I initially wanted to cultivate the Covid-19 topic into something that could not be produced by other content marketing campaign creators. I am quite confident because I have some exclusive internal data sets to be linked to the topic of Covid-19.
“These data will captivate a lot of media and become popular talk during this pandemic period,” I thought. But I was mistaken. The exposure to Covid-19 is massive, but it doesn’t mean that all the content about the pandemic can draw the attention of my audience.
Hence through this writing, I will share three lessons I learned when creating content from the topic of Covid-19 over the last three months at iPrice. And hopefully, I’ll be able to help other marketers develop content that is suitable for this pandemic period. Here they are:
No need to inject exclusivity to a Covid-19 topic. Exclusive stories don’t automatically make my content popular among the crowd, and special data treats doesn’t make my Covid-19 content any fancier than other Covid-19 content that overlaps everywhere. Data is just an instrument that helps us find information and answers to the audience’s questions. Although we put a big effort to produce exclusive stories, if it never really resonates with the audience, they will be easily turned away.
Back in February, I assumed if we could create content that showed a price surging trend of surgical masks when Covid-19 was regarded as a plague, it would be able to spark a viral discussion in the crowd. People were panicking because of surgical mask hoarding activity in response to Covid-19. In addition, we have an exclusive dataset that explains the historical price of the face mask. But apparently, the price surging trend did not manage to encourage a wider discussion. The audience would rather know where to buy affordable surgical masks because at the same time the product became scarce in the market.
Similar content from other regional media is useful for validation. There are truly no new ideas in the creative world, including content marketing. Often, content that is popular in one country is already popular in other countries. This does not mean something negative because it can be used as a validation to check what kind of content has a higher potential for success.
We did some validation before we executed the idea in a simple way. Through Google Search, we will look for content with ideas that are similar to success in other regions. We type hypotheses about the topic plus the media names from another region on Google Search, then we see what the final form of the content is. On “unexpected product purchased during a pandemic” angle, we found that the BBC had already published their findings first. However, the stories they present are limited to the scope of the audience in the UK and are not specific to the field of the e-commerce industry. From there we took the opportunity to fill in the information gaps with insight about Southeast Asia market behavior that were still empty.
We need a lot more fun content. In general, content about Covid-19 tends to be wrapped in serious stories that give discomfort. Mass media collectively and repetitively highlighted disruption in various fields due to the pandemic, particularly in the areas of economics and health. That serious content story will gradually drive saturation to the reader until they no longer want to be exposed to it. Audiences, of any kind, are essentially wanting to get information they can enjoy. Hence when writing on Covid-19 for audiences, it’s important to bring stories about things that are attached and relaxed to them.
Let’s take an example from the business trend. We are often exposed by stories of sluggish business activity, how the pandemic reduced purchasing power, limited movement of goods, and many more. But when we dig further, we are able to see unique and unexpected behavior from our audiences when they shop online.
In fact, they don’t stop shopping. The demand for unexpected products under categories like adult stuff, gaming, and drinks have soared since the first wave of the pandemic in the region. The facts about the increase in condom purchases or the increasing infatuation of people playing Nintendo provide information options that are more pleasing to the audience.
We then package it into a writing style that is light, casual, and fun to read, in another name it is called B2C content. People really like the fun angle regarding condoms and Nintendo, which would then encourage them to comment. From those two stories only, we managed to obtain more than 100 links from both local and international media in the respective iPrice country market in the past one month.