COVID-19 and Media Consumption: How this affects your business comms

In this uncertain and turbulent time, one thing is for sure. Brits are turning to the news for answers and relying on journalism perhaps now more than ever.

A new survey conducted by Censuswide has revealed some interesting insights into the nation’s changing reading habits since the arrival of COVID-19.

Almost half of the British public polled are now reading more than usual, with 46% reading national news, 45% reading local news and 34% reading international news at least once a week.

But what does this mean for your brand and how you should be communicating?

Location, location, location

The type of news being consumed and the regularity with which it is being read is varying greatly across the country.  For any localised PR and marketing activity, it’s important to take note and consider where your target audience is based.

In Greater London, local news is currently less of a priority, with less than 2 in 5 people reading it at least once a week. Instead, 40% of people there are reading international news weekly, and 22% would welcome more business-related news.

In contrast, 51% of people in the North East are reading local news at least once a week – the highest percentage recorded out of all regions – and 3 in 5 people have revealed they are reading more than usual.

Local news is also remaining popular in Wales with over half of respondents consuming it at least once a week, with international news being a priority for only a quarter of people surveyed there.

Age matters

Reading habits are changing across the generations, too, meaning you should consider how your target audience is consuming news when planning brand campaigns to ensure you maximise exposure.

Of those aged 25-34 that are reading publications at least once a week, 57% are reading more than usual, with around a third claiming this is due to people sharing more stories with them.

National news is only being read at least once a week by 30% of 16-24 year-olds, compared to 55% of people aged 55 and over. Among the older generation, stories shared among friends and family was not a major contributing factor to them reading more.

Content consumption

Not surprisingly, those that are reading more than usual are mostly engaged with and want to stay updated on COVID-19 news (77% of people). In this ever-changing social and economic climate, it has never been more crucial to keep clients and employees informed of operations and ensure a steady flow of communication as and when things develop. Although, this can be challenging when circumstances are changing daily, so you should seek external advice on marketing comms if you are struggling.

In addition, people want to see data-backed stories, particularly those aged 16-24 as 3 in 10 of this age group are turning off the news because they don’t trust what they are reading.

However, it’s not just Coronavirus news that people want to engage with. Heart-warming stories about human kindness came out as the most popular type of content people want to see. Positive news is key at the moment – in fact, those that are reading less say it’s either because the news is so negative (30%), because it makes them anxious (27%) or because they find it scary (24%).

So, think about promoting any proactive community work your brand is doing or other positive news stories you can share.

Women especially are keen to receive more stories of kindness and positivity, as more than a third are being put off reading the news because of the amount of negativity circulating.

Working from home habits

For those working from home – which now includes the majority of the nation – 46% of people say staying positive is their top tip for keeping motivated. All the more reason to share positive news where possible!

This is more apparent among males (50%) than females (42%), although this may be due to the fact that more males seem to be working from home (32%) compared to females (23%).

Predominantly, males claim to be reading more because they find themselves having more spare time (26%), so those brands with a predominantly male target audience should maximise this opportunity, sharing content to captivate and engage.

How we can help you

Struggling to navigate this changing media landscape? We can help you strategise and develop a stable marketing plan for your business, keeping comms smooth and giving you some peace of mind.

We can help with:

  • Coronavirus comms – both internal and external
  • Crisis comms
  • Long and short term marketing plans

Get in touch today – we’re a safe pair of (clean) hands.