1. Think “Branded Entertainment” Going viral is not about being promotional; it’s about creating a campaign that stands on its own and that people would like, share and enjoy, regardless of the brand.
2. Establish your brand characteristics Is your brand funny? Cool? Serious? Helpful? You need to establish your brand values and characteristics in order to create winning content that still resonates well with your brand and audience.
3. Determine your content marketing goals and KPIs Never create content for the sake of creating content. You must understand what you want your content to solve. Your content must have measurable key performance indicators (KPIs) that you can use to track your success. KPIs can include traffic, sales leads, convert leads into customers, etc.
4. Involve your community in your content Interact with your community by featuring their content and featuring them in your content. Get success stories from them and highlight them. The secret is to treat them as partners, as opposed to fans or users.
5. Plan it all out during the entire campaign Create a content plan that outlines every tweet, Facebook update, and Instagram post. Make sure you know what you’re launching, and when. Create reply templates for all your community managers so they know how to engage before the campaign is launched. Create a publishing schedule so you can see what content is going live, and when. The key is to plan your marketing according to your content and KPIs.
6. Measure and tweak Measure your efforts to see what was successful and to quickly change and tweak to make things even better. This will help you both during the campaign, as well as after the campaign is over.
The new frontier of marketing is in creating branded content that isn’t designed to be overtly promotional, but instead can stand on its own merits. A successful branding campaign needs to carry and communicate the brand’s core values and, as such, has exponential marketing impact. When creating content, it’s vital to always keep your brand purpose and consumer needs top-of-mind. Social listening helps to inform the future, but is less useful as a way to measure an existing program.
In our #WhatsYourStory campaign, we went ahead with this very-new form of marketing because we know that branded content is exploding– fueled by technology, an ever-increasing number of channels in the media landscape, and some fundamental changes in consumer behavior. And as brands are entering a new era of marketing that is much more ambiguous, subtle, and not nearly as intrusive as it has been in the past, there is ample opportunity for those who understand that viral content is a byproduct of engaging with the audience, touching their hearts, and contributing tangibly to their world.