Here’s a lesson from Journalism 101.
It’s one of the things they teach us at uni (because, journalists aren’t uneducated hacks you know – we’re university-taught professionals who also do cadetships and years of training in the trenches before being let loose on major stories).
Any-hoo – we are taught how to recognise and rate the importance of a story or information. It takes years and years to perfect, and honestly, some journos never perfect it. It’s like developing a sixth-sense (like Spidey-senses that are highly attuned to potential stories).
One of the elements to recognise is that of ‘timeliness’.
Timeliness is a ‘right thing at the right time’ situation
It’s like jumping on the band wagon in some respects, because it means you’re tapping in to something that is happening at that point in time.
It’s about recognising what has timely significance – what is front-of-mind for your readers and followers – and considering what you might be able to add to the conversation or how it’s relevant to your audience.
A very basic example is at Christmas time, you post things that have a Christmas angle, because that’s what people are thinking about. Posting that content in March is pointless.
It’s also why you see all the juice cleanse or detox promos at the beginning of spring, and weight loss promos in January for the whole New Year, New You angle.
Aside from those obvious seasonal issues though, there are many other ways to use timeliness to become more visible.
We’ve seen issues such #metoo, gender equality, gun control in the States, Barnaby Joyce and fidelity, MAFS and marriage – these are all subjects that are front-of-mind to many people, and may give you the opportunity to write or produce content that is relevant to your followers and in some cases, also tie in with an important subjects.
It doesn’t necessarily mean writing about the actual issue, but ideas that are in some way related or associated.
For instance MAFS – Married at First Sight. Everyone seems to talk about it. You, like me, may hate the show, but writing about marriage might be relevant to your business. So you can do that. with perhaps a reference to something to do with MAFS.
Timeliness is why the media may appear at times to be broadcasting or publishing about the same thing – when an issue is front-of-mind, journos and editors pay more attention to stories that are linked or related to that issue because that’s what people are showing an interest in. It’s also when they will drill down into an issue. For example, after a major event, say a terrorist attack, after the main even coverage is complete, people start asking why something happened, who was at fault or what happens next.
So the media goes in search of those answers, running stories on those other (related) topics. That’s when we would look into more detailed feature stories, human interest angles, and stories that give an issue more background or depth.
You can use the same structure and element of timeliness.
It’s particularly useful if you are in an industry where you need to make comment on issues – so publish an opinion piece on a current industry change or issue. Even if you’re a food blogger – there’s always something happening in the news that you can tap into. Look out for the next time Paleo Pete Evans hits the media’s attention and consider how you can use the media storm and interest to inspire or inform your audience around it.
Timeliness is also an important element to consider when putting together your content strategy and editorial calendar and whilst it shows that you are up with current events/trends/issues it also provides you with content ideas ahead of time.
Scan the news – what is timely right now and how does it relate to what you do? Consider the date and the next few weeks – what events or seasons are nearing and how are they connected to what you do?
Photo by AbsolutVision on Unsplash