Content marketing has experienced a surge of popularity in recent years. It’s not hard to see why; after all, there’s no better way to drive sales leads and expand your brand visibility than by producing thoughtful, original content. Yet as more and more companies start to hop on the content marketing bandwagon, it’s getting harder than ever to ensure that your brand stands out.

Far too many companies simply regurgitate the thoughtful writing of others in hopes of generating some click bait and easy conversions, flooding social media sites with a tidal wave of identical blog posts. If you want your company to float above these content clones in the search rankings, you’re going to need to do something a bit more pertinent.

Producing reactive marketing content is a great way to ensure that your company’s thought leadership is generating interest. The idea itself is relatively simple: by capitalizing upon a newsworthy event, your content instantly becomes more clickable. There are a few drawbacks to an over-reliance on reactive marketing content – namely, the relevance of your posts inevitably withering with time – but, if used correctly, reactive content can achieve staggering results for your brand.

1. It helps your brand stay relevant.

The most successful small and medium businesses tend to revolve around a specific niche. By narrowing your focus on a well-defined segment of your industry, your brand develops a much more in-depth understanding of the sector as a whole, thus making it far easier to emerge as an industry leader. That being said, all the knowledge in the world won’t keep your brand from floundering if it isn’t continually raising the bar

In order to prove your worth as an industry leader, your company has to keep a finger on the pulse of industry changes and the ways they might impact consumers. Individuals and other companies are going to look to you for reactions, insight and opinions on the latest news and you can’t afford to disappoint them. If you regularly produce thoughtful, reactive content relating to big events, your website can be transformed into a go-to source of information for anyone interested in your particular niche.

This reputation as a relevant industry leader may also afford your company new press opportunities, as media outlets are always looking for niche companies to share their informed insights with broader audiences.

2. It helps you connect with new customers.

Reactive marketing content is also a fantastic way to work your company’s name into developing social media conversations. Capitalizing on trending hashtags can increase the number of users that can see and engage with your content; however, you must tread carefully.

There are a few rules when trying to connect with users by hijacking trending hashtags. First and foremost, ensure there’s a relevant connection between the conversation taking place and the content you’re attempting to work into that conversation. Sites like Twitter are littered with cautionary tales of brands that have generated nothing more than contempt for trying to shamelessly promote themselves using unrelated hashtags.

Fashion CEO Kenneth Cole is a prime example. In February 2011, Cole tried to capitalize on the bloody Arab Spring uprisings by firing off a few fashion-savvy, reactive Tweets. “Millions are in uproar in #Cairo. Rumour is they heard our new spring collection is now available online,” he wrote. The post generated torrents of abuse, and he was later bullied into issuing a formal apology.

That being said, there are plenty of examples of successful reactive posts, too. Oreo’s now-classic “You can still dunk in the dark” Super Bowl tweet still stands as one of the best modern examples of hashtag hijacking.

So long as you keep the content quirky and relevant, you can expose your brand to hundreds, if not thousands, of new customers virtually cost-free.

3. It extends the shelf life of your other content.

It takes a lot of work to produce original content and get it into the media’s hands. After you’ve won headlines in newspapers and racked up a few thousand social media shares, users tend to move on and forget about your campaign. That can be a bit discouraging, especially given how much the project probably cost your company in man-hours. But by piggybacking major news items, you can seamlessly work your old content back into the headlines to ensure you’re getting your money’s worth.

For example, if your marketing team compiled a report relating to new immigration statistics, find ways to push that report back into the news each and every time a major immigration story works its way into the news cycle. It may be as simple as reminding your social media followers that your research is out there, or you may have to produce an entirely new, reactive blog post linking back to your original content. Either way, you should experience a rise in the number of visitors clicking through to old content, thus earning your branded content a certain degree of timelessness.

At the end of the day, content marketing is bound to work differently for different companies; it’s all about trial and error. And you can’t do it with reactive content alone, either. You need a healthy balance of reactive and evergreen articles to effectively cater to your customers’ journeys. Just remember: keep your content original and relevant, always measure performance to determine its level of success for your organization and never be afraid to try new things.