Is the News Cycle the Missing Ingredient in Your Chemistry Marketing?

How C&EN BrandLab Utilizes Trending News to Achieve Reach and Relevance

By C&EN Media Group

Reading Time: 4 minutes

Chemists are people. And every marketer knows that if you want to grab people’s attention, you need to tell them a compelling story that’s relevant to their lives. By tapping into trending news, you can achieve relevance and place your company in the global conversation. Here are ways to take advantage of the news cycle (while steering clear of controversy.) 

Inside BrandLab’s News-Driven Content Strategy for Connecting with Chemists

C&EN BrandLab believes that branded content should be interesting, educational, and leave people feeling like they learned something. And a powerful way to pull them in is to create stories that show how a company is tied to major events going on in the world around us.

See 4 examples of how BrandLab created high-performing custom content that tapped into the sustainability news cycle.

Our analysis of web traffic patterns shows that chemists are eager to read about global news through a science lens. Within 30 days of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, coverage relating to the potentially catastrophic consequences of the bombing of Chernobyl made up 6% of all article traffic on C&EN’s website. The surge put the subject on par with all-time most visited sections (biological chemistry and pharmaceuticals).

But tying branded content to trending news can be tricky. Not everyone is going to share the same opinion about global matters. This is why brands tend to shrink away from controversial topics. C&EN BrandLab relies on a mix of gut instinct and years of experience when deciding what news pegs to capitalize on and which to avoid. Rather than looking for a political bent, BrandLab looks for an angle that puts a company in a positive light.

Here are some examples of news stories that open up possibilities for creative, engaging branded content:

The Development of Paxlovid

The top editorial article published in Q1 2022 on C&EN was a retrospective on the development of Paxlovid. With a topic like this, there is an almost unlimited way for various companies to be a part of the conversation. Marketers should ask themselves, in the development of this drug — from soup to nuts — where does my product or service fit? Is it quality chemicals? Making machinery? Were there any pitfalls in its development? If the development stumbled somewhere along the way, maybe we could talk about how it could have gone smoother with a different approach. 


Read about BrandLab’s “Whack-a-Waste” game and other custom content that delivered timely educational fun.

According to Google, 80% of people say sustainability is more top of mind than before the pandemic. Taking note, BrandLab created a feature article for a client about the pain points of labs managing chemicals, waste, and shortages. The client has a product that helps labs share chemicals to avoid such problems. And to make it more engaging, we added a whack-a-mole type game called ‘Whack-a-Waste’ where small images representing a wasteful laboratory practice popped out of these holes and the user had to smash them down. It was a lot of fun and educational at the same time.

The Global Helium Shortage

C&EN was an early publisher on the global helium shortage—since their article on the subject, search queries have spiked more than 7x, according to Google Trends. Supply chain issues can slow down all sorts of processes. So in writing about a topic like this, a chemical company can position itself as a reliable supplier and hone in on the message that where you buy your chemicals matters.

How To Bring the News Cycle Into Your Marketing

By connecting their products and services to news events, pharmaceutical, life sciences, chemical, and instrumentation brands can create highly engaging content that showcases their relevance to the world at large. 

To create content that puts your company in the global conversation, here are three things to consider:

Find compelling topics.

Google Trends is a good place to find subjects with the most buzz. C&EN BrandLab editors also regularly look at the top articles from general interest sources like the New York Times. It’s important to see what kind of coverage is capturing the collective consciousness. Chemists are not only scientists and lab members, they’re also people living in this world.

Talk to experts.

Editors at science journals are an incredible resource to learn what people in particular fields are most interested in. They are the ones reading all of the papers and research in a field. They are much more open and accessible than you might think.

Avoid controversy.

Stay away from political issues that are particularly divisive — unless the message you are trying to deliver is core to your company. In the end, inserting yourself into the news cycle requires authenticity. Latching on to any trend regardless of the topic will come off as insincere. BrandLab has found great success in using the news cycle to celebrate and champion the attempts and successes of great chemists. We find the most powerful content leaves a reader educated, entertained, and uplifted.

If you want help creating contextually relevant content to world events, talk to the experts at BrandLab. We can help you identify where your company fits into the news cycle and shape content that bolsters your company’s reach and relevance.

Contact us for a consultation to help put your brand in the global conversation. 

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