By March 12, 2020, the pandemic had hit Norwegian shores and, overnight, people across the country were forced to stay at home and change their lives. It was a challenging time for all, but also an opportunity for us. At Aftenposten, we decided to speed up journalism on all issues related to our reader’s new life at home: parenting, homeschooling, home office, mental health, psychology, nutrition, and other aspects of most families’ everyday life.
Our successful parenting podcast, The Parent Code, launched in 2019 and was already well-established; we also already provided the readers with some content about family life. Aftenposten Junior, a newspaper for children, had been a huge success for almost 10 years.
Still, these were fragmented initiatives. The feeling was that we could get more out of it, and now it was time to step up and speed up journalism on all issues related to our reader’s home life. We had to create an overall and clear value proposition and decided to take a clear role as Norway’s leading provider of quality-assured, research-based content about home life under a pandemic in general, and life with children in particular.
The readers’ needs for information were huge from day one. We immediately decided to increase the content production on parenting and life at home topics by 50%. A lot of content was produced based on input and questions we received from readers. The continuous contact helped us take the pulse of what the readers were really interested in during this first period of the pandemic.
Providing more resources
We associated ourselves with psychologists, teachers, doctors, family therapists, experts on children’s health, virus experts, etc. They gave us further insight into questions and fears. The readers were also invited to write directly to these experts and get quick answers. Brand new content was developed in line with readers’ questions. New and previous content was gathered in one newly designed section universe on ap.no and was named Life at Home.
As months passed by, we decided to point the content even more closely to life as parents, due to our reader’s needs. We decided to rename the section from Life at Home to Parenthood. All the challenges associated with life as parents appeared to be more relevant than ever during these difficult times.
There are almost no limits to the information parents can find online; nevertheless, our readers demanded more thorough, systematic, quality-checked, knowledge-based, and curated content on all aspects of life as parents. As Norway’s leading quality newspaper, we were in a favourable position to take this role.
The results on the Life at Home/Parenthood vertical exceeded our ambitious goals by far. More than 3,000 people bought a subscription on Aftenposten via our content, and from day one the articles were among the best performing in the entire Aftenposten universe. (They still are, both on conversion and engagement-KPIs.) These subscribers are also significantly younger than our average new subscribers, and they are more loyal.
For the first time, we set up a thoroughly cross-functional team with shared goals. This has been an effective catalyst for innovation and content development. We were able to quickly create a tailored, powerful new vertical that responded to what our users needed when the world changed overnight.
Creating a new content universe
In a very short time, Aftenposten built a completely separate, large content universe adapted to the new home life. It only took hours from the time the lockdown began until our first new concepts were published.
With high-quality content, Life at Home/Parenthood has proven to be a solid foundation to build on and expand moving ahead. We have built a content-rich, playful, and solid universe that readers have shown they want more of. Parenting, work-life, and school may never be the same in the future. But we are ready for whatever comes.