Using the News to help with Content Marketing and SEO

Frustrated blogger

Knowing what to blog about, to create content about every day is a bit of a task. It’s hard, but it’s not impossible. Of course you need content that works rather than the filler that most other blogs and websites churn out. You need to create content for people rather than the Google bot.

One effective way to keep the content ideas fresh, is to create content around the news.

The news has a few things going for it from a content marketers perspective.

  • It changes every day
  • People talk about it on social media
  • People hunger for more detail about a specific news story
  • Not all news is bad, negative or depressing

There are many examples of succesful content marketers surfing this news wave every day. It’s not exactly newsjacking, that’s another thing, but it is using that jump off point of the news to further the narrative.

Examples of last week include fly tipping in Essex, the latest Kim Kardashian story (remember your content is competing with Kim Kardashian’s Ass), Black Friday, Cyber Monday, Halloween, and lets not forget Star Wars.

Black Friday was interesting, especially in the UK. There were a large number of people in the “megh” camp, who just couldn’t be bothered to get excited about saving money on a bargain. And even in Cornwall the excitement was in the barely bothered camp.

I talked to traders about this, Bakery 46 and Near and Far Nepalese Clothing and Bakery 46 both said it was pretty much like any other Friday and not much difference. You may argue that such small traders cannot climb onto the Black Friday wagon, but there there is news there is content marketing opportunities and small traders can absolutely benefit from a relatively cheap form of marketing.

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Feeding Content to the most Ravenous of Content Hungry Fans

Star Wars 2015

I am sure you don’t need me to tell you that the new Star Wars movie is out next year.

But what are your plans to take advantage celebrate this event to benefit your website?

I shall be looking at how this can be done in the next few months. But let me be clear that this is not about dangling your brand message in front of a Stars Wars hungry mob, but to enable your marketing push to create content that satisfies that hunger. You may not be able to do this unless you are a fan or can model the mindset of the fan.

I fully expect a number of highly paid marketing execs to be ripped apart by the ravenous hordes when they get this wrong.

It’s going to be an interesting time.

10 Examples of Cats in Marketing

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Cats. Love em or hate em, they’re the unequivocal and unofficial mascot of the internet. As much as we’re keen on the odd canine moment captured on film, man’s best friend doesn’t get a look in when it comes to cats. The internet is quite literally chock full of them.

But why? Does the vast number of cats we see online represent our preference to them as pets? Well no, not even close. According to many studies into pet numbers the number of cat owners and dog owners on both side of the Atlantic is pretty much even, with a slight preference for dogs in the UK and cats in the US.

So, why the fascination with cats over dogs (or any other amusing pet for that matter)? Well it’s genuinely accepted from dog and cat lovers alike, that there’s something altogether more natural about a cat doing something because, unlike a dog, you know they haven’t done it to get your attention. Amy-Mae Elliot puts it quite nicely in an article for Mashable back in 2010:

“When a dog gets in a box, it’s because he desperately wants you to think he’s cool. When a cat does it, it’s because it suddenly felt like the right thing to do at the time. More often than not, it totally was. I think it’s the very aloofness of cats that makes us want to caption their thoughts, or put them in front of a keyboard and see what happens.”

With their inherent watchability in mind then, it’s impossible for any of us in the digital marketing industry to ignore the profound influence cats can have over huge swathes of people and their uncanny ability to make us share images and videos of them. Regardless of how we feel personally about their unchallenged ubiquity online, the behaviour of the humble cat represents something that has the capacity to become instantly viral. Replicating this is surely gold dust to any marketer.

Of course you could just put cats in your marketing and be done with it. Below are ten examples of companies that have. Enjoy.

 

1. #SingItKitty

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Company: Three
Style: Cute
Views: 5.6m

This hugely successful ad packs a double punch of cuteness with the frankly phenomenal miming of a five year old girl called Jolie Forrest to the 1985 power ballad ‘We Built this City’ by Starship. What’s the cat in the basket doing? Well harmonising with her of course. Unadulterated sillineness it may be but it certainly worked for mobile phone network provider Three, who saw nearly a million interactions with the video on social media after it aired on ITV’1 This Morning. Current hits on YouTube stand at 5.6 million views.

