One of the most important things to remember with any content you create is that it has to be relevant. You need to be able to pique your audience’s interest and give them something compelling and useful that they’ll want to know more about. One of the most effective ways of doing that is to base content around current events. What’s going on right now in your industry, and why should your audience care about it? This is called newsjacking.
The first thing you need to do is to keep your eye out for news and events that are relevant to your industry. This is easier now than it’s ever been, with websites, software and apps available that can track certain keywords for you and let you know as soon as people are posting about them. You can monitor Google, as well as various blogs, news sites and more, for specific topics.
Then, when a story comes along that’s relevant to your audience, the next step is to figure out how to use it. Remember, this isn’t about reporting the story. That’s what CNN and the Huffington Post are for. Your job is to provide your audience with some perspective into how this event impacts your industry. You can offer your own opinion and commentary, give a brief rundown of how this story affects your audience, skewer it with parody or satire… whatever fits with your brand and with the story. Whatever you do, though, should be in keeping with the spirit of your other content, in order to maintain a distinct, unified voice for your brand.
So how soon after a story breaks should you post newsjacking content? As soon as possible. Again, you’re not CNN, so you don’t need to feel pressured to get a complete blog post or video up within hours of the event. But remember, trending stories move fast, especially online, and the totally outrageous thing that everyone was talking about last week may be forgotten by this week.
Use your best judgment. How soon you post your content also depends on what kind of story it is and what you have to say about it. A human interest story will last longer than hard news. And whatever the story is, your audience will forgive you if you’re a little late to the party, if you’re taking the time to provide a quality, in-depth analysis. You may also decide to hold off in order to see if any further developments occur before running with the story. This is wise if you’re dealing with a story that has some ambiguity to it. If you take a firm stance before all the facts are in and then turn out to be wrong, you and your brand could end up looking silly. But if that’s not an issue, you could also simply post your content now, then do a follow-up when things develop further. And your amount of content from this one event is immediately doubled.
In order to be timely, you may need to switch some things around on your editorial calendar. That’s why it’s important that you be flexible. Planning your blog posts out a month in advance is great, and can be very helpful. But if you get locked into that schedule to the point where changing it would cause major upheaval, then when something important comes up, you’ll end up getting left behind.