Posted 17 August, 2020 by in Digital PR

To Make The News, Read The News: Why Content Marketers Should Keep Up With The Daily News Flow

As content marketers, our goal is to create engaging content to reach relevant audiences.

This relies heavily on getting content covered in the media and securing valuable backlinks to a client’s website.

But getting coverage on high DA news sites isn’t easy. If it was, content marketing agencies wouldn’t exist.

To be successful, content marketers must know what they’re up against. It’s as simple as this: to make the news, you have to read the news.

Here are some top tips for keeping up with the daily news flow and how your campaigns will benefit…

Create a ‘black book’ of news sites

Every client will have a list of ideal news publishers they want to be on and so should you.

Set aside time each morning to read the trending stories across your clients’ industries (whether it’s technology, health, politics, sport, travel etc.).

Absorb the topics they regularly cover, check who’s writing stories, their key angles and the types of spokespeople they quote.

Following these sites’ breaking news accounts (and their top journalists) on Twitter can also speed things up, giving you a snapshot of stories as they break.

Some news outlets (usually B2B titles) will also have a weekly email newsletter you can sign up to, with all their big stories from the week gone by.

Let tools do the hard work

If you’re overwhelmed by the constant drum of the news and have mounting client work to be getting on with, here’s a round-up of the best tools for keeping your finger on the global zeitgeist…

Google Alerts is a basic option, but it’s free and easy to set up. It lets you monitor keywords related to your client and their industry and get all the big news stories straight to your inbox, without lifting a finger. Top tip: select “as it happens” when setting up an alert for instant notifications.

If you want to avoid flooding your inbox with generic search terms, use speech marks to find specific phrases or a plus symbol to look for multiple keywords in the same search. This refines your results to more specific stories. You can also keep up with what your clients’ competitors (and their agencies) are up to by monitoring brand names.

Another easy and often overlooked news aggregator is Google Trending Searches. Choose your country from the drop-down menu and it’ll rank its top trending topics each day based on search volume.

If you have a paid subscription to Buzzsumo, you can use its media monitoring resource – it’s often faster and more reliable than Google Alerts. Go to the “monitoring” section and add your client’s (or their competitor’s) brand name or choose a topic to see all the recent results. You can even ask for real-time updates via your Slack channel.

Buzzsumo also has a useful trending section where you can filter the news by topic like tech, health, sport, politics, education etc.

How to find trending news stories on Buzzsumo by subject

I’d also recommend content curation tools, like Pocket, which let you save all the stories you’ve been meaning to read but haven’t found time for. With offline functionality, you can catch up with the latest content anytime, anywhere…like in the bath with a glass of vino. Don’t judge me.

Monitor media requests

Media requests are the one time a journalist actually wants to hear from you. They’ll send out a call for contributions among the PR community for a story they’re working on, with the hope your company or one of its experts has what they need. This is usually a product, statistic or top tip.

Monitoring these incoming requests is an important part of securing ‘quick wins’ for content you already have banked, as well as finding out their topic du jour.

You’ll often notice a pattern of journalists asking for similar content. That’s when you know a story or topic has viral potential.

Follow the media requests feed on Gorkana’s homepage, #journorequest on Twitter and sign up to Response Source if you can – a subscription media request service journalists use to reach out to the PR and content marketing community.

Search #journorequest on Twitter

Follow the influential

Celebrities and influencers are a major source of news. Journalists often check their social feeds and write up stories based on what they find, so why shouldn’t you?

Stay a step ahead and follow influential people in your client’s field – be it beauty, business or sport. If you can link a piece of content to a developing celebrity-based story, you instantly increase its ‘newsworthiness’.

Learn from ‘newsroom SEO’

In the age of social media and Google domination, it isn’t just clients benefitting from search engine optimisation best practice.

SEO has become a vital weapon for news publishers, helping them grow their share of voice in an overcrowded market, attract valuable traffic flow, and generate precious advertising revenues.

News publishers are now working hard to make their sites and content valuable in the eyes of Google. Follow journalists with these, slightly odd, titles – “SEO Writer”, “Audience Writer” and “Trends Writer”. They’ll be keeping their eye out for the next big thing just like you.