Recessions tend to have one of two effects. Fears over financial insecurity and overall uncertainty can lead businesses and consumers to come to a screeching halt. On the flip side, some entrepreneurs are so frightened of what’s to come that they make sudden decisions based on emotion rather than fact.
Both approaches can be damaging. Rather than ditching your content marketing efforts in anticipation of a possible recession, it’s crucial to keep taking action based on data and strategy (with a little gut instinct thrown in for good measure).
What are the most popular content marketing channels — and why are they important?
Content marketing takes a wide variety of shapes and sizes. Some companies pick one or two channels to prioritize. Others spread their efforts out as broadly as possible.
- Websites/blogs: Blogs are sort of the home base for content marketing. It’s your turf — you control what’s written, how it’s written and how often everything is published. But refreshing the other content on your website, such as landing pages and product descriptions, that are integral to the buyer journey can also play a huge role in boosting your profile during a recession.
- Email/newsletters: From purchase-focused email sequences to informative monthly newsletters, the content you send consumers via email can strengthen everything from awareness to conversion rates.
- eBooks: When you want to boost your authority or feel consumers might be more likely to take a desired action if they were more informed, eBooks are the way. You can offer books for a fee or as gated content (consumers provide an email address in exchange for a free download).
- Social media: Social posts, live videos, Instagram stories, infographics, images — it’s all social media content that can enrich your brand’s digital presence and drive consumer engagement.
- Infographics/videos/other visual media: Videos, infographics and other visual media are helpful on social media, but they can also be used throughout other types of content to reinforce messaging and boost SEO.
- Earned media: Earned media channels are third-party avenues you can leverage to help expand brand awareness and highlight user-generated content (UCG). During a recession, earned media costs you nothing while potentially serving up tons of value. Imagine social media mentions, a surge in reviews and free media coverage highlighting your business, or you can partner with influencers or make a podcast appearance to underscore your own authority.
Why content marketing is essential during a recession
During a recession, consumers don’t necessarily stop spending — they’re just shifting how, when and where they spend. For instance, it’s common to see people dine out less in favor of cooking at home more often. But that dip in restaurant revenue means a rise in retail food purchases. If you’re a food retailer, amping up your content marketing efforts could be the ticket to reaching new audiences and putting your products into the spotlight when exposure and education matter most.
Content marketing can also help build connections. The fear, uncertainty and discomfort people feel during an economic downturn leaves consumers looking for content that makes them feel better. Create social posts and blogs that showcase empathy and help foster both trust and loyalty. Sometimes it’s about playing the long game — how will your actions over the next few months position your brand for success over the next few years?
5 steps companies can take to develop a recession-proof marketing strategy
1. Invest in SEO
Organic search is a whopping five times more valuable than those pesky Google ads. That’s just one reason SEO is so important. Use downtime during the recession to optimize old blogs and refresh your overall SEO strategy to help boost your rankings and reach more people.
2. Adjust your KPIs and marketing goals
The strategy you came into 2023 with may not be the strategy that gets you through to 2024, especially if a recession hits. Don’t be afraid to adjust your goals and focus on recession-relevant KPIs so you’re tracking the things that truly matter and measuring progress efficiently and accurately.
3. Collaborate with experts and influencers
Consider influencer marketing and other expert collabs to help exponentially expand your sphere of influence. Piggybacking off someone else’s authority (and customer base) can have some pretty powerful results. This could be as simple as sending a TikTok star free product in exchange for a review or you can join forces to create and market something entirely new.
4. Stay connected with customer requirements and brand guidelines
Maximize your content marketing investment during a recession by staying connected with what your customers need and want. You want to make every dollar count by reviewing order briefs and style guides to be sure everything you’re producing for yourself or for a client is publish-ready and 100% on-brand.
Outsourcing copywriting services is one way to create tons of high-quality content in a short period of time. Enterprise-level services can include project management and well-vetted freelancers along with content guarantees, so you know you’re getting the best bang for your buck.
5. Always be one step ahead of your competition
Brands that follow the crowd will never have the opportunity to lead. By all means keep an eye on your competitors to ensure you are not missing a trick. But the majority of the time, you should be conducting research and finding new ways to push the envelope so you’re setting trends rather than following them.
Cutting your marketing budget during an economic downturn can mean losing ground with consumers. As your public presence fades, so does consumer loyalty and confidence. Make the effort to prioritize content marketing strategy during a recession and you could see dividends pay off for years to come.