Up to date Nov. 22, 2022
Hundreds of thousands collect to view your content material advertising and marketing on their screens.
Crowds line up over two miles simply to get a glimpse of your content material in actual life.
That’s the stuff of content material entrepreneurs’ desires. And it’s the fact for entrepreneurs at Macy’s, the U.S. division retailer chain that has placed on a parade in New York Metropolis each Thanksgiving since 1924.
I’m a giant fan of Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I traveled to see it twice, and I by no means miss watching it on tv. And that’s earlier than I noticed it’s all content material advertising and marketing. Listed here are some classes that struck me.
1. Steal concepts – simply make them higher
Macy’s wasn’t the primary division retailer to host a parade as a content material advertising and marketing instrument for the Christmas shopping for season. In 1920, the Gimbel Brothers division retailer in Philadelphia created the primary one. 4 years later – the identical 12 months Macy’s launched its parade – the J.L. Hudson Co. division retailer began one in Detroit. Although these parades proceed as we speak, Gimbels and Hudson’s haven’t been concerned for many years. Hudson’s ceased its parade connection when it closed its Detroit flagship within the late Seventies. (The chain was later purchased by Macy’s). And the Philadelphia division retailer was liquidated within the mid-Eighties.
Authentic concepts are laborious to come back by (some say there aren’t any). Don’t spend all of your time attempting to create one thing nobody’s executed. Search for current inspiration. You could discover content material that isn’t residing as much as its potential – after which you’ll be able to take the chance to do it higher.
You don’t want authentic concepts. Simply do current ones higher. That’s what @Macys did in creating its New York Thanksgiving Day parade, says @AnnGynn by way of @CMIContent. #ContentMarketing Click on To Tweet
2. Follow what works, modify what doesn’t
The primary Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade stretched over six miles and featured nursery rhyme characters, retailer workers dressed as clowns and cowboys, and animals from the Central Park Zoo. A float carrying Santa and a reindeer-pulled sleigh closed the parade.
Within the twenty first century, the parade traverses solely 2.5 miles to make sure a tighter present. It options multi-story-tall balloons that way back changed the zoo animals. It welcomes manufacturers apart from Macy’s into the act (suppose Pillsbury Dough Boy and Ronald McDonald). Marching bands from across the nation, floats that includes lip-syncing celebrities, and reside characters just like the gang from Sesame Avenue increase the attraction.
Santa’s sleigh and reindeer are way more elaborate now, however the jolly fella retains his virtually 100-year-old place within the parade – the ultimate act anticipated by younger and previous.
When you will have a permanent content material star, go forward and tweak it. Don’t use the identical previous, usual content material on a regular basis. Every year, Macy’s creates a curiosity hole: What new balloons will debut? Which will likely be retired?
@Macys creates a curiosity hole yearly as audiences marvel what new balloons will debut and which will likely be retired, says @AnnGynn by way of @CMIContent. Click on To Tweet
What annual content material are you able to create that entices your viewers to return many times? At CMI, for instance, we create content material advertising and marketing analysis experiences yearly. A number of the questions within the analysis questionnaire stay the identical annually, however we add new ones primarily based on our viewers’s wants, trade traits, and world modifications.
Take into consideration tips on how to clean up your content material by including new concepts or attempting completely different codecs.
Take into consideration tips on how to clean up your #content material by including new concepts or attempting completely different codecs, says @AnnGynn by way of @CMIContent. Click on To Tweet
For instance, a B2B model would possibly add a brand new division centered on distant work to its quarterly journal. A B2C model would possibly shoot quick, tip-focused movies primarily based on data from weblog articles.
The alternatives to regulate your content material combine – matter, format, and so on. – are infinite.
3. Take a look at issues from a unique perspective
Let’s get to the reality. Regardless of the title (and the turkey float), the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade has little to do with Thanksgiving. It’s actually concerning the purchasing season main as much as the most important gift-giving events of the 12 months. The floats, balloons, and songs all revolve across the red-and-green vacation. In reality, the occasion’s preliminary title was Macy’s Christmas Parade. Macy’s, as a enterprise, isn’t centered on the Thanksgiving vacation. Macy’s cares concerning the timing of Thanksgiving – a month or so earlier than the present exchanges start.
