According to celebrated marketer Seth Godin, cows are so commonplace in Texas that you could drive across the whole state without even seeing one – unless it was purple. Evoking Godin, Alex Buznego, director of business and digital innovation for the Miami Marlins, said at a session at SES Miami that he aspires to have marketing that stands out as much as a purple cow.
In one example of “purple marketing,” Red Bull enlisted an Austrian skydiver to freefall from the stratosphere three years ago. “It played off the ‘Red Bull gives you wings’ thing,” Buznego said. “It was notable to me because it had nothing to do with Red Bull, but that piece of marketing got a lot of people interested in the brand.”
From the SES Miami session with Buznego and Eric Werner, search marketing manager at Home Depot, here are five tips to make your content marketing stand out and ultimately earn links.
Just because a campaign didn’t turn out quite as expected, that doesn’t mean it still can’t be profitable. To that end, Werner recommends not putting all your eggs in one basket. If you have an infographic, for example, and nobody shares it outright, content partners can still help get it out.
“Build layers of contingency to help mitigate risk in a big content marketing project,” Werner said. “If the main event doesn’t get shared enough, you can still benefit from other promotional elements.
2. Be Opportunistic
Though the Marlins did not play in last year’s World Series, one of the team’s fans sat behind home plate in a bright orange jersey anyway. After his picture went viral – it garnered nearly 50,000 likes on the MLB’s Instagram – the Marlins wrote a blog post, “Mysteries of the #MarlinsMan Revealed!”
The post about Laurence Leavy, who has held season tickets since the team’s inception and drives around in a custom orange Marlins car, got double the hits of any other.
“The most interesting part of this story is how the Fish Family rallied together with pride for the hometown Fish,” Buznego said. “It really demonstrates the community of Marlins fans, but we couldn’t have planned for that. It came our way and we maximized the impact of it.”
3. Mix It Up
Getting content published on high-tier sites is certainly beneficial for any marketer.
“It gives you the opportunity to cite those pieces in future pitches,” Werner said. “When you can say, ‘This writer has been published in The Huffington Post, and you can see it here,’ it makes it a lot more likely to get on a site you wouldn’t otherwise get published on.”
But at the same time, he said it’s important to note that high-tier sites aren’t everything. Mid-tier sites can also provide valuable visibility. After conducting an experiment, in which he spent the same amount on both high- and mid-tier sites, Werner found that four times as many pieces of content were published on the mid-tier sites.
4. Know Your Audience
Werner pointed out that customers don’t care about you or your brand; they care about themselves. With that in mind, Buznego made sure to learn his customers and address them in the way they prefer to be addressed: as if the franchise was a fellow baseball fan, not a corporation. The Marlins’ copy tends to reflect that.
“I can’t promise that when you come to the park, the Marlins are going to win,” he added. “But we can provide a great experience. If it’s hot or it’s raining, we can close the roof and put the air conditioning on. The food’s great. We’ve got Wi-Fi and charging stations. And we’ll put on a great show.”
5. Remember the Time
When it comes to marketing, timing isn’t everything – but it does count for a lot. Home Depot once had a patio furniture-centric content marketing campaign that launched behind schedule and by the time the search engines had an impact, it was mid-June.
“Plan large content marketing projects several months in advance so that if everything takes longer than expected, it won’t push the execution out of your peak season,” said Warner.
Buznego, whose brand is inherently inactive for half the year, added, “There’s a lot of uncertainty in the world of sports. Being able to market in the best of times and the worst of times is the challenge.”