The creation of content related to COVID-19 has proven to be an important strategy for many brands. Our data shows that companies publishing this type of content—which strives to be empathetic, rather than transactional—have seen a 20% increase in positive sentiment toward their brand.

For this reason, more companies are investing in COVID-19 content. In a recent Knotch survey of marketing professionals, 71% said they have increased content production as a result of COVID-19.
 

If your brand is looking to increase the volume of COVID-19 content, we’re here to help. We recently put out our analysis of Q1 COVID-19 owned content volume and themes. Going forward, we plan to release weekly updates on trends we’re seeing in regard to the creation and distribution of owned COVID-19 content across different industries.

For this report, we used the Knotch Content Intelligence Platform to compile data on 801 different pieces of COVID-19 owned content published between April 8, 2020 and April 16, 2020. The content published comes from over 150 different brands across 12 different industries.

Here’s what the data tells us:

Finance Brands Were The Most Frequent Publishers of COVID-19 Content

Over the eight-day period surveyed, the average consulting, finance, or tax-related brand put out roughly 12 pieces of content related to COVID-19 on their owned content hubs. That’s more than one piece of COVID-19 content per day. 

This makes sense when you consider these are businesses that are typically relied upon for insights and information. Furthermore, consulting, finance, and tax brands work with multiple categories of customers—therefore, they need to make content that speaks to multiple audiences. An example would be this Ernst & Young post targeting the real estate industry, or this Deloitte post for FinTech companies. 

Another sector with high volume was brands that provide HR and payroll services. On average, 11 pieces of content were put out by brands in this sector over the time surveyed. A lot of this content related to tips and advice for working from home. Examples include this Paychex whitepaper about creating a robust virtual workplace and a Zenefits blog post that provides advice to parents working from home.

There’s Been a Shift From News Content to Educational Content

The theme definitions are as follows:

  • News & updates: Crisis news related to the activities of the business.
  • Crisis management: The steps the business is taking to manage the crisis internally and externally.
  • Community/collaboration: Information on how the business and individuals can work together to overcome the crisis.
  • Impact assessment: Assessing the impact the crisis has had on the industry the business operates in.
  • Philanthropy/support: What the business is doing to aid in relief efforts.
  • Informational/educational: Educational content about the crisis.
  • Operational impact: How the crisis has impacted day-to-day operations.
  • Public health and safety: Information on how to protect your health and what the organization is doing to protect their customers’ health.
  • Employee relations: Content directed at employees to help them navigate and understand how the organization is responding to the crisis.
  • Leadership: Guidance on how to lead during a time of crisis.

In our Q1 report, we noted that news content related to COVID-19 was the most popular content theme, comprising 13.4% of all COVID-19 content produced in Q1. Early in Q2, we’ve already seen a fairly dramatic shift to more content focused on being educational (in Q1, educational content only accounted for 6.8% of all content produced).

There are a few reasons for this shift. First, the crisis is no longer as novel as it was in Q1, meaning readers don’t need as much COVID-19 news. However, as the need for news has decreased, the need to be educated on what you need to do to weather this storm has increased. 

The data also shows us that brands are becoming more proactive with their response to COVID-19. In Q1, brands didn’t have as much to offer their audience outside of news and updates. Now that some time has passed, they’re becoming more thoughtful in their approach to COVID-19 content, and this data is a reflection of that.

Brands Were Selective With the COVID-19 Content They Shared on Social

Our data shows us that many brands surveyed opted to refrain from sharing a bulk of their content on social media. Overall, 42% of all COVID-19 content was shared on social media. Consulting, finance, and tax brands, which published most frequently, only shared 59% of all COVID-19 content published on social media. 

HR and payroll brands, which published the second most frequently over the time surveyed, opted not to share any content on social media. This tells us that many brands may have felt it wasn’t appropriate to publish COVID-19 content on social media—a content channel that tends to be used more for casual engagement.

Brands Used Social Media to Promote Content Aimed at Fostering Community and Collaboration

On Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, the majority of content brands promoted dealt with topics related to community and collaboration, crisis management, and employee relations (in that order).

It makes sense that brands believe these are the topics that will resonate with their audiences. Community and collaboration content showcases the work the brand is doing to help others during this crisis. Examples include this blog post from Exxon on how they’re helping produce medical equipment. Another example comes from Google, which put out an announcement that the company will be working with Apple to perform COVID-19 contact tracing. 

This type of content is sure to generate good will with audiences on social media.

Crisis management content has been extremely popular since the onset of the pandemic, so it makes sense that it’s a popular content theme on social media. 

Employee relations content has also proven to work on social media. This includes content on what brands are doing to support their workforce during COVID-19, as well as tips and advice on how to be productive while working from home. Both subjects can help foster good will toward a brand. Examples include this post from 3M detailing what their employees are doing to help during the pandemic, and this post from Samsung on how to go green while working from home. 

“COVID” Appeared in Nearly Half of All Titles Related to COVID-19

No surprise here—it’s hard to write about COVID-19 without using the term “COVID” in the title of your article. Our data shows that 63.6% of all COVID-19 content featured the term “COVID” or “coronavirus” in the title. 

More interesting is that terms related to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act, which was recently passed by Congress, began appearing in titles. This includes the terms “small business,” “small businesses,” “cares act,” and “protection program” (the payroll protection program is a loan program aimed at supporting small businesses during the coronavirus).

Conclusion

In summary, here is what this data tells us about the COVID-19 content produced over the past week:

  • Consulting, finance, tax, and HR & payroll brands are most frequently publishing content about COVID-19.
  • Brands are producing an increased amount of informational/educational content in an effort to be more proactive with their COVID-19 communications.
  • Brands are being selective about the COVID-19 content they share on social media. Only 42% of all COVID-19 content was shared on social channels.
  • COVID-19 content topics that were often pushed to social media were community/collaboration content, crisis management content, and employee relations content.
  • Most COVID-19 content featured the terms “COVID” or “coronavirus” in the headline, but there were some headlines focusing on recent developments, such as the CARES Act. 

Click here to access the full weekly report.