After the year we’ve experienced, we could all use a break. Content about COVID and the current pandemic is everywhere, from ads and blogs to the news. While it’s important to stay informed about what’s going on around the world, most people are looking for some type of relief from the pandemic. That’s why more people are starting to seek out uplifting content online.
So, why not make your brand the one they turn to when they’re searching for some encouragement?
Here are ways you can help consumers press pause on their current worries and provide them with hopeful content during these uncertain times.
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Post fun video content
Creating videos that your audience will laugh at or just find entertaining is a great way to give people a break from COVID. If you do a good enough job with the video, it might even go viral. Just think about John Krasinski’s YouTube show, “Some Good News,” that started during the pandemic and highlights positive things from around the world. It has more than 2.5 million subscribers now and was bought by ViacomCBS. People obviously want to see this type of content.
Video views continue to be on the rise, with YouTube.com seeing a 15-percent increase since Feb. 29 (on the website, not the app). Consumers are, for the most part, searching for upbeat, useful videos:
- 48 percent are watching music-related content
- 48 percent are watching entertainment videos
- 33 percent are looking for comedy
- 31 percent are checking out DIY videos
- 28 percent are searching for cooking-related content
The research also shows 70 percent of consumers 18 to 28 years old are looking for entertainment content, compared to 48 percent of the general population. So, make sure your videos are appealing to this younger demographic.
Airbnb obviously was affected by the pandemic, but instead of focusing on the negative aspects, they created a heartwarming video featuring Airbnb Experiences hosts from across the world. It’s pretty clear this video is anything but serious with a title like, “#StayHome with a drag queen, chef or naughty sheep.”
What we like about this video content is that it doesn’t gloss over that the pandemic is here, but it gives people the chance to focus on the positives from the past few months. They show that the new normal (at least for the time being) can be hopeful and fun.
Besides posting your videos on your social media pages, you can also embed or link to them in your email campaigns, sending them to the targeted audience for the subject matter. For example, if you create a video featuring dogs, send them to your email segments that have pets. The more targeted the message, the better the chances are of them engaging and converting. Providing content that’s valuable to consumers shows you care about them, helping to improve brand loyalty.
Show the helpers
A pandemic has a way of bringing people together. OK, maybe not physically, but it has made a lot of people more empathetic to others. While that’s not true across the board, try to show your audience the silver lining to the current events. Like Mr. Rogers said, “Look for the helpers.”
Coca-Cola released a pair of campaigns, “For Everyone,” and “To the Human Race,” that feature the power of the human spirit. Even in hard times, there are people doing amazing things, and that’s exactly what they’re highlighting with these messages.
You can take a similar approach with your marketing content. Feature local first responders, teachers, or just regular people doing amazing things. You can even turn the campaign into a contest by asking for people to nominate others who are helping out in some way. Think of it as an “unsung hero” type of campaign. It’s a feel-good story that also helps humanize your brand.
Connect with consumers
Right now, might not be the best time for content that’s solely focused on selling people a product or service. Many are struggling financially, and even those who aren’t might have that type of content inappropriate at the moment. What you want to do is find a healthy balance of promoting what your brand does best, while showing you understand what people are going through.
That’s what IKEA is trying to do with their “Disconnect to reconnect with yourself” online content. The page features several product shots, along with blurbs like this one that shows how you can enjoy the simpler things if you forget about your phone for a while. While less screen time isn’t exactly new, it has become more important during a time when most of us are stuck at home.
IKEA tells customers they can improve their well-being if they take a step back from their devices, which could leave people feeling uplifted – and also checking out the brand’s products. Make your products or services part of the solution for consumers.
Tourism agencies have also taken a similar approach by showing consumers how they can safely get out of their homes.
Be smart about content
There’s more than enough depressing content out there that can ruin anyone’s day, so use your campaigns to uplift your customers. Besides the examples above, here are a few more general rules to follow with creating marketing content during the pandemic:
- Be hopeful, but not ignorant. It’s good – great, even – to create content that gives your audience some hope. However, make sure you don’t sugar coat how things are right now in the process.
- Ensure text and images are socially responsible. You don’t want to show photos of large crowds or write content that isn’t appropriate right now, like saying, “work hand-in-hand,” or “get closer.”
- Provide solutions. Show your audience how your brand can help them.
Every campaign shouldn’t be about making a sale, so focus your next one on creating hope and brand loyalty. That’s what will create a solid foundation for your audience, whether it’s their first interaction with you or their hundredth.