A lot has been written about brands as publishers. Let's face it, to get it right requires planning, investment and the operational agility to react in real-time to breaking news as it happens.
However, the returns can be more than worth it, as a growing list of examples shows.
Becoming a ‘brand newsroom’ isn’t just a trend amongst the big companies either. Whilst there are plenty of big consumer brand examples, smaller brands, B2B companies, non-profits, and public sector organisations are also aligning their marketing and communications plans around content creation and social media.
If you are wondering if you should take the plunge, or have already jumped, the five tips below will help you get the most out of your strategy.
1. Real time is the best time
In these times of media saturation and information overload, brands must be ready to react in minutes or seconds, not hours or days to breaking news and the social web and be equipped to publish, distribute and promote new content - instantly.
Some of the best examples are Paddy Power’s response to Alex Ferguson’s retirement, or an even swifter reaction from Golden Wonder and of course the now obligatory example of Oreo’s “Dunk in the dark” Super Bowl ad.
2. Multimedia makes the difference
Granted this might sound like an obvious point, but content doesn’t have to be text based and it doesn’t have to be posted in the obvious place. Some of the best examples of this have been simple, shareable content that people can quickly digest.
If you look at the recent launch of BT Sport, the Mail Online’s coverage contained 13 images, a video, an infographic, two financial graphs and numerous quotes.
Even more traditional releases can benefit from adding a multimedia element, whether that’s a simple unboxing of a tech product like the Raspberry Pi or an infographic on cyber security that got some good national media pickup.
3. Push your boundaries
Not to the point where you’re going to get in trouble, but stepping outside of a brand’s comfort zone can generate a fantastic response.
Bodyform’s must-watch reply to a post on its Facebook wall, which has now been viewed over 4m times, gave the brand a warm personality, and breathed new life into an otherwise ageing ad campaign.
Recently Lynx had an unwelcome brand ambassador in the form of a character on Channel 4’s Dogging Tales programme. Instead of shying away or issuing a very corporate response, their spoof photo picked up a lot of attention.
Just don’t push too far, making potential customers fear for their lives is perhaps not an ideal PR stunt as BlackBoxTV found out recently. The stunt certainly got coverage, but probably not the kind they had hoped for.
4. Think multichannel and what’s new
One of the biggest challenges for communicators is keeping on top of what digital channels are hot and how to use them. Finding the latest and greatest platform for sharing your content can make it stand out over Facebook or Twitter where there’s now much more competition and noise.
Did you know cinnamon keeps insects out of a sandpit?
Whilst you might not think of DIY as an obvious topic for making innovative use of channels, Lowes’ short tips on Vine have attracted a massive audience and really made the company stand out.
5. Think mobile first
With mobile internet usage expected to soon surpass 'fixed' internet usage, the phone or tablet is now often your first point of contact with your audiences. Being able to deliver your content in a 'responsive' web format - ie so it adapts to look good (and work well) on every device - is now a critical factor in whether an online campaign succeeds.
This can either be a clever app like Debenhams did a few years ago, or something more innovative like the campaign from Meat Pack, encouraging customers to leave competitors’ stores with a discount that decreased the longer they took.