Last week we began a weekly series evaluating trends we’ve seen in relation to the creation and distribution of owned COVID-19 related content across different brands and industries. Each week,we’ll be building upon our original data collected through the Knotch Content Intelligence Platform to try and provide you with key insights into how brands are talking about COVID-19.

This week’s report is based on data from 1,564 pieces of content measured across 178 different brands between April 8th, 2020 and April 23nd, 2020. Here’s what the data tells us about how brands are approaching their COVID-19 content strategy.

Many Brands Decreased Their COVID-19 Content Output

While Consulting / Finance / Tax  brands increased their COVID-19 content output, many other brands slowed down the amount of COVID-19 content they’re producing week-over-week. Here’s a comparison of the average number of pieces of content produced per brand across different industries last week and this week:

Aside from Consulting / Finance / Tax, Energy, Personal Finance, and Transportation, brands on average produced less content during the period measured compared to last week. Having said that, overall content production is still quite high. Furthermore, a recent Knotch survey found that 71% of marketers have increased content production as a result of COVID-19. 

Increasing COVID-19 content output has been a winning strategy for brands during this crisis, as it allows them to continue engaging with their customers while not trying to sell them anything. Our partners have reported a spike in positive sentiment towards their brand after producing COVID-19 content.

The Most Common COVID-19 Content Theme Continues to be Information/Education

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.

For the second week in a row, Informational / Educational content was the most prominent theme in all COVID-19 content, followed by Crisis Management. News & Updates content continued to become less prevalent (dropping from 11.6% of content last week to 10.5% of content this week), while content related to Impact Assessment increased (9.6% last week to 12.6% this week).

We’d attribute the spike in Impact Assessment content to the fact that more information regarding the impact COVID-19 is having on the world is made available with each passing day. A good example is this infographic by Bain & Company, which forecasts COVID-19’s impact on the automotive industry.

From a consumer perspective, a recent Knotch poll of 118 webinar attendees found that 61% said they’d like to see brands produce more content related to Community / Collaboration. Despite this, Community / Collaboration content actually decreased week-over-week, from 11.6% to 10.5%.

More Variation to Content Featured on Social Channels

Last week, the majority of COVID-19 content shared on Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn fell under the “Community / Collaboration” theme. This week, we’re seeing a bit more variation in the content themes shared on different social channels.

While Community / Collaboration content was still prominent on all three channels, more Twitter COVID-19 content published by brands focused on Crisis Management. Meanwhile, brands primarily focused on Informational / Educational content on LinkedIn.

We feel this variation in content themes on social media is normal, considering brands need to diversify the themes they are focusing on as time goes on. Having said that, Community / Collaboration content seems to still be playing very well on social media.

Keep in mind that, overall, brands are only sharing 39% of all COVID-19 content produced on social media, meaning many don’t believe a lot of their COVID-19 content is appropriate for social.

Fewer COVID-19 Articles Use the Term “COVID” in the Title

Last week our data showed that roughly 47.9% of all COVID-19 content included the term “COVID” in the title. This week, that number has dropped by nearly 10% to 38.1%. The term “coronavirus” has also seen a slight decrease in volume, from 15.7% last week to 12.7% this week.

At the same time, the terms “remote,” “help,” “support,” and “home” all spiked in search volume over the past week. Meanwhile, terms related to the Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act all but disappeared, given that news is now fairly old.

Spotlight: Salesforce

Salesforce has been a leader in COVID-19 content production since the outset of this crisis. Their approach provides an excellent roadmap for other businesses looking to invest in COVID-19 content production.

Like many other brands, Salesforce has created a webpage that houses all of their COVID-19 content and resources. Within their COVID-19 content hub they provide links to a variety of different types of content, including webinars, videos, and a downloadable guide on how to plan for life after COVID-19.

At the top of the front page of the Salesforce website, there are additional links to content related to COVID-19, including Leading Through Change, a series of informational blog posts from experts on topics related to COVID-19. Salesforce has also created a COVID-19 Data Hub, which provides data related to the COVID-19 outbreak using Salesforce’s proprietary data platform Tableau. 

This multi-faceted approach to COVID-19 content creation allows Salesforce to meet their customers where they are while also increasing Salesforce’s brand engagement and share of voice.

Key Takeaways

The past two weeks of data related to COVID-19 content provide us with a clearer picture of how brands are thinking about this crisis and speaking to their audience about it. Here are our key takeaways:

  • COVID-19 content production decreased week-over-week. This may singal COVID-19 content fatigue. It will be interesting to see the change in COVID-19 content production next week, as demand for this type of content is still high. 
  • While informational/educational topics continue to be the most popular COVID-19 content theme, we’re seeing a greater diversity in the topics focused on, likely because brands are searching for new ways to talk about COVID-19.
  • Brands continue to exercise a lot of caution with the COVID-19 content they share on social media.
  • Fewer COVID-19 content titles feature the terms “COVID” and “coronavirus.” This could be another sign of COVID-19 content fatigue. 

Click here to access the full weekly report.