When you’re creating content for a blog or website, there are generally considered to be two types of content: News and Evergreen. Evergreen content is useful for a long time and to a broad audience; this is tutorials, frequently asked questions, and tips articles.
News articles are more typically based on trending keywords and current events. A news article might focus on local or national events, or might have to do with a product launch or other internal company news. They are likely to be relevant to your audience for a shorter period of time.
The storytelling marketing is more important than ever. Using breaking news to drive your content marketing strategy can be helpful, but here are some guidelines to make sure that you engage your audience instead of offending them.
Be cautious when piggybacking on upsetting events
When there is a national tragedy, such as a mass shooting or a natural disaster, it can be tempting to offer your thoughts and prayers to those affected. Generally, doing so is considered kind and considerate, but at the same time, many politicians are falling under fire for saying “thoughts and prayers” but refusing to follow through with action.
So when you offer thoughts and prayers, consider if there’s something more specific that your company can do as well to help those affected. Could you organize a blood drive at your company? Donate to a local charity that will help those affected? Organize a lobby of local legislators to change laws to keep such things from happening in the future?
Business owners are often urged to become involved in their communities; that doesn’t just mean the fun parts. Work to change communities for the better through your presence, and the content marketing will follow. Don’t try to cash in on breaking news-stories, this is a mistake that everyone is tired of seeing.
Research hashtags thoroughly before using them
As a user of social media, it’s frustrating to see companies leaping in on hashtags, misunderstanding what is going on, and misusing the opportunity to boost their own business. If you’re going to use hashtags to boost your content, consider:
- Many industries have regular hashtags that they use. Writers, for example, often post in #amwriting, #amediting, and #1stLineWednesday, among many others. They might use these tags to promote their own work, or to connect with other writers. Find the tags used in your industry, or create some!
- If you’re using a tag that isn’t directly related to your industry, read it. If there have been posts using the tag for quite some time, make sure you understand the thought behind the tag. Some are inherently ironic or are culturally used by marginalized groups, and a brand’s intrusion might not be welcome.
- Aim for general, commonly used hashtags rather than jumping in on the top trending tags, especially when they’re related to national news (see above).
Look for news that relates to your industry
Perhaps a competitor released a new product. Maybe a CEO of another company that is parallel to yours made a statement that you particularly agree with. It could be that a scientific advancement was just released that could have a huge impact on your industry. These are the go-to breaking news stories to drive content marketing, however still many business owners get the marketing part wrong. One topic could drive several pieces of content on your site. For example, if you ran a travel blog in a southern state where turtles nest in the summer months, you could write about:
- Efforts to support the sea turtle population by changing building codes and modifying artificial light placements
- Tips and tricks for tourists and locals who see a turtle building a nest
- Updates throughout the season on how many nests the local fish and wildlife department has identified
- Resharing any photos or videos posted by the organization of nesting or hatchings
- Articles on why turtles are endangered, and what visitors can do to help, even after they’ve gone home
From one simple topic that trends during the summer months in the southern reaches of the United States, we have identified five blog topics that could drive traffic and improve content marketing strategy for the long term.
Many blogs start by creating evergreen content, and this is incredibly valuable. Showing customers how to use your products, giving real world examples of your services, and answering customer questions will always be valuable content. By connecting your content to the real world, however, you gain the ability to position your brand as responsive and engaged with its audience. These traits are particularly interesting to the millennials and Generation Yers who are just now coming into their buying power.
What advice would you give to someone who wants to build a content strategy that touches on breaking news?