Two great moves (like Jagger)

Posted by Dan Hatch on 24th September , 2019 in The Write Fit
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Welcome to the third edition of The Write Fit, a fortnightly newsletter from Typeset.

A rolling stone gathers no moss (and nor should your content)

During my long career as a journalist I had many conversations with people that went along these lines:

Caller: I’ve got a really great idea for an article about the moon landing, are you interested?

Me: No.

Caller: But people are really interested in the moon landing, and this year it’s the fiftieth anniversary.

Me: OK, but the anniversary was on 20 July. It’s now 24 September.

You see the problem, of course. Two months earlier, I would have been wild for a story about the moon landing: a local angle on man setting foot on the Earth’s satellite for the first time? Are you kidding? I’d have been desperate not just to write it but to keep it “exclusive”.

Two months later? It’s just not news anymore. People are bored with the topic – and the conversation has moved on.

By contrast, if you came to me now with a local angle on the fiftieth anniversary of The Rolling Stone’s Let it Bleed album, which is coming up in December, I’d be all over you like a rash.

While this is a newsroom example, the big take-out here is one that applies equally to brands, bloggers, marketers and anyone creating content:

MAKE YOUR CONTENTLY TIMELY.

Hit your audience with your message at the time when they are most engaged and willing to hear it. Delay is death.

Two simple ways to ensure your content is timely

  1. Be thinking ahead: know what is coming up, so you can prepare content ahead of time. Look at the calendar, look in your diary, look at the UN’s list of International Days, and plan content for publication. Tax time, Christmas, new movie releases, an election, World Toilet Day (that’s on 19 November, by the way)… whatever you can find a relevant angle on… just be prepared.
  2. Be reactive: not everything can be prepared in advance. Often topics become very big news “all of a sudden” and there’s a spike in public interest. If there’s an angle on a topic that’s current in the news that you think your audience will want to hear, then you need to be agile and organised enough to get that message out as fast as possible. Like, the same day. Or the next day. But not next week. And certainly not next month.

A note on being reactive

Publishing content reactively can be a huge adjustment, particularly within big organisations where approvals to publish can come slowly. I know, I know – a lot of people want their input into everything that goes out. After all, your content represents your brand.

But what’s the point of eight people approving the copy if the content goes out two weeks late and the audience has moved on? No-one wants to read about the moon landing anymore. We’re all over here listening to Gimme Shelter and marveling at the longevity of Mick Jagger and Keith Richards.

Hit your audience with content that is timely. You’ll get far more engagement.

Dan Hatch
24 September 2019

 

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