The public is inundated with headlines about the coronavirus pandemic. Case numbers, clinical trials and relief bills have become a constant presence in the media.
Verywell has approached those same stories with a practical twist, providing the health context around coronavirus news and telling its readers what those headlines mean for their lives.
“It has changed things, especially when it comes to reporting on news content,” said Verywell general manager, Rob Parisi. “We’ve seen ourselves doing more news than in the past, but our goal is not to be breaking news. We are taking timely topics and adding context for the reader so they understand how that development will impact them. We feel like it’s really important to break down the headlines for readers. We’re getting in there, providing context and making sure all the terms in headlines and stories are defined.”
Parisi points to recent coverage of the first two disinfectants approved by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to kill the coronavirus on surfaces.
He said the Verywell team emphasized in that piece that consumers don’t need to run out and buy those products, other disinfectants are probably equally effective at killing the virus, but just haven’t received that EPA designation.
The piece also explained the EPA’s new testing and how to properly use the disinfectant sprays. The brand provides that same level of context and practical tips across all of its coronavirus news content.
Verywell is also prioritizing empathy in its COVID-19 content, a principle the brand has embraced across all of its health content.
A recent example of that was when Verywell reached out to members of its medical review board to discuss how they were coping with the pandemic. The doctors discussed everything from how they were wearing masks to being at home with their kids.
“We wanted to talk to them more as people than as medical professionals and show them in a way that would allow our readers to really see Verywell as empathetic partner,” Parisi said. “Everyone is going through all of this together and it’s interesting to see doctors that were nervous to go to the grocery store and to find out what their sanitization habits were. It was an opportunity for doctors to step out from behind that wall and change how people view them, as both a doctor and as a human.”
The company is also extending that empathy to its staff. Verywell and parent company DotDash have implemented several measures to ensure employees take care of their physical and mental wellbeing and remain productive.
Verywell also tapped into its in-house experts to provide mental health tips for employees. The brand hosted a webinar with a member of its medical review board for employees to help them manage their mental health during a stressful time.
“We do everything we can to be supportive of employees,” Parisi said. “Our top three priorities are to protect our people, service our users and invest opportunistically. We’re trying very hard to not make work an added stress during an already stressful time. There was not one silver bullet for us in terms of helping employees do this, but all the things we’ve done have been really positive for us.”