Earlier this spring, Knotch compiled weekly reports dedicated to the analysis of brand communications and content related to the COVID-19 pandemic. We took a step back from those weekly reports at the end of May, as COVID-19 content production declined.

However, a lot has changed since that time, and we saw it fit to return with an overall look at COVID-19 owned content production (content produced on channels owned by the brand, such as a blog or social media channel) during Q2 of 2020. Our analysis considers overall COVID-19 content production during Q2, as well as specific themes and topics focused on in the COVID-19 content produced.

This report was compiled using data from 6,774 pieces of owned content produced during Q2 from nearly 200 Fortune 500 brands across 12 different industries. The goal is to provide a higher-level understanding of how brands have been talking to their audiences about COVID-19 and what they’ve been saying.

Here is what our research has shown us:

Consulting / Finance / Tax Brands Produced a Staggering Amount of COVID-19 Content

Brands in the Consulting / Finance / Tax sector, such as businesses like Deloitte, McKinsey & Company, and PricewaterhouseCoopers, produced an outsized amount of COVID-19. Of the 6,774 pieces of content we evaluated, 1,626 were produced by Consulting / Finance / Tax brands—which comprises 24% of all COVID-19 we measured. 

We’ve talked previously about the need for brands in this sector to produce a lot of content. For one, Consulting / Finance / Tax brands work with businesses in a lot of different industries, which means they must create content that appeals to a variety of audiences. By virtue of their work, Consulting / Finance / Tax brands are also able to collect proprietary information on many different business sectors.

This means they can create unique and helpful content that can serve consumers while also generating affinity toward their brand. Here are a few examples of helpful COVID-19 content produced by Consulting / Finance / Tax brands on their owned content hubs. Notice how each piece of content appeals to a different business sector:

HR / Payroll Services brands, including businesses like Paychex, TriNet, and Zenefits, were also prolific producers of owned COVID-19 content during Q2. On average, an HR / Payroll Services brand produced 63 pieces of content related to COVID-19 during Q2.

As an industry that specializes in employment logistics, HR / Payroll Services brands used their subject matter expertise to produce content around remote work and the future of work. Here are a few examples of this type of content:

“There has never been a more important time for us to leverage our expertise, reach, and scale in service of these amazing customers,” Michael Mendenhall, CMO of TriNet, told us. 

“Crisis Management” Was the Most Popular COVID-19 Content Theme

Here’s how we defined each COVID-19 content theme:

  • 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.

When writing about COVID-19, the most popular theme brands focused on was “Crisis Management.” This means their content reflected what steps they were taking to manage the COVID-19 pandemic internally, as well as externally. 

This insight tells us that most every brand found it necessary to explain to consumers specifically how they were responding to the crisis. The reason for this is twofold: in a time of uncertainty, consumers and employees are searching for concrete information they can use to make decisions.

Secondly, “Crisis Management” content can be produced without proprietary information. Instead, you’re providing value simply by explaining what it is your brand is doing in response to COVID-19. By doing so, you’re providing reassurance to your customers.

“We want our clients to know that they can rely on us to help them by providing the information they need to navigate this crisis and beyond,” says Jamie Roo, head of digital marketing content strategy at J.P. Morgan.

Here are a few examples of “Crisis Management” Content:

The two other most prevalent COVID-19 content themes were “Operational Impact” (comprising 14.2% of all COVID-19 content created) and “Impact Assessment (comprising 13.5% of all COVID-19 content created).

The former differs from “Crisis Management” content in that it focuses specifically on how COVID-19 will impact how the business is able to serve consumers. An example would be this eBay post about temporary changes to timelines for returns and claims during COVID-19. 

“Impact Assessment” is content created with proprietary information that sheds light on the impact COVID-19 is having at a macro level. The content produced by Consulting / Finance / Tax brands is primarily “Impact Assessment” content.

COVID-19 Content Production Decreased Over Time

As Q2 progressed, brands reduced the amount of content they were publishing on their owned content hubs. We found two reasons for this:

  • Data collected from the Knotch Content Intelligence Platform revealed that engagement rates began to decrease on COVID-19 content starting in late April and early May. This signals that consumers became less interested in reading about COVID-19.
  • As the pandemic began stretching into the summer, brands found they had less and less to say about COVID-19, leading to fewer COVID-19 articles being created. The only time COVID-19 content production spiked again after early May was when there were new newsworthy updates to share, such as businesses resuming operations or providing new data on the economic impact of the pandemic.

Read Our COVID-19 Content & Communications Q2 2020 Executive Overview for Industry-Specific Insights

What we’ve listed above are just a few high-level insights into the production of COVID-19 owned content during Q2 of 2020. For more insights, including an industry-by-industry breakdown of COVID-19 content production, download our full COVID-19 Content & Communications Q2 2020 Executive Overview.‍

Click here to download the free report.