3 Companies Doing Sponsored Content Right

As my team mate Leslie points out in a previous blog post, sponsored content, also known as native advertising, is a form of brand storytelling that’s integrated into the format of the outlet on which it lives. Whereas TV, billboard and retargeting ads are quite obviously selling to us, sponsored contents “sell” is more subtle, but at the same time transparent. For those interested in how we can use sponsored content in our organisation, looking at best practices from other brands is a good way to start. So, today we’re presenting three examples of companies doing sponsored content right.

Netflix Orange is The New Black & New York Times:

Netflix is a company who has mastered the art of ​​sponsored content. Last year they joined forces with the New York Times to promote their latest series of Orange is The New Black. Netflix published an article about US female prisoners accompanied by a range of interactive multimedia. What was particularly great about this piece of sponsored content, other than great journalism, was how Netflix grabbed the attention of the audience by painting a picture of the wider narrative, one that the Times audience would be interested in reading. Bravo Netflix!

Nestle Friskies & BuzzFeed:

shutterstock_113021647BuzzFeed is the home of banter, King of sponsored content and a hot hangout for cat lovers. So, it made sense for Nestle to cash in on the opportunity and use sponsored content on BuzzFeed to advertise their cat food brand, Friskies. The pair worked together to produce content that is easily shareable on social. As such, the “Dear Kitten” video has been watched on YouTube over 16 million times and Friskies saw a 58% increase in brand recognition and interest in buying. Friskies understood the alignment between their brand and BuzzFeed’s audience. Moreover, they knew that BuzzFeed is a place for sharing and so created their content with sharability in mind.

Spotify and The Guardian:

The example of sponsored content from Spotify on The Guardian is simple yet effective. Spotify asked The Guardian’s music editor to browse through their music collection, searching for the 101 strangest albums. And when we say strange, we mean strange! This example of sponsored content allowed Spotify to do a number of things, such as demonstrate their vast portfolio of songs, gain endorsement from a highly credible publication and increase brand awareness amongst a wider demographic.

Do you have a fine example of a company smashing sponsored content? Drop a comment in the box below, we’d love to hear from you!

PR Partnership: You Scratch My Back, I Scratch Yours

Evaluating the best choice for a PR partner is not always a straightforward task. Luckily, with the availability of media intelligence solutions like Meltwater, we can implement a variety of KPIs to help us review the effectiveness of a PR partnership and make informed decisions based on real metrics.

Evaluating a PR Partnership: Coverage, Reach, and Relevance

Metrics to looks for when considering a PR partnership include coverage, reach, and relevance. They will help us answer questions, such as: How many people does a potential PR partner reach? What’s their audience’s geographic profile? Of course you’ll also want to be make sure there’s alignment on brand values and strategy—a conflict of interest can cause more harm than good.

Evaluating a PR Partnership: Geographical Spread

Having a clear idea about where our target audience is located serves as a compass when evaluating whether or not to pursue a PR partnership.

  • Where does the majority of our audience live in comparison to the PR partner?
  • Is our PR campaign designed to reach our customers at home, in neighboring countries, or down under?
  • Is the PR partnership complimenting the geographical spread, target, and status or everyone involved?

Meltwater’s world heat map visualises our global footprint to help identify where our brand the potential partner’s are being mentioned. If our aim is to improve global PR coverage, a heat map will indicate whether or not the PR partnership is a good match for helping us increase brand awareness overseas.

Evaluating a PR Partnership: Sentiment

As PR pros, our aim is to generate positive coverage about our brand in relevant media outlets. Meltwater Media Intelligence platform helps us listen to billions of online conversations, both on social and in the press, so that we can understand how we compare to potential partners. For instance, we’ll want to avoid a knock on effect from a partner’s bad publicity.

Evaluating a PR Partnership: Competition and Share of Voice

It’s also important to look at our potential PR partner’s media coverage from a competitive perspective.

