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Introducing Content that POPS:
Helping participation brands navigate the world of content
V1.0, May 2014
Introduction
Cont...
So, there are four guiding principles to Content that POPS:
1. Content with real Purpose
What is your why? What is your pa...
2. How can you serve your audience better?
3. What does remarkable look like in your category?
4. What quality thresholds ...
4. Extraordinary storytelling
Without storytelling craft branded content is wallpaper. Brands need to work hard to be
stor...
When navigating content it’s easy to get lost in formats, mechanics and tactics.
We have baselined four simple archetypes ...
What form does it take?
Content for the journey tends to be anchored in customer relationship programs – using
data to hel...
• Nike SB App – a branded utility app that helps you skate better
• iGaranti App - a FS branded utility that is actually s...
1. Deploy your passionate
purpose
Finding and deploying a brands
passionate purpose is fundamental to
the success of any c...
5. Plan for participation
We know participation is unequal on
the web. Think about how different
participation triggers ca...
9. Plan for real time
We know how content, social and real
time is both an opportunity and a
headache. Using a workflow to...
12. Content ideation checks
Think about how sharing triggers,
emotional states and user needs can
overlap when designing y...
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How participation brands can navigate the world of content marketing

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Something I wrote last year on content planning>

'Content that POPS' is a planning approach for helping participation brands navigate the world of content. It uses the planning principles of Purpose, Originality, Participation and Storytelling to guide the development of content planning for modern Participation Brands.

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How participation brands can navigate the world of content marketing

