Forty-five percent of marketing executives don’t use big data to power their marketing. Half of those execs cite budget problems as the culprit.
No access to pricey data platforms? You can still deliver more timely content.
Marketing’s biggest conundrum is delivering the right message to the right person at the right time. Your content marketing could use an infusion of timeliness. You just need to stay tapped into what’s trending with your audience.
Here are five steps to help you start delivering more timely content.
1. Create a depository of content
Struggling to keep up with your content marketing just won’t hack it anymore. You need more than an editorial plan—you need an editorial stockpile.
That means creating content long before you need to publish it to keep up your blog or e-book quota. You should be creating a depository of content, spreading topics across areas relevant to your audience.
Your content library will be a huge help down the road. First, you’ll need to keep a keen eye out for timely opportunities.
2. Keep an eye on trending topics
Are you hearing what your audience is talking about?
This seems like such a simple part of the content marketing process, but it’s something a lot of content marketers do sparingly. Content marketers have plenty of tools available to them to keep track of industry buzz.
- Twitter’s hashtag identifies content and conversations around specific topics.
- LinkedIn has a strong search function with tons of filters to help narrow by audience demographics.
- Social listening tools like HootSuite and Spezify can help you more accurately envision what’s trending among your audience members.
- Popular articles in major publications your audience reads are good indicators of timely topics.
Social listening is about more than just responding directly to conversations over social media. It’s about researching topics that excite your audience and delivering content around those topics, making for a more effective content marketing program.
3. Mine your depository when articles are most relevant
The first step in delivering timely content is monitoring topics that fit the content stash in your database.
Through social listening, content marketers can find out when their audience is most receptive to specific blog posts, for example. Social listening tools also make it easier to find out where those audience members live. With that perspective, you can deliver buzz-worthy content directly to a potential customer.
Sit on your library of content and wait until the time is right to pounce on certain topics. After all, content is more effective when your audience is most receptive to it.
You won’t always have the content to match the trending topic. For those situations, it’s time to build relevant content from scratch.
4. Build new content when the time is right
There’s no excuse for running out of content ideas. Awesome content ideas are available everywhere.
That’s especially true for trending topics you identify through social listening. When your depository falls short, pull up a blank page and get to work.
Content marketers can approach creating timely content from a few different angles.
- Answering questions: Questions raised over social media are open to answers from anywhere on the web. (Quora is a great example of a website dedicated to exactly this.) Use your content to offer answers.
- Crafting rebuttals: We can’t be right all the time. Social and long-form content you strongly disagree with may require a rebuttal. Keep your rebuttal classy and you could win new followers for your brand.
- Elaborating on key points: Bite-sized content sometimes begs for clarification. Come across an incomplete explanation over a social channel? Build it out into a longer piece of content.
Already doing all of these? Open to the front page of your daily paper for more ideas.
5. Capitalize on trending news
Newsjacking is a content marketing tactic popularized by David Meerman Scott’s book of the same name. It’s the process of using the news to win eyes on your content.
Newsjacking is easy. You take a popular news story and find a way to tie it into a piece of content while the story is still relevant. Marketers at brands from Spirit Airlines to the NFL have already found ways to take advantage of this.
Handle this tactic with care. Clearly, there’s a line between fun and tasteless that your brand should not cross. It’s also important to find a tie-in that doesn’t seem like you’re reaching for something that isn’t there.
How do you make content timely?
Have another approach to delivering timely content to your audience? Share it with us in the comments below.
About the Author
Mark Sherbin is a freelance writer specializing in technology and content marketing. He shares occasionally insightful information at Copywriting Is Dead, where he promotes authentic communication between organizations and their audiences. Say hello on Twitter: @MarkSherbin.