The importance of riding the news cycle for content marketers

By Shing Mon Chung | 01 Mar 2019

A recent report by the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) which analysed the top 50 most popular blogs has helped highlight the importance of riding the news cycle, which essentially involves publishing timely content relevant to a publisher’s niche, for content marketers. The blogging sphere is an extremely crowded space, and to gain real engagement is no easy feat when there are an estimated 4 million new blog posts published every day. In its report, the CMI notes that six of the top 10 most visited blogs from 2018 had based their strategies around the idea of riding the news cycle, underlining the positive impact that this approach can have.

How can content marketers facilitate it?

The likes of TMZ, The Verge, and HuffPost are all prime examples of sites and blogs that are renowned for their coverage of breaking stories on celebrity scandals and cutting-edge tech, while also providing reputable coverage on sports, entertainment, and politics. Brands without the manpower of the big publishers of the world can still benefit hugely from riding the news cycle. It’s all about developing a content or campaign strategy that focuses on delivering timely content relevant to the readership’s customers and niche. In terms of results, publications that follow this strategy can expect improvements in site traffic, social media engagement, and PR links – and what’s best is that it can be relatively inexpensive to create a splash.
Case study: Pencil Chef

A good example of a fast, agile marketing campaign on the cheap comes from Pencil Chef, a small food and cooking blog. In January, it leveraged the global interest in veganism and used the Veganuary initiative as its inspiration for a campaign that garnered top tier news coverage from the likes of The Guardian, Newsweek,,, and The Vegan Society. Using Google Trends data, it was able to develop a study that investigated the popularity of veganism around the world. This simple content piece resonated with trending news around the world and racked up 88 referring domains.

Riding the news cycle can be hugely successful, however, brands should be cautious in their attempts to piggyback off the latest trends and only consider producing relevant and authentic content that works with the topic and their audience. After all, we all remember Pepsi’s ad with Kendall Jenner – for the wrong reasons.