“Either write something worth reading or do something worth writing about” –Benjamin Franklin
Benjamin Franklin did not live in the digital age, but his words are more relevant now than ever.
In today’s rapidly evolving digital world consumers crave value. It’s down to you to deliver inspiring, share-worthy content that provides answers to your prospect’s most burning questions, and captures the feeling of the moment.
More than 85% of millennials own smartphones. Having a smartphone allows information-hungry digital natives to access the latest trends, fads and news 24/7, with Google reporting around 100 billion searches on any given month.
What’s more, with around one in every three minutes spent online devoted to the pursuit of social networking and messaging, there’s never been more scope for engaging with today’s consumers in real time.
People with smartphones like to share their findings on social media too. In fact, there is presently an excess of 3.03 billion active social media users worldwide, with an average of 5.54 social media accounts per person.
If you’re looking to tap into the emotional nerve-center of your target audience, riding the crest of a trending wave is the most effective method. I’m going to tell you how to do this with something called trend marketing.
What Is trend marketing and why is it important?
Before we delve any deeper, it’s important to understand the subtle difference between newsjacking and pure trend marketing:
- Trend marketing is a branch of digital marketing that focuses on delivering inspiring, targeted content through a variety of mediums. It uses existing online trends, or powerful messaging and imagery as a vessel to boost brand awareness, prompt positive responses, and expand commercial reach.
- Newsjacking is a specific branch of trend marketing that involves leveraging events, occurrences or topical news as it’s breaking. It becomes part of the conversation in real time to evoke an immediate response from your target audience.
67% of Americans get at least some news on social media. If your content touches on trending topics or themes that matter to your target audience, you can gain serious traction.
If you’re not seen as current or forward-thinking, you’re missing out on what a lot of your social media audience has to offer. Trend marketing offers a means of remaining relevant, while placing yourself at the heart of a buzz that will help you to grow your audience and increase traffic to your website.
How to start leveraging trends for trend marketing
Here we explore the practical approaches that you can use for your brand’s trend marketing :
- Understanding: To gain insight into the trending topics that your target audience will respond to the most, you must leverage the wealth of information available at your fingertips. Analyze demographic insights and use them to make data-driven decisions, and you’ll be able to jump on the trending topics that engage your prospects most effectively, resulting in maximum success.
- Discovery: Key to developing campaigns or producing content on trending topics relevant to your niche is knowing where to find them. You can discover trends, viral content and news or events that matter to your audience by reading industry publications, using tools such as Google Trends, and by exploring social media hashtags frequently.
- Listening: Expanding on my previous point, by adopting a social-listening approach to your trend-marketing campaigns you will be able to participate in relevant conversions with your prospects, and deliver your trend marketing content in an organic, non-intrusive way at optimal times of the day, or night.
- Balancing: In an age where the number of consumer touch points is ever-expanding, to squeeze the most value from your trend-marketing topic or campaigns, you must deliver content evenly in a variety of mediums, from blog posts and videos, through to podcasts and interactive content. Explore your competitor’s efforts for inspiration and expand or improve on their existing ideas and approaches.
- Pacing: For full impact, select the touch points and mediums that work best for you. Don’t spread yourself too thin. With trending content you have to act fast, so placing your focus on a small selection of outlets (e.g. creating a video and a long-form article, publishing them via your YouTube channel and blog, respectively, and sharing each piece of content via Instagram and Facebook) is the key to effective content delivery.
- Talent: To execute a successful trend-marketing campaign or initiative in real time, it’s essential to build the right team. For maximum impact you will need a creative content writer, in addition to a design or video production specialist, to develop, create and deliver your content. You’ll also require a highly-skilled social media manager to track, publish and distribute your content at optimum times. Each of these roles will ultimately be interconnected, with each person working in close collaboration to achieve the best possible results.
By implementing each of these approaches as part of your trend-marketing initiative and by working in a swift, methodical and strategic manner, you will yield the best possible results from your trend marketing efforts, boosting brand awareness and expanding your reach as a result.
Trend marketing in action
To put the power of trend marketing into perspective, it’s worth exploring Airbnb’s #WeAccept campaign, as well as the phenomenon known as the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge.
ALS Ice Bucket Challenge
The notion of the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge is simple: you film yourself being submerged in a freezing cold bucket of ice cube-crammed water and then post the footage publicly on social media, before nominating three friends via social media to raise money for ALS charities.
This challenge and nominate campaign format was leveraged by a raft of official ALS charities to spread awareness about the disease, in addition to a host of brands looking to expand their social reach. This trend-marketing initiative resulted in:
- A total of $220 million raised for ALS-related organizations.
- Over one billion YouTube views.
- More than 28 million Facebook engagements.
- The campaign resulted in a major breakthrough in ALS-related research.
Shortly after President Trump’s imposed travel ban, Airbnb created a video and the above hashtag to deliver a message of universal acceptance. The campaign resulted in:
- 5 million YouTube video views in one month.
- 100,000 views and engagements on Instagram.
- Influential endorsement from the likes of former US secretary of state, John Kerry, and football legend, Joe Montana.
At its core, trend marketing is about jumping on a relevant theme or topic that is fast-becoming a pivotal part of the public consciousness and building powerful, thought-provoking content around it.
Much like the ever-powerful #metoo movement, the #WeAccept campaign has room to grow, evolve and expand, showcasing trend marketing’s enduring power and potential. Use it right and you will reap great rewards.
If you publish something worth consuming or do something worth talking about, you will win on tomorrow’s digital battlefield, and trend marketing will help you to do just that. To steer your efforts in the right direction, read this guide to planning a successful content marketing strategy.