Insightful takes on scaling your business

The content gold mine your brand needs to leverage: Long-term trending topics

A trend doesn't have to be short-lived.

gold-mine-gq
Amanda Milligan
Story by
Amanda Milligan

Marketing Director, FractlAmanda Milligan is the Marketing Director at Fractl, a prominent growth marketing agency that’s worked with Fortune 500 companies and boutique businesses alike. Throughout her content marketing career… (show all) Amanda Milligan is the Marketing Director at Fractl, a prominent growth marketing agency that’s worked with Fortune 500 companies and boutique businesses alike. Throughout her content marketing career, she’s directly managed the creation of 200+ content campaigns, led the strategy for 20+ clients, and run the 30-episode podcast Ask Amanda About Marketing. She spoke at the 2019 SMX Advanced conference and at Pubcon Pro Las Vegas 2019.

millanda

When you hear “trending topics,” you probably think of Twitter or other social channels where they show what topics are most buzzworthy on the platform at that moment. 

Trends can be quite fleeting, with everyone talking about something today and moving on to something completely different tomorrow. This makes it very difficult to respond as a brand, even when you have something to say.

But trending topics aren’t always short-lived. In fact, some are absolutely worth building content around if you identify the right kind of topic at the right time.

To explore this further, we at Fractl partnered up with Exploding Topics to unveil the average lifespan of trends.

[Read:Are EVs too expensive? Here are 5 common myths, debunked]

Here’s what we found and how you can use these insights to amplify your content marketing strategy.

Understanding longer-term trending topics

Just because something’s trending doesn’t mean it’ll only be around for days. That’s certainly the case for many topics, but there are also plenty of topics that gain enough steam to last them for long enough to be worthy of earning a place in your content calendar.

That’s one of our major findings: when we looked at all of the topics on the Exploding Topics platform (which features trending topics and tracks when they’re at their most popular and when they’re peaking), we found they last for years on average.

Some examples of potentially longer-term trends (currently appearing on Exploding Topics) are “nano influencers,” “gaslighting,” and “squat proof leggings.”

The concept of longer-term trends shines an entirely different perspective on the concept of trends — one that can be extremely valuable from a marketing perspective. 

Imagine being able to identify a trend relevant to your industry, building a high-quality piece of content about it, becoming an authority for it, ranking for it, and leveraging the engagement and organic traffic you get for years?

Here’s how you can try executing this strategy.

Deciding your brand’s contribution to the trending topic

When you’ve identified a topic that’s trending in your industry and relevant to your brand, it’s time to decide what you’ll say and how you’ll say it. 

There are four important questions to consider:

  • What intent related to that topic do you want to fulfill?
  • What has already been published (so your content isn’t repetitive)?
  • What can your brand uniquely add to the conversation?
  • What audience are you targeting, and how will you reach them?

To illustrate these considerations and different ways you address them, let’s use an example I called out above: nano influencers.

In this hypothetical, let’s say you work at a digital marketing company that has many services, including influencer marketing.

Identifying intent

Since this is hypothetically a service you offer, it could make sense to go more bottom-of-the-funnel; maybe you’d create on-site content to explain the marketing impact of the nano influencer strategy, which you can speak to with real examples.

But if you’re not sure which intent makes sense, you can solidify intent once you answer the second question…

Seeing what content is out there

The first and easiest way to do that is to examine the search engine result pages (SERPs).

In this case, the SERP is loaded with paid ads of other companies trying to sell nano influencer services, so you may want to go another route. 

Other interesting insights? The New York Times wrote about the trend at the end of 2018, and there’s been plenty of time since to cover the basics of defining what the term means and how to find nano influencers for your own brand.

There are also many definition-related images ranking, so that’s pretty much covered, too.

While something being published doesn’t mean you can’t try to do a better job, it’s still good to know how you can bring something completely fresh and original to the table.

Determining what you uniquely offer

Staying with this example, from my quick examination, I’d say case studies of how working with nano influencers can impact your brand would be a great way to go. Why? Well, a company that offers the service would probably be able to tell that story best.

Additionally, there appears to be a need for it; on a more specific search term’s SERP (brands looking for nano influencers), one of the top results is from the perspective of someone looking to become a nano influencer, not work with one. That signals the need for more great content that matches this specific query.

Reaching your target audience

Because of the route we took in this example, ranking in the SERPs is one of the main promotional angles.

But it’s always important to consider how else you can reach your target audience. If it’s bottom-of-the-funnel, maybe you could feature the case study results on your contact page or include it in various blog posts. 

Perhaps it’s something you can send out to your email list or share on your social channels.

Consider where this particular audience persona is and plan how you’ll reach them now and over time. Remember: these types of trends don’t quickly dissipate. You can distribute this content over month-long periods if appropriate.

Conclusion

We just looked at one example, but there are countless ways long-term trending topics can become a crucial aspect of your content plan. With “gaslighting,” maybe it’s writing a thought leadership piece for an off-site publisher to build authority. For “squat proof leggings,” maybe it’s adding more description to your product pages and featuring those types of leggings on your category page for a time.

Whatever the trend is, consider those four questions to determine how your brand can positively contribute.

Building a brand? Then join our online event, TNW2020, to explore the latest brand marketing tech, trends, and challenges.

Published September 21, 2020 — 07:34 UTC