The last point takes us nicely into community and social. Corporate policies and corporate social responsibility walk hand in hand – and the content that could be developed around these activities could be immense and should be part of any decent content marketers plan.
To us this is a bit of a grey area – we am not advocating the manipulation of these relationships / causes, yet we feel that to a marketer it’s a good incentive to get involved – and if it’s doing good for the community, then we would rather encourage marketers to get involved in working with causes, even if they have a hidden agenda.
Some areas that we would focus on are covered below.
Anyone, from a small business to a large corporate can be involved in the local community – there are literally hundreds of ways to do so. How is your business getting involved? If it IS getting involved – you ought to look at ways of covering that in your content plans.
Again – there may be social issues that your business or people within your business back – either as part of the company or in their own free time – why not go the extra mile and give some exposure to these social activities?
A few years ago Orange did a massive drive with their “RockCorps” campaign (now being run with Channel 4 and launched worldwide). The campaign not only did well but drove copious amounts of content. Done on a smaller scale, many social activities that businesses get involved in could drive large volumes of content of diverse interest.
It is not necessary to set up your own social activities – many businesses’ have a direct bearing on a range of social issues – from working with charities to issues impacting the everyday man (or woman!), and how to help him/her.
It amazes me that brands don’t regularly back social issues that may impact how they work – and more importantly, up till recently traditional proponents of social issues used to relay on old school marketing such as mail to raise their profile. In the age of the quick-fire spread of a message, the marketing of social issues needs to be redefined as an art (a post for the future!). The matter is so important that books have been written on the marketing of social issues by marketers such as Seymour Fine:
Social issues and causes are ideas that are of interest to many individuals within a society. They are ideas to begin with, but assume issue status as they spread, or are sufficiently important, by some standard or other, to warrant the attention of many persons. A further distinction must be drawn between issues and causes. While both can be seen as societal ideas, issues are controversial; causes are generally not. One takes a position on an issue, but simply adopts a cause, such as joining a movement. Abortion and gun control are issues; the prevention of child abuse and forest fires are causes. Yet, for simplicity of exposition in this book, issues and causes will be considered in the same vein; no loss of clarity should result from the merger . The Marketing of Ideas and Social Issues (PDF link)
For the purpose of this post, we would like to suggest you to:
– Identify a social issue that business believes in
– Identify a social issue that the business may benefit from promoting
Decide what angle you would like to take – and use your marketing skills to build content that supports the social issue. Not only will this add to your content calendar, but the positivity that is earned as part of your helping raise awareness may also translate into a better brand placement, increased awareness and even gaining new customers that are aligned to your social standpoints.
A social issue is one thing, but not too far a stretch from supporting charities that the business believes in. We have often gotten involved in helping charities out build ideas – free – and this often translates into paid work via referral – the board members of many charities are powerful individuals with their own successful businesses.
Similarly, if as an agency we can help charities, as a business you could offer to use content marketing to raise awareness – your reach to your existing customers may help the charity, while at the same time; the charity may often reciprocate by further distributing that content to their supporters, exposing the brand to like-minded individuals.