Home Builders And Hip-Hop Stars: Lessons From Two Content Marketing Programs

February 7, 2011

Cee-Lo Green on the Coke Zero Black Carpet at Madden Bowl XVII

In the past couple of months, I’ve been a part of two programs built around major events and related online outreach efforts: the International Builders Show for Marvin Windows and Doors and the Coke Zero Black Carpet at Madden Bowl XVII. Though these two events couldn’t have been much more outwardly dissimilar, they share several common traits from a communication and marketing perspective:

  • They’re both annual events that are incredibly well-known within their respective realms; people know what we’re talking about when we call, write and tweet.
  • They both involve busy, hard-to-reach teams on the ground at the event and equally busy content wranglers back at headquarters.
  • Both events were great in their own right, but the value for our clients and the cool factor for our clients’ fans and followers come more from the content we create to open the event up for people who aren’t there in person.

For the builders show, we set out to help Marvin stand out as one of the key sources of news, information and interviews from this major trade show. We’re not just talking about Marvin’s own products and news. Former newspaper reporter John Reinan was on hand to not only fulfill his media relations duties for Marvin but also to treat the trade show like a reporter’s playground.

With the Coke Zero Black Carpet, we had a slew of celebrities showing up for a big pre-Super Bowl party that’s usually quite exclusive. This year, Coke Zero brought in Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald to interview the athletes and other celebs in attendance and get fans beyond the velvet rope. We published an onslaught of videos, photos and tweets from the event and even solicited questions for Larry from the Web crowd.

Here are a few quick things I’ve learned, or had reinforced, by these recent event-driven content marketing campaigns:

  • Make a plan: Map out the pieces of content you need to have or expect to have, and sort out when, where and how you’ll publish them.
  • Don’t be a slave to the plan: Things will go wrong. Unforeseen opportunities will arise. Adjust course and move on.
  • Over-communicate: Big events have so many “moving parts” and so many people involved in the planning, production and promotion. It’s almost impossible to truly overdo the communication. Make damn sure everyone’s on the same page about expectations for what’s to be published, when, how, by whom, etc. An ounce of uncertainty quickly leads to a pound of problems.
  • Remember the other direction: Don’t get too lost in your plan and what you want to communicate to the world. If you’re doing your job well, you’ll be creating content that excites an audience and stimulates conversation. Don’t just save those comments and replies for your eventual recap report. Encourage those conversations and help give them greater life. Interact with people in the moment. Share in their excitement and capitalize on their enthusiasm. Great things will happen.
  • Have fun: Even when your busy and tired and hungry and sore, have fun. Your job could be a lot worse.