April 6, 2021

Topical content: Going beyond traditional marketing to generate marketing ideas


Topical content marketing, newsjacking, or moment marketing is the ability to take a current story, event, or festive moment and create a campaign around it. Think Amul slogan billboards, the countless Game of Thrones memes used by marketers, or the Six-Word Horror Story trend that was lapped up by Dell, Kellogg’s, and Nearbuy. Topical marketing sticks because it takes a trending moment and puts a creative spin on it that resonates with the audience at a broader level.  But how do you identify the right opportunity or moment to come up with a winning campaign? Here are five actionable ways to getopical content marketing right:

1. Time it well

Who can forget Oreo’s ‘You Can Still Dunk In The Dark’ tweet from the 2013 Super Bowl game as being one of the most brilliant and viral content marketing instances of real-time marketing? Oreo capitalized on the half-hour long power outage with a creative tweet that was quickly retweeted over 18,000 times and became a talking point for audiences the world over.

2. Always be alert

A majority of topical content is spontaneous. This means you need to constantly be on the lookout for trends and news bites that can be a marketing goldmine when spun well. Keeping an eye on social trends and updates is vital if you are hoping to spot the right moments for topical campaigns. 

For example, Twitter Trends brings you the hottest emerging topics of conversation on that social media platform and offers a great opportunity to leverage a topic that suits your brand personality.

3. Choose moments from pop culture

Game of Thrones is absolute gold when it comes to the countless memes, ads, and moments of marketing inspired by its unforgettable lines and dialogue.

What do we say to the God of Death?” “Not today!” 

This iconic exchange between Arya Stark and Syrio Forel proved to be irresistible meme fodder not just for GOT fans but also for brands looking to cash in on the show’s popularity. Durex, Fevicol, Protinex, Häagen-Dazs, and multiple others had their own creative take on this line.

4. Engage in banter

Brands can create shining examples of moment marketing by engaging in social banter, often with competitors. For instance, Zomato used self-deprecating humor in tweet when it asked users to cook at home instead of ordering in every day. This became viral quickly as other brands retweeted with similar messaging. 

Similarly, there was some banter between Spotify and Britannia when a user noticed that Good Day biscuit looks like the Spotify logo. This resulted in much hilarity and led Spotify India to change its logo to a Good Day biscuit temporarily. 

5. Don’t be afraid to lead

Being an opinion leader has a unique advantage when it comes to creating topical content. So have your say – whether it is an analysis of a current event, showing solidarity to a community, or offering solutions for a problem. 

For instance, a crisis like COVID-19 deserves a response from brands to address customer concerns and to lead by example. Many brands took the initiative to share public service messaging campaigns in the initial phase of the pandemic. Some, such as Lifebuoy, stood out as it mentioned key competitors like Lux, Dettol, Santoor, and Godrej, urging people to buy any soap they had access to.

Last words

Not every moment is right for topical content marketing. Timing is everything, but so is your overall brand positioning and identity. So stay alert, take cues from others, and pick moments that work for your target audience. You never can tell which moment will bring you the next big marketing opportunity!

Contributors: Sadaf Zarreen, Preeti Mishra and Swapnil Adsul