Here are 5 quick and easy answers on how to keep content fresh and relevant during COVID-19 as digital content creators.
“We need to make our content stand out.”
“How about something more….viral?”
“ We need something totally new and original! ”
…said every content creator ever (and their client, their boss and their teammates). If you’ve been on the content treadmill for some time now, you will know that ‘out of the box’ thinking is a whole new box in itself.
Creator burnout is a thing, and many content creators have reported how exhausting the constant pressure to create content and come up with new ideas is.
If you want to sustain as a content creator over the long haul, it is imperative to find sustainable, format driven ways and techniques that can keep your content looking and sounding fresh, while still not putting the entire onus of it on you.
So here are 5 ways that we recommend to help you keep your content fresh and interesting!
Tapping into the power of online trends
This one’s perhaps the most efficient way for you to keep your content from dying a slow, unremarkable death.
Whatever is currently trending online is a rich source of engaging material. You may have heard of “trendjacking.” Trendjacking (or newsjacking) is appropriating a trending topic for use on your own site. If there’s a story that is in-line with your business, jump on the trend and share the news with your audience.
Click here to read all about how brands are pivoting their digital story to match their audiences’ changing needs.
To help work trendjacking in your favour, here are a few things you must keep in mind.
Trendjacking can only work if the trend in question is well, trending. Check out Google Trends to get a more cognisant picture of the volume of searches that a particular trend is garnering.
Choose the right story:
There will be plenty that’s trending on a day-to-day basis but you have to choose the story that’s right for you. The one that’s more tied in with your voice, your brand or your product.
Since Coronavirus is the large umbrella – a ‘viral’ trend (or the actual fatal virus) that doesn’t seem to be plummeting anytime soon, find your hook within this larger umbrella, just like we did for this article.
Bring something new:
After choosing your hook into the trending discourse, think critically about what is new about your content offering. What can you bring to this trend that is specific to your brand and voice?
Pro tip: Create a series that can incorporate trending content into an already existing format, like a hosted show or a review series.
Active trends in an active voice
If you’re a writer or a blogger, chances are you’re fairly familiar with WordPress and its painful readability scores. Chances are also that your readability scores range between the mild orange or the annoying red. (And if it’s the coveted green, then seriously, you gotta be writing this blog.) Part of WordPress’s criticism focuses on “not having enough sentences in active voice”.
That loosely translates into a clearly defined sense of subjectivity and authenticity. Passive sentences tend to reflect secondary research, already extant facts and second hand information. WordPress, and by extension, internet algorithms are programmed to surface information that is diverse and different.
Be clear and precise and remember that the optimal article length for optimisation is just under two thousand words. Writing in passive voice is one of the major issues with blog writing, especially if you’re creating content for professional industries.
Regarding the use of the active voice, (to help elucidate WordPress rules here) it is a simple technique that can make a big difference. Saying “the content was read multiple times by your audience” sounds more passive than “your audience read the content many times.”
Pro tip: The surest way to ensure that your content stays fresh is by drawing on and creating from your own experiences. Ask what makes you different. Ask what is unique about what you have to offer.
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Don’t just create, update
This is something that very few creators put to good use. Gone are the days when an article or a video or any piece of content once released, could not be updated. The beauty of being a digital creator lies in being able to update, delete or repurpose already existing content. Even those seemingly vicious Google crawlers (aka the ranking police) seem to reward creators for that.
Say for instance, you already have an article/video/blog et.al. on something like easy home workouts that you released a while back. Thanks to the pandemic, (but, no thanks) there is an increase in searches for home workouts.
But of course, you would not release a whole new section on what you’ve already done before. That would not only be wasted effort, it could also hamper your ranking by creating an internal keyword competition between two of your own articles. Google crawlers are designed to red flag this behaviour.
So what do you do?
You simply go back to your original content and make it more relevant to the current situation. So if your old content was titled “easy home workouts” just add newer and more topically relevant information to make it “easy home workouts to do when you’re working from home”. You get the drift.
Pro tip: Don’t refrain from going back to your old content and updating it to make it more relevant and topical. In addition to this, merging older posts that seem more complete and more relevant together, would also give your platform those needed brownie points.
Getting into the habit 0f doing this would give the search engine crawlers the indication that you’re actively working to adhere your content to their guidelines. You could be rewarded for that too!
Nothing says ‘relevant’ more than older content being consistently updated to suit the changing needs of your audience.
Experiment with new features
Many platforms are constantly coming up with new features and hacks to ensure that both you, and they, stay relevant to the consumer.
Pro tip: Ensure both freshness and discoverability by matching your content to suit new releases and new features that digital platforms are themselves experimenting with and pushing out.
Apps like Facebook, Instagram, and Youtube tend to favour content that uses their new features more. Ergo, create content which makes use of those features and voila! You have the perfect combination of relevant, fresh and authentic right there.
Instagram recently launched their #stayathome, #gharparraho and #supportsmallbusiness stickers. And if you have been on to the app lately, you must have seen that Instagram stories with these stickers were the first ones on your feed.
Similarly, Instagram tends to push IGTV for the same reason that it’s their personal homegrown feature. So create content in line with new features and see it playing out wonders for you.
Ask & Engage
Kool Kanya recently did an Instagram post on things no one is allowed to ask you during an interview. We received an overwhelming response in the comments section that suggested the obvious: people wanted to know more about it.
That was it then. The idea for our next video. And an article idea for our website too. All these individual pieces of content performed sufficiently well on their respective platforms.
The point here is, having to come up with ways to stay fresh can sometimes be exhilarating. And sometimes exhausting. More often the latter. So the way to work smart rather than hard is to turn to your audience for inspiration.
Pro tip: Your audience is your prime content consumer. Your biggest critics. More often than not, they know what they need to hear, see or watch. Ask them. And strategise your content accordingly.
Engaging with your audience will help keep you grounded. And relevant. Make way for them to give their feedback and pay objective attention to their changing needs and demands.
Now, all these tips are tried and tested, but there is one last thing I cannot stress enough. In order to create fresh and relevant content, you have to feel fresh. Ideas come from the depth of our own experience, our reading, our conversations. So even as you use these hacks, do not forget to get off the content creation hamster wheel, and live. That’s where the best stories are.
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