Here at Haden Interactive, we work with health and wellness companies, healthcare professionals, HBC brands, and also with cause marketing. On Election Day 2016 and the days around it, one of our blogging clients saw traffic to their website rise by 661.05% — that’s the difference between roughly 5,000 and roughly 35,000, just to give perspective. Most of the traffic was finding a single blog post through organic search. This post had been popular in the months leading up to the election, as the topic had been in the headlines.
The election rocketed the subject into the national consciousness. When people searched for the topic, they found our blog post. Our post outranked posts on the same topic at much larger, more established websites, so we ended up getting the traffic.
How can you capture people searching for headline news?
Newsjacking is the practice of writing things tangentially related to headlines, picking up on likely search trends. So, in the wake of the election, we could write posts like these for healthcare blogs:
- Trump Plans for Health Savings Accounts — Are You Ready?
- How President Trump Could Affect Your Health Insurance
- Will Melania Continue Michelle’s Health Initiatives?
It could be useful for our clients’ readers to know more about HSAs and we can certainly shoehorn some useful information into diplomatic discussions of health insurance and Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign. However, newsjacking doesn’t always lead to positive outcomes.
It’s best to identify connections between current headlines and our target market’s concerns. Sometimes clients hope that a trendy headline will bring lots and lots of people to their website, and those people will notice and buy their goods and services. This is a fantasy. If we use a post on Melania Trump’s failed skincare product line to lure people to our skincare product website, it is possible that our visitors will see our products and want to buy them, but it’s not likely. The people we’re appealing to are probably celebrity news fans rather than skincare product shoppers.
Unless you have a site monetized by ads, your goal is not just lots of traffic. It’s well-targeted traffic: people who need the solutions you offer.
Successful headlines-inspired blog posts
The super-successful blog post mentioned in the beginning of this post provided valuable information for the visitors to the website. It answered a question that our target market was wondering about before the election, and it had top Google ranking before the election. When the election inspired tens of thousands of people to ask the same question, our post gave the best answer.
This is the secret to using headlines for organic search. You can’t just have a related blog post title the day a headline pops up. You need an answer to the questions the headline raises, and you need it to be indexed and established before searchers begin asking that question in response to the headlines.
As an expert in your subject, you will be aware of topics that are becoming popular in the news. This gives you an advantage. Look out into the future of your industry. Identify the questions your target market will be asking in the next few months, and make sure that you have the best answers.
Take this advice literally. Make a list of the questions you expect to see coming along, the questions you’re beginning to hear from your trendy visitors. Share that list — and your expert answers — with your blogger. You won’t know which questions will hit the headlines hardest, but you can make sure that you have strong answers for all the contenders.
When the traffic comes
Once you see organic traffic beginning to visit a particular blog post, make sure that the related posts, links to sales pages, and other calls to action at that post are up to date. We developed a goal for our client — making sure that new visitors were inspired to explore further in the website and to come back in the future — and made adjustments to the page to lead to those goals.
Traffic is still double what it was before the election.
The website in question is all about thought leadership. Your website might be supporting product sales, lead generation, or other business goals. Make sure the page that is receiving the big traffic has appropriate calls to action.
If you’re selling something, this is a good time to add a discount coupon or other time-sensitive offer. Make sure that it is different from offers on other pages and that it expires quickly.
It should go without saying that your blog posts must be excellent quality to compete with all the other answers to the newsy questions you identify. If you’re ready to invest in a successful blog, contact us.