In 2013, the phrase “content is king” was inescapable. It’s certainly true that content rules, but it’s not alone on the throne; if content is king, then context is queen. Or, to use a Game of Thrones reference, context is the king’s hand, instrumental in ensuring success. If you’re putting time and effort into creating quality content, you should be putting an equal emphasis on getting that content out into the world in the right place, at the right time; be it online or in print. Real time marketing has been hailed as the solution.
Genuine real time marketing appears in front of the customer at exactly the right moment, improving the relevancy of your material and increasing your chances of reaching a wider audience and prompting engagement. With social media this is easier than ever before, as trending topics are constantly updated and a relevant 140-character tweet can be composed and sent within seconds. That means your content can be spontaneous and inspired. Everyone remembers the quick thinking of the Oreo social media marketing team, who cheekily proclaimed that you could still dunk the brand’s biscuits in the dark, during the blackout at the American Super Bowl last year. The tweet has become the stuff of legends, and was cited again this year when the 2014 Super Bowl aired, with huge companies vying to produce the next big tweet. Yes, the ROI of a single tweet is hard to measure, but the Oreo brand name has become associated with successful real time marketing, a feat in itself.
Of course, for every one tweet, Instagram snap or Facebook post that resonates with users and spreads like wildfire, there are thousands upon thousands that miss the mark. Unfortunately, the art of the trending post isn’t an exact science. And hijacking trends for your own purposes often does not yield the results you’d hope for, as addressed in our hashtag blog.
But you don’t have to have the cunning of a Lannister, to continue the Game of Thrones conceit, to use context effectively. By considering the context of your content, you can make your marketing efforts relevant to your fans, more engaging, and therefore, more shareable. The easiest way to utilise real time marketing is to be inspired by the calendar. Holidays, events and National Days pop up throughout the year and provide ample opportunity to get creative. Count down the 12 days of Christmas with a daily shareable graphic, collect the best pancake day recipes, create a scary YouTube video for Halloween, set up a virtual Easter Egg hunt across all your social media platforms; regardless of your industry, there’ll be an event or holiday that suits your brand identity. The key here is to be interesting and, if possible, unique. Make your holiday greeting memorable, because lots of others companies will no doubt get involved, too. Don’t see this as a negative; view it as an opportunity to show off how creative and different your company is. And be quick – no one wants a Halloween tweet on the 1st of November!
If national events aren’t quite your style, celebrate your brand instead. One of our clients, Stoneham Kitchens, is celebrating a huge birthday this year; the company is turning 150. This means we’ve been able to plan lots of exciting events around this milestone. For example, we’ve started the year with a competition for schools looking forward to the kitchens of the future whilst encouraging them to be inspired by British furniture manufacturers from the past. Aligning marketing activity with values integral to your brand identity will help you create interesting, relevant content that will make the most of real time opportunities. Place your content in the context of the wider story of your brand.
From print to digital outlets, there’s more choice than ever before for distributing your content. The key is to work out the mediums which will be most effective for your brand. Consider seeking expert advice on this, as a good PR company will be able to provide guidance on everything from social media best practice to approaching journalists with press releases. Weigh up the advantages between print and digital distribution – often you will find a combination of the two will work best. After all, some things should be targeted locally, and some will have universal appeal.
So what are you waiting for? Set your alarm clocks and get ready to market in real time!