How to Do Real-Time Content Marketing

Oreo-Dunk-in-the-DarkRemember Oreo’s “You Can Still Dunk in the Dark” tweet last Super Bowl? Turns out that ingenious little piece of real-time content marketing was 18 months in the making. Plus, during the Super Bowl, Oreo had a full command center in creative agency 360i’s Tribeca offices, which “included representation from all of Oreo’s agencies – Wieden + Kennedy, Mediavest, and Weber Shandwick as well as 360i,” according to Forbes.

My point is this: real-time content marketing, when done well, isn’t quite as spontaneous as it seems. It requires careful planning – but already I’m getting ahead of myself! For success in real-time content marketing, try these seven preparation steps:

Step 1: Define Your Brand’s Story

A real-time marketing “opportunity” isn’t actually an opportunity if it doesn’t align with your brand’s story. Common sense, right? As Jason Falls writes, “Being timely and relevant with your marketing messages does dictate that you connect what’s going on in your audience’s world with your engagement. […] But it can also be hurtful to your brand if the communications don’t resonate.”

Not every current event – regardless of its popularity or ubiquity – is the right chance for you to capitalize. Define your brand’s story first, and then you’ll know what conversations you should get into and what conversations you should stay out of.

Step 2: Determine Objectives

Secondly, do you have an audience that actually engages and responds in real-time? For some businesses, this content strategy just won’t make sense. Go ahead and determine clear objectives before launching your new initiative. Your reasons for getting into real-time content marketing may include:

  • Ability to capitalize on current events
  • Hopes of going viral
  • Gaining followers through timely social media posts

Step 3: Put a Team in Place

With your brand’s story established and your objectives laid out, it’s time to put a team in place. You may want to use your existing marketing team or social media marketing team, if you have one. Your team should include, at a minimum:

  • A creative lead (one visual and one copy)
  • Social media lead
  • Analytics lead

Step 4: Become Good Listeners

In order to be an effective speaker, you must be an effective listener. After all, you don’t want to make any of these real-time marketing blunders. Monitor conversations about the event or subject that you want to use as your platform for engagement. This is best done through smart analytics…

Step 5: Become Analytics Masters

Real-time content marketing is largely about understanding data. All the listening in the world won’t do you any good if you can’t organize, qualify, and quantify it. The Content Marketing Institute, in an article on 25 real-time marketing tools, shares several great apps for analyzing online activity. I’m especially impressed with InboundWriter, which helps users monitor topics of conversations and search terms and determine which social media channels are best for their message.

Step 6: Create – Authentically

Finally, in the sixth step, you can start creating! I have seven questions I stick with that help me create content that connects with an audience. It’s crucial that your content – from full-blown research articles to 80-character Tweets – meets your own criteria of authenticity.

Step 7: Market (in Real Time)

Creating the content isn’t the same as marketing it. Use your analytic research (hashtags, search terms, platform, etc.) to push your content out there!

What’s your take on real-time content marketing?

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Ben Richardson is a writer based in Nashville, TN. While he loves writing on a variety of subjects, he's our go-to on all things related to branding and the creative aspects of content marketing. Follow him on Twitter!

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