How to Create Great Reactive Content in Real Time

Is it ever a good idea to be reactive versus proactive? In most cases, you’d probably think no. As an enterprise content team, you are planners, strategists, and anticipators. So, being reactive may seem counterintuitive. However, reactive content provides a way to create thought leadership and solution-focused content to “react” to industry news and trends.

So, how can you create this content? And is it possible to do it in real time? Let’s dive into the topic.

What Is Reactive Content?

Reactive content refers to anything you produce in response to major industry happenings. It’s the opposite of most things you create, which are proactive.

These happenings can be significant, like new regulatory rules. They could also be on a smaller scale of a trending hashtag.

The key to being successful at reactive content is speed. The faster you react, the greater the impact can be for your brand.

However, being “fast” in content marketing isn’t typically achievable, especially in large companies. Approvals, resource allocation, and more can keep things in review purgatory. To navigate this and create reactive content in real time, you’ll need to provide some autonomy to content creators and have streamlined, accelerated content workflows.

The other guiding principle of reactive content creation is to consider your audience and how they feel about this news. Never forget their perspective and needs when you respond.

Considering the value of this type of content and its inherent challenges, is it right for your company?

Should You Be Creating Reactive Content?

The value in reactive content involves several components. First, you have the chance to respond to the topic with your expertise and offer guidance to your audience. That helps establish and maintain trust.

Second, if you’re first with commentary, you’ll stand out amongst your competitors. As a result, it can give you an edge with your customers.

Third is the engagement opportunity that comes with sharing your content on social media. If you’re talking about what’s current right now, it will get traction. People will share it, and it has the possibility of becoming viral and extending your reach.

With this engagement also comes traffic to your website. It could be new or returning visitors, and they could stick around and consume more of your content. Now, you’re building relationships and driving audiences toward realizing you have the best solution to manage their needs.

If you decide to make reactive content part of your content strategy, you’ll need to define how to create it and what things must be in place to do this consistently.

A Framework for Reactive Content Creation

In developing the “how” of creating this content, you’ll want to consider these steps.

How will you identify breaking news and trends?

This requires you to set up a system for monitoring industry news and current pop culture. You can do this by looking at hashtag trends on Twitter, Google Alerts, and Google Trends, reviewing industry publications, and just watching or reading news in general.

Below is a screenshot from Google Trends. Look at all the searches that are blowing up. Most are in response to recent news — Noah Lyles just beat Michael Johnson’s U.S. Men’s sprinting (200m) record, and the latest season of American Horror Story just dropped.

The second part is identifying topics that you’ll respond to, depending on the tone of your brand, your customer base, your product/service, and if you’re a public company. There are just some topics that, while they may be trending, you’re not going to touch as a public company.

How will you find the angle?

Some positions on topics will be easy because they are just part of your brand and its solutions. For example, if you have a product where speed is part of its value proposition, perhaps there’s a Noah Lyles angle that you could riff on.

Other times, you’ll need to strategize more to have a fresh perspective. You might struggle with finding a positive spin on things (and didn’t we all during the pandemic?). If you can’t land on one, you might want to move on to the next.

What type of content will you create?

Remember that speed is critical in reactive content. That means the type you produce needs to involve only a small group. Outside of this, you’ll run into delays. A reaction could be as simple as a social media response like a meme. The below example is a perfect example of this. They tweeted this in response to the Best Picture Oscar snafu in 2017.

As you can see, the tweet had a lot of engagement!

If you have the resources and time, writing longer-form content can be effective, too. Again, you should limit the cooks in the kitchen; otherwise, you’ll miss your window.

As an example, I searched a big news story that just broke — the Federal Reserve’s interest rate hike.

Within hours, NerdWallet had a story about the impact on small business owners. It’s a story important to their audience and one that caused apprehension and concern. So, they reacted promptly and targeted the message to a specific segment.

Image: NerdWallet

Video is also an option if you have the talent to work on a concept and produce it quickly.

What will the workflow be?

If you have content workflows, consider how you might need to accelerate them to get content up fast. Define what resources you need and what approvals you must have before publishing. Using a content marketing software platform can streamline this and allow you to create, publish, and promote content fast.

How will you measure reactive content?

Measuring the performance of reactive content is much the same as proactive. Your content analytics will tell the story of engagement, traffic, and conversions. You could even make some comparisons of reactive and proactive to illustrate how they both support revenue growth goals. You may also find some surprises about how and why people responded to reactive pieces, which gives you greater insight into your audience and what matters to them.

Reactive Content Can Drive Big Results

To be in a position to create reactive content, you’ll need to answer the questions above. Over time, you’ll be able to refine these, and the results could be exceptional. The key to the entire framework is managing content projects, which you can do with DivvyHQ. Explore how it works with a free trial.