Tag: coronavirus (page 1 of 1)

May 2020 Holidays: Opportunities to Show Gratitude to Nurses and First Responders This Year

May 2020 holidays have something for moms and gardeners. But there are some opportunities to recognize those fighting on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic.

First responders and nurses are helping treat people with the novel coronavirus. First responders are emergency medical services folks that include police officers, firefighters, emergency medical technicians, and paramedics. They show up when you call 9-1-1. In this crisis, they’re transporting infected patients to hospitals.

Header: "Thanking COVID-19's Frontline Fighters." Body: "May 2020 holidays dedicated to nurses and first responders, May 4 International Firefighters Day; May 6-12 National Nurses Week; May 10-16 National Police Week; May 12 International Nurses Day; May 17-23 National Emergency Medical Services Week."

And nurses, along with doctors, step-in once a patient arrives at the hospital. If you’ve ever experienced hospitalization, you know nurses are crucial to ensuring everything from your comfort to your healing.

In other words, nurses and first responders can’t stay-at-home and social distance. Their job is to help us when we get sick. Because of that mission, these workers are falling ill, too.

The best thing officials say we can do to protect medical workers is to limit the spread of COVID-19. So, let’s obey stay-at-home orders and guidelines and practice social distancing when we must go out.

But some May 2020 holidays allow content marketers to do a little more.

May 2020 Holidays for Nurses, First Responders

There are weeks and days in May for recognizing firefighters, police, nurses, and emergency medical services:

  • May 4
    • International Firefighters Day (#InternationalFirefightersDay)
  • May 6-12
    • National Nurses Week (#NationalNursesWeek)
  • May 10-16
    • National Police Week (#PoliceWeek)
  • May 12
    • International Nurses Day (#NursesDay)
  • May 17-23
    • National Emergency Medical Services Week (#EMSWeek)

Given the pandemic, organizers canceled many events planned for these special days and weeks. But that doesn’t mean we can’t use digital content to thank nurses and first responders.

Of course, our healthcare professionals are busy. Some are working 12-15 hour shifts, if not longer, trying to save lives and stem the spread of COVID-19. So, it may seem silly to create content thanking these workers while they’re fighting a war.

But people and organizations are already thanking healthcare professions:

And everyone likes to be seen, to have others acknowledge their efforts. Seeing people give thanks surely gives an emotional boost to first responders, nurses, and doctors. And some May 2020 holidays give us a perfect time to do so.

There are some guidelines, though, if you’re considering brand-backed content around these special days. Keep these in mind as you craft your campaign and messages:

  • Don’t sell. These opportunities are about recognizing the work of nurses and first responders. They’re not a chance to promote your products or services.
  • Stick to your brand voice. If weighing-in on these holidays feels out-of-place with your brand, don’t do it.
  • Be genuine. A crafty joke can often grab attention, but it’s a thin line to walk in a crisis. People are more likely to see your wittiness as inappropriate than they are to think it’s genius. Go for heartfelt and gracious over funny.
  • Remember what’s most important. During this pandemic, we’re told the best way we can help first responders and nurses is to stay home. Don’t encourage people to partake in risky and ill-advised behaviors. 
  • Check your goal. Your objective should be to help others recognize and thank nurses and first responders. Rethink your campaign or messages if you feel they don’t push toward that aim. Anything else at this time is inappropriate and likely to get your brand negative attention.    

What can your brand do to recognize nurses and first responders? How can you thank those healthcare workers who are your customers?

Some May 2020 holidays give us a chance to thank healthcare professionals. But there are other opportunities brands can leverage in May that can be relevant and suitable, even during a pandemic.

May Is the Month of Mom

Mom’s make out well in May. Mother’s Day (#MothersDay) falls on May 10 this year. But did you know that National Clean Up Your Room Day (#CleanUpYourRoomDay) is also on May 10? 

There’s a strong chance you don’t live with your mother. And, if you do, hopefully, you’re beyond her having to ask you to clean your room. But how about your customers and your target audience? 

Maybe they’re mothers with children still at home, or they’re kids with messy bedrooms. Even if your audience is adult men, there’s an opportunity here. You can do your father customers a favor by letting them know that May 10 is Mother’s Day AND National Clean Up Your Room Day. 

