5 ways to harness the news agenda for your B2B advantage
Tapping into topical issues has the potential to supercharge B2B marketing and engagement.
Many of us head straight to the news headlines when we wake up in the morning.
From geopolitics to weather events and what’s trending on social media, it’s important both to stay informed and to see what’s grabbing the attention of global audiences.
Capturing this interest and harnessing it to engage people – otherwise known as ‘newsjacking’ – is a tried and tested way to supercharge your marketing strategy and put your content in front of a wider demographic. More than 40% of respondents said they feel connected to companies that create and participate in relevant conversations online, according to Sprout Social. But it’s not as easy as it seems and can be fraught with risk – of hitting the wrong note, appearing clumsy or too political, or upsetting your stakeholders.
Here are five ways to make sure your B2B newsjacking capitalises on the biggest stories of the day, drives traffic to your brand and underlines your core messaging.
Use polls and ask questions
Gathering information and canvassing opinion is one of the easiest ways to foster engagement – and sharing ideas from the latest news stories affecting your industry can help you take the temperature of the issues of the day.
Property companies could ask their followers what they think of the latest house price data, or where’s a good place to invest. Tech companies could canvass opinion on what emerging innovations are going to be the biggest game-changers in the coming year.
For B2B clients, this also means listening to what’s being said about your industry and what problems your customers are facing – and being ready to comment or explain what your business is doing in this area.
For example, news that the cost of living is rising can be used to promote a survey on people finding innovative ways to generate income – and to reinforce your messages on long-term financial planning, like insurance firm Aviva did here:
1 in 5 Brits have started a 'side hustle' since March 2020. 💰
Almost one in six claim to earn upwards of £1,000 per month, but what drove the rise of the side hustle, what is the most popular venture and how is that extra income being spent? https://t.co/WiStY6NYav pic.twitter.com/ZKiGwRnZAl
— Aviva plc (@avivaplc) June 13, 2022
Harness keywords to refresh content you already have
Refreshing your evergreen content to relate to a news event can help remind people of what you do and how your business relates to current events, keeping you on their radar.
If you have an idea of what people are searching for online, you can check search keywords and phrases and update your material to extend the reach of the content you’ve already created. A short topical video or blog – like this one, which explains how to protect children from air pollution – can sit on your site and be refreshed when new government guidance or policies come out.
Keep your customer’s values front of mind
What does your customer want, how does that relate to you, and how does the news story theme link to that?
These are the questions you need to answer before you decide to act on a relevant news story. But be aware that people are often looking for a response. A 2022 survey from Edelman discovered that people felt more affiliated to brands that engage with the big issues of the day than to those that don’t.
How your business responds to major news events will affect how people perceive your brand. Source: Edelman Trust Barometer
Sharing or commenting on the news stories that your customers care about also demonstrates a deep understanding of the wider industry context, as well as company purpose and values that stretch beyond self-interest.
Set up alerts and be fast
Work out the best Google Alerts and social media monitoring tools to alert you when relevant stories break in your industry and respond as fast as you can.
That doesn’t have to mean a full-blown written response to the news – your company could comment in a one-sentence tweet, a short LinkedIn post or via a social video that comes from your bank of evergreen content.
Even if you decide not to comment on a particular news story for your industry, staying in tune with topical events will help spark creativity and may provide a jumping off point for content ideas that come to fruition at a later date.
Know when to hold back
It’s also important to think about and understand when to hold back. In a rapidly evolving story, something that looks appealing to your brand could quickly turn sour. Avoid tragedies and bad news, or anything that might seem clunky or clumsy when it translates to social media.
Maintain a positive tone when events involve your industry or your competitors – don’t openly criticise specific organisations or people, as this risks reflecting badly on your own business and can seem petty.
Research shows that tapping into the zeitgeist can be a productive and profitable way to engage with your stakeholders and that harnessing the news flow will make your brand appear relevant and up-to-date in the industry space.
Our pointers can help ensure messaging that looks contemporary and fresh, supporting your corporate goals and driving brand engagement.
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About the author: Briony Harris is the Head of Editorial at Formative Content. You can connect with her on LinkedIn here.
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