One of the biggest buzz-phrases of the past year or so has undoubtedly been Content Marketing. It’s the perfect piece of jargon: it’s rather vague, could have lots of meanings and is very hard to pin down. It’s also, as an idea, really not that new at all — after all, soap operas were so named because they had soap companies as sponsors and producers.
But, all that notwithstanding, there is a very good reason that the idea of content marketing has gained such traction recently, and that it gives brands a story to tell, and consumers something to share.
Most posts about content marketing tend, I find, to assume that the brand itself will produce the content. Presumably this is because many such posts are aimed at smaller businesses that don’t have the budgets to piggy-back off of professionally produced content and that also have smaller, more flexible teams that can turn their hands to things like making videos.
With that in mind, I thought it would be useful to consider three ways that big brands can also look to put content at the heart of what they do, with the aim of becoming truly social.
1. Make The Most Of Newspaper Advertising
We all know that the publishing industry is struggling. But, at the same time, there are plenty of major news organisations, from the New York Times to The Guardian to the Sydney Morning Herald, that have massive numbers of highly social followers and also have hundreds of brilliant content producers. Or, as we used to call them, readers and journalists.
Many of these publishers have become experts at crafting truly social content, and just as many of them are eager to do exactly this for advertisers. By briefing publishers as brands would traditionally brief advertising agencies, it’s possible to create truly shareable branded content, that also comes with the kudos of a major publisher’s name on it. In fact, some publishers are even buying agencies in order to truly scale this sort of offering.
2. Singing Your Own Song
Some of the biggest social successes of the past few years are the major music streaming services. The likes of Spotify, thanks to their direct tie-ins with Facebook, are building massive user bases and then using those to create huge amounts of sharing activity back into Facebook through frictionless sharing. One exec at a streaming service recently told me that they have created something like 500 million impressions on Facebook in this way.
Many companies don’t feel that they have a ‘right’ to play in music; yet, with the right approach, marrying consumer insights to brand truths, nearly all should be able to find something to sing about. Whether it’s simply a case of making the soundtrack to your most recent TV ad Shazamable, or helping your customers build playlists that match your product (driving for autos and singing in the shower for shampoos being two obvious examples), every brand should be able to tell a story through music. And, they tend to be stories that consumers are happier to re-tell than ones that don’t have a tune.
3. Making Your TV Truly Social
I’ve written a few times about social TV, but it’s worth thinking of some of the easy ways that brands can make the most of it. If sponsoring a show, use your sponsorship budget to ensure that you get access to exclusive content which can be shared during the broadcasts.
As event TV increasingly becomes one of the few types that guarantees a live audience, it’s essential to capitalise on this by taking things on to multiple screens. Equally, if you’re investing in advertising around different types of TV genres, you should plan your activity around the likely audience interaction. Twitter has helpfully broken down how people tend to tweet based on what they’re watching.
4. Plan Your Media
With the purchase of Bluefin Labs, it’s likely that Twitter is trying to create a new way of measuring TV audiences, based on how engaged they are. It’s entirely likely that they will then try to sell this back to TV stations and advertisers (and agencies such as Mindshare).
Whether or not they succeed, will likely decide whether, this time next year, TV advertising plans will actually be planned based on social data.
TV genome image courtesy of Bluefin Labs.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.