BDG Readers Are Craving Content For Comfort Amid The Coronavirus Pandemic

by Jessica Tarlov, Dani Thibodeau, & Angela Lee
Brainsil/E+/Getty Images

This article was written by Bustle Trends Group.

Since it launched in 2013, Bustle Digital Group (BDG) has held a clear editorial mission: uplift, inform, and inspire. And that’s just what we’ve done.

Over the last seven years, BDG has grown into a portfolio of 10 brands, each with their own personality. Bustle's mission has always underpinned our content, though. Whether a BDG site is covering astrology, dating, fashion, beauty, gaming, or a health pandemic like the one we face today, our content has been infused with the same curiosity and fun that readers crave.

In our newly launched BDG Connects webinar series, we spoke with editorial leadership about the content BDG readers are hungry for during this fraught time.

Across all our properties, one central theme emerged. As Josh Topolsky, the editor-in-chief of BDG’s Culture and Innovation Portfolio put it, “People are asking, ‘how do I live through this moment better? … Stories that did well pre-corona are exploding now because people have time to go deeper. It’s like comfort food.”

Comfort food is something that BDG knows well. The notion that our content, which is following the same through lines it did pre- pandemic, is analogous to comfort food is exactly what we want to achieve. With so much change happening in the world right now, BDG is serving as a source of warm, feel-good stability and guidance.

We’re seeing this in the data the Bustle Trends Group has been collecting over the last several weeks, too. Our readers are recreating the life they had before COVID-19 as best they can. Two-thirds told us that they are considering purchasing home fitness equipment or large electronics to simulate the gym experience or going to the movies, for instance. Nearly 50% are streaming workouts to keep up their routines and 46% are creating dedicated office spaces in their living rooms. Our readers aren’t ready to totally disrupt their routines.

They’re also picking up new skills to weather this time at home. With much of the country shut down, 84% of our readers are finding themselves hitting the kitchen more often than ever before to cook up a meal and 49% even say they are eating more comfort foods. Another 52% told us that they’re cleaning more.

Despite the doom and gloom of the news cycle, BDG readers see this period in our lives as temporary. "Home for now, not forever" was a recurring theme. To that end, 88% told us that they don’t think stay-at-home orders will last more than 12 weeks. What are they itching to do after lockdown? Gather with family and friends, get back to work and school, and have a social routine were the top three responses.

“We are taking this time to get in touch with the things we love most — think of it as escapism,” BDG’s fashion director Tiffany Reid added. Our content is helping our readers facilitate a closer relationship with themselves while they're at home. We can take them anywhere from the comfort of their routines, albeit slightly altered due to the circumstances.

No one really knows when we can freely resume our pre-pandemic lives. For the time being, we suggest settling in and doing more of what brings you joy. Cultural or actual comfort food is what’s going to get us all through this tough time. Whether your jam is mac and cheese or perfecting your knowledge of every Bachelor contestant, get cozy and unapologetically dig in.