Are current events the new keywords?

The “trending topics” section on Twitter has always been a fascinating example of virality to me. Sometimes, you get the weirdest combination of stuff (Pandora, women, and Christmas?), and it makes me wonder “how on Earth did that make it into the trending topics?” But, because of the power of trends on social media, I’ve begun to wonder how current events can impact content strategy. For instance, if I were to produce and publish a brilliant infographic and publish it on the same day that Kanye throws another Twitter tantrum — how does that affect the engagement on my post? How much traffic do I lose because the social web has its collective eyes turned toward Chipotle? It’s definitely an interesting (and possibly depressing) subject to ponder.

This also makes me consider how we, as content curators and creators, need to evolve. Many of us are used to tagging our content with the most relevant keywords and optimizing for search — but how many of us can keep up with the breakneck pace of change that Google sets? The constant flux of how content performs on search keeps us on our toes.. but how just efficient are these old systems? How can we better optimize for the future and our success via search?

Enter the “brand journalist.” This person creates news-type stories within a specific editorial line in a 100% reactive way. Gone are the days of content falling into an overall “marketing strategy,” brands need to be leaner, better, faster, and more topical overall, to reach wider audiences than ever.

“Freshness” is one of the most impactful factors in Google’s search algorithm. If you spend your day tagging with the same tags over and over, how fresh is that? It’s time to take a look at content in a new light — in the light of current events. As a curator, you are always finding the best, newest content available about the topics that interest you. Why not take that content and spin it in light of current events which impact your field of interest? Tag with current events, not with the same tired keywords.

A word of caution, though — value is just as important as it’s always been. Keyword spamming is still keyword spamming, whether you are using “blogging” or “Halloween 2013.” Make sure your content still shines, adds value, and creates a bigger conversation around itself. This will support your stance as a thought leader and voice of resonance within your community of interest, and will help drive new, fresh eyeballs to your sites.