Two more May 2020 holidays that could be for mom are International Day of Families (#FamilyDay) and No Dirty Dishes Day (#NoDirtyDishesDay). Family Day is on May 15, with No Dirty Dishes Day happening on May 18.

International Day of Families is a United Nations initiative to highlight the importance of and challenges to families. It’s a holiday with serious significance. But that doesn’t mean it can still be a content opportunity for your brand.

Maybe you’re an organization that helps moms or kids. Then International Day of Families is designed for you. If your company supports organizations that help families, #FamilyDay might be an excellent time to talk about that work. 

Avoid bragging, though. If your company donates to a family-centric nonprofit, for example, talk about the work the organization does. Put the spotlight more on whom you support and why, not on what or how you help them.

No Dirty Dishes Day shouldn’t be a holiday for moms. I suspect, though, that in many homes still today it’s mothers keeping their kitchen sinks clear. 

This means that on May 18, eight days after Mother’s Day and Clean Up Your Room Day, kids, fathers, and husbands can again do something nice for mom. And your brand can remind them to do so. 

These May 2020 holidays for mothers are especially necessary during the COVID-19 pandemic. It might be harder for your customers to buy their mom flowers or get ingredients to cook their moms’ favorite meal. And in most states, they can’t take mom out to Mother’s Day lunch or dinner. They can, though, clean their bedrooms and wash the dirty dishes. 

How does Mother’s Day shift during this crisis, and what’s that impact on your brand messaging? What can your audience do to show mom their appreciation this year? 

Full List of May 2020 Holidays

May 2020 holidays give us a chance to recognize nurses, first responders, and mom. The COVID-19 pandemic highlights the importance of our healthcare professionals. And it shifts how many of us celebrate Mother’s Day.

Header: "May 2020 Content Ideas." Body: "Holidays and events you can use in content marketing."

Still, there are opportunities for brands to create engaging, heartfelt content. Be genuine. Don’t sell. Remember what’s most important. Stick to your brand voice. And stay focused on your goal.

Following these guidelines will help you produce blog posts, newsletters, and social media that help others. That should be our goal, now more than ever. 

Above is a breakdown of a few May 2020 holidays. But I’ve compiled a list of 60 holidays and special events in May that you can get by subscribing to my monthly Content Strategy Newsletter. 

If you’re already subscribed, you’ll receive the list of May 2020 holidays in my April 8 email.

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Brands, Pocket Your April Fools’ Pranks This Year

April Fools’ pranks are an annual April 1 tradition for brands trying to get attention and make us laugh. Last year, the dating app Tinder teased us with a new feature: Height Verification. And Starbucks joked they were opening stores for dogs.

The words, "April Fools' Day" with a red "x" on them, symbolizing that brands should skip their April Fools' pranks in 2020.

But this year, we need to social distance from April Fools’ pranks. April 1, or April Fools’ Day, 2020, is occurring in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s not the time for brands’ April Fools jokes.

Yes, people work on these pranks for weeks, if not months, leading up to April Fools’ Day. It’s an opportunity for employees to be creative. Brands hope their jokes produce positive media coverage. And, when done well, these stunts can make us laugh and bring levity to our lives.

2020, though, needs to be a year without April Fools’ pranks. Here are three reasons why.

Don’t Add to the attention traffic

Officials around the globe are trying to get facts and details to people about COVID-19. What guidelines should we follow to cut the virus’s spread? When do we seek medical attention? If we’ve lost our job, how do we get help to pay our bills?

It’s tough enough to deliver information to folks in our everyday lives. We’re busy and focusing on many things. But it’s even harder right now to ensure people receive info that’s vital to keeping people safe and alive. 

Last week, officials canceled the 2020 Olympics. Do you know the last time the Olympics didn’t take place was during World War II? And yet, the postponement of the 2020 games hardly registered amongst headlines about deaths and quarantines.

The last thing we need in this pandemic is more stuff competing for our attention. Brands should keep information vehicles, such as social media and news outlets, free of traffic. Don’t publish your 2020 April Fools’ pranks. 

