Living in this time of COVID-19, face-to-face interactions have vaporized and the way in which we interact with and consume media has been transformed. Because we’re at home far longer than before in our lives and laptops, ipads and cellphones are a way “out”, total internet hits have increased by between 50% and 70%. Unsurprisingly, streaming has soared by about 12%.
During this time, we can afford to read, binge-watch, check social media, learn new things – even bake. This has inspired many to feature their new-found talents via social media outlets because let’s face it – what else is there to do and why not?
Thousands of unfiltered photos of the ingredients being used and offerings of new classes are a great way to engage with an audience while we’re all staying home. It’s not only interesting to find out what other brands are doing to provide value through content, it could provide guidance and/or inspire a new age to your brand. Here are some brands, organizations and individuals doing content marketing well in light of COVID-19:
1. Yale University
In the spring of 2018, Yale University professor Laurie Santos taught “Psychology and the Good Life” in response to stress, depression and anxiety among students. That class resonated with students and became the most popular in Yale’s history. As a result, Santos created a Coursera course to give a wider audience access to the contents of the class: “The Science of Well-Being.” Right now, anyone can audit the class for free.
Not only can this course allow us to all say we took a class at Yale but everyone could use a bit more of this course’s subject matter — happiness — right now.
By gifting the content for free, Yale is displaying that it cares and believes in sharing this type of relief and help within the world today. Giving away a bit of its “secret sauce” to benefit the community and the greater good puts this University in a different light amongst its peers.
The takeaway: In your content marketing efforts, be an authentic thought leader by sharing your knowledge, being honest and providing members of your audience with the information they desire.
2. Midwest Digital Marketing ConferenceMany in-person conferences have gone virtual including the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference. The conference is scheduled for this month and will consist of two parts: a free live virtual two-day summit and an “on-demand digital experience” that costs $99.
Instead of canceling the event, the Midwest Digital Marketing Conference elected to move the event online. Expensive planning had already been invested into the event, so why not take this stay-at-home opportunity to give those who wouldn’t normally be able to spend their budgets on a conference (or fit a trip into their schedules) the chance to see what the conference is all about?
The takeaway: Just because a planned event has a setback doesn’t mean you can’t pivot and see marketing results. Be creative and find a way to make it happen.
3. Behr, West Elm and The InfatuationAdweek recently published an article showcasing a few brands that have created custom Zoom backgrounds to “class up your quarantine.” Zoomers across the world rejoiced as they could now hide their dirty dishes or dogs being a bad boy on the couch in the background.
Behr and West Elm created backgrounds showcasing stylish rooms, including a home office, a kitchen and a log cabin living room. These are great ways to add some personality to your meetings (and disguise the background) without crossing into unprofessional territory.
The Infatuation, a restaurant review site, took a branded approach and created food-related backgrounds, including pepperoni pizza, sushi and grilled cheese. While these might not be the best fit for some professional settings, many will try these with family and friends.
The takeaway: Find ways to genuinely and creatively create relevant content that’s related to the current moment at hand. Align it with your brand’s goals and voice and create value for your audience.
Living in the times of social distancing, most of us are spending more time at home than we ever thought would happen. IKEA recognizes that and created an ad encouraging people to reconnect with their homes.
Some timely ads can come across as cringe-worthy and opportunistic during this time, but this ad leans more toward connecting to IKEA’s audience and encouraging them to find comfort in their own homes. The ad is relevant to IKEA’s audience and its mission, but without trying to directly sell to viewers. Plus, without being too upfront about it, IKEA also encouraged people to stay home.
The takeaway: Create content that connects with your audience members, what they’re experiencing and where they are right now. Don’t just try to sell.
5. Famous Illustrators
Creative inspiration can be everything sometimes. If you’re searching for art classes or you want to virtually attend a reading with an illustrator, there’s a plethora of offerings now. Fast Company compiled a list of famous illustrators offering free virtual classes and resources for adults and kids alike.
This is a great example of content marketing because it’s taking what these illustrators do best and sharing it with the world through different platforms.
The takeaway: This is the time to get creative. Make video content, even if the cameraman is your 10-year old or your husband. Of course it’s time to start that podcast you’ve always dreamed of – even test out some new email campaigns. Whatever you do, flex your creative muscles to craft content that your audience will find immensely valuable.