How COVID-19 turned SMEs into overnight content creators

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The COVID-19 pandemic caused massive disruptions to businesses across Australia. Lockdowns and social distancing meant offices had to adjust to working remotely, while businesses without an online presence had to completely shutter their doors; leaving them with no customers, no income, and no end date in sight.

But even at the height of the pandemic, Aussie businesses found clever ways to adjust. Restaurants turned to take away and home deliveries, retailers created eCommerce sites, while bars offered online cocktail making classes. Anything that could go online, went online.

The race to create content

Stuck at home during lockdown, online activity went through the roof, with global internet use increasing 70 per cent during the pandemic. According to Australia Post, eCommerce increased by 57 per cent, with 1.36 million Aussies shopping online for the first time. It was clear businesses had to get online or risk losing everything. And to do this, they needed to create content, and fast.

The biggest influx of enquiries we received during the pandemic were from restaurants who had shifted to Uber Eats or Menu Log and needed to take pictures of their meals for the app. Simply by getting a small light box that acted as a mini photography studio, they could quickly and easily take pictures of their meals and get that content uploaded quickly.

There were also a number of fitness instructors and personal trainers who wanted to live stream classes from home. Often this meant transforming a lounge or spare room into a professional looking space with backdrops and lighting, with some even reporting to have more people attending their online classes than they did face to face. Even make-up artists and lash technicians who were no longer able to see clients, put more effort into creating tutorial videos for their socials to maintain client engagement.

Creating DIY content

Creating content when you’ve never done it before can be overwhelming – but this last year proved that people with varying skill sets have the ability to become overnight content creators. Key tips for business looking to create their own video or images include:

  • Lighting – Lighting is the secret to any good photo or video. Soft lights to eliminate shadows, bright lights to make products pop. It can take a bit of practice, but once you get the lighting right you’re already on your way. The key is maintaining consistent lighting throughout all your content so all your imagery is on brand.
  • Background – Choosing the right background for your image or video is so important. For food or product images, a white or neutral background tends to work best, while a tranquil leafy background might suit a yoga class. Curtains or cotton muslin backdrops can sometimes do the job – even a clean white wall could work well, too.
  • Styling – Styling products can take some practice as things tend to look differently on camera as they do in real life. Play with props and different angles and see what works best. If you’re stuck for ideas, see what similar businesses are doing on Pinterest or Instagram for inspiration.

New opportunities

Although the pandemic forced some businesses to make some fairly drastic changes to stay afloat, businesses that are now able to create content have a whole world of new opportunities at their fingertips. Even though restrictions have eased, customers are still consuming content online. For any SME looking to continue to grow and reach new customers, creating new content will continue to be of utmost importance, even after the pandemic.