 

2. Cheerios Grumpy Cat commercial

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Company: Cheerios
Style: Celebrity Cat
Views: 15k (unofficial upload)

Ok so while the advert isn’t particularly good it’s impossible to have any list about cats on the internet and not include everyone’s favourite cantankerous kitty. The advert clunkily attempts to combine the dry and sardonic humour of a thousand Grumpy cat captions and images that have gone before it, with a product aimed specifically at kids. On a comedic level, the result is arguably a complete failure but hey, it’s Grumpy Cat and even that insipid animated bee can’t distract us from our insatiable desire to gawk and giggle at this permanently depressed looking creature (Grumpy Cat’s real name is actually ‘Tard’ and her permanent sullen expression is actually the result of a form of feline dwarfism – I know, you feel bad for laughing now, right?). The YouTube shares aren’t really indicative of the adverts success either as this video is an unofficial upload as it was made for TV.

3. Cat Herding Commercial

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Company: EDS
Style: Satire
Views: 1.2m

Satire can be a disastrous technique in advertising if it’s not done well. At best you can come off unfunny, at worst confuse and completely mislead your audience as to the nature of what you do or what you’re about. This video from Electronic Data Systems Corp (now part of HP) on the other hand is clever-tongue-in-cheek advertising of the highest order. The company took the popular idiom of herding cats (meaning the futile attempt to create a sense of order from chaotic scenarios) and produced a seemingly real life docu-ad, complete with interviews from ‘real cat herders’ going about their haphazard work on the open plains of the US Midwest. The result is both a powerful metaphor for what EDS does and a hilarious piece of farcical satire that puts the humble and independently minded cat at its heart. The video currently has 1.2 million views on YouTube.

4. Catvertising

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Company: John St Advertising Agency
Style: Satire
Views: 2.5m

Again some clever advertising from US Advertising Agency, John St, with a cat video about cat videos. The concept works on many levels and ultimately gets the viewer second guessing whether this is real or not. This technique makes use of the internet’s propensity for both cat videos and elaborate wind ups and pranks and weaves them both into an almost believable satirical docu-ad. What’s so bold is that the company uses its own brand as the butt of the joke, leaving the more discerning viewer in no doubt that these guys are both good at what they do and have a very sharp sense of humour. With 2.5 million views this has done incredibly well for a B2B ad.

 

5. Cats with Thumbs Commercial

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Company: Cravendale
Style: Comedy
Views: 7.5m

Sublime advertising from the imaginative and at times somewhat surreal video marketers at Cravendale. The advert plays on cats insatiable love of milk and something we humans all take for granted as we idly chomp on our breakfast cereal in the mornings; opposable thumbs. But what if cats had opposable thumbs? The resulting video is a prime example of our desire to anthropomorphise cats but takes the premise to such an extreme that it would almost seem nightmarish if it weren’t so funny. Silly, hilarious and somewhat dark, Cravendale’s humour is perfectly pitched.

6. Keyboard Cat’s Wonderful Pistachio Commercial

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Company: Wonderful Pistachios
Style: Comedy
Views: 2.5m

Actually a meme of Charlie Schmidt’s Keyboard cat video, which has over 36 million views, this cat video has played on the cultural recognition of the original by creating a similarly ridiculous video of a cat playing the keyboard. The only slight variation on the original is the presence of a lone pistachio nut on the keyboard, which our furry friend then proceeds to break open in true Liberace style as he continues playing that annoying tune. Tenuous band wagon jumping here but it’s clearly paid off for Wonderful Pistachios, with 2.5 million
views and counting.

 

7. Happy Inside

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Company: Ikea
Style: Cute, Natural
Views: 3.8m

A different approach altogether from Ikea in this simple but quite beautifully edited advert. What do you get when you let loose a load of cats in an Ikea store after everyone’s gone home for the night? Well cats just being… cats, as it turns out. No doubt many countless hours of footage were edited to come up with this final montage but at the end of the day this is just cats being adorably cute and jumping and running on all things Ikea. Overlay some lovely music and you’ve got yourself a winner. That’s the thing with cats; you just need to point the camera and film. Eventually they’ll do something cute.