  • What are the main publications that their competitors are being mentioned in?
  • Who’s receiving a higher share of voice?
  • Who’s talked about more positively?
  • What keywords and themes surround them compared to their competitors?

Answers to these questions can allow us to make informed decisions about forming our next PR partnership.


Is Social Listening the New Focus Group?

Focus groups can be time and labour consuming, expensive and not always reliable; that is before social listening was added to the mix. Social listening can dish the dirt on how our audience really feels, without them feeling under pressure to offer a particular answer. Social listening is the difference between asking a question and eavesdropping on a conversation.

What can social listening unearth?

By using social listening tools, such as Meltwaters media monitoring platform, we’re able to gain insight into how our audience perceives our product features, brand positioning, value offering and where we stand against competition. Such analysis can be found at a click of a button.

How brands are using social listening as a research tool

Kim Kardashian is quite the pro at using feedback given by her fans in a proactive way. Before launching her perfume, she asked what colour the bottle should be. Asking our audience questions so that they can contribute to the wider picture is also a great way of boosting brand advocacy. Nissan is another brand who also benefited from social listening. After running a search on their 370Z sports car they were presented with a pool of information, Nissan then used the insights to modify the car.

Here we demonstrate a simple keyword search on Nike using Meltwaters Media Intelligence platform. All we have to do is listen to know the ‘not so secret’ opinions of our audience. From the search we can see some of the most popular items in Nikes portfolio. We can then drill deeper into the key themes and pin point what exactly it is about these items that has caused a buzz.

Social listening tools can save us time and money; and money saved is money earned. Now, we’re not saying that social listening has caused the extinction of traditional focus group. It hasn’t, and it probably never will. Rather, social listening has presented an entirely new research opportunity. For companies wanting to gain a quick, inexpensive and ad hoc snapshot into the brand perception, social listening tools are the way forward.

We have an engaged audience at our finger tips so let’s have some fun and start using them!

Crisis Management: Know When It’s Time to Talk to Legal

Marketers sometimes feel that legal would like for us to simply not say anything—ever. And this might (justifiably) be the case during a lawsuit. But an experienced lawyer knows that marketing’s job is to promote the businesses, and during times of crisis, this means safeguarding its reputation.

Working with counsel during a brand crisis will help you find the best way to ensure that your audience feels heard and that you are taking responsibility for the problem at hand without opening yourself up to a lawsuit as a result of your PR and marketing activities.

Don’t Be Shy, Get to Know Your Legal Advisors

You’ll want to build a bridge with your legal team as part of business as usual, so you know each other and don’t have to start from scratch when things get hectic. While we generally associate lawyers with trouble, getting to know your legal team during times of relative calm can lead to interesting (and even fun) conversations about questions that marketers sometimes struggle with. For instance, “What’s the difference between defamation and someone just having an opinion?” Try it, it’s a great icebreaker.

Crisis Management: Know When to Go to Legal

Here are some guidelines for when to consult legal, whether you’re in crisis management mode or just trying to make sure that nothing you say or do will cause one. Go to legal when:

  • Your company has been accused of doing something illegal.
  • You believe that your company could be accused of doing something illegal very soon. Remember, any statement you make about events or circumstances relating to this legal action (including internal emails) could be used in a lawsuit.
  • Your communications are directly targeting a competitor and shedding negative light on them.
  • You are making claims about your product’s functionality or the breadth of your services. For instance, while describing how great your product is would typically be construed as opinion (and therefore not a legal liability), if you’re listing product features, counsel may want to cross-reference what you’re saying with any contracts customers sign to ensure the lists match.
  • You are making factual claims about your product that you know are difficult to prove.

Choose Your Words Wisely

As tempting as they may be, using certain words can open you up to unwanted scrutiny. They can also bring the threat of legal action. Here are some examples of words to avoid: always, guaranteed, unlimited, proven, 100%, and never fails. As marketers, we can find creative ways for touting our products without making factual claims we can’t actually prove.

