Lessons in Content Marketing: Presidential Debates and Hurricanes

As I sit in my New York apartment watching news of Hurricane Sandy, I can’t help but notice things like @PANYNJ, #Sandy, and even #SandyonFox flash periodically on the television screen. If you’ve been watching the Presidential Debates over the last 3 weeks, you’ve undoubtedly noticed things like #Debate2012, #HofstraDebate, and even #Horsesandbayonets trending on Twitter throughout the debates. Everybody from weathermen, to news anchors, to political pundits have begun relying on social media as a source of information and public opinion almost in real-time. The spikes in social media around current events teach us a very simple, yet often forgotten message about online marketing: Relevance matters. It’s not enough that content is king and that companies need content to post, but your users need to find this content relevant to their lives in some way. If you have a great promo video that you’re trying to make “go viral” (more on that another time), and it only got 100 views in its first week, reposting it every single week until the count goes up is not the answer. If viewers didn’t find it relevant the first time, seeing it week after week will only make them annoyed; it will not make them find your video suddenly awesome.

Relevance. Source: SmartInsights.com

When trying to be relevant, here are things to consider:

  • What are you trying to relay to your audience?
  • Are you emphasizing the value to them?
  • Is it current, timely, of other particular interest

If you’re unsure of any of the above, ask yourself one simple question: “If I were a follower of a company, would I care?” If that is difficult (as it often is), I often reimagine it as, “If another company that I like posted this, would it interest me?”

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