For those of us who are lucky enough to have jobs that we can do from home, the COVID-19 crisis has compelled us to reshape priorities for the months ahead. Our lives, plans and routines may be temporarily upended, but as communicators, our skills have perhaps never been so valuable, and with budgets crunched for everyone, cost-effectiveness is top of the agenda.
We know many of our clients and peers have had to rethink their communications strategies. For charities and brands working in emergency response, or in the healthcare sector, this has meant completely refocusing their activities on COVID-specific services. For others who are more removed from the frontline, the crisis has nevertheless forced many to delay or even cancel crucial events and campaigns, in order to adapt resources.
Despite this situation, most of us will still need to create content – whether it’s specific to COVID-19, or just reassuring audiences that it’s business-as-usual for your organisation. And while we might be constrained in what we can produce these days, given that film shoots are not possible during a lockdown, there are many alternative ways of executing marketing assets with no loss of quality – and, fortunately, many of them happen to be a good bit cheaper and quicker to turn around.
Here are seven types of cost-effective content you can create right now.
Using stock or archive footage doesn’t have to feel cheap. Sometimes all you need is a strong script and voiceover, and effective use of imagery, editing and sound design to create a powerful and urgent campaign, like in our brand film for Scope, below. You can even turn still photography into a striking video using techniques such as cinemagraph and parallax effects, as we did in our DRTV project for Save the Children Germany.
Animation can be extremely creative and is particularly effective for illustrating complex ideas, or bringing to life emotional messages. Our animators have created many different styles for our clients over the years – from simple explainers (Marie Curie) to social campaigns (Tommy’s) and urgent appeals (World Vision). Similarly, motion graphics overlaid on stock or existing footage are a great way to carve out a distinctive style for your brand’s content – as shown in our showreel of Twitter content. For more inspiration, check out our advice for creating animations during lockdown.
Beautiful and original artwork can help you stand out in a crowded space, especially when combined with strong copywriting and typography. Our Christmas campaign for Crisis used an original illustration in the style of a ‘Wimmelbild’ to highlight their many services for the homeless.
UGC gets great engagement at the best of times – and trusted, authentic voices are more valued than ever in a crisis. If you can source footage from your network of staff, beneficiaries, ambassadors or supporters speaking to camera or documenting what’s in front of them, this type of content plays particularly well on social channels. In our video for Climate Week 2019, we used UGC alongside stock content and a combination of voiceovers to build a powerful rallying cry.
With minimal set-up, live streams can be a great way to connect with your audience. If your brand has experts and specialists in your network who people would love to hear from, setting them up for a Live stream can be a fantastic way to interact with your audience in real time and give back.
Similarly, with minimal equipment, influencers or ambassadors for your brand or charity can record high-quality voiceovers for content – or even to explore audio content forms like podcasts! You can do so much with audio, including turning interviews, case studies, presentations or discussions into animations or videos for your social media.
Our new locked-down reality means that a lot of people will be spending more time on their phones and laptops consuming content and reading. There’s never been such a captive audience for strong copywriting that drives real action. We can help you add value to your customers or supporters with a simple, strategic approach to producing relevant, timely and interesting content.
We hope these examples are inspiring. If you’d like help with any content production or strategy, or even just to chat through some ideas, feel free to get in touch directly and we can set up a Zoom meeting: firstname.lastname@example.org