Capitalizing on breaking news and other trending topics is usually a gamble for a small brand or niche. How can you determine whether it's right for your online niche publication or website?
Make the best use out of your time and resources when it comes to newsworthy topics using this process to determine whether a particular piece of trendy content is worth your time.
Niche, Newsworthy and New
Like many online content writers, I had a stint with Examiner.com, which recently announced it will close on or around July 10, 2016. Examiner was a content platform in some ways similar to Demand Studios and Yahoo! Contributor Network: it was great for a while, but ultimately succumbed to the constant changes of user needs, digital advertising and Google itself.
When I started writing for Examiner, I saw it for what it was: a way to get paid writing about niche topics using standard SEO practices. There wasn't anything inherently evil in the search engine domination tactics though. In fact, Examiner worked for as long as it did in part because it enlisted people like me who knew their own niches.
Examiner was far from perfect, but to make any money there, you had to play by the rules. Examiner had a stringent selection process when it came to items that they would submit to Google News. News content had to be:
- Fresh: developing in the last 48 hours
- Relevant to your niche topic
- Provide a new spin on a popular newsworthy topic
While Examiner is closing, their strategy for selecting newsworthy topics is extremely valuable to niche business and entertainment websites.
Choosing Between Newsworthy Topics
Time, money, size of your staff: your resources are limited, and taking on a newsworthy topic is a bit of gamble. Even if it takes off, its likely only going to earn you attention in the short term.
When Facebook came out with its reactions and users could do more than 'like' posts for the first time, there were other things happening in the world of digital. Here on the SEMrush Blog, we focus on a variety of topics within digital marketing.
I decided to focus on Facebook reactions because I could make a quick, personal post featuring examples. Everyone was starting to talk about how they felt about the reactions, but people weren't really sure how to use the 'angry' face. Instead of theorizing, I offered my experiences.
A Scenario: You Run a Website About Nerd Stuff...
Today's news in the geek world is another example of a would-be choice for an editor limited on time. What's more important to your niche – a black teen girl becoming the next Iron Man, dinosaurs covered in feathers or the Pokémon Go release?
As the editor of a site about women in geek culture, I should revisit two things:
- Buyer persona
- Insights (Google Analytics, Facebook, etc.)
These resources will give me a glance at the type of content my audience wants to see. Judging from this, I can tell that all three topics would appeal to my readers, but a new take on Riri as the next Iron Man is going to resonate with my audience best.
Given these choices, I'd choose to blog about Iron Man, post an external news article about dinosaurs and recruit one of my games contributors to hop on Twitch or Facebook Live and stream the game on our channels.
Alternately, if you want to get in on a newsworthy topic but aren't ready to commit your resources to it, consider the super short form: open a discussion on social media or on your own forums.
Community Resources and Engagement
Where is your audience? If you already operate within a niche, you are your best starting resource. You know where industry professionals hang out and you know what they're discussing. Check out these forums, groups and social media hubs to analyze:
- What type of news most people discuss
- What gets left out
- Why some news topics or more appealing than others.
"Know who is currently reading your content, how they found it, and why it is important to them. Once you discover these points, you should be able to create an engaging content pipeline that can reach your niche's organic audience. You can also use this method to target influencers and potential company advocates," says Kathleen Burns, Community Manager at SEMrush. Burns recently implemented an SEMrush advocate hub program in June.
Join the WriterAccess Webinar
To learn more about how to harness AnswerThePublic and SEMrush to distill valuable newsworthy and evergreen content topics, sign up for my free webinar, hosted by Byron White of WriterAccess. On "How to Create Blog Posts Your Readers Really Want," we'll take a closer look at this process.
The webinar airs on Wed., July 13 at 1 p.m. ET.