As the impact of COVID-19 continues to be felt across the world, brands are working hard to produce COVID-19 content that is relevant and helpful to consumers. We’ve been tracking the production and distribution of COVID-19 content on owned content hubs since the beginning of April, and are delivering our key insights to you each week in these reports.

This week’s report incorporates over 3,524 pieces of content produced by 196 different enterprise brands between April 8, 2020 and May 12, 2020. Here’s what we’re seeing:

After a Spike Last Week, COVID-19 Content Production Has Slumped Once More

covid content analysis

Last week we speculated that COVID-19 content production increased after news about “reopening the economy” became widespread. This week it’s decreased once more. We’re starting to see a trend here: COVID-19 content production comes in waves.

The reason? COVID-19 content is closely tied to the current news cycle. All narratives around COVID-19 depend on the latest news reports and government updates. Generally, we’ve seen the way COVID-19 has been talked about change roughly every two weeks. In mid-April, “flattening the curve” was the main topic of conversation. More recently, governments are talking about reopening for business.

Last week we saw content focused on News & Updates spike in response to this information. This week, News & Updates content has sharply decreased (more on this later). Why? Because there’s only so many ways you can talk about this news without sounding redundant. 

All of which is to say, as narratives around COVID-19 change, owned content production from brands will increase initially, then tail off until there is a new narrative that needs to be addressed.

We should note that the one sector where owned COVID-19 content increased week-over-week was automotive—an industry that stands to benefit greatly when stay-at-home orders are lifted.

Everyone’s Talking About Operational Impact

covid content analysis

As a reminder, 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.

Every single topic brands focus on in their content decreased this past week—with one glaring exception. Content focused on COVID-19’s day-to-day impact on operations increased greatly.

Examples of this type of content include this Oracle blog post on how to get your restaurant technology ready for reopening and Delta’s article on the steps they’re taking to ensure their facilities are clean. 

Why all the focus on Operational Impact? We’d speculate that it’s one of the only topics on which brands have new information to share. This correlates directly with the current news cycle. There’s nothing new to say about Crisis Management or Employee Relations. But when governments are talking about reopening businesses, brands are obligated to tell their employees and customers what steps they’ll take if and when they reopen. 

This includes information on changes to their service and how they will ensure customer and employee safety.

Overall, Operational Impact content volume increased from 6.5% share of voice last week to 8.3% this week. Meanwhile, the three most prevalent content themes—Crisis Management, Informational/Educational, and Impact Assessment—declined. 

Here’s the overall breakdown of the most prevalent themes in COVID-19 content published since April 8:

Crisis Management Content Continued (Again) to be the Most Popular Theme Shared on Social Media

covid content analysis
covid content analysis

Similar to last week, Crisis Management was the most popular content theme brands shared on social media. Brands continue to share roughly 37% of all COVID-19 content on social.

Community/Collaboration, Informational/Educational, and Philanthropy/Support content were other popular content themes shared on social media.

The Most Common Keywords Used In COVID-19 Content Continued to Track With Major Themes of the Crisis

covid content analysis

The keywords used in COVID-19 content titles have remained relatively static over the past few weeks. “COVID” and “coronavirus” continue to be the two most common terms, although “coronavirus” has been used with a lot less frequency.

Other common terms are related to the economic impact COVID-19 has had, such as “business,” “help,” and “work.”

Brand Spotlight: Ally Bank

covid content analysis

Ally Bank has always been a leader in content production amongst personal finance brands, and they’ve really stepped up their game since the outbreak of COVID-19. 

Their owned content hub, “Do It Right,” serves as a repository for financial literacy, personal finance education, and thought leadership. Their content covers a range of topics. Their verticals include “Life,” “Money,” “Car,” “Home,” “Bank,” “Invest,” and “Trends.” Their content hub also includes helpful tools like their Car Payment Calculator.

Over the past few months, they’ve shifted their focus to helping audiences financially during COVID-19. They’ve created thoughtful content on the CARES Act, the oil market, life after COVID-19, and physical and mental wellness.

This is in conjunction with their regular non-COVID-19 content—an acknowledgement that some readers have become fatigued by COVID-19-realted content.

Knotch has measured 16 pieces of content published by Ally Bank related to COVID-19 over the past month. Of this content, 81% was themed “Informational / Educational,” indicating that Ally understands the need of keeping their audience informed during this crisis. Overall, the volume of Informational/Educational content produced by Ally is among the most we’ve seen from a personal finance brand.

Given that individuals need to remain secure and up-to-date on their finances, this high proportion of education-driven content makes sense. 

50% of the content Ally produced was shared on social media, compared to 37% for brands overall. This indicates that Ally has had some success engaging with their customers on social.

Overall, Knotch’s sentiment response data shows that Ally Bank’s COVID-19 related content has been very positively received.

Key Takeaways

With over a month’s worth of content to look at, here are our overall takeaways as it pertains to the production and distribution of owned COVID-19 content:

  • Now that the novelty of the crisis has worn off, most content being produced by brands is tied directly to the current news cycle. We believe this will lead to peaks and valleys in COVID-19 content production.
  • If/when there is a new mainstream narrative related to COVID-19, we expect COVID-19 content production to increase once more. We think it’s prudent for all brands to be creating content in response to the latest news, as this is the type of information consumers want access to right now.
  • Operational Impact content is the most popular content theme right now because it’s the only subject on which brands have new information to share. It will be interesting to see if/how this changes once the news cycle shifts.

Click here to access the full weekly report.