One of the best ways to scout for new content topics is to read the news on a daily basis. News happens all the time, so you’re guaranteed to find something that hardly anyone’s written about yet. If you write about it fast enough, you’ll be seen as an observant, up-to-date authority in your field. Plus, it saves you the hassle of trying to wrangle up a topic of your own—instead, you can rely on the foundation of a separate article and transform it into something unique and beneficial for your campaign.
Here are seven ways you can do just that:
The easiest and most straightforward way to utilize an existing news article is to summarize it. Do this by reading the article fully, separating it out, and writing out a full-length summary in your own words. This can be tricky, because in the course of rewriting the article, it’s easy to succumb to repeated phrasing or similar structuring. Avoid this at all costs. Your goal should be writing it in a new tone of voice, emphasizing what you think is important and de-emphasizing what you think isn’t. Just to be safe, it’s a good idea to include a citation link pointing back to the original article.
Slightly increasing in complexity, you can turn the news article into a detailed opinion piece. This will still have elements of the summary—in fact, you can summarize the article in the opening paragraph to introduce your readers to the topic—but the bulk of your piece will be focused on your opinion surrounding the event or revelation. For example, if there’s a new Google update and you want to write an opinion piece, you can briefly summarize the extent of the update and then explain why you think it is or isn’t significant.
Future-predictive articles are an extended variation of the opinion article, but they’re more grounded in facts and speculation than subjective opinion. For this piece, you’ll also introduce the news article, but you’ll take it further by tying it together with other news articles focusing on similar or related topics. From there, you’ll make speculative claims about how the future is going to progress. For example, if an article comes out about an emerging technology, you can make bold predictions about how well it will be adopted by companies in your industry. As an added bonus, you can follow up after a given period of time and gauge how accurate your prediction was.
Next, you can take the data or information from the news article and transform it into a kind of infographic. The only holdup here is that there may not be enough raw information for you to make a suitably detailed large-scale visual. If that’s the case, you may have to supplement that information with other pieces of data you can find throughout the web, perhaps in the form of other news articles or research. If you really get stuck, you can conduct a survey among your followers about their views on the matter, and use that as the basis for your infographic.
This format requires no content or blog writing whatsoever. Rather than writing out your opinion on the news or speculating about the future, you can talk about these things to your audience directly. Speaking tends to facilitate unique structures and word choices that distinguish themselves from their written counterparts. You may find it easier to hold a monologue about the topic, rather than writing about it, and your audience might appreciate hearing your natural voice. You can still write out a transcript for the SEO benefits, but the primary audio format will serve you well.
If there’s something newsworthy happening, odds are there’s at least one person behind it. It could be the initiator of a new event, the inventor of a new technology, or the owner of a new business—if you can get in contact with that person, you can conduct an interview with them and use that material as your unique piece of content. If it’s a national-level news piece, this might be difficult, but if you can land the interview, you’ll be in a great position.
Of course, you aren’t strictly limited to the news piece itself as the course of your new piece of content. You can simply use it as a jumping-off point to learn new information or brainstorm about a potential topic. This use is one of the most flexible and practical you’ll find, since it opens the door to almost any application while still giving you an adequate foundation. Try learning more about the topic at hand or exploring further details about the circumstances surrounding it, then building your piece from there.
I’d like to note that it’s still important to generate topics on your own, by perusing competitor blogs, asking your users for their opinions, or just having an internal brainstorming meeting at the office. Originality must reside at the heart of any content campaign. Still, making original spins on the news can be highly rewarding (and just as efficient). Diversify your campaign, but keep reading the news and get some practice putting your own spin on things.
Want more information on content marketing and/or link building for SEO? Head over to our comprehensive guide on content marketing here: The All-in-One Guide to Planning and Launching a Content Marketing Strategy.