As the Coronavirus continues to dominate news cycles around the world, many organizations are looking for ways to continue their digital messaging in an ethical and effective manner that does not come across as tone deaf in the current climate. This requires finding a way to reach your audience and convey messages without stretching so far outside your wheelhouse that messages seem insensitive or become ineffective.

However, this difficult time also presents an opportunity to tap into your work in a new way, and make a real difference in the lives of people affected by the myriad ways Coronavirus has changed our society.

Hatcher Digital has been working with the News Literacy Project to thread the needle of effective and ethical digital communications during the pandemic. The News Literacy Project addresses issues around misinformation and disinformation, as well as news literacy in the classroom, including their service called Checkology, a browser-based platform designed for students in grades 6-12 to help educators teach news literacy.

At the beginning of March, as Coronavirus began to spread in the United States, the News Literacy Project and Hatcher Digital were already partnering on an ad campaign around Super Tuesday. As fallout from the virus began affecting schools and confusion spread about the virus on social media, the News Literacy Project saw an opportunity to pursue a new campaign aimed at meeting an important societal need while amplifying the organization’s message and mission.

To kick off this campaign, we met with their team to discuss their objectives and develop thoughtful campaign messaging around Coronavirus that would reach an interested audience.  After a great discussion, we chose to target parents and educators in the ten states with school closures in place and with the largest population of students.

We worked with the News Literacy Project to create ad copy and images relating to news literacy, Coronavirus, and Checkology. As part of their organizational response to the pandemic, the News Literacy Project decided to offer Checkology Premium, usually a paid service, for free. The ads focused on informing educators and parents about available online resources from the News Literacy Project, as well as driving traffic to a page featuring tips and a quiz to help people identify misinformation about Coronavirus online.

To date, the campaign ads, running across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn, have driven more than 3,500 people to their website, have reached over 100,000 people, and have been seen over 340,000 times. These results greatly outperform Facebook’s estimates for this campaign and demonstrate the general public’s interest in tools and resources they can use to navigate pandemic information.

This digital ad campaign is an excellent example of the creative, effective, and ethical ways digital communication tools can help organizations share their message with new people effectively and contribute to the greater good at a difficult time.

Watch our webinar with the News Literacy Project here.

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