  1. 1. Introducing Content that POPS: Helping participation brands navigate the world of content V1.0, May 2014 Introduction Content that POPS is our planning approach for helping participation brands navigate the world of content. It uses the principles of Purpose, Originality, Participation and Storytelling to guide the development of Participation Brands. It covers content planning, best practice and 21st century content craft. What is Content that POPS? ‘That pops’ is a phrase experienced photojournalists use to describe the one image out of a thousand that beat the edit. The one that is instinctively memorable. That has an innate quality to it. A survival instinct. A performing character. The one image that converted in an instant. Content that POPS is content that pays. Content that’s arresting. Jarring even. Has a strong and distinctive voice. That is true to itself. Transcending both ’epic and intimate’. Content that quite simply pops. Unfortunately, there is no ‘press here to create an epic brand content strategy’ button. It requires vision, extraordinary creativity and hard work. Content that POPS is our approach to helping clients along this journey. Helping them navigate the strategy, learn the language of publishing and meet the challenges of making content work in the 21st century.
  2. 2. So, there are four guiding principles to Content that POPS: 1. Content with real Purpose What is your why? What is your passionate purpose? What is the catalyst for your business? Why will your audience care about your content? Content with real purpose is content with intent. That can appeal to both the head and the heart. Content with purpose has sharper, longer signals. Purposeful content has an innate meaning that can build over time. Helping to shape a consistent brand narrative that can grow in new and different directions. Your ‘purpose’ checklist: 1. What is your passionate purpose? 2. Is there an associated cause you can rally behind? 3. What really matters to your audience? 4. Where does your purpose fit in culture? 5. How can you demonstrate leadership with purpose? Examples of purpose in action: • Chipotle – selling fast food based on ethics • Amex SBS – using reciprocity to bring life back to the high street • Obama - fuelling a change agenda you can believe in • Toms – selling shoes with social purpose 2. Original content that earns attention Is your content really good enough to earn attention? Is it unexpected? Is it born from editorial craftsmanship? There is no place for ordinary content anymore. For content to earn consumer attention demands extraordinary ideas and editorial flair. That right blend of idea and production that makes something truly remarkable and captivating. Original content is the new currency of post digital marketing. Taking fresh approaches to tired topics and finding imaginative ways to create relevance for customers and consumers. Your ‘original’ checklist: 1. What content pillars have the potential for disruption?
  3. 3. 2. How can you serve your audience better? 3. What does remarkable look like in your category? 4. What quality thresholds are you trying to reach and willing to tolerate? 5. How could you collaborate with unexpected partners? Examples of original content in action: • Beldent – use an art experiment to promote a brands uniqueness • Dove – celebrate real beauty with real people • MINI – mine brand relationships to celebrate character • Go Pro – knit stellar user generated content to foster awesomeness • General Electric – bring imagination to boring machines 3. Content that inspires Participation Content is fuel for powerful participation. The kind of behavior that transforms your branded content from something you consume into an experience you want to get involved in. The kind of participation that can move between epic and intimate – from micro participation to movements that change the world. Participation works in different ways and comes in many shapes – from Skimmers, Dippers to Divers. How can you use the right participation triggers to appeal to different levels of participation? Making sure there are no dead ends in your content. That the content is the start, not the end of the journey. Helping to layer content both vertically and horizontally across the customer experience. Your ‘participation’ checklist: 1. How can your content inspire genuine involvement? 2. How can you allow for lean forward and lean back moments? 3. How can you create activist agendas for Divers? 4. How can you aggregate participation to augment your story? 5. How can you use the context of participation to inspire your content? Examples of Participation content in action: • AT&T Summer Break – harnessing the audience to fuel the storyline • General Electric – finding nerdy micro communities to drive Diver activations • L’Oreal ‘Girl with The Big Eyes’ – content according to participation levels • Honda Project Drive – match purpose with context to trigger participation
  4. 4. 4. Extraordinary storytelling Without storytelling craft branded content is wallpaper. Brands need to work hard to be storytellers. It doesn’t come naturally. There needs to be a cohesive narrative that can unfold across many disparate places and in many forms. 21st century storytelling is about working in networks. Creating content that can jump tracks into new networks of influence. Using extraordinary storytelling techniques to knit content together. Understanding how to build anticipation, earn an audience and find new characters for old chapters. Your ‘storytelling’ checklist: 1. What are the extraordinary dimensions in which you can deliver your story? 2. Can your audience influence the storyline? 3. How can you collaborate with partners to tell new stories? 4. How immersive can you make your story world? 5. What is the context in which the story is being told? Examples of extraordinary storytelling in action: • Vice – reinventing the news category • Intel & Toshiba – immersive brand storytelling • Fort McMoney – make a documentary playable • IBM ‘A boy and his atom’ – use extraordinary footage to tell a story • Patagonia – an example of when the world yings, you yang Building a world that POPS
  5. 5. When navigating content it’s easy to get lost in formats, mechanics and tactics. We have baselined four simple archetypes of content for marketers to consider when planning. Each content archetype can blend and overlap with each other, but each has a distinctive character and role that can set it apart in the planning process. Content you EXPERIENCE Content you experience is content designed to achieve a visceral brand connection. It’s about making emotional invitations that people can identify with. Sustaining stories that can bring consumers into your brand world, from a soaring piece of entertainment to a simple tweet that provokes curiosity. Content you experience is about establishing immediacy and a deep connection with the consumer. What form does it take? Content you experience tends to be high impact, visual and provocative. Content formats typically used for this archetype: • Brand viral film • Brand film • Experiential/stunt • Social activation • Physical & digital mash ups Examples of EXPERIENCE content in action: • Dodge Ram ‘I am a farmer’ – epic brand storytelling • Carrie - pull a scary prank to promote a movie refresh • TNT Push the Red Button – combine experiential and drama • Doritos – fast social content that riffs on cultural themes • Guinness ‘Sapeurs’ – adopt a cultural icon to weave brand stories Content for the JOURNEY Content that nudges customers or prospects through a buying lifecycle. Using known triggers, states and occasions to serve up fresh content to sustain profitable relationships. This is the lion share of content marketing and can take many forms: from lead generation to relationship management. This is about using data to help map content ideas to specific moments where content can make a difference in the journey.
