Covid-19 has proved a challenging time for all, and businesses are no exception. Businesses of all shapes and sizes felt the impact, both for better and for worse. Some entrepreneurs even created new global organizations from next to nothing. A few of these successes caused the largest companies to blush from embarrassment.
It all came hand in hand with the power of content marketing.
The Covid-19 themed content pushed out by brands has a huge amount to say about what they have to offer. The very essence of what makes a brand a brand is their branding, after all; how they position themselves in the eyes of the public and what they do to make that happen. Or, what they do to try to make that happen that doesn’t always pan out.
There’s a multitude of brands out there that have really thought about what they want to say to the world. They know what they have to offer. These folks think about what we need to see and what we want to see. They have some sense as to what’s going to actually help make an impact. Others, however, are simply bandwagoning. They share messages they feel appropriate and ensure their voices are heard in a petty bid for publicity.
As a result, we’ve seen some businesses boom and others ridiculed for their attempts. Now it’s time to take a step back to think about the role content marketing had in it all.
By providing Covid-19 themed content across social media as well as in all other forms of media too, communication providers were able to flourish and use what they provide to demonstrate the benefits to others. We’re talking, of course, about Zoom.
Zoom took the entire world by storm after international lockdowns. This meant that people had a great (and trending) way to stay in touch, especially in the world of work. Working from home was a new concept to the vast majority of the world. As a result, even though Zoom is relatively late to the technological communications party, it was able to provide great content to people using entirely user-generated materials to demonstrate the power that the technology had.
Utilizing all of this content actually led Zoom to produce blog content too. They talked about the applications Zoom has had in life, popular case studies, and even feature updates. These were accompanied by classes on how to use them in the Zoom Academy.
Success By Showing Instead of Telling
Looking at Covid-19 themed content marketing examples, like those above, it’s not hard to tell why Zoom is definitely a brand that grew alongside the pandemic. This happened even alongside other more heavily advertised brands such as Microsoft Teams. Microsoft made a poor attempt at minimal content marketing during the initial UK lockdown.
The multilayered approach to written content, video content, and genuine knowledge-based research and teaching provided value in every way to the Zoom consumer base, both by making entertainment from a globally trending concept and teaching them how to use it at the same time.
Teams, however, was massively under-marketed aside from repetitive video advertisements in paid media. They became the voice of annoyance for many (and in the wrong places, too).
This was received by minute engagement from the 13+ million followers and little to no communication pushing Teams in content. Instead, Microsoft ran a television-based campaign and did not see the same extent of results even when combined with Skype at the same scale.
Another titan of lockdown that arose from content marketing during Covid-19 had a huge advantage over other businesses in other industries. TikTok, the Chinese-founded video content platform, is literally made up of content. It’s filled to the brim with sharable content to use as its own marketing tool.
The company was relatively late to get on board with what could have exploded much sooner. Only when the brand started curating and sharing their Covid-19 themed content on other social media outlets around mid-May did they get traction.
This led to a huge spike in user activity and engagement across practically all social media platforms. It also kickstarted new standardized formats of video content used across the board still today. This is comparable to the Vine format that was so popular and set the bar years before until uploading was halted in late 2016.
It needs to be recalled that TikTok also increased its brand presence using television advertising, too. They also used other online communication means in a bid to capitalize on the mass of boredom and influx of creativity in the British and global public.
Let’s move to an industry that has a much harder job of tying together a completely online service with a physical real-life presence, and in the midst of a global pandemic, too. If that sounds like a challenge, it is. Add in an array of other businesses operating in exactly the same space due to a massive surge of demand and inadequate supply. All of these businesses were battling to remain open. Potential customers had free time and income. This is the difficult battle that Just Eat had to face.
Unlike other brands on the market, however, Just Eat was one of the only brands on the market to utilize content marketing in their approach to branding. Since sales were booming for most market-leading businesses at this point, Just Eat’s approach to entirely dedicated customer-centered content marketing made sure their status was safe. This approach helped them serve in more ways than ever.
Blending Service and Self-Promotion
This springboarded their social media branding campaign #gooddeedfeed, where an array of Covid-19 themed content about good deeds, community support, and NHS promotion occurred alongside the usual branded promotions to create a well-rounded branding position. A refreshing touch.
This isn’t to say that other businesses didn’t dip their toes into the content marketing waters either, however.
Even giants of the food industry, such as McDonald’s in the U.S., produced content to try to create branded statements in the midst of the crisis. However, this was quickly met by backlash due to the lack of sick pay the company provided. This is just one of many different attempts at content marketing without real meaning or support behind it. As always, it soon became transparent and had adverse responses, showing that even the strongest brands are not immune.
What to Take From Covid-19 Themed Content Marketing
Ultimately, Covid-19 has dropped us into a time of uncertainty. For many businesses, that goes for marketing resources as well. Understanding what people want in times of unparalleled unfamiliarity is always going to be a difficult task. Learning from the mistakes of others doesn’t have to be.
It’s clear to see that some brands adapted their Covid-19 themed content marketing efforts effectively to help make them stronger. These were simply those brands who put customers at the heart of their business. By simply showcasing your service in ways your audience can enjoy, utilize or learn from, brands provide value in more ways than ever before.
Simple messages of hope and unity can be emotive and pleasant. However, when the entire country is more exposed to marketing than ever, overexposure is not a friendly concept. Hearing the same things day in day out that offer nothing but kind words and ideas quickly tires. It’s easy to see through self-interested branding.