Some people call it newsjacking. I prefer to call it timely content. The three biggest issues holding most marketers back from mastering content marketing are budget, time, and creativity. Most marketers have too many responsibilities, too little time, and too little budget to do everything they want. Using current events can provide built-in interest, audience, and ideas that will save time and money, while making your campaign more successful.
A Timely Content Case Study from Super Bowl 49
Our digital marketing team at Jakob Marketing Partners has the same issues that most agencies face: We have so many client tasks and campaigns to take care of that our own marketing efforts get postponed.
On the Monday before the Super Bowl, our content manager Ryan had an idea to make a Super Bowl commercials drinking game for our office to participate in during the game. We brainstormed ideas during lunch and created the game. After the list was complete, we realized that other people would want to play this game and that we should post it to our blog.
Our brainstorm took about 20 minutes while we ate, and creating the blog post took another 20 minutes. For a minuscule amount of time, and at really no production cost, we had a timely piece of content, a large social media audience, and the channels to reach it. We then spent about an hour getting the word out about our post using multiple channels and methods that I will cover in the content promotion section later. See the commercials drinking game here.
Our website saw a huge spike in traffic the week leading up to the Big Game, as well as the day of. The image below shows our Google Analytics traffic from January 15th to February 12th. The traffic spike was so large, it makes our normal daily traffic appear almost non-existent.
The campaign was also responsible for a post reach of 40,000 people on Facebook, 10 new page likes, our highest spike in Google+ and Twitter engagement, as well as a handful of natural inbound links from sites with high domain authority. It's hard to put a value on that sort of engagement and we're sure to see some lasting benefit from those results. For the types of links acquired, it would take our SEO department typically 20-30 hours of manual content outreach for similar results.
Promoting Your Timely Content
Creating a relevant piece of quality content is undoubtedly that hardest part of content marketing. But getting the exposure, reach, impressions, and buzz can be a challenge as well.
Search Engine Visibility
While in the content creation phase, you may want to think about search traffic for keywords that your page may rank for. Will there be an influx of search traffic for queries surrounding this topic? Choose a list of keywords that you want to weave into your text. In the case of our drinking game, we knew we would want to use "Super Bowl 49," "Super Bowl XLIX," and "Super Bowl 2015" to cover all the keyword versions that people might have search for. You can see we were ranking for a variety of keywords around the theme "super bowl drinking game" from the Google Webmaster Tools search queries report.
Pro Tip: Use the Fetch as Google Tool within Webmaster Tools to submit your new page to the index and guarantee your page gets indexed right away. In our case, we were ranking number one for most keywords within three minutes of submitting it.
We expected Facebook to be our largest social channel for this content, and it ended up resulting in 73% of social traffic. We had the budget to spend on promoting posts for the month. We reached over 8,000 people organically, then we spent $120 to boost the post to the target demographic of this piece, which was males aged 18-34 with a Facebook interest in beer. Throughout Super Bowl weekend we had an additional reach of 32,000. Considering we only had 710 pages likes, we were happy with the reach we received organically.
A lot of people have jumped off this train as far as SEO and content marketing goes. If used for the right kind of content-more specifically non-commercial pieces-it can still generate a lot of traffic and provide search engines with ranking signals. Finding subreddits that cover the right topics as well as using StumbleUpon for easily digestible content can go along way. We received well over 1,000 visits from those two sites alone.
Add Original Value
With timely content, you can ride the coattails of a trending topic. Just be sure that you can add some original value to the conversation. Don't try to be a news source by informing people of what's happening. Relate the topic back to a service or product that you offer. Try not to be sales-y or pushy with your piece. If the content has its own value, people will engage with you and amplify your message for free.