7 Tips for Managing a Corporate Twitter Account

Managing social media is an exciting job – I mean who wouldn’t want to spend hours on Twitter and get paid for it, right? Community management is both thrilling and challenging in equal measures. Managing a corporate Twitter account requires a clear vision, thoughtful strategy and dedication to be successful in keeping a brand in front of existing customers, whilst attracting new ones. We’re here to share practical tips on how to effectively manage a corporate Twitter account to ease the challenging aspects of the job.

1) Set Expectations for Content – and Follow Through

Amidst millions of social media accounts and billions of conversations taking place every day, getting our corporate Twitter account noticed can be challenging. Grabbing the attention of our target audience starts with establishing our social brand profile, which is achieved by constantly publishing content that is relevant to our followers. Consistency helps us build a “routine” that helps our followers know what to expect from our account. Users tend to unfollow inactive accounts or accounts that tweet once or twice a week. Nothing can put potential followers off from following than a corporate Twitter account whose last tweet was published a week ago. Relevancy and consistency ensures followers are not confused and is essential to keep our audience engaged.

2) Keep the Content as Diverse as the Community

People that follow a corporate Twitter account are not only interested in company news, they’re equally interested -if not more- in the brand story, product updates, offers, “how to use” videos and industry news. By taking a good look at our following base we will see that our audience can be segmented into subgroups, each having their own set of interests and needs. It’s important to tailor our content to meet the diverse needs and interests of our followers. Media monitoring tools, such as Meltwater, can help us understand the topics our followers are interested in and create content that meet their interests.

There are times when it makes sense to split our audience into more than one account. Comcast did this early on with @comcastcares, which is specifically for customer service.

3) Prioritise Honest Engagement

interactThere are many simple and perhaps common sense ways that can help drive engagement level – yet, amidst our busy jobs filled with endless to do lists and deadlines we tend to forget them! In real life when we’re greeted by someone, we greet them back. Social media shouldn’t be any different. When we receive new followers, we can welcome them. We can ask them about their jobs and their interests so that we can get to know more about them. This does not mean that we should have an automated “thanks for following” reply – that’s a hollow welcome. Honest engagement requires real people acting like real people.

The great thing about starting real conversations is that we can get a good feel as to what our most engaged audience is interested in, and how to make their experience better. For example, we can ask them what made them follow us and the type of content they would like to see.

4) Timing is Everything

The shelf life of a tweet is approximately 30 minutes. Levels of engagement change greatly depending on the time of day, however the “Always on” nature of social media – Twitter in particular –  means that we need to keep our accounts active at all times. Media monitoring tools, such as Meltwater, can help us schedule tweets to ensure our account stays active, even during weekends or outside of office working hours. That said, scheduled posts only do so much. If our corporate Twitter account reads as though a robot is running it, that’s not going to get us honest engagement.

5) Hitch the Wagon to a Star

zayn smallWe don’t always have to initiate the conversation. Engagement is also achieved when we join a conversation that is already happening. For example, Meltwater decided to listen to the conversation following Zayn Malik’s announcement that he was leaving One Direction. Using our online Media Intelligence platform we created a heat map of the most engaged parts of the world. This heat map, accompanied with the trending hashtags, resulted in brand impressions tripling! Now, this doesn’t mean that we should capitalise on all social media buzz, we must be selective so that we benefit from trending hashtags and news that’s relevant to our brand. Hijacking news that our followers find offensive will obviously do more harm than good.

6) Use Visuals

Be sure to add images to tweets. An image says a thousand words, after all. Adding images, infographics and videos to our tweets will encourage users to click through and engage with the content, and will make a first glance at our corporate Twitter handle a lot more compelling.

7) It’s Not All About Us

The 80/20 rule is a good one for Twitter: about 80% of the content on our corporate Twitter handle should be about other people. RT’ing target influencer posts, for example, is a great way to engage them and to give great content to our own community. That leaves 20% of our content for self-promotion. This is where a great media intelligence tool comes in especially handy: understanding who matters within our community and what folks are interested in helps us engage our community and further our influencer strategy with one tweet.