How To Write Topical Content That's Brand Relevant

You might call it newsjacking, being topical or simply writing about what’s hot. Whatever you call it, writing and creating topical content or content related to current trends and interests are a great way to get your brand and message out to the world.

To celebrate 100 years of dunking , Oreo’s Daily Twist campaign managed to comment on everything from the Mars landing to the birth of a Chinese panda, all through the lens of an Oreo Cookie.

If you can find your way into the latest hot topic, you’ll show up in search queries, generate interest for your brand, and in a best-case scenario, offer your expert insights.

So, how do you do it

Start by paying attention. Writing topical content starts with understanding the trending topics. Stay up to date on current events, trends and headlines. Check your favorite news outlets, Google Trends , The Huffington Post , CNN or services like CEB Iconoculture or to understand what’s happening today and what might be coming tomorrow.

You can’t write about what you don’t know or understand.

Once you have a handle on what’s going on in the world, start looking for overlaps with your expertise. Find a relevant way to comment on a trending topic through the lens of your brand.

If you look at the Oreo campaign, their brand is about celebrating the child in each of us. Every one of their daily twists featured a fun commentary created from Oreo Cookies. They used their brand to comment on current events, celebrate milestones, anniversaries and even endorse marriage equality.

What you don’t say can be as important as what you do say

Simply sharing your point of view isn’t always enough; you need to find a connection to your expertise. Oreo’s expertise is fun, so they focused on pop culture. An IT solutions company doesn’t have the same opportunity. On the flip side, Oreo Cookie doesn’t have any credibility when it comes to the latest Windows Update or an evaluation of the most popular apps in the iTunes store.

Don’t get sucked into every trending topic and cultural fad; focus on the ones where you can insert your brand and add value to your reader.

Recently, an airport parking website used a man’s death to promote their services. They sent an email citing that “trouble finding a parking spot contributed to the man’s death” and then offered a discount at the end. And while it was certainly a topical content, it was horribly insensitive, tacky and had nothing to do with their business or expertise.

Budweiser on the other hand once again hit gold, using emotion in their “ Friends are Waiting ,” PSA to promote responsible drinking.

“Budweiser is known for connecting with beer drinkers in memorable ways, and our efforts to promote responsible drinking through this video are no exception.” Brian Perkins, VP of marketing, told AdAge .

Once you’ve found the intersection of your brand’s expertise and today’s trending topic, all that’s left is figuring out what you’ve got to offer. You can be supportive, take a stand, or use it as a teaching tool, but the key to making a real connection and offering value is having something relevant to say and a reason to say it.