Content marketing that specifically relates to a news-worthy subject, like a public holiday, is an effective way to find new customers and engage with topics not usually associated with your brand.
Several South African brands have tailored their content towards topics of interest – think Nando’s and their knack for using current affairs as part of their content marketing. Another brand that has successfully interwoven areas of popular interest into their campaigns is Pick ‘n Pay – who not only sponsored the hugely successful Ultimate Braai Master, but created a whole integrated campaign around it. Their use of multiple channels on which to conduct their content marketing (TV, print, online) is a great example of how brands can generate engagement by aligning themselves with a topic of interest.
One of the most obvious benefits of designing your content marketing strategy around topical events or subjects is that your marketing messages will suddenly appeal to a whole new segment of the market. By creating content that caters to their interest in an event or cause (National Braai Day, anyone?), you’re able to interweave your brand message into your content.
It’s also advisable to base content around important dates and holidays as this makes your marketing campaign instantly relevant.
Not only will this expose your brand to new potential clients, it’ll also instantly make any content you create timeous – and therefore relevant.
Take local cellular service provider Cell C, for example. The brand could build a campaign around Freedom Day, which occurs every March. This is a smart, (and perhaps slightly controversial) way of drawing a parallel between South Africa’s freedom struggle and consumers fighting for equal and fair cellular pricing and service. This is a great example of adding an element of relevancy to what would otherwise be another generic campaign about mobile phones.
How does one go about merging current events into your content marketing strategy then?
We’ve put together a couple of guidelines which will ensure that any content marketing you do around days or issue of interest is as successful as possible.
A good place to start is by planning your content calendar around upcoming events, as well as leaving room for breaking news, for example, the infamous Oscar Pistorius trial. That way, the next time a notable public figure makes a disparaging or contentious comment (like Jacob Zuma’s now notorious sound bite about how a shower can prevent AIDS), you’ll be able to prepare content around the issue at hand.
Event-specific content marketing is useless if the timing is off.
If you want to ride the wave of (free) publicity around an issue or day of interest, your campaign will need to run according to a stringent time line. Think about how odd it would be if your neighbourhood Woolworths started selling Easter Eggs in June. It’s absolutely imperative that your marketing messages are sent out either in the lead up and immediate few days after a public holiday. The same goes for matters of public interest. The bottom line? Your content marketing schedule needs to adhere to a strict schedule, or risk being outdated and labelled as a brand that hasn’t quite got a grip on current events.
Utilise channels used by all sectors of your market – even those you wouldn’t usually target.
Since you’re using a holiday or event that’s in the public sphere, your marketing will suddenly appeal to a much wider range of potential consumers. It’s therefore common sense to make use of platforms that your brand doesn’t normally make use of. If your marketing campaigns are predominantly driven by traditional platforms, think about including social media platforms like YouTube or Pinterest. Whatever your usual channels of choice are, ensure that your content marketing is implemented as widely as possible. Think about mediums as diverse as posters, community brand messages, point of sale, print, TV, SMS and email. Ensure that your message is uniform throughout, too.
Always include intriguing and engaging calls to action
Now that you’ve got the attention of your market (and then some), don’t forget one of the most essential considerations. It’s absolutely useless running a campaign – however much interest it generates – if you don’t have a way to learn more about the people who’ve chosen to engage with your brand. Calls to action can be anything from an online form, to a link to premium content (such as a downloadable recipe book on Braai Day) – the point is, you need a way to capture vital information about your market in order to carry on the conversation and ultimately, convert them into customers.
Use multiple channels to implement your message.
We’ve said this before but it’s worth repeating – cover your bases by employing as many platforms as you can. An event or news-specific content marketing strategy should ideally operate through the line – from in-store activations to social media.
You could, for example, create a microsite especially dedicated to your campaign – this is a good way of capturing information as well as encouraging consumer engagement, and keeping your brand in the forefront of their minds. In order to get the most out of your multi-channel approach to content marketing, ensure that you’re using a platform that enables you to create and manage your campaign from one central place.