To talk about Covid or to seek greener pastures?

Covid-19 stories are everywhere so there’s a temptation to talk about something else. Not so fast.

I have a love/hate relationship with LinkedIn.

It’s undoubtedly an exceptional marketplace for networking, building connections and growing a business (like mine).  It’s without a doubt the richest field of potential clients available to me.

But there’s just so much content there.  And, at the moment, so much of is the same: Covid-19 thought pieces.

I realise the irony of complaining about the overwhelming number of Covid-19 thought pieces while writing a Covid-19 thought piece but hear me out.

To set the scene for what I’m about to say, I want to take you to the wonderful world of online news. 

What news do people actually want?

Everyday the news organisations that run sites like or The Daily Mail will engage their data-crunchers to analyse what stories are performing well and which ones aren’t.  As an aside, every company should be doing this (which might tell you something about why I’m writing a Covid-19 piece – but more on that later).

What these data crunchers will often uncover is that vast disconnect between what people say they want and what they actually do.  For example, when news organisations run online polls of what kind of content their audiences want to see more of, the winners are continually things like ‘international affairs’ or ‘in-depth analysis pieces on major issues.’

However, when you look at the data of what stories get the most viewers, a very different narrative emerges.  That’s because the story about how Kim Kardashian posted an Instagram selfie has absolutely blown away the competition yet again.

New markets/content? Not so fast.

What content creators, marketers, PR folk and others need to realise is that if you’re going to try and open up a new market for content: make sure people will actually read it.

I had a taste of my own medicine a few weeks ago.  I hopped on the Covid-19 bandwagon and wrote a blog about finding media angles amidst the pandemic which did incredible traffic.  It was shared and read widely which was lovely.

But the next week I tried something fresh.  I wrote a thought piece examining how the government’s Job Keeper package has a resemblance to Universal Basic Income and assessed its merits.

Have a guess at how much traffic the UBI piece did?  That’s right – almost nothing.

So, here I am back on the Covid-19 train.  The lesson for communicators (such as myself): if people are buying something, don’t stop selling it!

So, if you’re a business looking to cut through at the moment.  Don’t try and come up with a subject that’s unexplored or not on the agenda.  Find a fresh angle to something people are already talking about.

That’s your ticket to greater engagement.