With many of us now under “stay at home” or “shelter in place” orders, we may find ourselves with a lot of extra time on our hands. 

If you’re like my household, this means a daily increase in our consumption of online and streaming service content (and also hopefully a nice mix of quality person-to-person interactions with our quarantine buddies).

As I’ve been searching for creative ways to pass the time, I started to notice some surprising and even uplifting content finding its way into my news feed and texts with friends — even from brands and organizations I would never expect. 

For a moment, let’s spend some time focused on the good in the midst of total chaos and uncertainty. 

I’d like to shine a little positivity and light into your day, and share the story of unexpected content creators winning the battle against the COVID-19 blues. 

Below is a list of inspiring organizations and individuals, and the incredible content they’re creating in response to, or resurfacing, during this unprecedented time. 

I hope that at least one of these resources brings you joy, and that you take advantage of these  these resources to infuse some culture, happiness, and productivity into your new daily routine!

Hey, maybe they’ll even inspire content for your business!

1. Metropolitan Opera Live in HD series

A totally unexpected and pleasant surprise came out of New York City a day after the announcement was made that all upcoming Broadway and other live performing arts events would be canceled.

On March 13, New York’s Metropolitan Opera (aka The Met) announced the launch of “Nightly Met Opera Streams” — a three-week event bringing opera classics to a new and expanding audience online. 

Monday, March 16 through Sunday, April 5, The Met is broadcasting a series of encore performances from its award-winning Live in HD series of cinema transmissions via the company website.

Whether you’re a fan of the opera or if you’ve never given it a try, now is your chance to take advantage this unique and limited-time experience.

The on-demand recordings are posted at 7:30 p.m. EDT to the homepage of metopera.org and available for 24 hours. 

You can check out the entire schedule in the official press release.

Who would have thought that a traditionally in-person experience would be made available to the masses? It’s a great example of how awesome content can create new fans in unlikely places! 

Bonus: Is Broadway more your jam? Here’s a list of 15 Broadway plays and musicals you can stream at home.

2. Yale University’s “The Science of Well-Being” online course

Okay, so taking an online course isn’t a “new” concept per se, but taking an Ivy League course for FREE is certainly something you don’t see every day.

Have you ever wanted to learn more about how to build and live a productive, happy, and fulfilled life? Who hasn’t?

The course, originally called “Psychology and the Good Life” was unveiled in Spring 2018 and quickly become Yale’s most popular class of all time.

In fact, three days into Spring semester enrollment roughly 1,200 students had signed up — equating to one-fourth of Yale’s undergraduate student body.

After gaining national and international attention, and many requests for access to the course, Yale psychology professor Laurie Santos created an on-demand recording of her lecture materials that is now available for free on Coursera, an online education platform.

Course Description: In this course, you will engage in a series of challenges designed to increase your own happiness and build more productive habits. As preparation for these tasks, Professor Laurie Santos reveals misconceptions about happiness, annoying features of the mind that lead us to think the way we do, and the research that can help us change. You will ultimately be prepared to successfully incorporate a specific wellness activity into your life.

I should clarify that the online version of this course wasn’t created in response to the current COVID-19 situation, but given the current situation, it has seen a new surge in popularity. 

Click here to sign up for the free online course or select the $49 option to receive a certification of completion. You can even customize your coursework to the speed at which you’d like to learn.

And if you’re interested in a review on the course and more information on what to expect, be sure to check out this article. 

One of the reasons I love this offer from Yale is because it’s more than just entertainment — it’s educational, and designed to help people grow and improve their lives. That’s a bold and admirable goal.

As a marketer and life-long learner, I see enormous value in providing free educational resources previously reserved for a very small and elite group of people. It comes with an air of exclusivity, but is something anyone and everyone can benefit from. 

When your organization is creating content, think about the true value you want to provide to your audience. Is it intended to simply entertain, or are you looking to do more, like equipping them with the knowledge and tools they need to solve for a problem?

Furthermore, exploring the possibilities of online education is huge for many organizations right now. Not only given our current quarantine limitations, but also the expansion of a remote workforce and virtual communities. 

It’s no surprise that we’re seeing a continued increase in online training and education because it offers companies the ability to create large-scale training programs in an on-demand environment, without geographic limitations. 

Once created, you can utilize (or sell) it any number of times without additional internal resources, resulting in exponential efficiencies and value.

3. Artists giving live instruction and performances from their homes

I’ll lump these into a group, because there are just too many examples to spotlight (which is great!). 

From ballerinas to musicians, performers are taking to Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Twitch, you name it…to provide their fans with live, impromptu content. 

They may be offering valuable instruction on form and technique, or simply helping to fill the void with lighthearted, pure entertainment. Check out these articles for more information: 

As a marketer, these resources are great examples of video marketing at its finest. 

Video, whether it’s published via social profiles, a website or streaming service, is a versatile medium that appeals to wide audiences. Furthermore, they don’t have to be perfect to be effective.

As you can see in these examples, the best video content is oftentimes bootstrapped (meaning it’s not 100% professionally produced). 

Your followers and fans don’t mind that it’s unedited. In fact, they may love it more for that exact reason. Creation of this kind of raw, real-time content comes off as more authentic and genuine. 

If nothing else, the current limitations from COVID-19 is forcing businesses and individuals to pivot their marketing strategies. Through mediums like video, they’re connecting with existing and new audiences, and creating a new generation of fans and and brand advocates.

What new content and value is your brand bringing to the table?

Even if these resources don’t interest you personally, one takeaway we can all agree on is that this content (video in particular) and the message it brings to all of us in this time of need is inspirational.  

It’s encouraging to see traditional organizations and industries that are primarily experienced in-person pivoting to find new, digital alternatives to still connect and provide value to their audiences. 

Content marketing creates new opportunities for those brands to extend their online presence and build new followers. 

And while it almost seems obvious that these technologies exist and could be possible without a pandemic, it took something extraordinary to occur in order for new and extraordinary approaches to be taken.

If you’re not thinking along these lines and what your organization could be doing right now to bring value to your audiences, you definitely should be. 

Otherwise, this will be a missed opportunity for many brands to learn about their customers and bring unique value to mass audiences craving new content.





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