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Before I share with you how to increase your audience by leveraging news and controversy, I will start out by saying that I’m not a very controversial marketer. I tend to focus more on evergreen topics rather than controversial ones. But there is place for both kinds of topics in your marketing, and for some businesses, news and controversy will work better than evergreen.

Many online marketers play it safe when it comes to marketing their business. However, in some cases it can be a good thing to stir up a little controversy. Tapping into news headlines and current trends can be one of the best ways to foster audience engagement. There are a number of easy ways to do this.

Google News

If you go to the Google News page, you will see the latest headlines from the US, around the world, and in particular areas such as business and sports. If you can tap into the current stories that are trending, you might be able to stir up a lot of social media engagement for your posts. Try to connect your products and services in a timely way.

When responding to the news, is important to tread a fine line between sarcastic or funny, and offensive. We all have different political perspectives, for example, but certain rules of courtesy and decency still apply.

By connecting with these news stories, and sharing them at your page, you can show your values as a company. You can be authentic, and reveal your mission statement is about more than just making money online. For example, if you support a certain cause such as animal rescue, by all means post about that, the seal culls in the Arctic, the Asian dog-eating festival and other tricky topics.

Trends

In terms of trends, Google and all social media sites have trending areas where you can see the latest posts that are the most popular. For example, if you go to Twitter, look at the Moments tab and see if anything relates to what your brand is all about. Post useful or thought-provoking content and use the hashtags if possible.

Hashtags are a useful way to join in the discussion without appearing too intrusive. Offer your two cents and see what reactions you get. If you want to stir things up, create your own hashtag and invite your followers to join in the conversation.

Twitter will also show trends under your logo and on the right-hand side of the page, so look in these places to see what’s hot.

On Facebook, you will see trending stories on the right-hand side. It will list the top ones, and if you click on one of the stories, you will then see a longer list of stories. You will also see small icons at the top related to categories of story. The icons from left to right are:

  • Top Stories
  • Politics
  • Science and technology
  • Sports
  • Entertainment

To spot the trends on Tumblr or Pinterest, look for a compass emblem. LinkedIn recently launched a new trends area on the right side of your home page. To search across all top sites, try BuzzSumo.com.

Tapping into news or controversy and trends shows that you are a human being, not just a robot cranking out the same content all the time. It can also inspire you to create different forms of content. In addition, you can channel your passion, making your marketing more exciting. Then see how much engagement you will get in return.

Consider creating content that spans the range from evergreen to very timely. It will keep your marketing fresh and help you attract new people to your business.

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