The raging COVID 19 pandemic made us realize the importance of the internet like never before. Since the vast majority of the people on the planet are stuck in their homes, they have only the internet to help them find out what is going on in the world around them.
Under the circumstances, online content has taken on added value as so many people have no other source of information or entertainment. This is why the age-old adage, ‘content is king’ holds true today in ways it never did before.
Virtually all public gatherings have been called off, and people are now seeking out entertainment on streaming services such as Netflix, Amazon Prime, and YouTube. The use of social media has also increased as people have the time to connect with one another on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, and other sites like never before.
This has created many opportunities for high quality online content that had not existed in a pre-COVID 19 world.
The COVID 19 pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented shift to home-based learning resources. This is not surprising since schools, colleges, and other educational institutions are effectively shut throughout the world. In fact, well over 1.2 billion students are now out of the classroom all over the globe.
As a result, the classroom concept of imparting education has now changed very dramatically. Its place has been taken over by the sudden and sharp rise of e-learning tools. These virtual tools ensure that teaching can be remotely undertaken with the help of digital platforms.
Here again, the quality of the content is of paramount importance. Many research surveys have suggested that online learning can cause a steep increase in the retention of information, provided that the material has been optimized for the purpose.
The kind of rote learning that took place in the world of books and classrooms has given way to highly interactive content. This allows students to participate more and actually retain what they have learned. Many teachers have realized this, and they now try to ensure that the content they teach is both educational and interesting at the same time.
This aspect of imparting education allows them to teach more, in less time. There is a very good chance that this change is here to stay. Even when classrooms reopen, it is likely that the educational institutions will incorporate at least a few elements of online content into their curriculums.
There are, however, many challenges that must be overcome on a day to day basis. For example, students without a 100 percent reliable internet connection and technology would have to struggle to participate in this global digital learning experience.
They will also have to grapple with power outages and the demands of their family members. But on a general note, the world of education may never be the same again as these hurdles are crossed and more and more students enter the world of online learning.
COVID 19 and Its Impact on Marketing Content
The pandemic has put brands in a pretty difficult position. After all, large numbers of their regular customers are not only under severe lockdowns, but they are also facing uncertain financial circumstances. This is why it has become imperative to develop new approaches to engage effectively with the target audience.
Lots of brands have now started to up their content marketing game in order to build and retain relationships with their consumers. Some of the smarter ones have also used the Covid-19 crisis as a unique opportunity to help bolster their content marketing efforts. Let us take a quick look at a few success stories:
DoubleTree: Making It Work
The American Hotel DoubleTree is renowned for the chocolate chip cookies it serves its guests whenever they check-in. The original cookie recipe has always been a corporate secret and people have been forced to try to replicate these delicious cookies with the help of unofficial copycat recipes.
However, the good people at DoubleTree have now realized that truly extraordinary times now also call for extraordinary measures. Since the hotel chain’s regular customers are effectively stuck at home, DoubleTree took the decision to reveal its famous chocolate chip cookie recipe to the rest of the world.
They stated that, “while a nice warm chocolate chip cookie won’t be able to solve many problems, it can, however, bring at least a moment of happiness and comfort.”
The result has been a marketing windfall for the company. The video containing their recipe has been viewed almost 300,000 times. Avid fans have now started posting the cookies they have baked using the recipe on multiple social media sites. Apart from that, various online and offline media outlets have taken an interest in this story and have deemed it newsworthy.
This warm response is a particularly great outcome for a hotel chain that has had its business nearly wiped out due to the pandemic. However, their online content enables them to remain in touch with their consumer base at a time when hoteling is the last thing on their minds.
In the long run, even people who have never heard of DoubleTree have promised to stay there, if and when they decide to travel. In short, the Hilton owned hotel chain has generated a lot of goodwill through its generosity and is all set to reap the rewards in a post-COVID 19 world.
