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Weekly News Roundup (27 September – 1 October): Content

Weekly Roundup

We’re finally in October, which means spooky season, pumpkin spice lattes, and getting ready for the winter! And our first roundup of the new season comes from our motley content crew. This week, we’re looking at different marketing efforts, from traditional content to quirky experiences to video games.

1. Writing Business Content You Can B(2B) Proud Of

The age-old maxim about digital marketing is that “content is king”, but it seems like the palace of content marketing is being left to crumble. We were stunned to discover that one recent survey of marketers showed that 43% of those asked described the quality of their B2B content output as “average”, with only 7% describing their output as “exceptional”. While many agencies (and their clients) are understandably focused on the quantity of the deliverables they’re getting, the actual quality of the work can sometimes get lost in the shuffle – including the effects each piece was designed to have on rankings or traffic.

After all, with pieces either written by an agency’s content team or delegated to professional content freelancers, demonstrating an understanding of a client’s in-house tone and style can be tricky. What’s more, you also have to factor in the research it takes to write as an authority on a range of unfamiliar subjects – and how you will be able to do all of this within your budget.

JustGlobal’s The Write Stuff report from earlier this September seeks to address these concerns. The report provides what it describes as “six things to improve your understanding of great content” – responsibility for almost all of which falls on agencies themselves. As the report notes, “if the nature of content isn’t properly understood, it might explain why so much of it is so poor.”

Agencies need to ensure that they brief their writers thoroughly – and, where necessary, with input from their client – to help them understand not only what they’re writing, but why. As The Write Stuff notes: ”First and foremost, [content] requires a good writer. But it also needs your help.” Which is to say, there’s no way to create content that’s fit for purpose without giving your writers everything they need to get on the same page as you.

2. You can now stay in a hotel room that looks like Hitler’s bunker

You can’t, but it got your attention, right? Themed hotel rooms are the latest Digital PR tactic and another example of how link building campaigns have become very, clickbait-y, predictable and stale. In the last year there has been a rise in these ‘themed’ hotel room PR campaigns. You would forgive travel brands for the lack of imagination given the state of the travel industry and the uncertainty around what you can and can’t do, but you don’t even need to be a brand within the travel sector do jump on this trend, with a well-known florist recently launching a ‘Sunflower hotel’

This is just the latest tactic in the trend of overdone campaigns, following on from ‘dream job’ campaigns in 2020, when we saw record unemployment figures because of covid, agencies were disguising competitions as ‘jobs’ by offering money to people to try out their products. Before that, the go-to campaign was the  ‘you can now buy a’ where brands create an image of a quirky fake product on photoshop and then mark it as ‘out of stock’ to avoid trading standards from kicking their doors down.

We must caveat that while ethically and creatively void, these campaigns do get PR coverage. However, because (almost) every agency is suggesting these campaigns to their clients, they no longer become unique, interesting, and therefore stale, so you never actually remember the name of the brand behind the execution. There is a real lack of creativity and originality in the digital PR space right now and brands that dare to think differently, will rise to the top. 

3. Think of the children: marketing to younger audiences

It should come as no surprise that the younger generation is typically digital first. We’re willing to bet that more youths are able to navigate a smartphone better than their parents and, considering the buying power children have, more companies are considering the benefits of marketing products to teens and children.

Probably the best example of this we can think of is Fortnite and it’s seemingly endless collaborations – most recently with high fashion house, Balenciaga. While most purchases are completed in the game in the form of skins, there is a limited edition physical release of clothes available on the Balenciaga website. And, despite the expected eye-watering prices, many items are already out of stock. After all, who doesn’t want a Fortnite branded Balenciaga cap for £295?!

And with this success comes the fact that more brands are shifting their efforts to targeting younger audiences. Facebook has even developed a new version of Instagram for the young audience, but ethical concerns about how healthy social media is for children has halted the project. Leaked research by the Wall Street Journal found that Instagram was considered “toxic for teen girls” and as society becomes more image-obsessed, creating a social media platform solely for children might not be the best idea right now – despite the opportunities it brings for targeted ads.

Here at Passion, we’re always thinking of the freshest ideas for campaigns and looking for the nichest angles to market our clients. But we’re also committed to being ethically and morally responsible. It’s more important than ever to think about the family unit as one audience, rather than target the individual consumers.

Our content team is obsessed with the weird and wonderful. Whether that’s writing compelling copy or thinking up clever campaigns, they’re always buzzing with the latest trends. Get in touch to find out how they can help you, and keep an eye out for the next installment of the Weekly Roundup, courtesy of our PPC team.