Timely B2B Content: News & Pop Culture in Marketing

timely B2B topics
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Super-timely B2B content is destined to age out more quickly than your average white paper, but it lets you make a bigger impact over a shorter period of time and can play a valuable role in your larger plan. These are the shooting stars of content that shine brightly, if briefly.

Timely tie-ins capitalize on your readers’ emotions to attract their attention right now, giving you an instant edge over competing assets. B2B marketers use them to weave their story into a bigger picture that’s important to readers right now—whether to learn key information to manage a current problem or to satisfy their impulse to fangirl out over the newest season of “Love Island.”

There are plenty of options to choose from to leverage what’s timely—from breaking news and game-changing legislation to key industry trends and beloved pop culture phenomena. When you introduce your brand alongside these timely topics, you demonstrate to your buyers that you’ve got your finger on the pulse of the issues that matter to them.

Benefit From Breaking News

Author David Meerman Scott coined the term newsjacking, which he defines as “the art and science of injecting your ideas into a breaking news story, so you and your ideas get noticed.” It’s the ultimate diva move—taking a news story and making it about you.

Newsjacking allows you to capture your readers’ attention and introduce your brand into the news mix in real time while it has the greatest impact.

You’re not going to be able to make a credible connection with every news headline, so you’ll need to be selective. Scan the headlines regularly for topics that are most relevant to your industry to find the best opportunities. You must be lightning-fast to capitalize on the attention before a story catches on and there are too many competing voices online. It’s the most challenging of the timely tactics, but f you’re game to try it you can read more about newsjacking here.

Serve It Straight from the Headlines

Thankfully, not every news story requires so much real-time action to use it in timely B2B content. Plenty of important news unfolds over several weeks or over the course of a season.

Topics like the pandemic, an economic downturn or Congressional hearings play out over a long period of time and invite more thoughtful perspectives. These can serve as valuable fuel for blogs or briefs that delve into topics like “10 ways to recession-proof your tech budget,” “tips for empowering your staff to work remotely in a crisis” or “how the new privacy legislation will change the way you send marketing email.”

Notice that these examples bring your content into the news story naturally, giving readers something to consider about a news story they’re probably already thinking about. Think about how your solution fits in with important issues of the day. You’re not likely to be their go-to resource for the latest advances COVID testing, but you could be their go-to resource for how the pandemic might affect their industry or a particular aspect of their workday. That’s where you can make a connection that’s both timely and authentic.

Spotlight Key Industry Trends

Whether they’re pulled from global headlines or gleaned from industry influencers, there are usually at least a handful of trends worth watching in your industry at any given moment. Simply reporting to your audience on those trends can be helpful, but you’ll resonate more with your audience when you can deliver timely B2B content that adds your own fresh take to the story.

What does your company have to offer readers that they can’t get anywhere else? Maybe you disagree with popular thought leaders’ opinions on what will happen next. Maybe you have a new solution no one’s talking about. Maybe you have important predictions to share about what they’re likely to experience next. The more unique and specific your take, the better.

Shine Like a Pop Star

Designing content around a pop culture theme is a fun way to capture your audience with a relevant twist and a strong emotional hook. That explains why 28% of the most successful marketing campaigns between 2013 and 2016 featured pop culture references.

This tactic requires you to consider a few things about your audience. For starters, think about whether pop culture references will be appropriate for them at all. Some industries are more conservative than others, so know your audience. And then proceed with caution.

Just because you love or “Star Wars” doesn’t mean it will resonate with them. So before you get carried away outlining an E-book full of inside jokes from “Schitt’s Creek,” take a look at your personas and think about the movies, music, TV shows and sporting events they’re most likely to be raving fans of. Consider the references that are likely to appeal to the broadest number of target readers

Factors like age, gender, hobbies and even location are sometimes good indicators. Remember that your goal is to make a positive emotional connection. That strong emotional connection can backfire if you don’t know your audience. I won’t feel warm and fuzzy about it, for example, if you share a San Francisco Giants-themed infographic. (Go Dodgers!)

Instead of playing favorites with teams, however, you might run with a baseball theme that incorporates the whole roster of MLB teams. That goes for TV and movies as well, where you could appeal to a larger audience with a “Which Pop Diva Are You?” quiz that pulls from multiple genres and generations or an E-book that compares technology options to the top five movie superheroes.

If you’re just getting started with content, you might want to start with more evergreen pieces that have a longer life span than these timely B2B content topics. (I’ll be covering evergreen content in an upcoming post!) But if you have room to add some dessert to your content menu, incorporating timely topics can make a big impact and show your buyers you’re in tune with what’s happening in their lives.

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