Once the world realised COVID-19 wasn’t going away quickly, it immediately became more digital. No matter the field, companies began looking at ways to not just survive, but to thrive in a new digital environment. India’s media company Anandabazar Patrika is no exception, and it decided to look toward a previously untouched niche to expand its audience and open up new sales opportunities.
ABP entered the education sector by launching ABPeducation.com. ABP recognised that COVID-19 caused tremendous uncertainty on how to apply for college or start a new career after graduation. The company wanted to use its trusted name in news to become a trusted source of education news for students interested in higher education. ABP also knew a focus on education could provide a new revenue stream.
Reaching a locked-down market
The problem, ABP soon found, was that it had no promotion budget. And, because everyone was on lockdown, on-campus ads and other non-digital ads would be completely ineffective. It took ABP days of brainstorming to come up with the idea to hold Webinars with academic influencers.
However, it was apparent that not just any Webinar would be able to unite students and educators, encourage institutions to see this as an advertising opportunity, and attract and grow a sufficient audience. ABP decided to launch a five-part series that talked about the impact of COVID-19 on education.
To do that, it reached out to specific educators who had strong social media accounts and avid student followers. The first Webinar was a roundtable with all the vice chancellors of public and private colleges in the city of Kolkata, India. The other Webinars focused on four relevant topics: media, hospitality, design, and engineering.
Almost overnight, ABP was hosting top educators and with that bold move came success. Over five weeks, 49 speakers from 38 institutions participated in the Webinars, and ABPEducation.com saw 10,000 registrations and 700,000 video views.
A changing workforce
A secondary issue facing the education world became apparent as ABP listened to feedback and heard from thousands of students and other people in education. From that feedback, the company realised just how concerned people were about how COVID-19 was making it difficult to connect students and colleges. Students were particularly concerned about how the virus was changing the workforce they were about to enter.
So, part two of ABPeducation.com’s plan was to launch a 30-panel discussion on emerging careers that would fill projected skill gaps over the next two to three years. Each panel included industry experts and educators. The series began with engineering, since India sees a large interest in that field from students, and ABP assembled some of the most influential names in the industry.
ABP also allowed participants to choose their own Webinars and, as a marketing tool, issued e-certificates to be shared on social media to help spread awareness. That proved to be valuable, as ABP saw registrations start pouring in.
The idea to approach education as a new revenue stream worked, too. ABP sold commercials to top institutions and made back the money it spent on the project within four months. In that time, ABPEducation.com also saw about 1.3 million visitors on its Web site, gained 40,000 new registrations, and amassed more than 3 million video views.