A well-planned, proactive content marketing strategy is always encouraged to increase your brand’s presence and provides a steady supply of incoming leads. In contrary to this strategy and practice is topical content marketing. Instead of planning what kind of content should be on your platform, you formulate campaign or content ideas on-the-go by reacting to current trends, events and news.
While contextual content marketing is an excellent method to generate a high engagement number and gain social media followers with a large impact, it can also be potentially risky if not implemented properly. Even with topical content, a company or brand needs to be structured and prepared.
Why create topical content
The main reason topical content is so popular with marketers is its potential to deliver temporary, high impact results. Topical content is highly advantageous for being searchable – online users want to find out all the information they can about that particular new product, event or recent news story. However, this is a temporary search peak – so you need to make the most of that opportunity within a limited time frame.
Topical content can also have a huge amount of SEO value. Creating a great piece of topical content, with all relevant data points and information included and being one of the first credible sources to cover it, you’ll be likely to get backlinks to your article with other online outlets referencing your business or article as a source. Backlinks to this kind of content will help build the authority of a page.
For eg, the #Gonnatellmykids started as a funny trend on Twitter and is now the funny, topical trend for brands that are sharing entertaining product and service integrations.
Swiggy, an Indian food brand, known for its witty social media content jumped on the meme bandwagon and created an angle that is relevant to the brand.
News and current events
One method to produce good quality topical content is to follow news and current events. This kind of content usually requires immediate planning and is very risky to make it part of a big campaign.
While this method lets your brand spread the word about your brand extensively and gives great exposure, the high trade-off is that the execution is more time-sensitive, and content generated with a time constraint can be dangerous.
Two brands that usually hit the mark with this kind of content are Amul and Oreo. Amul has been delightful and produced great puns with its illustrations which are extremely topical ranging anywhere from political issues to sports.
Another great example would be Oreo and its spin on the Game of Thrones title song. The cookie brand released its homage to Game of Thrones by re-creating the credits via 2,750 Oreos as they stack, fold, and twirl to form the map of Westeros and Essos.
While a lot of brands jumped on Game of Thrones content bandwagon, Oreo still had massive success with its unique take on the topic, yet staying relevant.
A couple of weeks back, Indian actress Sonakshi Sinha took to Twitter to complain to Indigo about her broken luggage during transit and other brands had a field day. While Fevikwik saw the opportunity to repair a broken suitcase, Samsonite immediately replied with a good customer support response.
Not only creating positive brand responses, but VIP bags also took a risky move by challenging Sonakshi Sinha’s choice in her bags and offered to send a replacement. While this was all very entertaining for the audience, VIP was criticized for making a move where it was not required.
The brand took a major risk – and it paid off by creating a conversation among other marketers. These moves do not necessarily lead to sales from end consumers.
Seasonal content is a subset form of topical content. While this is relevant and content cannot be planned far ahead, the plan for creating a campaign around this can be drafted ahead. This can either be part of a campaign or just unpaid content created by the brand to generate traffic and spark temporary interest.
A lot of brands were excited for the Pink ball test to arrive to integrate their content with the event. Vodafone created a customized ad around this series.
This campaign was a planned topical content by the brand. As a business strategy, it required a considerable involvement of human and financial resources.
Developing a contextual content marketing strategy
Creating contextual content depends upon these three steps
- Setting clear guidelines for the content team to follow
- Listening (to news, constantly staying updated)
- Writing an opinion and creating an angle around the news
- Time constraint posting – Posting about the trend late can make your brand irrelevant
Trace the above steps with what Vodafone did
- No offensive content breaking the guidelines was created
- The brand was aware of the new pink ball test which initially had no relevance to its industry.
- Create content with an angle relevant to the brand.
- Posted the content when the topic was still relevant.
This is done to ensure not creating campaigns that damage your brand name. Since contextual content is created with tight deadlines, there is a high chance of ideating something that can create a marketing mishap.
This can damage the brand long after the campaign has ended. To reduce this risk, it is wise to set guidelines that avoid certain sensitive topics that have to be planned ahead like death, politics, etc. What could help with topical content planning is creating a content calendar for the upcoming year.
Create a calendar with events and holidays that your marketing team has to work upon – Mother’s Day, Diwali, Independence Day, Women’s Day etc.
As a marketer, it is imperative that you stay up-to-date with the latest news which can be a lookout for potential opportunities. While this might sound very time consuming, it is a valuable time investment.
The marketing team has to be open to a lot of different sources for updates. Here are some sources through which you can stay updated
- Social media like Twitter and Reddit can help a marketer point big trends
- Set up an account with tools like Buzzsumo and enter keywords you are interested in
- Set up Google Alerts for news you think can generate content for your brand. Not only topics but also conversations around your brand’s competition
- Follow industry influencers who give valuable insights
- Being a member of relevant groups on social media
Creating an angle and forming content
Your brand will not be the only one to have spotted the trend. Create a marketing angle around it that is relevant to your product or industry. If you are unable to connect the topic to your brand message, it is better to leave it out.
It is also not necessary for your content to always be humorous. What is inherent here is that your brand is adding to the conversation in a unique way.
Add value to the topic by creating more depth to the news. End-users would still like to read expert opinions on a trend which they can’t find elsewhere. They like experts to influence their opinions.
But it is also essential to stay topical when your brand adds expert opinion to a piece of news. Even responding to customers or rival brands can get your brand engagement soaring.
Time is of the essence
Setting your guidelines should help speed up the process of posting the content. Red tapes and passing through multiple levels of approval should be minimized as immediate action is of utmost importance in topical content marketing.
Sometimes being proactive can help with the timing for your topical content. Predicting that a certain trend is upcoming can help. For example, the launch of a new phone or certain clothing line, celebrity weddings. It is ideal to prepare an outline for the story for your brand.
Blending influencer marketing with topical content
A lot of brands have been dabbling mixing influencer marketing and topical content marketing. Since top influencers are reached out to often with a lot of campaign requests and brand collaborations, it is a great way to attract their attention by pitching to start a relevant and topical conversation with their followers.
The influencers’ followers will be keen to know their social media icon’s opinion and try to engage in the conversation. Cadbury Dairy Milk is an apt example here where the brand’s ad video urged its followers to counter the trend of online bullying & trolling with love and by replying with a purple heart. Not only did the brand release an ad video, but it also collaborated with some of the top influencers like Srishti Dixit and others to spread the message and start a conversation.
This campaign turned out to be successful in a way that a lot of Instagrammers started replying to trolls with a purple heart.
With the correct implementation of this strategy, topical content is extremely cost-effective to reach your target audience. Has your brand tried to implement this type of content yet? Do let us know below in the comments or visit our website, Facebook, Twitter or Instagram pages to reach out to us.