April fools’ pranks Are inappropriate

Another reason brands need to pocket their April Fools’ jokes is that it’s insensitive. The novel coronavirus is responsible for at least 35,000 deaths, so far. Every nation on Earth has at least one diagnosed case.

We’re not laughing about COVID-19. And we’re not ready to chuckle at a brand’s prank. Sure, it’s good to laugh, even in a crisis. But a witty meme from a person we don’t know is different from a joke delivered by a company. 

A brand making a 2020 April Fools’ prank is more likely to make us cringe than guffaw. That’s because these annual teases are, after all, attempts to raise an organization’s profile and name recognition. Does such an approach seem appropriate during a global health crisis?

April Fools’ Pranks Will Generate the Wrong Headlines

Which brings up the next point about brands not pursuing 2020 April Fools’ jokes. Doing so is more likely to generate the wrong headlines for your company.

Every year, some April Fools’ pranks land well. These jokes are witty and make us laugh. They’re circulated on social media and highlighted by media outlets, as we all share in the fun.

In 2020, though, any sharing and covering of an April Fools’ joke are likely to be a bad thing. We won’t be retweeting a crafty tease. We’ll instead retweet a brand audacious and insensitive enough to try a publicity stunt during a pandemic.

This recommendation isn’t saying you should stop all your marketing and content marketing. If anything, now’s the time to speak more to your customers than ever before. But you want to do so in a way that’s not callous and exploitative of the situation.

Brands should let people know what’s happening to their business and how it impacts their customers. If they’re doing something to help us survive COVID-19, there may be an acceptable way to share that info as well. Here’s a running list of companies responding to the outbreak.

It’s not, though, the time for an April Fools’ prank. Focus your resources on helping your customers get through this crisis. Trying to grab attention by making a joke is likely to produce headlines about your brand that you don’t want to see.

Do us all a favor

Eighteen days after the terrorist attacks on 9/11, Saturday Night Live premiered its 27th season. The event brought laughter back to millions of people, starting a healing process for many.

9/11 was a single-day event. The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing outbreak, the likes of which never experienced by anyone on Earth today. 

There will be a time for brands to make us laugh again. But that time’s not now, not for 2020 April Fools’ Day. At this moment, we need attention focused on helping people survive. 

Brands making April Fools’ Day jokes is an annual tradition. And that’s the thing to remember about yearly traditions. The opportunity to enjoy them will come around next year. 

If your brand worked on a 2020 April Fools’ Day prank, pocket it until 2021. You’ll do yourselves, and us, a favor.


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Survival Kit Searches Surge As Americans Confront Coronavirus Pandemic

Survival kit searches surged. It was November 2012. Superstorm Sandy ravaged the Northeastern U.S. Then, U.S. President Barack Obama won reelection. 

A group of items often included in a survival kit.

Some celebrated Obama’s victory. Others started planning. A New York Times headline covering the election read, “Divided U.S. Gives Obama More Time.” 

Six days later, USA Today published an article titled, “For ‘preppers,’ every day could be doomsday.” The USA Today piece focused on how some “doomsday preppers” reacted to Obama’s reelection. “Preppers” are people planning for end-of-the-world scenarios.

The article included a quote from a “prepper” who posted on his website, “Several readers have written to ask me if I plan to stock up on more ammunition and magazines, now that the gun grabbers have further cemented their hold on Washington, D.C. My answer: No. I already have lots of ammunition and magazines.”

That “prepper” wasn’t alone. According to Google Trends, search interest in the U.S. for the phrase “survival kit” jumped. Interest in “survival kit” in Nov. and Dec. 2012 reached historic levels. See the line chart below.

Search interest for “survival kit” in the last two months of 2012 remains the highest ever. That’s according to Google’s data, which goes back to 2004. But now we have the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Will concern about the virus push searches for “survival kit” to new records? 

Looking at interest, not volume

It’s important to note that this article focuses on search interest for “survival kit,” not the total number of searches. Google Trends shows interest in people’s search activity. To do this, Google groups peoples’ searches into categories.

So, looking at the phrase “survival kit” on Google Trends may cover related keywords. One example may be “survival kits.” Google includes misspellings, such as “survivl kit,” as well.

