In the world of journalism, every story has to have a hook. A hook is not a topic, but rather, the reason we should care about the topic right now. For a newspaper or magazine, this could be a newsy event, an anniversary of a newsy event, or some other time or trend-driven peg that makes the story you’re telling relevant now. Indeed, the most successful journalists are the ones that are adept at finding irresistible hooks that sell the stories they want write.
You might be wondering how this is relevant to you, a content marketer, PR manager, or marketing campaign manager. Well, it turns out that thinking like a journalist in this way can be a very helpful tool to create content that is both higher in quality, as well as more compelling and shareable on social media. As marketers, we all have stories we want to tell, whether it’s about a new product or service we are selling or a blog post we want to publish to add value to our community of followers. Now, marketers have long seen those two examples as reason enough to hit “publish” on a new campaign or blogpost, but adding a hook to your proposition can amplify the effect you were hoping to have.So, how does one do this in practice? After all, selling or promoting a new feature for a piece of software you sell is hardly going to compete with Brexit in terms of newsworthiness. And it is true, that unlike journalism, you’re not going to be able to find a hook for every story you want to tell (or sell). However, it’s not impossible. It’s possible to do this by it by finding subtle ways of integrating trending topics, holidays, or news events into content you were already going to post.
For example, if a news event relates or coincides with an area of expertise that you specialise in, that can be a great opportunity to act fast to join the conversation. This works best if you have the ability to write a blog post quickly in response to a trending topic online. However, if you don’t have time to create original content, posting a few Tweets on the matter using the trending hashtag can have an impact too.
For instance, if a new rule banning the carry of laptops on certain commercial flights is all over the news, why not write a post explaining how your encryption software can help to keep your laptop data safe while you and your laptop are apart, whilst it travels in the airplane hold?
While it’s best to shy away from a hard-sell when commenting on a newsy event, you can get more visibility for your brand and followers on social by weighing in quickly. You can also be seen as adding more value to the community by providing further context or another way to think about a current event.
On the other hand, you can also leverage news hooks in your content is by planning way ahead. Our friends at Hubspot made a handy downloadable calendar of all the obscure observance days or random holidays that exist, from International Women’s Day to World Storytelling Day. While these may not have meant much in the pre-social media age, today something as banal as International Doughnut Day can spawn millions of Tweets, Instagrams, and posts using the hashtag. Forward planning your content calendar around trending observance days like this can be a great way to inject your content into a conversation stream on social media. While it’s not advisable to be too tangential or gratuitous with your use of these ‘days’—i.e. If you sell business software, you should probably skip an international Doughnut Day-themed piece of content—a few clever uses of these ‘days’ per year can really take your content game up a notch. Utilise this calendar and plan ahead.
Tip #8: Think like a journalist when planning your content. Find the hook and amplify what you have to say around an existing conversation.
If you want to learn more about content planning strategy, getting your audience to help you to create content, and using content to structure the sales journey, please see these helpful blogs below:
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