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So You're Topical: That Don't Impress Me Much

Earlier this year, as I’m sure all of you are aware of by now, Burger King’s official Twitter account was hacked by some McDonald’s loving fanatic. I’m choosing to believe the whole thing was orchestrated by the Anonymous crew. In between combating internet censorship and freeing Julian Assange, why not take a stand against the Whopper? Power to the people and all that.  

One of the best lines, I thought, to come out of the BK fiasco is the following tweet by Ryan Broderick (@ryanpbroderick):

“150 Social Media Consultants type the headline "What The Burger King Hack Means For Brands" at the same time all across New York City”

Genius! A) because it’s funny and b) because it’s true, but expanded to the world, not just in NYC. As social media managers we have been told from the beginning that in order for our content to be shared, retweeted, liked and fingers-crossed maybe even go viral, it needs to be topical. It’s Valentine’s Day, let’s write a blog about the ’10 Best Uses of Hearts in an Ad Campaign’. St. Patrick’s Day? People need to know ‘How to Write Content for Leprechauns’. Easter? Somebody better make me an infographic showing the best time of day to tweet about chocolate. There is merit in making your content topical, it can be a solid strategy for increasing the reach and awareness of your brand and company, but it must be balanced. Since people are already searching the interwebs for that subject, creating topical content makes it easier to be found, but unless your blog, infographic, video, etc. is informative, interesting or sparks debate nobody is going to read it, share it or like it. And isn’t that the point?

Content planning is all about balance. It’s as true in the B2B world as it is in B2C, and something clients don’t always understand. (Where does their desire to flog a dead horse come from? Something in their childhood me thinks). You’ve got to balance quantity with quality, balance self-promotion with knowledge sharing, and balance topical with informative. Content marketing is a long game strategy, it’s not about the quick wins or the spikes in website traffic if that’s all they are, spikes. We are building relationships here, growing communities, and your audience is smart enough to see through a thinly veiled attempt at what usually amounts to nothing more than a hashtag hijack.

Before you sit down to write ‘What The Burger King Hack Means For Brands’ (or whatever the latest scandal is) first ask yourself the following questions, in the context of your audience:

1. Does this story need to be told?

2. Has this story already been told? If so, can I tell it better or can I bring something new to it?

If the answer is ‘no’, step away from your keyboard, this isn’t your day. Go back to the drawing board and come up with a content plan that means something to your company, your brand and most importantly your audience.
If you answered ‘yes’ to the above questions, congratulations, you’ve discovered content worth creating. A rare find in this oversaturated world. Go forth and tell your story. Be topical, be informative, be engaging, be controversial and if you can, be a little bit funny because who doesn’t love a good chuckle when they’re reading about ‘What social media means to the Royal Baby’, or whatever event is topping the trending topics that week.

By: Katie Canton, Birddog Ltd.