You’re catching up on industry news, and suddenly everyone is talking about a big event, a brand-new idea or some other newsworthy subject. And we mean everyone. You can’t look at your social media feed or check a blog without stumbling over content on trending topics. You’d like to get in on the discussion, but you have a huge content to-do list that you can’t afford to fall behind on. By the time you’re ready to talk about #nextbigthing, it’s already #oldnews. If you’re wondering how to ride the rising tide of trending topics, keep reading to learn more about how to balance current trends with your content calendar.
Keep Your Finger on the Pulse
You’re busy, there’s no doubt. But if you want to capitalize on trending topics as they become important, you have to follow industry news and stay connected to the discussion. That means not only keeping up on the latest, but getting familiar with your competitors and prominent industry thought leaders – after all, if you don’t know where to find out what’s hot, you won’t be able to add your voice to the conversation. Keep an eye on important blogs and make time for social listening, aka really paying attention to what your customers, industry colleagues and others are saying online.
You should also consider using Google Trends to guide your blogs on trending topics. Simply plug in a keyword to see interest over time and by region, as well as related topics and queries to guide your research. Twitter is another great way to keep an eye on what everyone is talking about, although trend tracking is slightly less intuitive on this platform. In this case, you can benefit from a third-party monitoring service, such as TrendoGate or TrendsMap, to stay connected. Armed with concrete data, you’ll be better prepared to reap the benefits of trends.
Use a Content Calendar
Now that you know where the trending conversation is headed, you may need to rearrange your content calendar. If your first response is “what content calendar?” you’re not alone – only 32% of B2B marketers actually use a documented content strategy, indicating that there’s a real deficit of planning in general when it comes to content marketing. And while you’ll probably see some increases in traffic, downloads of your offers and responses to calls-to-action because of new, exciting content, you shouldn't derail the rest of your efforts to capitalize on trending topics.
Your content calendar doesn’t have to be fancy. You could use software with sophisticated scheduling and organization options, or just a spreadsheet. Either way, you must have a plan and make room in it for trending topics. As you strategize your content for the coming weeks, create flexibility in your schedule – in short, learn to expect the unexpected. If you’re faithfully monitoring trends and using social listening, you’ll have a good sense of which topics are truly noteworthy and which aren’t right for your brand or important enough to spend time on. And with a detailed calendar for your regular content efforts, you can quickly see where you can rearrange posts, push back publishing dates and create an opening for a hot topic without sacrificing the rest of your content marketing.
Maintain a Bank
Nobody likes rushing, but that’s what can happen when you have to shuffle your priorities to write about trending topics. You can avoid this problem by building a bank of blog posts, LinkedIn articles and other content to ensure that you’ve always got something to share at a moment’s notice. When you have a stock of well-written, edited posts ready, you’ll find that it’s much easier not only to create trending topic content, but also to make the time needed to stay on the pulse of your industry. This also allows you to extend the reach of your content calendar, shifting you from reactive content creation and into proactive strategizing.
The easiest way to build a bank of content is to think about the topics that are always of interest in your industry. No doubt there are concepts that remain perpetually interesting to you and your colleagues, and you’ll find yourself eager to learn more about these ideas no matter how much you read or watch. With this in mind, you can create blog posts that aren’t dependent on whatever’s trending at the moment. That way, if you need to adjust your content calendar for the week to accommodate a can’t-miss topic, you can simply grab a banked blog post and reorganize your schedule accordingly, never missing a beat.
Know Your Brand
Not every trend is worthwhile for you to pursue. Think about how much cringe-inducing content you see on a regular basis and how much of it involves brands trying to force a tenuous link between a pop culture trend and their offerings. It’s awkward at best and ultimately not worth your time. Instead, look for the top stories that feel right for your company to take a stand on. Make sure that you have something valuable to say before entering the conversation – you need to be able to add something relevant to make the most of any trend.
It’s also crucial that you address the topic in your own voice. You’ll find the best results when you keep it authentic. That might mean that you miss out on a few trending topics, but you’ll soon find your efforts are best spent on areas more relevant to your brand’s persona. You have a unique perspective in your industry, and it’s what your customers love about you. When you bring this perspective to the latest news, you’ll be sure to create the kind of content that delivers real results.
There’s no doubt that you’ll increase traffic and relevance to your audience by staying on top of trending topics. And with a strategy in place to balance up-and-coming stories with your regular content marketing initiative, you’ll be able to join in the conversation without losing a step in your day-to-day strategy. Still trying to build a strategy? Reach out today with any questions you have about growing your business through content marketing.