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This Blog Is Out of Date: Can Content Stay Fresh These Days?

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In many ways, we should have seen this coming. Not necessarily the specifics of our current environment – simultaneous global pandemic, racial justice movement and deeply polarizing election season – but rather, a landscape that simply moves too quickly for marketers to keep up. The best example from recent memory that demonstrates this is the birth of the 24-hour news cycle. Under the pressure to fill every minute of every day with new content, a single item’s “newsiness” becomes fleeting. On and on it goes until everything is news, and nothing is news.

Does this experience sound familiar? For marketers charged with developing a long-lead content strategy amid tidal forces, it’s easy to feel kinship with our journalistic cousins. When the conversation evolves so quickly, a single piece of content has but a moment to achieve both relevancy and value to target audiences. Under those parameters, how much value does a single piece of content have? Can’t it stay fresh for more than a week or so?

Realistically, no.

But the good news is, successful content marketing doesn’t hinge on a single piece of content. In fact, if you’re relying on one item as your bedrock, there are much deeper issues at play. Rather, yielding long-term value out of your content marketing is how it builds and contributes to a single narrative over time. It doesn’t necessarily matter if your newest blog or eBook is only relevant to a two-month period during COVID. What is the overarching aim of the piece, and how does it lend itself to the overarching brand identity?

If you’re looking at how to adjust your content strategy to keep audiences engaged, captive and curious during periods of widespread disruption, here are a few of our recommendations.

Re-tooling Your Content for COVID-19 Recovery + Beyond

  • Embrace minute-to-minute analysis. The last few months have proven that the world can change with the post of a tweet. A statement, a theme, a thesis can be harmless thought leadership on Monday but can be viewed through an entirely different lens come Wednesday. Marketers need to be hyper-aggressive in performance analysis to decipher not only how much engagement a content item generates but how it fits into wider conversations as they evolve in real time. In fact, PAN’s 2020 Content Fitness Report found that infusing awareness and avoiding tone-deafness is a top priority for 2H. But getting it right means a much more accelerated timeline than you might be used to.
  • Understand dynamic personas. The transition to full-time remote work has effectively obliterated the line between our personal and professional lives. That goes double for those who are juggling the responsibilities of parent, teacher, teammate, among others. There is no longer any way to account for the hats the target audience will be wearing at the time they consume your content. Rather than lean into a single persona, marketers need to lean into the constantly shifting environment and instead deliver targeted, emotionally relevant messages. Themes that speak to the unique challenges they face as they move between responsibilities. This is already starting to take shape in current content marketing efforts, with marketers doubling the value they place on emotional connections since the year began.
  • Let go of timelines. The return to normalcy has been a moving goalpost for months – and that’s okay. However, until a safe, reliable coronavirus vaccine is widely available, many audiences are going to remain in a state of flux. Therefore, it becomes nearly impossible to project a sense of “planning for the future” when nobody can guarantee when that time will come. Rather than trying to pitch audiences on next steps, content marketing needs to be delivered in the moment, reflecting what customers need to know right now. That adaptive approach demonstrates how attuned your brand is to their needs and concerns.

Content marketers cannot and will not find success leaning on individual resources. What we found was that by ensuring that longer campaigns were underpinned by empathetic, emotionally driven and community-defined values and ideals, marketers can repeatedly demonstrate that their brands are following the conversations closely. Marketers shouldn’t be focused on capturing a single moment; they should be willing to stay nimble and grow with the audiences who support them.

Whether you’re looking to create a new narrative, or adjust your current brand story, there are important steps that your team should be taking to ensure that the content is impactful and relevant. Download our recent Content Marketing Framework to learn more.

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In our annual Brand Experience Report, we asked marketers and customers how they are using and experiencing AI to better understand how the technology is changing that relationship.