David Meerman Scott, a well-known marketing strategist, coined the term "newsjacking," which he describes as "the process by which you inject your ideas or angles into breaking news, in real-time, in order to generate media coverage for yourself or your business." He's even written an ebook on the topic: Newsjacking: How to Inject Your Ideas Into a Breaking News Story and Generate Tons of Media Coverage.
The concept makes sense, and we all know that a great way to gain relevance online is by leveraging hot topics and news items that are beginning to trend-but it's a competitive, and fast-moving, field. How do content marketers stay on top of the relevant trends and news in their industries to ensure they're curating and communicating fresh, engaging content?
There are a variety of tools, techniques, and best practices they have found to help them stay on top of fast-moving trends and opportunities.
Jeremy Bamidele is a promotional publicist, corporate communications specialist and adjunct professor with the Rancho Santiago Community College District. He points to BuzzSumo.com as a tool that helps him stay on top of trends and stay connected with key influencers.
"You can track new content on any site to remain abreast of the subjects of interest to a particular author or to a publication as a whole," Bamidele says. "You can discover the most shared content in a timeframe across the web or on a particular platform like Facebook or LinkedIn, by type of media, like video, text or infographic, or find the most shared content by an author of a publication." Users also can run reports, he says, which allow drilldown by social network, type of media, content length, average shares, etc.
He's not alone in pointing to BuzzSumo as a useful tool. Brett Bastello, an SEO specialist with Inseev Interactive, also uses this tool. "It quickly and easily lets me see what content is trending around a certain niche, which greatly aids in my content marketing and content creation efforts," he says.
Quora is another tool that content marketers point to as a way of not only tracking what's trending, but also determining what specific issues are of most interest to a target market. Cosette Jarrett, community manager at HighSpeedInternet.com, says: "This site allows you to search specific keywords to find out what your target audience wants to know about your topic. For example, I could type ‘internet speed' to find real questions from consumers who want to know more about my industry."
Jarrett also uses FlipBoard, an online news aggregator that pulls news from a variety of publications based on keywords. She's applied filters to feature tech, allowing her to follow news specific to her industry.
Twitter is an obvious choice for tracking trending news-many news stories have been broken via Twitter. The ability to conduct very specific searches, including local searches, and to follow trending topics makes Twitter an obvious-and free-source of up-to-the-minute content.
Google Trends and Google Alerts are two additional free tools that keep content marketers on top of trending information; given Google's broad reach and search domination, these tools should be in every content marketer's toolbox.
The truth is, there is no shortage of options available to today's content marketers, which can be both blessing and curse.
Jake Lane, a growth analyst with LawnStarter, Inc., says content marketing is time-sensitive. "It's all about producing content as soon as a topic is trending, so half the battle is finding the topics on time." In addition to BuzzSumo, Lane uses seoClarity's "content ideas" and relies on Twitter's advanced search. Finding the right combination of tools, and using them in a coordinated way, is key, he says. "When the tools are used in combination, it makes it a lot easier to source content that is widely shareable or fits within the niche we are trying to reach."
Steve Susina, marketing director with Lyons Consulting Group, has systematized his content curation process. "The process I've found to be most effective is setting up a combination of RSS feeds, Feedly, Buffer, and various social media accounts," he says. "Because of the strong integration between these tools, the technical setup is a snap. Once I set up the accounts, they guided me through the process of connecting them to each other." The most difficult aspect of this, he says, "is taking time to research and identify relevant blogs and news services, and recording the RSS feeds for the sites."
Each list will be highly personalized, Susina notes. There really is no room for shortcuts when it comes to that initial analysis.
For content marketers, the key challenges are identify which tools work best to help you stay on top of your unique content needs, considering how you might use them effectively in combination, and being continually alert to new trends that are emerging constantly. In fact, once you've identified sources to help you curate information on your hot topics, it might not be a bad idea to make one of those hot topics "content curation tools."
(Image courtesy of Shutterstock.)