Content marketing has proven its value to companies and brands over and over again. According to the Content Marketing Institute, content marketing is the “strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly defined audience” with the ultimate goal of driving “profitable consumer action.”
Okay. So we all know how useful a content campaign can be to a successful marketing strategy, but what kind of content should you put out there?
Two Types of Content
In the broadest sense, there are essentially two types of content: seasonal and evergreen. Evergreen content is relevant long beyond its publication date and not tied to a specific point in time, season, or occasion. Seasonal content, on the other hand, is focused around current events and trending topics – anything from a Christmas recipe to a Mothers’ Day Gift Guide.
It’s always important to have a mix of both. Evergreen content can continuously provide value to your readers and help generate a steady flow of traffic. Your content plan should definitely include more evergreen content than seasonal, but the exact ratio depends on your business and your goals.
Seasonal content is a great opportunity for your brand to recapture audience attention and appear relevant and timely. Utilizing current events is a great way to come up with seasonal content to pepper into your overall content plan.
Here are three easy ways to do just that!
Newsjacking refers to piggybacking on unexpected current events or breaking news stories, and cleverly linking it to your brand. This may sound like a bad thing, but it’s not… if done correctly. While there are plenty of examples of insensitive, poorly timed attempts at newsjacking, it can be a great way to elevate your brand’s message.
And no one knows how to newsjack quite like Oreo.
During the infamous 2013 Super Bowl power outage, Oreo’s marketing team acted quickly and made light (pun intended) of an uncomfortable situation. Not only was it well-timed and pretty damn funny, but it connected the brand to a nationwide audience even though Oreos isn’t typically associated with sporting events.
The way to properly newsjack is to follow three simple rules: choose the right story (don’t push it and make it awkward for all of us), be timely (newsjack right after the story breaks but before journalists start scrambling for extra information), and think critically (don’t be offensive).
2. Utilize Upcoming Events and Holidays
This should be a no-brainer. You can easily plan seasonal content around national holidays and big, upcoming events like Comic Con or The Oscars. Big happenings like this provide a great opportunity for your brand to stay top-of-mind with consumers.
Take a unique view and remember that it’s not always about a sale. The 4th of July just passed and Michael Kors owned it yet again with a lovely, simple tweet that wasn’t overly promotional and tapped into classic 4th of July imagery.
Do some research and figure out what holidays and events are coming up that potentially make sense for your brand. You could do a roundup blog post about the best marketing activations at Coachella, the top ten out of this world outfits at Burning Man, or a tweet about your favorite cosplay at Comic Con. The opportunities here are many – so make sure you have a plan ahead of time.
3. Lead the Conversation
Current events can also provide your brand with the opportunity to demonstrate thought leadership – whether that be similar to what FreemanWhite did during the Ebola breakout in 2014 or commentary on Kim Kardashian West’s social media strategy.
Find new ways to apply your area of expertise to current events and trending topics. By doing so, you’ll not only increase your brand’s credibility but also stay relevant.
This also applies to taking a stance on political issues. While these may be tricky waters to navigate, many brands have successfully taken a stance on political matters and done so in an earnest, honest, and tasteful way.
Virgin Airlines has done a great job taking a political stance through various content marketing campaigns and has cemented itself as a strong ally to the LGBTQIA+ community. Their tweets speak to their support of equal rights and, while funny, it’s clear the company has a real devotion to this cause.
Don’t Push It
Current events are a great way to keep your brand top-of-mind, connect with consumers on a more personal level, and increase brand awareness. But it must be done with care, sensitivity, and intention.
Don’t try to stretch too far – consumers can smell disingenuity from a mile away. Know what makes sense for your company and what might be seen as taking it too far. And if you have to ask “Is this offensive?”….it probably is.