Take into consideration conventional occasions or actions in your trade. How are you going to create content material that turns them on their head? Let’s say your organization has a sales space on the identical commerce present each September. As an alternative of crafting one other evergreen white paper to showcase your thought management, use the occasion because the unique launch web site for essential report on trade predictions for the approaching 12 months. Make that report the middle of your content material hub for the quarter, giving it life far past the two-day occasion.
4. Don’t go solo
Macy’s isn’t the one model concerned within the parade. McDonald’s sends up a Ronald McDonald balloon accompanied by his big shoe automobile on the bottom. Kraft’s Kool-Support Man crashed the occasion for a few years. Jennie-O’s Massive Turkey Spectacular, Dreamworks’ Boss Child, and Sinclair Oil’s child dinos take part this 12 months. And types like Olay, Entenmann’s, Surprise Bread, and Lego host floats. Every branded parade entry is an instance of sponsored content material.
Every branded float within the @Macys Thanksgiving Day Parade is an instance of #SponsoredContent, says @AnnGynn by way of @CMIContent. Click on To Tweet
If a sponsored content material mannequin doesn’t suit your group’s content material technique, you’ll be able to nonetheless discover methods to attach with different firms. For instance, settle for visitor blogs in your web site or craft visitor content material for non-competing manufacturers which have related goal audiences.
5. Work together together with your viewers
In 2020, Macy’s used its Twitter account to have interaction with its viewers earlier than and through the parade. Along with previewing that 12 months’s sights, Macy’s performed a sequence of promoted tweets (that’s how they discovered me, although I didn’t bear in mind to avoid wasting one to share right here). The tweet mentioned Macy’s would ship me a reminder concerning the parade if I picked my favourite parade exercise and tweeted about it.
So I did:
Hello, @macys! I can’t wait to see the #MacysParade #balloons. What about you?
— Ann Gynn (@anngynn) November 23, 2020
Two hours earlier than the parade began, I acquired this personalised reminder tweet:
Glad Thanksgiving! 🦃
Don’t overlook to activate NBC at 9am to catch this 12 months’s #MacysParade. pic.twitter.com/OCJV02rMQ3
— Macy’s (@Macys) November 26, 2020
Once you attempt to have interaction your viewers members on Twitter, take into consideration inviting them into your account or model. That requires greater than clicking a coronary heart or retweeting. Make it private. Give them one thing enjoyable or helpful to share. Observe up with extra personalised content material.
6. Scrutinize your language
Whereas I favored Macy’s strategy to personalizing Twitter that 12 months, I wasn’t a fan of its use of the phrase “numerous” in a 2020 tweet supposed to have fun Zeta Phi Beta, a Black sorority celebrating 100 years and making its first look within the parade:
TheJasmineBRAND grabbed the tweet earlier than Macy’s eliminated it a few hours after it brought on an outcry:
#ZetaPhiBeta known as a “numerous dance group” on the #macysthanksgivingdayparade 👀 pic.twitter.com/0ay1HQPAVy
— theJasmineBRAND (@thejasminebrand) November 26, 2020
Poor, unsuitable, or ignorant phrase decisions get rid of any worth your content material might need had and may damage the model. Proofread your content material not just for spelling and grammar but in addition for intent, interpretation, inclusivity, and so forth. Macy’s misstep additionally teaches one other writing lesson – creating inclusive and numerous content material normally doesn’t require you to level out that it’s numerous and inclusive.
Creating inclusive and numerous #content material normally doesn’t require you to level out that it’s numerous and inclusive, says @AnnGynn by way of @CMIContent. Click on To Tweet
7. Begin small
Macy’s didn’t arrange a grandiose occasion in 1924. The parade entries coated solely two blocks and included about 50 individuals. However that was sufficient to enthrall tens, if not a whole lot of hundreds, to point out up alongside the six-mile route. Although the media barely coated the occasion, the viewers response prompted Macy’s to announce just a few weeks later that the parade would return the subsequent 12 months. (It wasn’t till the parade made its tv debut virtually 30 years later that Macy’s acquired nationwide consideration and drew in tens of millions extra followers.)
What are your content material advertising and marketing desires (i.e., large objectives)? They could appear overly formidable, however is there a minimal viable content material product you could possibly actually create that may result in making these desires come true? Begin planning as we speak.
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Cowl picture by Joseph Kalinowski/Content material Advertising Institute