 

8. Lick the Rainbow Advert

catlick

Company: Skittles
Style: Comedy
Views: 7.1m

In the tradition of somewhat darkly comic adverts, Skittles’ freaky cat themed video invites you to put your finger on your screen. Whether you do or not what follows is unabashedly weird, funny and quite unpredictable. This is a prime example of advertising that is built for the internet. I suspect with the broad demographic sweep of a terrestrial television ad campaign, many viewers might have found this ad just too weird for comfort and the whole thing might have gone down like a lead balloon. But with 7.1 million views and counting there’s definitely no shortage of individuals online that clearly appreciate the humour.

 

9. Fireman Saves Kitten

firemencat

Company: Go Pro
Style: Emotional
Views: 23m

A change of tack entirely here. This video is actually a user created video but that’s not stopped GoPro cashing in bigtime on the hugely impressive 23 million views it’s got (the video itself was filmed entirely on a GoPro camera). Admittedly this video may still have packed an equally powerful emotional punch with a dog, but there’s just something universally appealing about the fireman rescuing a cat cliché. When it’s not actually a cat stuck up a tree, but the seemingly lifeless body of a kitten being rescued from a smoke filled room before being brought back to life by said fireman on the street with a tiny oxygen mask, then it’s almost too emotional to bear. And yet you can’t take your eyes off it. The fact that the footage has all been filmed on a GoPro camera almost seems inconsequential by the time the kitten splutters and shivers back to life, but that’s the power of clever brand advertising. With a little help from a brave firefighter, GoPro have certainly hit the jackpot in terms of brand exposure with this gem.

10. (Deleted, explanations of reasons why in the next cat post.)

This is a guest post contribution from Joe Cox, who is head of Content for Bristol based agency, Bespoke Digital.

New Lego Mini Figures 12 are out now

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And they look so good, I have my eyes on the Babarian.

You may be thinking, “but what does lego have to do with getting people to go to my website?”

I started writing out the answer and then realised it’s a huge bit of content that I will release in a better form than a blog post.

Sign up for “How Lego can help your Content Marketing”, on the email list.

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The Ben Sherman shirt wearing SEO types need to learn how to apply eye liner more effectively.

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A report from Channel 4 regarding those who create makeup videos for Youtube and who are crushing the big brands.

Yes I am aware that information architecture is important, and when presenting a website with over 100k web pages to the world, you better be in the hands of a well caffeinated, hardcore SEO type.

But most websites don’t need an uber SEO super geek.

Most can get by on a set of rules which can be learned in a day.

Most business don’t need a full on SEO, but they do need a bit of lip gloss.

Lets get binary

SEO = Anaylitical
Social media = Emotional

Broadly this is true, but those social media types who get SEO and those SEO types who get social media will always dominate.

Specialisation in each discipline will always be useful, but that means you become a Cheetah, rather than a Coyote. The Cheetah is a superb killing machine, and has evolved into something that does one thing very, very well and is magnificent. The Coyote on the other hand is a mangy dog, an opportunist willing take whatever it get it’s stinking paws on.

The Cheetah is endangered.

The Coyote thrives.

Becoming an Outlier is not sound strategic thinking

We know a few things are certain in the online space, one of those is change.

  • The mechanism of the platforms and the way people use online platforms such as Google, Facebook etc. will change.
  • The fundamentals of what attracts people and gets them to do stuff will not change.

The emotional trigger is far more likely to get a click through, a retweet, a thumbs up and even a link, than any rational content proposal.

So don’t you think you should learn about the emotional triggers which should define your content production, if you wish to get links?

This is what I will be teaching for this outing of Linkbait Coaching. Whaddya mean shameless plug, I don’t do this as a hobby.

But getting back to these female, make up Youtubers. How can a brand compete with these? It can’t, so it buys them. They will pound any SEO Rockstar into the ground in a rabid fan based cage fight, they command vast armies of high disposable income, “OMG I WUV U”, type people.

Completely irrational, completely emotional. But if you, as the “Ben Sherman SEO type”, can watch the above video and take certain techniques from it to add to your poker/forex/tech websites then you will win.

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You will become a Coyote.
You will have evolved.

If this resonates and you want to go deeper with this stuff, sign up at Linkbait Coaching and lets have some fun.

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