Making Plans and Flash-in-the-Pan: How to Make Content Timely
The foundation of a successful content strategy is to have content that’s engaging: content needs to be helpful, interesting, and/or entertaining. Showing the audience how to do something or giving them information that just hasn’t been given out before are ways to make content crackle and immediately get shared. But timeliness is also a virtue of content strategy that gets results: when people are looking up information that’s fairly time-sensitive or current, it can take hold even more than your typical content does–but not without some caveats.
Timeliness is a virtue of content strategy that gets results. Tweet This!
Here’s how to make the most of timely content and how you can both plan ahead and be ready to tackle time-sensitive pieces on the sly.
How Much Should Timely Content Be Prioritized?
It’s an industry standard that 80% of your content and social posts should inform and 20% is to sell. It’s more of a gray area when it comes to how much of your content should be time-sensitive. It ultimately depends on what type of organization you have and what your audience is seeking. Some content creators thrive on most of their content being incredibly time-sensitive while others focus more on helpful or entertaining evergreen content that rarely or never needs to be updated.
Constantly having fresh content is a challenge for many brands, but fitting timely content in should also be considered depending on the scope of that timeliness.
Timeliness and Content Planning
There are some timely aspects to content planning that are easier to contend with, such as seasonality. It’s easy to tell when most major holidays and seasonal shifts plus accompanying cultural shifts are for your desired markets. For instance, timely content for Valentine’s Day gift ideas or helping high school graduates apply for scholarships well before it’s time to start their first semester is easy enough to plan in advance for the typical American market. It can be created ahead of schedule then updated if need be.
You can easily find out when people look up certain words with Google Trends and this content has more likelihood of being evergreen. For industries and hobbies that thrive on events like conventions and music festivals, timely content leading up to these events also shouldn’t be overlooked. Both first-timers and seasoned attendees will be looking for related content and sharing it with the exact people you’re trying to target. While less likely to be evergreen than seasonal content, it has a very flash-in-the-pan element that makes it more highly-targeted in that you’re targeting a ticket holder or someone more likely to purchase a ticket than people coming to your site through raw search traffic.
When Timely Content Has to Be Unplanned
Of course though, not all timely content is as straightforward as planning a video for Thanksgiving table-setting ideas a month in advance. There’s going to be times when creating timely content will involve jumping on a current event, hashtag, or meme in order to get a sudden boost in traffic and engagement before it’s too late.
This part is challenging since not all memes have a long shelf life. They may fly around Twitter and other social media sites for just one or two days before being declared passé, or last a few weeks. How a brand responds to a meme or current event or trend is also going to be scrutinized and should be done carefully to avoid foibles such as DiGiorno Pizza’s #WhyIStayed context failure and the embarrassment that a Canadian tech company could’ve prevented with a quick trip to Urban Dictionary.
To overcome this challenge with timely content, make sure that enough research is done on the context of the meme, hashtag, or trend but also that it’s jumped on quickly before people move onto the next thing.
Timely content can be both flash in the pan or a long game strategy. To capture your target audience in the moment, you have to think of your goal in publishing timely content (building awareness or highly-targeted traffic?) and have it both created and shared at just the right time.
Rachel P is an indie game developer, writer, and consultant. She is also a content strategist here at Writer Access and would be happy to help you with keyword maps, customer journey maps, and buyer personas in addition to writing for you. If you would to like to hire Rachel to devise a content strategy for you, please contact your account manager or send a direct message.