Content Writing During a Crisis: Recognizing opportunities for growth.

The world is changing around us. As more and more people are self-quarantining and practicing other forms of social distancing, businesses are having to adjust to new ways of operating and a remote work lifestyle. The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting every aspect of the global economy, including the way that content writers approach their work.


Opportunity or risk?

The best content writing is topical and relevant. Given that the topics on everyone’s mind at the moment are related to Coronavirus, content writers are left wondering how best to write during these trying times. 

On the surface, it seems like an easy task to simply find a connection between your business and the struggles people are facing due to Coronavirus. In reality, though, there are significant challenges in this approach.

Many businesses are certainly directly marketing to people’s concerns over Coronavirus, rushing to blast customers with email updates, blog posts, and other content. If not done appropriately, however, these businesses could end up alienating their audience in the long run.


Assessing the moment

People are rightfully sensitive at the moment as they try to process the potential consequences of this growing crisis on their lives. Any attempts to use the situation strictly for financial gain could come off as crass and manipulative. 

This leaves content writers in somewhat of a paradoxical situation—people want relevant content, but not content that seems to be taking advantage of the situation to drive sales. Content writers could be rightfully confused by this scenario, as it calls into question some previously held beliefs. 

What are the experts saying?

Given the sensitivity of the moment and the ever-changing economic reality, how should content writers approach their work? We’ve tapped into the collective mind of a number of experts to help answer just this question. Read on to find tips and advice for how content writers can remain relevant, while also adding value to their audience.

Help prepare your audience for the future to come.

The COVID-19 crisis is much more than a public health concern. As entire economies go into hibernation, an increasing number of experts are forecasting long-term economic impact. This carries many implications for businesses and consumers.

Content writers have a role to play in helping their audiences grasp the magnitude of the situation. As one content writing expert states:

“No matter what your industry, the aftermath of this crisis is going to last for some time. An economic downturn is a given at this point and content needs to start to reflect that. If you're writing a review on a product, for example, you'll need to focus more heavily on the cost/value ratio and really think about what your readers are going to need in the year or two ahead.”

Mark Webster

Co-Founder of Authority Hacker

Tap into the moment, but prepare for what’s ahead.

One of the biggest questions facing content writers at the moment is related to how much of their efforts are focused exclusively on COVID-19 topics. There’s an understandable rush to create relevant content, but what happens when this specific crisis passes? 

Even if the end of the crisis is still likely to be months—if not years—off, it makes sense to balance content specific to Coronavirus with content that could be relevant in a range of other situations:

“What I think most writers need to consider is how their content will hold up a year from now. In that, while I'm asking my writers to produce content relevant to the current circumstances, I'm also asking them to write it from an evergreen perspective. For example, rather than write about 7 Productive SEO Efforts for COVID-19 I wrote Productive SEO Efforts for Slow Times.”

David Zimmerman

Internet Marketing Consultant, Reliable Acorn LLC

Look to add value.

There’s currently an abundance of Coronavirus-related content of a similar nature. For example, the number of “tips for productive remote work” type of articles is simply overwhelming, meaning there’s no need to further cover this topic.

Instead, content writers should focus on real, practical questions that their audience has at the moment. There are numerous questions that people are grappling with related to, for example, how to manage personal finances in this crisis or where to turn to for inter-office communication solutions, now that everyone is working remotely. Focusing on providing real help to people is an effective and humane approach:

“We’ve recently posted a huge guide listing all the different government schemes and initiatives to provide financial support to people. The most important strategy for us right now is not to create content that’s redundant or unnecessary, just for the sake of it. There’s far too much of that out there already.”

Ben Taylor 

Founder of HomeWorkingClub

Increase your output.

Given current social distancing restrictions, people are online more than ever. That means that people are eager to read even more content than just two months ago. Content writers have a crucial role to play in providing their audience with enough interesting and useful content to keep them engaged

People are increasingly turning to trusted sources for the latest information or simply to find a way to pass the time. Content writers can help to provide such information:

“Content writers should be stepping up their game, so that, if they produce content only every other week, now they should be adding new content every week. If you produce content once a day, you may want to consider producing a few articles each day. People want to see that their favorite websites are responsive to this crisis. Our readers are hungry for content right now because they want to learn everything they can about the coronavirus and because many of them are stuck at home with nothing to do but go online.”

Varda Meyers Epstein

Parenting Expert and Writer at Kars4Kids

Be human and humane.

Given the situation, people have been flooded with bad news. On top of this, there’s been a boom in conspiracy theories and fake news around the crisis, creating even more anxiety in the general public.

With this in mind, it’s important for content writers to avoid, at all costs, adding further fuel to the fire. While it may be attention grabbing to tap into people’s fears, it’ll ultimately backfire, causing harm to a business’s reputation. Apart from that, it’s also simply inhumane.

Instead, content writers should focus on providing hope or, at the very least, content that’s uplifting and puts things into perspective. This may seem challenging at times, but readers will be grateful: 

“I keep reminding myself that this is a sensitive time filled with discouraging news and information. Whatever the topic is, I am extremely cautious to not arouse panic or bad feelings with my writing. After all, human beings with real feelings will be reading it and they are already troubled by fake news and negative propaganda… As this is not the first crisis the world has faced, we're turning to history and researching past recessions to ensure our articles are not just empty words.”

Claudia Nikolova

Growth & Engagement Officer, Enterprise League

Final words

The current health crisis and looming economic crisis are calling into question traditional ways of doing business. As people are coping with rapidly changing societies, businesses, remote teams and freelancers are scrambling to adjust. 

Content writing should strive to meet current challenges. By providing readers with relevant and useful information that’ll help them adjust and plan for the future, content writers will be doing a great service while answering their own business needs.