  6. 6. What form does it take? Content for the journey tends to be anchored in customer relationship programs – using data to help make content hyper relevant to drive action. This is content that is governed around both pull and push formats, targeting and the economics of digital marketing. Content formats typically used for this archetype: • Email newsletters • Personalised video • Ebooks • Webinars • Long/short form articles • Short form social video Examples of JOURNEY content in action: • Innocent – brand engagement at every point of the journey • Kraft – using search to target content to anticipate every occasion • Lowe Vine Tips – making utility entertaining whilst meeting customer needs • Hubspot – using content marketing to sell content marketing services • Farmers Insurance – using entertainment to deliver boring information Content that is Product Content that can enhance and augment your product through content. Or, like Red Bull, become the product itself. How can you solve a user problem or treat a customer with an experience? This is about thinking how content can add value, be useful and become more relevant in the lives of consumers. What form does it take? Content that is product tends to be at two very different spectrums – utility or entertainment. Using deep content propositions that can move the brand to new spaces to deliver enhanced value for the user. Anything from high investment branded entertainment formats to niche utility apps that can solve customer problems. Content formats that typically fit this archetype: • Mobile apps • Online games • TV web shows • Brand funded entertainment • Services/forums Examples of PRODUCT content in action:
  7. 7. • Nike SB App – a branded utility app that helps you skate better • iGaranti App - a FS branded utility that is actually smart • Epic Mix – gamifying snow experiences through content • Red Bull – a media business that happens to sell soft drinks Content for the COMMUNITY Content for the community is content that is crafted to inspire a community of activists. The social web is fuelled by Skimmer, Dippers and Divers, but it is the 1% of fans who will engage on your behalf. Those Divers that will camp on the pavement all night. Your content needs to inspire extreme brand activism. Getting Divers to participate in behind the scenes and get privileged access to new spaces. What form does it take? Content for the community can range between simple flow content to carefully constructed stock content created just for advocates. Content formats that fit this archetype: • Posts, Tweets, Pins, Vines, Grams, Check ins • Influencer collaborations • Blog posts • Long form content • VIP Events Examples: • ASOS Insiders club – creating privileged access for top customers • HBO Games of Thrones – appealing to super fans to co-create content • Hootsuite – creating HootUps for power users • IBM – using employees to build thought leadership programs 21st century content craft At iris we have our own toolbox of 21st century content planning tools:
  8. 8. 1. Deploy your passionate purpose Finding and deploying a brands passionate purpose is fundamental to the success of any content strategy. The essence of what you stand for and the reason why your audience might care will inform everything from tone, storylines to production values. 2. Decide on your objectives What do you want to achieve with your content? How does it fit with your wider marketing strategy? Gearing content to work for different goals demands different tactics and approaches. So establishing this early on will help disappointment in the future. 3. Audit your inventory For most brands realizing your gaps and opportunities will help inform a robust content strategy. Mapping existing content to simple content archetypes and scoring against the principles of POPS will find gaps, opportunities and new spaces. 4. Find your editorial sweetspot By overlapping brand priorities, audience interests and conversation trends we can help identify spaces and topics to take the brand into. Finding content opportunities to create new relevance and fresh interest. Look for stretch topics and home runs.
  9. 9. 5. Plan for participation We know participation is unequal on the web. Think about how different participation triggers can be designed for Skimmers, Dippers and Divers. How you can inspire activist agendas and make it easy for Skimmers to come into your world. 6. Find your tactical blend Creating original content is not the only strategic option available. Be sure to consider curation, co-creation, sponsored and UGC options. Some of the best content marketing relies on smart, high quality curation and co- creation strategies. 7. Plan your content rhythms Planning for different content rhythms helps when thinking about ‘always on’ platforms vs. set piece marketing campaign activity and where they crossover. Thinking about how you can plan ‘flow’ content for feeds and streams at a Hum level and higher value ‘stock’ content for Sing or Shout activations. Make sure you have a content calendar that maps all your content pillars, to platform and goals. 8. Organise your content cycle Successful content programs depend on operations that can source, produce, distribute and promote content at speed. Making sure enough focus is spent on distribution and promotion is absolutely essential. Your content cycle will help drive efficiencies in ‘atomising’ content – finding lots of ways to extract additional value from your assets.
  10. 10. 9. Plan for real time We know how content, social and real time is both an opportunity and a headache. Using a workflow to take advantage of real time opportunities is critical. Making sure that analytics, creative, community management and paid work together to realise Urgent Genius moments. 10. Choose your ecosystem partners Content marketing is an increasingly automated strategy. Software vendors can help with a range of tasks: targeting, creation, distribution, workflow, promotion and analytics. Choosing the right partners early on can help set the tone for your strategy. 11. Evolve your content strategy Content strategy doesn’t stand still. Depending on your starting point there are fundamental steps to take to ensure your content strategy is up to date e.g. refreshing personas, auditing platforms, mapping editorial agendas, sourcing content partners. Making sure that sufficient resources are allocated upstream and downstream to help transition to full brand publisher mode.
  11. 11. 12. Content ideation checks Think about how sharing triggers, emotional states and user needs can overlap when designing your content. Not all content archetypes should be shareworthy. Sources like Unruly are good references to plot psychological responses and social motivations to content ideas. 13. Monitor and iterate Understanding which elements of your content marketing strategy works is fundamental to ongoing success. What test programs can you build in? Which pillars or formats drive the best traffic? Which insights deliver the best engagement? Thinking how agile you can be with your content investment model is critical e.g. using 70/20/10 as guiding model.

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