Nike: Doing It Right
Nike is a global athletic apparel and shoemaking powerhouse. It has unfortunately been forced to temporarily close its flagship stores in all of its key markets especially in the North American, European and Australian markets. However, the brand has more than made up for it by pumping up its engagement levels with its audience with the help of high-quality content marketing.
It has made its subscription-only Nike Training Club (NTC) app absolutely free. The app offers training programs, live streaming workouts, and expert tips to its users. Apart from that, they have also started pushing out a whole lot more high-quality content on their Nike and Nike Running Club apps as well as on their Nike.com website.
They are also delivering podcasts and interacting with their audience on their social media channels. The core purpose is to adequately serve the needs of their millions of consumers under lockdown, who are trying to maintain their fitness while remaining under strict quarantine.
They are promoting their content offerings via a sleekly produced marketing campaign known as ‘Play for the World.’ It utilizes the brand’s roster of well-known athlete endorsers and also shows how these top-level competitive athletes are retaining their peak fitness levels during the pandemic.
NuFace: Making Virtual in House Calls
The well-known Beauty brand NuFace makes facial toning devices for discerning consumers and saloons. The company has seen a steep surge in online retail sales as its consumers seek effective skincare treatments at home.
To adapt to the current coronavirus environment, the company has now successfully replaced its trademark in-person house calls that it used to employ before the pandemic.
It has shifted from real-world interactions to virtual house calls hosted on Facetime, Zoom, and Skype. These virtual calls target not just individual spa partners and influencers but everyday customers as well. They consist of in-depth beauty-enhancing tutorials delivered by NuFace’s CEO and founder Tara Peterson and her team of skincare experts.
The company has also invested in the content it creates for its Instagram account. As a result, it has seen its views on its Instagram Stories increase by over 30 percent. Apart from that, its likes and comments on its various Instagram posts have also shown an increase of up to 20 percent.
NuFace’s strategy is very simple but highly effective. It surveys its audience and asks them what they want to see. Once it gets an adequate response, the brand typically responds within hours with the required content. Since their online content is based primarily on user feedback it resonates with their target audience and increases viewership levels.
They don’t aggressively push their products on their consumers but wait for their feedback before creating their content. This means that their call to action (CTAs) leads to higher conversions as people order their products online and use them with the help of their helpful online tutorials.
The core purpose is to create uplifting content that can help people deal with the stress of everyday life in quarantine. What better way to do it than to make them look and feel beautiful?
Unity Technologies: Creating a Whole New World of Online Games
Business to consumers (B2C) brands are not the only ones who are creating content to help their audience cope with this unprecedented crisis. Unity Technologies makes a popular gaming engine that is used by a lot of game making companies to power their online games. They have created an online learning portal known as ‘Unity Learn.’ This portal is now available to game developers all over the world.
Unity Learn (UL), as the very term suggests, offers lots of instructional content to game developers and designers. They can learn creative techniques and tips for building thrilling and interactive games using the company’s trademark technology. UL’s content now includes full courses, tutorials, and even sample projects.
As part of its current Covid-19 content marketing effort, Unity’s engineers and developers have now launched the ‘Create with Code Live’ initiative. This is a virtual online classroom offering that is offered for free, for anyone interested in this field.
The company states that it remains committed to making game development both easy and intuitive. This way digital games developers will be able to achieve all that they want in order to make this world a stress free place.
The dissemination of quality information is of pivotal importance during this pandemic. The wrong type of information can easily trigger mass panic, especially if it is repeated enough times that it goes viral.
Here again, brands and institutions can come up with up to date guidelines with references to well-known medical websites. This will help ensure that only relevant and real information gets through and panic-inducing rumors never get any mileage.
No matter the industry, sector, or nature of a business, the brands responsible for so many products that we use, have one thing in common: They want to make themselves useful for their consumers who are in quarantine. Here, being useful does not mean merely taking care of their entertainment needs alone, but also providing them with a wealth of information and educational content.
As some of the above examples show, the use of compelling content marketing campaigns can go a long way towards creating a healthy and stress-free environment in the home during this pandemic.
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