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How to use trending keywords from current events in content marketing

30-second summary:

  • Companies can rank for trending keywords by combining content marketing with current events.
  • There are some specific Dos and Don’ts for creating this content in a tasteful manner.
  • Dos include questioning your motives, thinking of clients first, keeping content value-driven, and giving company updates.
  • Don’ts include pretending nothing is going on, posting irrelevant content, abandoning your existing SEO strategy, or giving up.
  • VP of sales and marketing at Strategic Sales & Marketing, helps you achieve SEO value while maintaining sensitivity using trending keywords.

A good content marketing strategy should already be backed up by a list of target keywords or keyphrases your business is trying to rank for. But alongside these evergreen keywords, incorporating trending search terms into content marketing can boost SEO significantly. There’s already plenty of advice for finding trending keywords, but how do we harness their power without being distasteful?

Approaching serious current events in content marketing can be a tricky wire to walk. In 2020 alone, businesses and marketing teams everywhere have struggled to decide how to use keywords related to the COVID-19 crisis, the Black Lives Matter movement, Brexit, increasing climate change, and even a sighting of murder hornets. To avoid embarrassment and truly rank for important trending searches in an authentic way, follow these dos and don’ts.

Do: Question your motives

A national or global news story breaks, new keywords start trending immediately, and the first thing you think is…

If the answer was “Ooo I can use this”, then you may not have the best motives for adding that current event to your content marketing. Stopping to question your motives is the first step to harnessing the power of trending keywords without making a marketing blunder. It should and will take deep thought as to how to approach a trending topic with sensitivity.

Ranking for trending keywords shouldn’t be just about good SEO. Your keyword usage serves as a connection between what is important to both a brand and its consumers. When the great toilet paper shortage of 2020 occurred, bath tissue companies could have easily changed their marketing to fuel the need and push profits even more. But brands like Cottonelle took the exact opposite approach with their #ShareASquare social media campaign and partnership with United Way. Content marketing should always be motivated first and foremost by your business values, not your bottom line.

Don’t: Pretend nothing is going on

Some companies read the news and move right along with business as usual. That’s okay if you don’t have the right motives or anything significant to add value for your audience. However, the conversation surrounding authentic branding is growing, and more and more consumers are wanting to see companies respond to important events with transparency and empathy. 

In a 2019 Deloitte study, 55% of survey respondents reported believing that “businesses today have a greater responsibility to act on issues related to their purpose”. It’s okay to ignore which Kardashian is getting divorced when it comes to your marketing. But issues like climate change, world health, and racism cannot be ignored or you risk alienating consumers who equate silence with complicity. 

Do: Think of your clients first

Any good company already has their customers at the center of their content marketing strategy. Now more than ever, businesses need to refocus their marketing and make sure they are putting their customers’ needs first. This can be difficult in a climate where world events are creating new and different needs seemingly daily.

Consumers are shifting their needs and preferences to new types of content and new ways of engaging with companies. In particular, educational content is gaining popularity and driving “how to” searches. Think of what your clients need to know or hear in order to interact with your business, products, or services. The client always comes first.

Don’t: Provide irrelevant content

Anything you share concerning current events needs to be connected to your business in some way or another. Posting something completely irrelevant or out of the blue may throw off and leave a sour taste with customers and followers. If you can’t tie the content directly to your customer’s needs, then it’s likely not relevant enough to share.

One way to connect your business with seeming-distant trending topics is to think of secondary trending searches still related to your industry or product. COVID-19 has changed the way people live which has led to a wide variety of spiking trends such as gardening or home haircuts. There’s always an authentic way to connect a current event to your company. 

Do: Keep your content marketing value-driven

Even if you’re making a commentary or stating a position or opinion, you still need to add value to your content. Every message should have a takeaway that readers can apply to better themselves or their lives. Sometimes the value is in buying your service or product, but other times the value lies in the emotional connection imparted to the reader.

Think, what does value mean to your clients right now? Nike is a great example of a company providing new value to consumers. With gyms everywhere shutting down, Nike released their workout content for free and ramped up posting blogs to its apps and website. Their latest trend-focused content features celebrities challenging at-home exercisers to various workouts. Creating this value-driven content allows them to rank for many trending 2020 searches such as “at-home workout” as well as various trending athletes and celebrities.

Source: Google Trends

Don’t: Abandon your content marketing strategy

In turbulent times, your audience needs some nuggets of normalcy. A good content marketing strategy will provide the flexibility to adapt to sudden world changes or important events that need commenting on without abandoning the original plan. That being said, you’ll probably need to pivot on a few things, or at least give your audience a heads up about why they may still be seeing the content you already had planned.

Following travel restrictions due to Covid-19, Travel Zoo issued an email and blog statement explaining why they were going to continue on with their email series promoting travel, even when they knew their audience wouldn’t need their services right then. They add that they will be offering the same great content and deals they had planned, so email subscribers will “continue to find experiences that inspire and enlighten, whether in fantastic locations around the world or through something new you can try right in your home”.

Abandoning evergreen keywords for trending ones can lead to a big drop in your overall SEO. Remember, these searches are “trending” for a reason. That means, just as quickly as consumers are finding your recent content marketing, they are moving on to new trends and keywords.

Do: Give company updates

Once you decide to approach a trending topic in a blog, email, or any piece of content, it’s good to give clients company updates related to your first statement. This creates more opportunities for using related trending searches without keyword-stuffing your original content. This also shows consumers that you follow through on your promises which builds customer–brand rapport.

A great example of a constant commitment to this is Ben & Jerry’s Issues We Care About blog. These articles keep consumers interested in the company while ranking their content high in trending search results. 

Ben & Jerry's blog example


Don’t: Give up

Using trending keywords related to current events is key to helping consumers find your content. Just because it may take more consideration to create does not mean it’s worth skipping. “Going dark” can hurt exposure, engagement, and sales. And even businesses that weather the storm will face further recovery time if their company was out of mind due to lack of marketing.

Times are tough, there’s no doubt about it. But when it comes to keeping your business running in the face of global catastrophe, you cannot give up, especially on your marketing. Rather, content marketing and reaching clients and consumers at home requires your doubled commitment. You can make your content a place people turn to for wisdom and perspective—all while scoring those trending keyword SEO points.

Gregg Schwartz is the VP of sales and marketing at Strategic Sales & Marketing, a lead-generation firm based in Connecticut.

The post How to use trending keywords from current events in content marketing appeared first on Search Engine Watch.