The content-sphere is constantly changing and it’s important for content creators and brands to always look ahead and adapt in order to stay relevant and in control of the everchanging space. But, no one saw the pandemic coming. Suddenly people were thinking, “fashion? I don’t have an occasion to get dressed for. Hottest travel destinations? Who knows when I’ll be able to use my passport again.”
During the pandemic, when travel was almost impossible and there was no major reason to change out of pajamas, many content creators in a variety of niches, including travel and fashion, found themselves trying to adapt their content to the current situation and struggling to maintain their sponsorships. Brands such as ExpressVPN, Away, and Pretty Little Thing dramatically reduced the number of Thought Leaders they partnered with.
However, while some content creators barely succeeded, others blossomed! Over the last year, a handful of trends that would have otherwise been pushed to the side emerged and took center stage. From plant enthusiasts to bookworms, here’s a closer look at the new ‘niche’ influencers that became social media mavens.
While forced to stay at home, many took up new hobbies, such as becoming green-thumbs. Whether they were lucky enough to have their own garden or simply balanced vases on a windowsill, nothing stopped these gardeners-turned-Thought Leaders from growing their new-found passion for plants. From encouraging their followers to start their own garden to advising new green-thumbers about #problemplants, these creators found high engagement rates and a major increase in brands interested in sponsorship opportunities.
Increase in Thought Leaders and brands involved/mentioned with keywords ‘home garden’, ‘garden tour’, ‘garden update’
Even influencers that mostly created content in the lifestyle genre dipped their toes into gardening. For example, Fashion Mumblr, a lifestyle, beauty and fashion enthusiast, uploaded a handful of videos related to her gardening experience, even creating her garden in the backyard.
Study-based content is not a new niche on social platforms like YouTube, but, during the pandemic, this genre thrived. With students studying from home, viewers turned to study influencers, or studyfluencers, for support. These creators post content about productivity hacks, aesthetic note taking, exam prep advice and even take their followers on college tours. Channels such as Revisign, Study to Success, Kharma Medic, and Studyquill guide their viewers on how to maximize their productivity, study tips, note-taking tips and tricks, and stationary must-haves.
There is even a niche within Studytube of creators that film themselves studying in real-time. This type of content blew up during quarantine, with ‘Study With Me’ videos racking up over 700,000 views per video. According to Kim Dong-min, a ‘Study With Me’ vlogger, “Because of the Coronavirus, most people around the world are studying alone at home. I think my video tells them that [they] are not alone”. Take a look at this studyfluencer, TheStrive Studies, who filmed herself studying in real-time for 2.5 hours and racked up an astounding 7.4 million views.
Brands definitely noticed the increase in interest in this not-so-niche sphere and jumped on the bandwagon, including Paperlike, Notion, Skillshare, Epidemic Sound and Brilliant.org. According to our Trends report, Paperlike, a brand specializing in screen protectors for creators, increased the number of Thought Leaders they partnered with in 2020 by more than double compared with the previous year. Also Notion, an organizational tool, gradually increased their sponsorships throughout the year.
Booktube is the segment of YouTube that focuses on anything book-related, including book hauls, challenges, vlogs, and tags. While staying-at-home, more and more people found reading, or uploading videos related to books, an escape from their four-walls. According to our trends report, there were 23,000 mentions of ‘book haul’, ‘best books’ or ‘reading’ between January 2020 to December 2020.
Over the years, this niche has completely transformed the publishing industry regarding how books are marketed and sold. In 2020, many brands that were not entirely related to the publishing world also noticed the potential in partnering with Booktubers. For example, HelloFresh, the world’s leading meal-kit company, partnered with 88 ThoughtLeaders that mentioned ‘book haul’, ‘best books’, or ‘reading’.
With schools finally re-opening their doors and people spending a little less time at home, these currently-trending niches may be short-lived. However, staying up-to-date with trends and seamlessly connecting these trends to content, is the key to maintaining the relevance and ultimate success of these niche genres.