As Hannah Smith stated on the blog back in June, content creation without strategy leads to disparate content with no theme or purpose. If you’ve been in content marketing long enough, you’ve likely noticed a pattern in which many brands skip the strategy and, instead, churn out one-off pieces of content that do not correspond to one another.
Sure, creating independent, sporadic pieces of content worked in the past, but we can no longer let developing a content strategy “take a backseat” any more.
Between blog posts, videos, infographics, and a vibrant social media presence to drive customers to them all, your online content should establish your expertise, solidify your core branding and spread the word about what you do.
Themes are very important when it comes to planning your content marketing efforts, but why you might ask? In my eyes, there are three main points:
1. Themes give purpose to a marketing campaign and makes sure every piece of content ties together in a unifying, logical manner.
2. Themes makes it easier for your audience to understand key messages and the purpose of the campaign.
3. Structuring a theme inspires creativity and helps generate ideas.
Still don’t believe that constructing an overarching theme is beneficial to your content marketing efforts? Let’s examine two brands who are successfully implementing themes right for a few takeaways.
1) Travelocity’s Go & Smell the Roses campaign
I have a confession, over the years I’ve developed quite the schoolgirl crush on The Roaming Gnome. No, seriously, my obsession dates back to Spring of 2013 when I was ogling over their #GoSmellTheRoses campaign. See, we’ve even exchanged tweets over it:
(<insert geeky schoolgirl squeal here>) Okay, now back to the point I’m trying to make. School girl crush aside, Travelocity does an excellent job with making sure their marketing campaigns stick to an overarching theme.
During their Go & Smell The Roses campaign, Travelocity released five TV commercials (also on YouTube) featuring the giddy Roaming Gnome visiting a different region, but always ending with a call-to-action that encourages the viewer to get up, go and experience. Here’s one of my favorites from the campaign:
Beyond the commercials they released, they also incorporated an online contest called The Great Gnome Nabbing, in which the Roaming Gnome himself encouraged consumers to submit a video explaining why they deserve to be “nabbed” and taken on the “ultimate roam around the globe.”
And it didn’t end there, Travelocity had product placements into the Amazing Race TV show. They also produced the Let’s Roam video series featuring Travelocity’s spokesperson Courtney Scott roaming the world to find interesting locales to highlight:
What This Means For You:
Don’t underestimate the power of storytelling.
More importantly, don’t forget how powerful your brand can be when it comes to connecting with your customers on a deeper level. Take the time to identify your own company’s story and try to somehow tie this in with your audience’s own experiences. If you use your brand’s message to tell a story in a genuine, honesty way, you’ll certainly increase your chances of connecting with your audience.
2) Always #LikeAGirl Campaign
The Always latest #LikeAGirl campaign is a great example of a leading company that’s centering their content around a specific theme. More importantly, it is the kind of theme that empowers their consumers to redefine what it means to be a “girl.”
The #LikeAGirl campaign is centered around a social experiment in which Always asked a handful of men and women, ranging a variety of different ages, questions pertaining to what it means to do something “like a girl”? After being asked to act out how to run and throw “like a girl,” the older interviewees reacted in a very troublesome matter. After interviewing young girls in the same fashion, you can see a stark difference in opinion:
Always saw the impact they could make by empowering their consumers, and they’ve done a really great job spreading the message of empowerment throughout their #LikeAGirl campaign. Beyond the #LikeAGirl social experiment, they’ve created a call to action for people to tweet, Vine, Instagram “anything that proves how awesome doing things #LikeAGirl really is.”
This all ties into their objective to fight to empower girls everywhere, which you can check out in more detail on this beautiful resource center they’ve created for this movement.
What This Means for You:
Take some time to get to know your audience before you do anything else.
Don’t only think about why they would need your services, but really think about the peripheral needs and interests connected to that core. Take note of the way Always really tapped into their audience’s core values, doing so could really strike up some engagement among your consumers. Especially if it is a topic that they’re truly passionate about.
Both Travelocity and Always have truly engaged their existing audiences, as well as new potential customers with content that really ties-in with an overall theme, and all businesses can learn a lot from this. Not only does incorporating a consistent theme make it easier for your audience to understand key messages and the purpose of the campaign, it will also increase audience engagement.
So try to think, what debates might your current and potential audience members be having amongst themselves? What are their passions and aspirations in life? What expert knowledge do they have, and what are some creative ways to get them to show it off? Use these answers to create a strong theme for your content and turn the campaign into a platform for your audience, I bet they’ll be much more likely to engage.