We released our premium courses for free during Covid-19. Check out the results!

Coronavirus: we released our premium courses for free. Check out the results!

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Agility is the watchword for any marketing professional this year. If your strategy hasn’t changed dramatically since mid-March, you’re weeks behind.

Previously I wrote a guide to help you adapt your marketing. Now, I want to present how Rock Content is executing this plan with excellent results.

We’re not even halfway through 2020, and we’re in the middle of a global pandemic with devastating effects on the economy and, most importantly, on people’s physical and mental health.

Specifically, if you’re in the B2B market, you’re probably noticing that your customers are very afraid of what might happen in the future. This concern is justified; after all, people are isolated at home, cutting their expenses and worried.

Now, if you own a marketing company, or are part of a marketing department, you know that our area is usually one of the first to be affected. “If we’re not going to be able to sell, then why continue with marketing?” is a common thought.

In my previous text, I covered the principles for good marketing at the present moment.

In short:

  • adapt your message to what people are going through during this crisis and be useful where their attention is right now. Don’t try to be opportunistic;
  • focus on the top of the funnel and continue to grow your audience — it will be useful in the future. Visibility is still essential;
  • don’t be aggressive in selling; understand people’s timing and their insecurities. You can close sales in the future.

As a highlight on the second bullet point, we decided to make available, free of charge, some of Rock University’s paid courses to help people at this time when many are isolating themselves at home.

What we’ve done

The moment we truly felt the gravity of Covid-19 was when we decided that all Rock Content employees would be forced to work remotely, for their safety. That was our first action.

The second was to start thinking about how we could be useful for our audience, which was going through an insecure moment regarding both the present and the future.

In times of crisis or not, the principle that marketing must be useful to the public does not change, but, to be helpful at this particular moment, we had to adapt.

We changed our entire publishing schedule to create content that would answer people’s doubts about how to market in the crisis, market changes, extra webinars, etc.

Also, we started thinking about how to help even more. We decided that releasing some of our paid Rock University courses would be a quick and efficient way to collaborate with professional growth during the quarantine.

We defined that we would release 5 courses per week and also bring more information about the subject of the week in our social media, getting the teachers to interact and answer questions live.

We also engaged Rock.org, our social initiatives division. We provided unlimited access to all of our courses for public school students, in partnership with an NGO called “Embaixadores da Educação”, or Ambassadors of Education, in literal translation.

The name of the project is “Fora Coronavírus,” which could be translated into something like “Get Out, Coronavirus!”.

We weren’t thinking about metrics or goals at that time. 

In fact, we knew that this action’s goals wouldn’t be generating businesses, which is fine.

Also, we didn’t mind that our online course sales revenue would be impacted, as it was the right thing to do. 

Of course, we also imagined it would bring visibility to the brand. However, it ended up being much more than expected.


Rock University currently holds 255,213 registered students and 91,367 certified ones.

Out of these, 30,397 thousand students registered only in March (the campaign started in the last week of the month), 3 times more than our best month ever. April has barely begun and has already taken second place.

new users in rock university

With the increase in registrations and the release of one course per week, we also saw a higher number of certified students: 9,273.

increase on the certified students

Since the beginning of this action, one person is getting a certification every 5 minutes, on average. 

That would be successful enough for me to know that we are helping so many people.

By the end of March, there was a peak of new followers on Instagram:

audience growth

The number of mentions on Instagram and the volume of people who are posting their certificates on LinkedIn are impressive, and that makes me very happy.

But it’s not all. 

Although not easily measurable, the fact that all of these mentions are positive means a job well done.

In terms of results, we can consider that this was an action that strongly reinforced our brand’s positive image, besides granting us a much bigger reach than usual.

Although we’re not measuring the results in terms of contribution to our sales, it’s still a great success for our branding.

The results that matter

As I mentioned before, the decision to do this action came up spontaneously, without a defined business goal. 

The result is that, so far, we’ve had zero new customers because of this campaign, which doesn’t matter much.

The result that matters is seeing testimonials like this one (I selected one, but I get several) and knowing that we are helping people in the middle of this hurricane:

The message says:

testimonial to vitor peçanha

Hello, Vitor.
My name is Vinicius, and due to the Coronavirus crisis, I decided to marathon the Rock University courses. In fact, I’m finishing my fifth certification and, thanks to all of them, I got a new job amid this whole pandemic crisis!

If you own a company or work in marketing, think about how you can be useful at this time. 

This probably won’t bring you immediate business results, but be sure that people will remember that, at some point in the future.

We are still in the middle of the campaign, these numbers will grow a lot, but I chose to publish this text now so that more professionals can be inspired and help during this crisis.

And if you want to know more about Rock Content’s initiatives in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic, check out our post!


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