Millions have been laid off as a result of COVID-19, and certain industries are not coming back any time soon. But other industries — or niches within bigger industries — are thriving like never before.
For example, RVs had their biggest summer ever, and everyone in the home remodel industry is racing to keep up with an influx of ADU and renovation projects.
4 industries that have major content marketing potential
Here are four industries that are seeing major growth, and hiring marketers and communications staff as they go.
1. Outdoor recreation equipment
For months, reports have shown outdoor leisure goods of all kinds becoming people’s go-to purchase for hopes of future fun. When lockdown first hit, there was an enormous demand for:
- Backyard furniture
- Above-ground hot tubs
- Inflatable pools
- Jungle gyms
… and essentially every item that could be ordered on Amazon and set up quickly to help make outdoor spaces at home more fun.
The more people realized that social distancing and stay-at-home would be a new semi-permanent lifestyle, the more they began to invest in bigger-ticket backyard improvements like real swimming pools and outdoor kitchens. And heading into summer, as the need to see something besides their own four walls — and get the kids out, too — overrode all else, people rediscovered camping, cabins and naturally distanced activities. Bicycle and kayak makers are seeing a historic spike in demand for their products.
One- or two-person marketing teams may no longer suffice to meet ramped-up sales potential when a niche product (i.e. mountain biking, tiny trailers) suddenly becomes a mainstream must-have. In order to cash in, smaller companies need a way to attract customers away from the biggest brands. Large traditional companies, meanwhile, need to reposition themselves as less stodgy (LL Bean) or less extreme (Patagonia), or whatever the recalibration might be, in order to seem more inclusive to a bunch of newbie customers.
Consumers don’t just need products, either, they need information — sometimes as basic as “What is the activity you’re setting out to do? Where should you go to do it?” Content creators of all types, from user experience to social media marketing to lifestyle feature writing to customer service, are needed to communicate all of this, and it’s an easy pivot for lifestyle writers from other categories like travel.
2. Financial services
Businesses of all sizes need serious help understanding the particulars of the PPP, EIDL and other disaster relief programs. Individuals have been refinancing, taking out lines of credit, and pruning their stocks to try to get through “the floor is lava” obstacle course of the COVID-19 recession. Expert guidance is needed not just urgently, but ongoing — through the 2021 tax season at the very least, but probably for the next 20 years.
Even those who had been cruising through the years with “a tax accountant I trust” and a set-it-and-forget-it pension account have been forced to expand their knowledge base and their network of experts fast, or risk losing their savings.
Because of this, financial services content is in huge demand, whether from credit-fixing apps like CreditKarma or established online publishers like Bankrate or digital service providers like Revolut. You may think that only seasoned financial journalists and experts have a place writing content within this sector, but you’d be wrong.
Many such companies assume that the average consumer is pretty naïve about finance, and they often hire writers who can explain the basics well to those folks from the standpoint of a regular Joe, not a professional investment advisor. There’s lots of work available writing explainer articles and advertorials, as well as SEO content and LinkedIn-style social media content.
3. Personal care CPG (consumer packaged goods)
While the demand for Purell and Hibiclens isn’t quite as insane as it was in April, people still feel the need to have hand sanitizer and wipes in at least four strategic places, as well as soap and cleansing cloths. Then there’s the demand for products to counteract the negative effects of compulsive 20-times-a-day hand-washing and Cloroxing the counters.
The traditional personal care product makers simply can’t keep up with the demand — plus, as new problems like “maskne” and hand sanitizer poisoning crop up, there’s new opportunity to create new products. Result: a personal care industry that’s completely different than it was six months ago. Every company from the massive conglomerates to kitchen-based startups is reassessing its core products, new product R&D, and consumer marketing approach week-to-week, and pivoting fast and furious.
Within this energized industry, there’s an endless need for:
- New product copy
- Press releases
- Web store updates
- Social media marketing campaigns
- New product launches
- Influencer marketing programs
- Virtual media events
… and every other type of creative content-driven way to inspire potential customers to hit the buy button.
While larger companies may be leaning on their agencies, medium and small ones are bringing on teamlance teams and individual freelancers to help fast-track everything. It makes more sense for companies to hire freelancers and consultants than full-timers because if production or supply chain issues come up, freelancers can simply be put on pause while the company shifts focus on fixing the pandemic-driven logistical mess of the moment.
4. Ed tech
With the rapid shift to online education came a backlash boom in alternative education options — and all of it leans on education technology to some degree. Home-schoolers and tutoring companies had used online learning tech tools for years, with higher education also making a gradual shift. COVID-19 forced a rapidly accelerated, stressed-out adoption of remote learning, and even in neighborhoods where people have the means and the space to try out “pandemic pods” or outdoor classrooms or makeshift mini-schools in hotels, everyone’s still turning to technology to create curriculum and coursework.
Content creators with expertise in web copy optimization, UX design, consumer communication and the other components of user experience are extremely in demand right now because there are millions of new users all pouring in at the same time and they’re all impatient to understand the tools so their kids can start using them.
Then there are all the people needed to actually create or expand curriculum and coursework. This is possibly the biggest area of opportunity, not just for career writers, but for former tutors and teachers. Beyond that, there are the specialists, i.e. people who have traditionally done in-person small-group or 1-on-1 education:
- Test prep
- Special needs (i.e. speech therapy)
- After-school enrichment programs
People with experience in the above can work with tech companies to bring these programs to the virtual world.
Education right now is a volatile and high-stakes space, and while some people think the switch to online learning can’t last, others think it should… and that in fact, it must. Not only for safety reasons, but to even out the financial playing field for higher learning, and to allow students greater access to education.
At the moment, it’s limited by who has the tablets, multiple desktop computers and other tech tools – and that’s not fair to students from low-income families. But if tech can get in every student’s hands, it opens up a vast world of education opportunity that used to be limited by geographic/driving constraints.
It can be brutal when a client goes under — not even to speak of when it’s an entire industry, as we’ve seen so many times since the pandemic started. For people who have worked in food service, travel, fashion or corporate events their entire careers, this is a gut-wrenching, traumatic time. I don’t want to minimize that. It’s terrible, and if you’ve been affected, you’ll feel the loss and grieve it for a long time.
But other industries are rising, and thriving, and for survival purposes, people from the ruined industries need to figure out how to pivot. Don’t wait for things to go back as they were… look for something that’s on the way up, and that engages your creative mojo, and dive into it so you can thrive once again.