How to identify reactive content marketing opportunities

When it comes to your content marketing strategy, you have probably spent a long time establishing your KPIs, brainstorming content ideas and mapping out an effective 12-month plan. This is what is known as proactive content marketing. 

Proactive marketing will usually take up 100% of your strategy. This is because you know your audience and what you want to talk about, and you have firm views about how to turn those ideas into a reality. 

But as 2020 progresses, reactive marketing is looking like becoming more important than ever before.

This guide aims to explain the essentials about reactive marketing and how to identify great opportunities for fresh content.

What exactly is reactive marketing?

Reactive marketing is a rapid-fire form of marketing which works in the opposite way to proactive marketing.

Whilst you can still work to your carefully curated content plan, you can also create additional content by reacting fast to breaking news stories, topics and trends. 

Revive Digital defines reactive marketing as “the practice of tailoring your content to the watercooler conversation topics of the day, hour or even minute; thus, reacting to whatever the big story is at the time.”

There are plenty of ways you can create reactive content, be it a blog article, video or social media post. But the key is to success is to react as fast as possible.

It is therefore worthwhile trying to be one of the first brands to react to a relevant story, in order to reap the greatest rewards.

Inevitably, this means keeping a close eye on news websites and social media channels. 

Keep your reactive marketing on brand

One important thing to remember when producing reactive content is that it needs to meet the demands of your audience.

For example, an insurance company wouldn’t produce a blog article on trending Love Island stories. It would be just too random. And off brand. And in doing so, they would risk confusing and even alienating their engaged audience. 

The bottom line is that not all trending stories will be appropriate to your brand, so only report on content that suits your brand and your customer personas. You can find out more about customer personas here.

What results can you expect from reactive marketing?

If you produce good quality content that gains you a large amount of coverage, you can score those all-important back links, which help your website’s ranking.

You can also earn new followers and communicate your brand’s personality in an engaging way.

How to implement a reactive content strategy

You can build an effective reactive content strategy in three simple steps: 

1.     Stay up to date with the latest news and trends

Whether you are a one man band or have a team of marketers, it is important you stay on top of the latest news and trends.

We recommend this as a daily task. Check in with your market’s key leaders and find out if they’ve made any updates. Look for anything new and exciting that you could regenerate as content.

Head to social media too. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn are some of the best platforms for daily content. Twitter shows you trending hashtags on the homepage, which is the perfect place to identify what people are talking about in real time.

To get started, follow these steps:

  • Start following influencers in your industry. They have a vast amount of knowledge that you can use 
  • Start following relevant social media accounts with the highest amount of followers. It’s good to see what they’re doing to make themselves so popular
  • Join any relevant groups to see what people are talking about
  • Start tracking trending topics

2.      Find a way to communicate these topics that stays on brand

Once you have found the topic or breaking news story that you want to talk about, it is important to find the right angle.

Proceed with caution though. If you can’t find a natural angle or are struggling to find the right message to fit your brand voice, leave it well alone. Your audience will see that you have tried too hard and your content won’t yield the results you are looking for.

Always look at your content through the customers’ eyes, as this will tell you whether the content works for them or not.

3.     Publish your content as fast as possible

Now this is the important bit. If you’re not fast enough with publishing your content, the conversation might move on or a competitor could pip you to the post.

Take a look at your content calendar and shift some stories around if you need to fit it into a space.

The great thing about reactive content is that it can bulk out your calendar while leaving plenty more to talk about later. 

Examples of brands who have done reactive marketing well

Specsavers is one of the leading brands in reactive marketing. They have seamlessly leant their campaign slogan, ‘Should’ve gone to Specsavers’ to a wide range of breaking news stories. 

During the Olympics in London in 2012, when the wrong Korean flag was mistakenly displayed, Specsavers reacted with this advertisement:

specsavers Korea flag

Specsavers did it again in 2017, when the presenters mixed-up the results for Best Picture at the Oscars. 

specsavers oscars envelope

This particular tweet gained over 20,000 likes & 11,000 retweets!

And do you remember the recent #WagathaChristie saga between Coleen Rooney and Rebekah Vardy? They got into an online spat after Coleen accused Rebekah of selling private stories about her to the press.

It was all very dramatic, so innocent drinks jumped on the bandwagon with this clever social media ad:

Innocent wagathachristie

None of these adverts are particularly sophisticated, but what makes them so effective is that they are incredibly simple.

They are also topical. So while they don’t have longevity, they work perfectly in the moment.

3 golden rules of reactive marketing:

1.     Be aware of what’s going on in the world of social media

You will need to cut out a lot of the noise to find genuine opportunities, but once you find the right trending topic, you can start to build content around it. 

2.     Try not to over complicate your content

And don’t try too hard with it either. Your message should be clear, simple and easy to understand. 

3.     Try to make your audience laugh or, at the very least, be entertained

Your content should work really hard to engage your followers and make new audiences notice your brand.

Looking for help with reactive marketing?

If you would like further help or advice on how best to plan a reactive content marketing strategy in 2020, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with The Content Marketing Team.

We will happily we’ll talk you through our services and products.   

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