Creating online content in some way related to the
COVID-19 pandemic is both expected and normal. After all, the pandemic is
affecting nearly every facet of life. Still, there are acceptable and unacceptable
ways to create content. There are also good and bad messages content can
convey. Online marketers have an obligation to take the high road during this
Taking the high road means creating socially responsible
COVID-19 content. The cynical among us would say that social responsibility and
content marketing cannot coexist in the same plane. We say otherwise. It is not
only possible to create socially responsible content; it is being done every
Stick with the Facts
More than ever before, people need facts rather than
opinions and misinformation. The amount of misinformation now floating around
about COVID-19 is so vast and overwhelming that the well-known fact checking
website Snopes has had to cut back on the work it does.
The organization’s staff just cannot keep up.
Do not be among those content creators spreading false
information. Stick with the facts. If you are going to quote statistics, get
your numbers from reputable organizations like the CDC. If you’re going to talk
about the health aspects of COVID-19, source your information from
organizations like John Hopkins University, the Mayo Clinic, etc.
Seek to Unify
There is a time and place for publishing controversial
content that encourages people to have discussions about things they would
normally not speak of. Now is not that time. During crisis events, we need
unity more than ever. Thus, we need content that informs and unifies. Content
that divides only makes the crisis more serious.
Choose Words Carefully
Even when sticking with the facts and seeking to unify,
content can do more harm than good if its author’s words are not chosen
carefully. Remember that words mean things. Moreover, people read certain words
and phrases and automatically make assumptions. Content creators have to be
For example, calling the current pandemic
“unprecedented” is a poor choice of words. First and foremost, it is
not unprecedented. Every year the world faces a global flu pandemic. In recent history we have seen the H1N1, SARS,
and AIDs virus pandemics. In the more distant past, the world has faced
everything from the bubonic plague to cholera epidemics and the Spanish flu.
Calling the COVID-19 pandemic unprecedented leads people
to believe that all hope is lost because we are dealing with something we have
never dealt with before. That is not the case.
Be Careful with Titles
Online marketers and SEO experts are very aware of how
important content titles are. Not only do titles have to play well with search
engine algorithms, they also have to be attention-getting. Now is not the time
for sensational titles. Take a break from sensationalism for a few months and
focus on accurate information.
Stop the Click Bait
Some of us in the marketing industry are averse to click
bait regardless of circumstance. However, we understand that it is part of the
online game. Could we at least just stop the click bait for the time being?
Let’s stop producing meaningless content designed only to increase click
through rates to boost ad revenues. There are more important things to worry
There will come a day when we look back on all of this and
attempt to learn from it. Until that day comes, we all must do our part to get
through it. Those of us in the marketing and SEO sectors can contribute by
making a concerted effort to create socially responsible content for the