It happened almost overnight. Companies lucky enough to avoid laying off or furloughing employees sent maybe a few, a hundred, thousands, or tens of thousands of their employees to work from home (WFH).
Because of COVID-19, the number of employees working from home increased dramatically. For content marketers, that is not the only change taking place. Below are 4 additional changes content marketers can expect.
1. The WFH model is here to stay.
73% of employees say flexibility improves their overall satisfaction at work. If you think remote work is only a COVID-19 thing, think again. Before the virus, companies were already beginning to recognize the many benefits of the WFH model including:
- Improving productivity and employee satisfaction
- Casting a wider net when hiring to attain more diverse talent
- Lowering overhead costs
Of course, the WFH model comes with challenges as well. Content marketers must overcome technological and emotional connectivity obstacles. Hybrid models that combine in-office and remote work will also become more widely accepted.
2. Pre-screening tactics will be tighter during a job search.
Hiring a remote worker means companies are unlikely to physically meet face-to-face before making a decision. Businesses are now pre-screening for both hard and soft skills through several layers of intensive phone and video interviews as well as extensive written tests. This change will benefit employers but become more time consuming for candidates.
3. AI will take over marketing tasks, but not jobs.
Advanced technologies can help content marketers generate the type of content people want to read. Ironically, AI and Bots can even help humans create content that is more personalized and emotionally driven. Technology streamlines the research and writing processes by:
- Identifying SEO keyword that are in high demand
- Generating insightful analytics
- Sending automated emails
- Managing basic social media presence
Technology is continually evolving. As it does so, the price of AI is becoming more accessible and the technology itself is becoming easier to understand and manage. Bots will continue to take on more marketing tasks, but are not likely to replace humans any time soon.
4. Soft skills will receive more attention.
Technology can do many things, but in our highly-connected world, technology cannot replace soft skills – yet.
Soft skills are what content marketers use to develop a content pitch or a marketing video script. Soft skills rely on the human ability to pivot from one situation to the next and develop strategic initiatives that can evolve over time. In the current environment, this is particularly important.
A person with strong soft skills:
- is a great listener, public speaker, and overall communicator
- has a good sense of humor
- manages teams with ease
- demonstrates flexibility and adaptability
- has a high degree of emotional intelligence, which is the ability to recognize and manage the emotions of yourself and others
More than 70% of employers said they primarily look for soft skills, especially good listening and effective communication, when hiring. This is because soft skills can’t be taught. You can learn math and coding techniques, but something you can’t learn is how to be likeable. Soft skills contribute to a person’s overall likeability factor.
Ask yourself a few questions to test your soft skills:
- Do you empathize with others?
- How well do you build rapport with other people?
- Are you able to provide – and accept — feedback effectively and constructively?
A LinkedIn study reports that, for obvious reasons, the most important soft skill for content marketers to possess is creativity. Creativity powers the innovative writing that engages readers.
How to Prepare for the Future
To prepare for the future of content marketing, we must learn from the past and quickly adapt to the present. This requires flexibility and embracing constant change. Below are a few tips to help you navigate the present and the future:
- Remain flexible. Identify how the new normal, like new work models and remote options, benefits you. Focus on the positive changes that are happening.
- Embrace new technology. Remain open to new ways of doing things. For example, business owners should periodically consider investing in new technology that allows teams to spend more time being creative.
- Continually develop soft skills. Perform periodic self-assessment of soft skills like those discussed above to ensure that you are operating like a team player. Not only will you become more successful and marketable, but you’re likely to feel happier too.