One way Google Trends illustrates searches is through its “Interest over time” line chart. That’s what you see above. The graph uses a scale of 0-100, with 100 being the highest level of search interest.

Last month, “survival kit” earned a 37 on Google Trends for search interest. Going back to 2004, the average interest for “survival kit” in February is 41. So, interest in searching for survival kits in Feb. 2020 was below average. But that soon changed.

The last week of February saw a search interest spike. “Survival kit” averaged a search interest score of 30 for the first three weeks of February. But between Feb. 23-29, interest jumped to 60. 

Feb. 23 is when Italy announced an escalation in new coronavirus cases. On Feb. 24, President Donald Trump asked Congress for funds to help deal with the expected crisis. And the number of COVID-19 infections skyrocketed in Iran on Feb. 25. 

In other words, the last week of February is when COVID-19 became a global pandemic. And that’s when search interest for “survival kit” in the U.S. started climbing. After a one-week pause, it’s a trend that’s continuing.

The Day Survival Kit searches surged

There weren’t many news announcements about coronavirus in the first week of March. The only big U.S. news came from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The CDC lifted federal restrictions on testing for the virus on March 3. 

Based on Google Trends data, for March 1-10, 2020, Americans weren’t concerned. Search interest for “survival kit” averaged 47 in those ten days. That’s a little higher than the 37 daily average in February, but still, nothing too outlandish.

Even looking at terms such as “coronavirus” and “COVID-19,” you don’t see increased search activity. Combined, search interest for “coronavirus,” “COVID-19,” and “COVID19” averaged 18 between March 1-10. (Most searches are for “coronavirus,” not the name of the specific virus currently plaguing the planet, COVID-19.)

That changed when Trump addressed the country. In a nighttime speech from the Oval Office, the president spoke about the pandemic. He announced measures his administration was taking to keep Americans safe. (Trump misstated the details of many of the actions the government was taking.)

On March 11, 2020, coronavirus earned a Google Trends search interest score of 57. The next day, that number jumped to 98. The most recent data covers March 12-15. Over those four days, search interest for coronavirus averaged 92.

How about search interest in “survival kit?” Again, interest in that phrase averaged 47 the first ten days of March. It shot-up to 67 the day Trump spoke to the country, March 11. And then it leaped to 88 on March 12. Between March 12-15, search interest in “survival kit” averaged 85.

Looking at Google’s data, it’s clear that Americans awoke to the danger of coronavirus on March 11. And it doesn’t appear the president’s address calmed anyone’s nerves. Search interest in “survival kit” in the 48 hours after Trump spoke to the nation catapulted.

During those two days, search interest in “survival kit” reached levels we haven’t seen since Nov.-Dec. 2012. That’s when some prepared for “doomsday” after Barack Obama’s reelection. 

But it seems every day with this pandemic brings something new. And that may be the case with peoples’ interest in searching for survival kits. 

A milestone Survival Kit moment

As of this writing, Google Trends data is available through March 15. Search interest for “survival kit” spiked on March 12-13, averaging 94 out of 100. That changed, though, between March 14-15. 

On those days, the average search interest for the phrase “survival kit” dropped to 77. That’s still far higher than the monthly average of 47, going back to 2004. But it’s 17 points lower than the previous two-day average.

Looking at recent Google data, it’s clear we’re living in a milestone moment. Not since 2012 have people been as interested in survival kits. And interest is approaching Hurricane Katrina-like levels.

The search interest for “survival kit” during Hurricane Katrina was 83. Google currently projects interest in searching for that phrase in March at 72. If that holds, March 2020 will be a top ten-month for interest in searching for survival kits. And if this month’s search interest in “survival kit” gets above 73, it’ll crack the top five.

We don’t know what the future holds for the COVID-19 outbreak. Measures the U.S., state, and local governments took over the past few days may stem the pandemic. People may have less concern. So, interest in searching for keywords such as “survival kit” may drop.

Whatever happens going forward, though, March 12-15 represents a historic moment. Interest in survival kits surged. We’ll see in the coming days and weeks if that trend continues.


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