Coronavirus communications online: our latest recommendations and best practice

Scott Payton harvests lessons and ideas from the ongoing response to the Covid-19 pandemic on corporate digital channels

At Bowen Craggs, we’ve spent the last few weeks identifying best practice examples of coronavirus communications on corporate websites and social media channels.

The aim is to give other companies practical lessons and ideas for ensuring that their own online information about Covid-19 is as clear, useful and easy to find as possible.

Following our article on this topic last week, here are some updated recommendations for corporate communications, press and investor relations teams – illustrated by fresh examples of companies putting them into practice. 

Create a dedicated online hub for your coronavirus communications

Building a single Covid-19 information hub makes it easier for your company to provide consistent, clear and comprehensive information to all audience groups – eliminating the risk of duplication and fragmentation of messaging. 

This hub should be updated regularly and can house new press releases, policy announcements and other new materials as and when they’re created.

Saudi Aramco’s COVID-19 information hub is a good example of this approach. 

Screenshot of Saudi Aramco's COVID-19 information hub

Another energy major, BP, includes a regularly updated ‘response timeline’ in its coronavirus information hub

Screenshot of BPs response timeline on its coronavirus information hub

 

Meanwhile, Amazon has set up a dedicated blog focused on the company’s response to the pandemic, with ‘daily updates on how we’re addressing the crisis.’ 

It’s a simple but effective approach.

Screenshot of Amazon's dedicated COVID-19 blog

 

Where should you put your coronavirus information hub? Conventional and therefore intuitive locations are the ‘About’ or ‘News’ section of your global corporate website. 

Siemens’ coronavirus hub is in ‘About us’ on Siemens.com, while the BP and Saudi Aramco hubs are in the ‘News and insights’ and ‘News & Media’ sections of their respective sites.

Promote your coronavirus information hub prominently – via your social media channels and key pages on your corporate website

As well as being comprehensive, it’s also vital that your coronavirus information hub is easy to find. That means promoting it regularly via your key social media channels, as well as on the home page and section landing pages of your global website.

For companies with separate consumer-facing and corporate sites, it’s important to provide prominent signposts on both. As we noted last week, US retail giant Target does this well. 

UK-headquartered pharmaceuticals company AstraZeneca devotes the three main panels of its home page to signposting information on the firm’s response to the pandemic. 

 

Screenshot of AstraZeneca's home page links to its COVID-19 information hub

 

German industrial manufacturing group Siemens has put a prominent coronavirus ‘business update’ link in the main heading of its corporate website’s investor relations section

Screenshot of the COVID-19 business update link on its Investor Relations landing page

 

Prominent signposting like this not only ensures that visitors can easily find your coronavirus information; it also amplifies the message to investors, analysts and other key audience groups that your company is being proactive about its response. 

Be comprehensive

It’s vital to address all aspects of your company’s response to the pandemic – including its impact on employees, customers, operations and communities in which your firm operates.

Investor and analysts will also, of course, also want you to cover how your company is bolstering its finances to withstand future market uncertainty.

BP successfully touches on these areas in a single, well-crafted tweet:

Screenshot of a tweet from BP announcing new information about its COVID-19 response

So does Nestlé – adding video with captions to bring its response to life:     

Screenshot of a tweet from Nestlé announcing its COVID-19 response with video

Send a personal message from the top

Earlier in the course of the pandemic, many companies merely acknowledged it via a bland text statement signed by the CEO on their website. 

Now more companies are recognising that it’s important to go further – for example by providing a photo of the chief executive; a large pull-quote encapsulating a key message; and ideally links to further information on the chief executive’s LinkedIn account, if they actively use one for corporate communications purposes. 

BP provides all of these in its coronavirus information hub.

Screenshot of a LinkedIn message about the corporate response to coronavirus from Bernard Looney, CEO of BP

Provide FAQs

A set of ‘frequently asked questions’ is a simple but effective mechanism for answering visitors’ common queries about your company’s response to the pandemic. 

Nestlé provides a clear set of answers to questions about the company’s coronavirus response in the ‘Ask Nestlé’ section of its global site:

Screenshot of a set of answers to 'What is your response to COVID-19' in the Ask Nestlé section

Treat your coronavirus information hub as a rolling news feed

The impact of the pandemic on your company and the world at large is, of course, rapidly evolving. So it’s vital that the information you provide on your online channels changes with it. Building a comprehensive information hub of the kinds described above will put you in a strong position to do this.

You may also be interested in our article: Coronavirus communication online - best practice so far

For more insights on all aspects of corporate digital communications from the experts who advise 25 of the world's 200 largest companies, download the Index of Online Excellence and subscribe to our weekly newsletter

First published 07 April, 2020
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