The importance of content marketing has never been as important or coveted as it is now in the age of social and mobile – it’s generating a buzz, trending on social networks and creating hashtags like never before. It’s the most sought after and marvelled subject of marketers, consultants, brand managers, SEO professionals, social media gurus et al.
My definition of content marketing in the age of internet and social is ‘any piece of text, image or video that elicits a thought in the audience that it is subjected to’. And if the thought is positive, likeable, shareable and connects to the brand, product or service in some way then you’ve nailed content marketing.
But if you’re a self-confessed ‘lazy’, creating this kind of content might seem like hard work. Not so. To make it simple for you, I’ve devised a quick way to cover all the points of effective content that will align with your overall marketing goals:
C - Cost-effective: This is vital for making sure your content ideas don’t go in the trash when presented to management and you can report an impressive return on investment when you prepare those charts at the end of the campaign.
O - Optimised: Wouldn’t it be nice to have your content indexed by search engines and the millions of people on social media? If you optimise well it has more chance of being found.
N - New: Don’t we want to read or watch new things? If we haven’t seen it before its
T - Transformational: In the age of mobile and tablet, users are accessing the internet (and your content) from various devices, platforms and screen sizes. Moreover, you cannot choose to decide which device or platform people use to access your content: they do. So your content needs to be optimised for best performance across all possible devices, platforms and screen sizes.
E - Engaging/Entertaining/Enlightening: This is the key – connecting with the audience on an emotional level – are you making them happy/excited/intrigued?
N - Niche: It’s that age-old saying - you can engage all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot engage all the people all the time! So targeting the right audience is at the core of producing engaging content.
T - Trackable: Finally, every activity within the marketing paradigm ends with measurement of the effectiveness and achievement of set goals. So you have to publish content in a way that you can measure the success or failure of the campaign.
Having covered the marketing, strategy and theory, let’s get to the fun part of creating ‘the social content’ – the lazy way.
Creating Content on the Fly - Identifying Content Opportunities
Assuming that you have done all the brain storming and strategising to define the goals and objectives of the campaign, the question that you will find staring you in the face is how to create this ‘social content’?
You might not be successful the first few time you produce ‘social content’ but the key is to ensure you learn from each campaign and gain as much insight into your audience from how they interact with your content.
These are some ways that the lazy content marketer can identify and capitalise on the opportunities of creating ‘social content’. Some of them have been used by brands and organisations in the past, but bear in mind that doesn’t make them bullet-proof strategies for winning your audience.
The Oreo Super Bowl 2013 blackout ‘dunk in the dark’ tweet  is a classic example of identifying an opportunity and acting fast, almost in real-time. While we saw brilliant captivating commercials during the Super bowl, this was the winner with 15722 Retweets, 5810 Favorites and 20,000 Likes on Facebook.
Power out? No problem. twitter.com/Oreo/status/29… 
— Oreo Cookie (@Oreo) February 4, 2013 
1. Every employee is a brand advocate
Every company is made up of people like you, me and the ones we are trying to entertain. While everyone knows about the brand’s latest products and campaigns, how many of them know the people who built them?
Show your users what’s going on inside your office – the happy employees.
From the Mashable Instagram Channel : “Enjoying some quality time with a canine co-worker” is a classic example of engaging your audience (on mobile) and making them a part of your community.
2. Give them a sneak peek
Let your audience get a glimpse into the assembly line during the campaign creation process or new product development phase. Let them know what goes on behind the great products that you are building.
Give them the chance to build a relationship with your brand, and people behind it.
General Electrics does a wonderful job of visual story-telling on their Tumblr Blog  by sharing pictures of employees doing their daily jobs working with huge machinery.
3. Involve your audience
Ask your customers what they want. From Starbucks asking its users for product ideas on My Starbucks Idea  to Mountain Dew’s Dewmocracy campaign  - that lasted for 3 years and saw three flavours, voted by the consumers, produced and put on the shelves - crowd-sourcing campaigns are one of the most used and most successful content-creating opportunities for brands.
It might be a small part of a larger marketing campaign or be the whole campaign itself but it is one of the best ways of creating content that has an advantageous, two-fold outcome – a compelling product that your users will love and a community of brand-happy people.
4. Actually have fun at work
Everyone likes to watch people having fun, and if your employees are having a laugh at work it proves that your brand is made up of happy people who love their job.
Sharing happy images and videos will make your customers and prospects smile, interact with your content and share with friends.
Take this awesome video by Integrity Windows  with 2.5 million video views on Youtube. It’s an inexpensive video with construction workers having some fun with a measuring tape.
5. Promote an inspiring idea
People like new and fresh ideas – recycling ideas, DIY ideas, green ideas, gardening ideas, photography ideas, wedding ideas etc. We found a very nice article on the most popular boards on Pinterest , and they are all about promoting ideas with beautiful pictures.
Promoting an idea that inspires people about the things they love to do goes a long way in creating an inspiring brand image for yourself.
6. Get random
Think of the things that people love or love to talk about - celebrities, chocolate, movies, football or anything. Connect that to your brand (in a clever and positive way) and create your content – text, image or video. You never know, you might hit the jackpot with creating the next big meme of the internet. Look at the top top 50 internet memes of 2012  and figure out the why’s and how’s of their creations.
Or, just think of the emotions you would associate with your brand and ask a question, in a fun way. Coca-Cola  does an amazing job with this sort of thing. They’ve taken a word that they want to associate their brand with - ‘happiness’ and created Twitter hashtags to provoke happiness-themed responses, e.g.:
7. Employ a cat
A final bonus idea that I want you to keep a secret – but please share the revenue with us when your cat does wonders for your business!
Jokes aside, cats have outnumbered any other living species (after humans of course) when it comes to video views on YouTube.
And here’s another meme that proves my point:
So go ahead, employ a cat and film him while he is exploring your office - it could leave your managers purring with delight at the views, comments and shares it receives!
Have you ever used any lazy content ideas to engage your audience? Let us know in the comments box below.