Growing a business that relies on the internet has always been an unending battle, whether the SERPs are filled with black hat competitors or simply those with more authority, it is always going to be a challenge.
As digital marketers, there are so many routes to take, always so much variety in how problems can be tackled. And the truth is, growth will always be dependent on hundreds of factors which you can sometimes be overwhelmed by. Some days, you'll be a treasure hunter looking out for a high authority diamond in the rough link, and they’ll be those days you simply spend talking to influencers in an attempt to get a contributor account on their site.
This article, on the other hand, is all about tapping into juicy trending topics and mashing them into your content marketing strategy.
Usually, it won’t have that long standing effect that evergreen content can have, and there is always going to be potential to fail miserably, but if you play your cards right, you could be sitting on a goldmine. Don’t believe me? We acquired hundreds of referring domains on a recent hack involving a trending topic. Take a look at this screenshot from Ahref:
But backlinks aren’t everything, so here is another screenshot was taken from Analytics at the peak of the content’s popularity.
Like most digital marketing departments, the digital marketing team at AppInstitute has always strived to make the biggest link building wins with insane ROI. It’s great to seek new opportunities and share ideas every week in a creative brainstorming session, which is where our idea was first debated.
Read on if you are interested in how we think a trending topic can be leveraged to generate hundreds of quality backlinks and enough to traffic to topple over a heavy duty server. Please note, that this is not a method that’ll work for every business.
Identify the Current Trends
The first step is to identify a trend, try to find something that you can leverage to create content, cute cats are cute, and sometimes they go viral, but can you create a piece of content from that?
Probably 90% of publications utilize content that has been previously created as part of their core marketing strategy, look at how newspapers go about their daily business.
Creating original content is how we operate though. It’s more likely that good content will yield a plentiful amount of quality backlinks. Keep in mind though, you want relevant backlinks.
Most authority sites are constantly looking for the next big story or article to feed their ever turning advertising cogs, which is the reason why trending topics are so great for building authority links.
Keep an eye on popular social sites to see what is trending, but also keep an eye on other publications that you want links from. They might be really interested in the topic and you can leverage that. Stay abreast of the news and act quickly.
Create Great Content
After identifying a trend, it’s important to build a piece of content that is worthy of the internet. In our case, we hopped onto the trend of Pokémon Go bandwagon and created a data-driven piece of content.
With so many people talking about the game, we knew at least a few of the larger publications would want to share if the content had some interesting facts. Any type of content can be leveraged though, which is why this technique is so elegant, it's a reactive content marketing strategy tailored towards the topic itself.
Our top tip? Data is a surprisingly easy thing to outreach, especially if you create something original that covers a wide array of facts in one easy resource. Don’t forget either, trends need to be acted upon quickly (even if that means a 4 AM hometime).
So you have an idea or piece of content?
Once you have your content, it’s time to get it out into the world.
There are a plethora of tools designed for outreach which can help to speed up the process. In short, here is a quick summary of our outreach techniques:
- We looked for those who had an interest in Pokémon Go on Twitter and used a few sneaky ways to find their email addresses in order to communicate directly.
- We identified magazines who had written about Pokémon Go and found the email addresses of the journalists involved.
- We created a list of bloggers on Facebook, with a view to targeting these at launch.
- We drafted a whole email list of people we knew would be interested in the data we had to share with the world.
- We identified forums where we could ask questions and give answers surrounding Pokémon Go, such as Reddit and Quora.
Basically, we built a list that consisted of thousands of people, hundreds of websites, and then refined the list to make it more manageable for the team by identifying the top influencers. Simple right?
Launch your content, then outreach like crazy!
Preparation is as important as the actual launch. If not more so. If you are fully prepared and confident in your content then this is when the magic happens.
We had a team working to target those we identified across a wide range of platforms in our planning stage, then it was a case of working through the long outreach list:
We also retweeted a tweet of the highest social media influencers to put us on their radar, and if their Twitter direct messages were open, they were sent a message.
We used a tool to automatically like tweets that mentioned Pokémon Go. Then, on the social media profiles, the real-time infographic was pinned to the top of the feed.
We leveraged large Facebook groups as you can generate some serious buzz, after all, modern day digital marketing shouldn’t be confined solely to emails.
We also posted on popular Facebook pages walls, then proceeded to message them. This could be taken a step further and thrown into the threads that are topical in an attempt to steal some traffic.
Leverage online communitiesThere is a certain level of caution that is advisable when posting on community boards. In the modern day world, people are very aware of those trying to self-publicise their work.
For some reason, places like Reddit will frown upon this. So make sure you try to put some effort into how you approach each business website, going back to that golden rule marketers live by “Content must have value”.
We posted throughout every place we could find, answering a variety of questions relating to Pokemon Go. Where applicable we cited the data, but this showcases how many ways there are to truly put your content in front of customers.
We also started discussions where possible to try and invoke the perfect moment for sharing our data.
Paid Advertising[sopacer] We began a short PPC campaign around the terms Pokémon Go Stats, and Pokémon Go. Budgets can generally stretch to this as growth hacking spans days rather than weeks and so a short campaign is not usually out of reach.
What we learnedSome of our outreach methods might seem a little weird, but it worked well for us. Just keep in mind that you'll want to do as much outreach as possible in the shortest period of time for maximum impact. Being savvy and really selling the content is also going to do you so many favors! Find the right way to tailor your outreach for whom you speak with.
By putting on our thinking caps during a weekly brainstorming session, we gained hundreds of high authority links from high domain authority blogs and magazines. Not to mention the traffic that broke our server, the site received 92,000 visits to the page in a week.
From an onsite point of view, the campaign had a very positive effect on our keyword positions. We noticed a large shift in rankings for the majority of our core phrases which weren’t even related to the content.
Whilst not every piece of content will be something that can be tweaked into something that is different, experiment with it and the results can be interesting.