How can we be better and smarter with our Content Marketing? After all it’s the fastest growing area of SEO. More people then ever are investing budgets into Content, In the US 69% of B2C marketers are creating more content than a year ago. This causes the market place to become more crowded then it ever was before. An up and coming (and successful) trend amongst content marketers is the use of reactive content.
(Volume of searches for reactive content)
WHAT IS REACTIVE CONTENT MARKETING
Being reactive is the art of responding to a stimulus or participating in a reaction. In terms of Content Marketing, this means creating content that is designed to respond or participate in communication, where users are engaging about a stimulus that has just happened. A stimulus can be anything from an event, breaking news or even something as simple as a mistake or error on a TV program.Twitter has been the biggest catalyst for seeing the rise of reactive content as well as being a host for it. For example below is a heat map of live tweets on the 89th minute of the world cup final 2014. This is a demonstration of online and activity a stimulus can provoke. The main aim of reactive content is to get brands involved in this activity in order for exposure, shares and links.
This is also a great way for niches to get out of ruts where there is already a lot of existing content out there. Instead of regurgitating existing information where there is little diversely, reactive content allows brands to be innovative and unique in creating new content.
During the 2014 World Cup, Snickers launched an extremely simple yet timely piece of content in response to Luis Suarez controversially biting the Italian player Chiellni.
The game was played in the early hours of the 24th of June and within 4 hours of the following working day, the design and Tweet was released. The tweet itself generated 45K re-tweets and 20K favorites (great for social) and for a more SEO focused KPI, the tweeted image was published on over 500 sites. Even If only 10% provided a follow link back to snickers home page, that would equal 50 links built in a day.
However although I’m sure the benefits of reactive content are clear, the execution is not as simple. Many brands and companies will struggle to conceptualise, brief, create and sign off a piece of content in such a small time frame.
To help we have created 9 useful tips to help make this process simpler and more effective. By using this process, the concept of reactive content should become a reality.
PLANNING FOR THE UNPLANNED
The beauty of reactive content is that you never know what you will be reacting too. However instead of working in the world of the unknown and 2 days after an event thinking “Oh wouldn’t it of been cool if we did X” you need to be proactive in your execution.
There are big notable events throughout the year were you can almost guarantee a news worthy headline will happen. Start with something more obvious such as the Brit awards or a sporting event. These are high-pressure one night events where something always news worthy happens. Predicting there will be something news worthy at the Brits is a safe bet to make, predicting Madonna would fall off stage would of got you a lot of money if you had a wager on it!
In the past 12 months Madonna was most searched for on the evening and day after her Brit award performance – an album launch and star-studded video release didn’t even equal the interest from her fall.
Once you have an event to focus on you can start planning your execution.
DO YOUR RESEARCH
You can never fully form an idea for a content piece before something has happened. But you can do supporting research. Taking the Brit Awards 2015 as an example again, you could list out notable attendees, performers, award contenders and hosts. Based on this you could conduct some generic Brit award research (most watched ceremony, biggest winners and losers) as well as specific research on the artist (for example Madonna).
This way you have a bank of information to rely on. An idea will always be unique but the research you have done will help you quickly analyse stats, history and supporting content to your idea. How great is it that Madonna’s just fallen off stage and while you create your content you already know how many times she’s appeared at the Brits and how many awards she’s won.
STAFFING AND SCHEDULING
Requesting your staff stay in the office until midnight, watch the Brit awards and then create some content around it may be a bit much of an ask for the best of companies. But this doesn’t mean you can’t prepare.
Clear staff schedules for the following morning. Understand exactly which members you need to be involved with this, the support they need and make sure the people who need to sign this off are able to feedback instantly.
This way no-one has to drop what they are doing, there will be no waiting on feedback and no weekly calls or catch up meetings to distract staff working on this project. The time window for this is tiny. The search peak for Madonna lasted once-and-a-half days. This piece of content will need to be created in hours.
This stage is specifically aimed to reduce design studio time. Instead of creating ideas fresh, have a bank of templates from image led infographics, graphs and chart designs, different size templates and different interactive functionalities. Tools that can help you with this include Pictochart and Canva. This means that whether you are doing an infographic on what the new budget means for businesses or a video embed of Madonna, you will have a template that means you only have to alter the overlying design and the copy.
READY, STEADY, WAITING ON SIGN-OFF
One of the biggest hold ups with any aspect of creative work is the sign-off and feedback process. There can be many stakeholders in the process from Legal to Marketing. To ensure you can get content out quickly its best to pre-determine the sign-off. Try and minimise the number of people involved and ensure that the individual or team with final sign off is ready and available for instant response.
WORK AS YOU GO
This tip is taken from how sport journalists work. So before the 85th minute the match report will basically be finished, and only updated if there is some last minute drama.
If you were planning to react to something that is more a prolonged event such as a sporting event, a government budget or an election then it would be wise to create content as it happens. Remember things can always be removed and changed to create the overall story but this will save you valuable time ensuring you are one of the first companies to post a story on the event.
Some of the best reactive pieces of content have been short and sweet. Reactive content is not about creating comprehensive guides or heavily researched data, it’s about showing your brand is innovative and fast moving in the content space. Some of the best examples of reactive content have been tweets and images but with impeccable timing which leads to their success and results in shares and links.
During the Super Bowl XZ VII 2013 the stadium was plunged into darkness by a power cut. This was the perfect reactive moment for brands watching the event to spring into action. Oreos image was one of the most shared pieces of content from the event.
It is always good to start small as you can always build on top of it. The key to success is timing, this should not be jeopardised over anything else.
However it is worth noting that content that is simple must make up for its lack of data and functionality in other areas such as whit and humor. Being the first to have your say on an event is vital but you must insure that what you say will strike the right note for links and shares.
To maximize returns this cannot be a one-man mission. The best campaigns are spread across multiple teams. Use of the Social, PR and Outreach teams will help increase the chances of your content being picked up by the media and shared socially. The PR team should be aware they will need to create press releases early and quickly, the outreach team ready to research and contact prospects and the Social team have social activity booked in around your campaign subject.
An outreach strategy needs to consist of the same elements of any content marketing campaign . . . but faster. As I said before you have a small window before news becomes old news.
There are four steps to follow to make the most out of reactive outreach.
- Planning – Before the campaign starts, make sure you have an extensive list of target publications and journalist contact details.
- Native – Create a campaign prior to the campaign so all you have to create are the ads themselves
- Open source – Build these into design templates before the creative idea is ready so your content is easily shareable
- THIS IS NO TIME FOR EXCLUSIVES
Reactive content is a proven tactic to gain links, shares, traffic and brand mentions. But in order to be successful at it you need to have the right processes in places.
This area of content is still very unexplored for many companies. If you want to talk about how a reactive campaign might work for you, please get in touch with us and we will be happy to chat it over for you.