaling back. Content created today is better than content created tomorrow not only for reaching your audience earlier but also for giving you more time to generate links, drive shares on social media, generate leads and rise in the search rankings.
“In a crisis, it’s more important than ever to be visible online. People are looking for information and answers, and if you can provide helpful content, you’re more likely to earn their trust – and their business. SEO is a long-term game, so it’s important to keep creating content even when times are tough. That way, when things start to improve, your content will already be ranking in Google.
There are two types of content that are especially important during a crisis: evergreen content (which will remain relevant in the long run) and content that helps people during the crisis (which will help people now). If you can focus on creating both types of content, you’ll be well-positioned to weather the storm and come out ahead when things start to improve.” – Max Benz, content expert at kochboxguru.de
If you’re not creating content, the competition might be, and it’s very possible that they will successfully capture mind share, market share, traffic, brand authority, trust and awareness. While people will no doubt be spending less money on some products, many other products and services will thrive, and entire new markets will open up during this crisis. We’ve already seen this happening with video conferencing tools like Zoom, home gym equipment, and good ol’ fashioned Baker’s Yeast.
Maybe that’s not you. Maybe your business is on pause because of the crisis.
Let me tell you this: Creating valuable content still presents an opportunity for you.
You can use content to serve your customers in new ways and build stronger relationships that will drive ROI once the dust settles.
If you’re a barber unable to go into the barbershop, you can create video tutorials on how to cut your hair at home. If you’re a fitness instructor, you can create workout videos to help people stay fit during the quarantine. If you’re a photographer, you can create how-to guides for taking stunning shots indoors.
All of these assets will meet and serve people where they are—at home, online. And you never know—some of these new strategies to serve your clients could unlock new revenue streams. You could very well go from serving the local market to serving people around the globe and never look back.
The best part? This is a strategy that scales well.
Create content today & increase your likelihood of thriving tomorrow.