PR | 23rd of July, 2020

A healthy content diet is not just good for the soul, it’s key to brand comms in post-lockdown world

Take a look at anyone’s search history and it’s basically their life on a screen.

During lockdown mine has featured everything from “healthy but easy dinner ideas for fussy kids”, to “how many calories in a Milky Way,” and “designer face masks for under £30.” An eclectic mix of random thoughts and questions that Google helped me out with in some way or another.

Searching such terms produces pages of links full of info, some useful, others completely and utterly useless and a waste of precious minutes that I could have dedicated towards more entertaining and feel-good screen time.

Let’s face it, in times like these, among working parents or anyone who is conscious of the need to restrict the amount of time they spend scrolling, what we need is GOOD content that cuts to the chase. Videos, easy to consume how-to guides, info that spares blurb gets to the point and understands that entertainment is for Netflix, not for a ‘perfectly poached eggs’ YouTube tutorial.

So what makes a piece of brand content land well, to the point they’ll come back for more? I’d say it’s as simple as knowing your audience, knowing what they want, and knowing what you are to them and where you fit in their bustling lives.

Getting that wrong and luring them into consuming content that’s off-brand, not useful, or out with the reason you resonate with them, risks their ire as more people seek a healthier balance in their ever-increasing screen time.

During the first month of lockdown, Google searches for seafood recipes went up 61%.  Knowing this and quickly responding to the increased amount of time folk had in the kitchen and the need for healthy recipes with relevant content, our client, Seafish performed their primary function… inspiring UK consumers to cook and eat more seafood.

Screens have never been more important to us. For some they relieve a daily boredom during lockdown, but for many others they help educate our kids, facilitate the closest thing to connection with our loved ones, and right now they’re probably helping us re-set and reshape the way we will do many things in a life after lockdown.

When all this passes - and it shall - we’ll all have changed in some way or another. But while the need for content will no doubt remain the same, our appetite for it will probably change and as many brands also re-set and reshape to increase their relevance in the years ahead, their care for the consumer’s content habits will be key.

Knowing the audience better, understanding who’s in the market for feel-good, entertaining posts, and who just wants to know how to build a gazebo when the instruction booklet is long lost, will be crucial.

As consumers, we might have spent the last few years increasing our daily screen time and the number of screens we engage with, but we’re likely to spend the next few years trying to reduce it.

So content will still be king or queen, but as content makers and comms advisers we will need to get better than ever before if our audiences are to commit their precious eyeballs to it.

So, what are the must-dos when creating content strategies?

Be flexible: Content needs to flex with consumer behaviour. This means being considerate. We all promote the merits of a healthy balanced diet - let’s carry that into how we promote our wares to consumers. Like most people I know, especially those with kids, I find limiting (and reducing) screen time is crucial to mental health and wellbeing and the time is coming when content makers will need to think about this too and not just focus on banging out post after post.

Yes there’s appetite for more content but people are flooded, so let’s make it better don’t make it just because you think you should… make it really good, make it matter.

Give all content ideas a serious editorial sense check - is it useful, is it shareable? If not, let’s not spend your budget making it or waste consumers’ time viewing it.

Add value: Add value always. Educate, inform or entertain audiences in every piece of content. Content needs to be helpful, teach the audience something they don’t already know and above all inspire them.

Be true to the brand: Post lockdown social media noise from brands will be loud with everyone vying for attention and engagement. Being absolutely true to brand values will make sure content remains genuine. A piece of content might not result in an instant sale but if the audience remembers where they read it then it worked. 

Nobody knows what a post lockdown world looks like yet, but one thing is for sure, digital platforms will continue to be our number one source of daily news and inspiration. By listening to our audience and paying genuine attention to their needs and wants, brands can be memorable.


Alison Downs
Head of consumer