The COVID-19 content landscape is rapidly changing week-over-week. Our weekly COVID-19 owned content analysis aims to provide your brand with actionable insights into how COVID-19 is being talked about across the business landscape, so you can better approach your own crisis communications.

This week’s report, our fourth overall, evaluates 3,024 pieces of content published between April 8, 2020 and May 5, 2020 from 194 different enterprise brands. These brands represent a plurality of industries, including Automotive, Finance, Energy, Insurance, Healthcare, Retail, Technology, Telecommunications, and Transportation. 

Here’s the latest on the COVID-19 content landscape.

COVID-19 Content Production Has Spiked Once More

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It seems the reports of “COVID-19 fatigue” were premature, as brands on average increased their COVID-19 production this week after decreasing it the week before. 

Industries where brands, on average, increased their COVID-19 owned content production include Consulting/Finance/Tax, Energy, Financial Investments, Insurance, Personal Finance, Pharmaceutical/Healthcare, Retail/CPG, Technology, Telecommunications, and Transportation.

The only sectors where COVID-19 owned content production remained stagnant or decreased were Automotive and HR/Payroll Services.

Most industries that increased COVID-19 content production either returned to or exceeded the levels of COVID-19 content production from the week of April 20—when COVID-19 content production was at its peak.

So, why the increase?

Well, by and large, there’s simply more to talk about. The overarching narrative around COVID-19 has shifted from flattening the curve to reopening the economy. Businesses are responding by creating content around their plans to resume operations, as well as predictions on what a post-COVID-19 world could look like.

A good example of this future-state content comes from Verizon. Their article “Return to business as unusual: the workplace of the (near) future,” details what Verizon thinks will change about work in the coming years, and how telecommunications companies can help facilitate that change.

Have you talked to your customers about the changing landscape yet? It’s time you do so.

Content Pertaining to “Reopening the Economy” Increased

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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.

We’ve already alluded to the fact that brands are increasing content production because there’s new things to talk about in relation to COVID-19. However, only very specific themes saw an increase in production.

This includes content around News & Updates, Operational Impact, Public Health & Safety, and Community/Collaboration. 

We believe the increase in these content themes relates to the changing commentary around COVID-19. News & Updates and Operational Impact content are important because people want to know if your business is planning on reopening or adjusting operations in the near future.

Public Health & Safety content is also important because, if your business is reopening, people want to know what safeguards you’ll have in place to protect their health. In just the past week, Lufthansa, American Airlines, Delta Airlines, and Alaska Airlines have put out new content on how all employees and customers will be required to wear face coverings.

Community/Collaboration content has increased partially because there is demand for it. A recent Knotch survey found that 47% of people want to see brands put out more Community/Collaboration content.

Some recent examples of Community/Collaboration content include FedEx’s announcement that they will be awarding $250,000 to eight small businesses, and UPS’ donation of $297,000 and protective masks to nonprofits in Louisville, Kentucky.

Here’s the overall breakdown of the most prevalent themes in COVID-19 content published over the past month:

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Crisis Management and Informational/Educational content saw a sharp decline in production over the past week, but are still the two most prevalent themes overall. It will be interesting to see if that remains the case in the coming weeks.

Crisis Management Content Was Most Common Theme Shared on Social Media

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Brands shared 37% of their COVID-19 content on social media, which matches last week’s figure. However, the predominant theme on all three social channels this past week was crisis management.

Crisis management has been a popular content theme for social media since the outset of the pandemic. But it’s interesting to see its prevalence increase across all three major social networks in the past week, particularly because Crisis Management content production decreased overall.

Simultaneously, Community/Collaboration and Informational/Educational content was shared less frequently. 

The Most Common Keywords Used in Titles Continued (Again) to Track With the Major Themes of the Crisis

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Are you writing about COVID-19? There's a good chance you’re using the term “COVID” in the title. Nothing really earth shattering about that insight.

Generally speaking, over the past few weeks we’ve found that the most popular keywords used in titles on content about COVID-19 are about what you’d expect. 

Terms like “help,” “business,” “support,” and “relief,” are all things brands want to talk about in some way or another in relation to the crisis. You can understand why, given the economic ramifications of the pandemic.

Spotlight: Ford Motor Company

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Among automotive brands, Ford Motor Company has set the standard in their response to COVID-19 from a content perspective.

For starters, they’ve created an appealing content hub for all of their COVID-19 comms. Here, you can watch a message from Ford CEO Jim Hackett on what the business is doing in response to COVID-19. Below that, there’s a repository of all the content Ford has produced in relation to COVID-19. 

This includes content on the benevolent initiatives Ford is undertaking to support others, as well as operational updates

Speaking of benevolence, Ford has decided to leverage their manufacturing resources to provide personal protective equipment to hospitals and companies in need. They provide information on how to submit a request on their website. In addition, Ford Fund, Ford’s philanthropic arm, is sharing content on health and wellness, safe driving, and how they’re supporting nonprofits.

Furthermore, Ford has created a dedicated page for individuals seeking payment relief on their vehicle, or who are interested in purchasing or leasing a Ford.

“Ford has done a really good job of having clarity of purpose in these types of situations,” says Lisa Schoder, head of US media, digital optimization and growth audience marketing at Ford Motor Company. “We were able to quickly put together messaging about what’s on people’s minds, and offer reassurance and programs to help our customers during this crisis.”

Taken all together, this is one of the more robust COVID-19 content hubs we’ve seen. It’s clear Ford has made a significant investment in their crisis comms, and understands the value of brand building during a crisis. 

Their efforts are even more impressive when you consider COVID-19’s detrimental impact on the automotive sector. Even still, we feel Ford’s prioritization of helpful and empathetic content will help them emerge from this crisis stronger than ever.

Key Takeaways

Over the past month, our data has provided us with a lot of interesting insights into how major brands are handling this crisis. Here are some key takeaways:

  • If there’s new developments in relation to COVID-19 that impact your business, you have a responsibility to your customers to talk about it. If the information is new and relevant, “COVID-19 fatigue” shouldn’t be a factor.
  • Content themes should be reflective of new developments. If a stay-at-home order was lifted in the state where you do business, explain to your customers how that impacts your operations. 
  • Community/Collaboration content has resonated with audiences since the beginning of this crisis, as it provides some reason for optimism during a difficult time.

Click here to access the full weekly report.