In March 2020, that was the question on people’s mind. The year over year keyword search trend increased 11 times. The year over year topic search tread increased 402 percent.
Why? People change during a crisis. Why does that matter? Content strategy needs to adapt to changing times.
BLUF (Bottom Line Up Front): The overall goal (definition) of content strategy is the same. The Xs and Os (strategy itself and tactics) are constantly changing.
In her groundbreaking article, Content Strategy: the Philosophy of Data, Rachel Lovinger said, “The main goal of content strategy is to use words and data to create unambiguous content that supports meaningful, interactive experiences. We have to be experts in all aspects of communication in order to do this effectively.” Lovinger, Rachel. Content Strategy: the Philosophy of Data. Boxes and Arrows. March 27, 2007.
Kristina Halvorson writes in 2008, “As website functionality has increased and web users have become savvier, sites have had to meet the demand for sophisticated interaction and more content to support it. But simply more content won’t do; it has to be accurate and relevant. It has to be meaningful” Halvorson, Kristina. The Discipline of Content Strategy. A List Apart. December 16, 2008.
14 years later, both are still true.
Back to bread and what it means for content strategy.
In uncertain times, behavior changes. Last March was no exception. And while people were lining up at groceries stores, they were also online searching for recipes and scheduling times for food delivery. With everyone at home, internet usage exploded and traffic to online stores selling essential items and food surged.
Edwin Toonen, a strategic content specialist, says, “While people are stuck at home, they spend a lot of time online. And they behave differently — they search differently and have different needs. If you have a content strategy for your site, now might be a good time to go back and see how you can adopt these new insights. And with it, find new ways to get your message across in a way that is not considered out of place or tone-deaf.” Toonen, Edwin. Adapting Your Content Strategy to Changing Times.Yoast.com April 20, 2020.
So, what can you do to adapt your content strategy keeping in mind the definition and ultimate goal?
Toonen writes, “It’s a good idea to ask yourself: who am I and who do I want to be? Can I hold this course or do I need to pivot? How do I add value and does this value align with what people truly want right now? If you’re not comfortable with what you’re doing, you should change it up. In general, these are the times that SEO can prove its worth. Don’t just focus on content, but invest in all-round SEO. Improve your site. Get those technical issues fixed, work on the site speed and build a solid site structure.” Toonen, Edwin. Adapting Your Content Strategy to Changing Times.Yoast.com April 20, 2020.
He recommends – do your research, adapt your tone, adapt your message, use essential tools for data
There is a favorite question people like to ask, “What are you going to do when things go back to normal?”
My answer – this is normal, the new normal and it’s constantly changing. Content strategists need to adapt and evolve to this normal as well.