We are a nation obsessed with the weather. And as I type rightly so as the thermostat is off the scale at a whooping 33°C.
And predictably as the weather warms so has the content that has arrived in my inbox “Ready for the Summer?”, “The Heatwave is here”, “Get Ready to Bake” (yes that was a cookery related one), etc. Every marketer is poised ready to crack out the sun puns.
But stop one minute. Is that really the right strategy? Does linking your brand to meteorological changes really make anyone more or less likely to buy your wares? Sure if you are manufacturers of flip flops you might see the sunshine icon on the weather app as an opportunity to ramp up the marketing, but for every brand?
Whether weather related marketing content opportunities, like seasonal opportunities are right for your brand, is really whether your brand resonates with the season. There is certain a case for arguing that not utilising holidays and other diary markers that are common across audiences, such as Christmas, Easter and say Thanksgiving Stateside, would be missing opportunities to engage with your customers, but messaging appropriately is the name of the game.
According to a study by Cohn & Wolfe, the number one quality or behaviour which people demand of big brands is “communicating honestly." That means your content marketing, what you say to your customers in your brand voice, needs to be authentic. Many brand guardians spend £ 000s ensuring this is spot on when they are commissioning adverts and even signing off press releases, but when it comes to their social media or their blog posts, sometimes talking about the weather seems like the best option regardless of whether it really has anything to do with their value proposition.
Of course, it all comes down to finding things to say and making your content of interest, of value to your customers. And sometimes that is hard. Without forcing your brand down your customers’ throat repeatedly, how can brands really engage with their customers? At Antelope we believe there are five simple steps to getting content marketing right, “making it real”.
1. Know your audience
We all think we know who we sell to, but do we really? With an 21% increase of online sales , gone are the days when we exchange products or services face-to-face. Instead are the data days where we can track and gather insights about customer behaviour - use them to know who you are talking to with your content.
2. Talk to them in their voice
If we had one mantra at Antelope it would be this, “personalise, personalise, personalise.” Remember your audience environment when talking to them - so if they are public sector clients, talk their terminology, if they are a younger demographic, reflect this in your copy.
3. Ask them what they what to hear about
To really engage you need to involve - find out what your audience likes, what they do. This can be as simple as asking them to vote on different options that affect your brand or ask them why they like your brand.
4. Have a conversation with them
Imagine standing at a party and someone talking about themselves all the time. We have all been there. Boring, boring, boring. Don’t just talk about yourself, let others talk too. A one way conversation is never fun. And allowing your customers, suppliers or associates a voice encourages brand advocacy and endorsement.
4. Reward them for their input
Like a schoolchild in a classroom, some audiences need a reason to participate, a reward at the end of the task. So offer one. Get them to share their experiences, their photos, their thoughts and reward them with product, a discount code, a voucher, or just a shout out.
In this Brave New World, we are all publishers. Yet none of us can be publishers in every section of the bookshop. Being real will build more credibility, more genuine engagement and more customers.