Creating good content is hard enough, let alone good content that gets found. When it comes to being part of the news and on page 1, the game has changed from as little as six years ago. I don’t mean page 1 of The Times – I mean page 1 of Google search results. David Meerman Scott writes about that succinctly in his recent book, Newsjacking (take a look if you haven’t – it’s short and insightful).
The crux of David’s book is those that can take advantage of news as it happens will stand a chance to get picked up in the wave of search that happens all around the breaking story. As long as the point is interesting, there’s a chance it could get referenced, boosting that related story’s chance to move to the heralded page 1 of search engine result pages.
You might be a great writer, have a way with images, and have a great business to tie a story back to. But how do you find those real-time stories and capitalize on them?
You may have heard of a link shortening tool called bit.ly. By my last recollection (can’t recall the source), it was the number 1 or number 2 most-used link shortening service in the world. And that’s worth more than a trophy. What it means is that the bit.ly folks have access to what millions of people are doing with long links and then shortening. As in, they know what’s popular, being shared, and trending.
rt.ly is one of the bit.ly folks’ “labs” projects, so it might still be rough around the edges. If you haven’t guessed yet, the ‘rt’ in rt.ly stands for ‘real time’. Put another way: it shows you what’s trending across the web, right now, in real time, from a search string.
I know from experience that social media listening tools bring in lots of volume, but it’s not all signal. rt.ly can be used as a tool to dip in a bit and see not only what people are talking about, but more so what’s resonating with Internet users. Go ahead and give it a shot. Here’s the URL: http://rt.ly/
I ran an example to show you what I mean. Let’s say I have a point of view on small businesses, and can offer them advice. Or, I’m a serial entrepreneur. Or, I offer coaching and training, and I’m looking for new clients from the small-and medium-sized business population. I can use rt.ly to wade into the “what’s happening now” string and see what’s popping, and tehn potentiall create my story around that, using those terms.
Here’s an example:
You can see I didn’t search for many things – just ‘SMB’ as a term, in the topic area of business (I’m not sure what happens if you search for a term expressly outside of a related topic; if you try and get some interesting results, please let me know in the comments section). I picked a language I can read, and then I’m off to the races.
Here’s the specific URL to my query: http://rt.ly/#q=SMB,t=business
So What Does it All Mean?
Just being part of the news cycle no longer cuts it. You need to be top of mind, in front of people’s eyeballs, and part of the discussion. Major media platforms like broadcast news have a leg up on regular citizens and smaller operations, but that doesn’t mean they are excluded altogether. Create a story and a viewpoint that relates to the real-time event to get injected into the cycle. And a tool like rt.ly can help you find where those stories are happening, let you see the other viewpoints, and begin to help you to craft yours.
What are you waiting for?