May 21, 2020

Content during Covid-19: These brands are doing it right. You can too.

Right now, consumers want content that provides help, gives relief, and is an escape from sheltering in place during the Covid-19 pandemic. Even if your business isn’t operating as usual, your company can seize this opportunity to build brand awareness, trust, and loyalty by giving away helpful — and fun — content. 

We’re highlighting brands that are doing it right, and sharing tips on how even small businesses can follow suit.

Reyka Vodka presents: Beard of the Week

In late April, the Icelandic vodka brand launched Beard of the Week, a weekly internet challenge where participants show-off their best facial hair and win prizes such as gift cards and beard products. Whether you have a real beard or get creative with the hair on top of your head, anyone can enter the contest. Simply post a photo to Instagram, tag the vodka brand, and use the hashtag #ReykaBeard. 

Reyka Vodka illustration from the Reyka Vodka Facebook page.

Every Friday, Reyka Vodka will host a “beard off” on Instagram Stories. Using the platform’s Poll sticker, viewers will vote on the best beard. On top of that, for every beard submission, Reyka Vodka is donating $5 to support bartenders affected by the pandemic.

We love this example for so many reasons. Being weekly and using crowd sourced material, this is a sustainable campaign that doesn’t require many resources on Reyka’s part. Reyka is providing their audience with much needed laughter and fun while using the opportunity to give back to bartenders. This is a homerun.

Hilton Doubletree reveals famous cookie recipe

In early April, Hilton Doubletree revealed the recipe for their famous chocolate chip cookies.

“We know this is an anxious time for everyone,” said Shawn McAteer, senior vice president and global head, DoubleTree by Hilton in the official press release. “A warm chocolate chip cookie can’t solve everything, but it can bring a moment of comfort and happiness. We hope families enjoy the fun of baking together during their time at home…”

DoubleTree Hilton in Miami. Photo by Andrew Masi (June 2019).

We love this example because of its simplicity and ability to invoke nostalgia. Hilton did not have to use a lot of resources to create the content since the recipe already existed, and they were able to capitalize on the cookies’ existing popularity. It also brings back memories of travel and vacation for people at home, and nostalgia can be a powerful marketing tool.

Brands give away content for free

Industry leaders, fitness instructors, celebrity chefs, and other brands are giving audiences access to free content. It’s obvious why that’s successful: people are stuck at home and need content that is helpful, reliving, or engaging. By sharing this content for free, they are building brand loyalty among repeat customers and a new audience.

Here’s a few brands that have given away content since the pandemic started.

  • Nikon School Online — Nikon has released all of their online content for free. 
  • HBO — For the month of April, the network provided a selection of tv shows, movies, and documentaries to viewers for free.
  • Fender Play Through — Fender is giving away 3 months of guitar lessons to the first 1 million people that sign up.
  • Active by Popsugar — Popsugar released their fitness app, Active by Popsugar, early due to stay-at-home orders. It’s supposed to be a paid app, but the company is offering it for free until further notice.

Small businesses can do it too

Many small businesses don’t have the resources to produce an entire video series and give it away for free, or to get people to submit photos of their wacky beards week after week. Here are our tips for creating winning content no matter how small your business. 

  • Make it useful.
    • Create guides featuring useful information specific to your industry. For example: “Top 5 questions real estate agents are asked”, “The photo gear we can’t live without”, “Tips and tricks for website design”, or “The best spots for outdoor yoga in Austin”.
  • Make it unique to you.
    • Yes, there are a lot of reviews, blogs, and tip and tricks out there. But there is one you. And that’s who your customers and followers want to hear from. Put your personal spin on this content by using real life stories and your work as examples. You can also personalize the content by making it hyperlocal to your city, or even your neighborhood.
  • Make it simple.
    • You don’t have to write a series of blogs or create a podcast in order to make an impact on your audience. Support your community by giving a social media shoutout to small businesses you work with. Share how your business is supporting your employees or giving back to the community. Or simply, let your audience know you’re thinking them and hope they are well.
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