Lauren Kaye

 Summer’s a tough time for marketers. You’re either fighting to be heard in a crowded marketplace, or fighting to get your audience to pay attention to you. This content and coffee, we’re talking about getting out of your comfort zone to heat up summer sales. 

Here are 4 crazy content marketing experiments to for stand-out marketing this summer:

1. Post content during off-peak hours

You probably publish content smack dab in the morning or middle of the day – because that’s when your marketing teams are at work. And, you assume that’s when your audience is online too. It turns out that’s not always the case.

TrackMaven collected data across more than 4,000 blogs, looking at over 1 million individual posts for its Colossal Content Marketing report. It found that content actually gets the most engagement and social shares on nights and weekends.

When people share and post

We’ve seen the same trend with our social media marketing. We see some of the highest engagement metrics when we schedule content to go live on Twitter after works hours – between 8 and 11 p.m. (The other time is between 10 a.m. and 12 p.m. So, don’t rule out during-work-hour posts, either. The truth is, it all depends on your brand’s audience and when readers are active. For the best results, check your analytics before you build a posting strategy.)

Use this summer as a test period to see if you get a better response when you publish and promote content during non-business hours. Establish some specific metrics you want to test against during your experiment: Social media shares, longer time on site, social referral traffic. After the trial period is complete, compare the the results of content published during off-peak hours with content published on your normal schedule. 

2. Launch an ad campaign on social media

Ask any social media manager, and they’ll agree it’s becoming harder to gain traction on social media without a paid strategy.

Facebook is the most extreme example. Within the past two years, organic reach has plummeted. Just to give you a sense of the situation: A company that has 100,000 followers might only reach 1,000 of them with an organic social post. This is part of  a broader trend in which Facebook is tightening its restrictions on what it shows users and what it doesn’t to provide the best possible experience on the network. (Here’s what the network has to say about these changes.

A paid social media strategy can help you reach consumers on their preferred devices, even when they’re out of the office. 

No matter how you spin it, social media is becoming more of a pay-to-play environment. And what better way to kick your marketing results into high gear this summer than with a social ad? A paid social media strategy can help you reach consumers on their preferred devices, even when they’re out of the office. 

For maximum engagement, try something besides written text, like GIFs or videos. Social Media Examiner says interactive formats are better at getting viewers’ attention, but you shouldn’t bank on having their FULL attention. Some people play a video, but click out of it before the message is complete.

When you’re working with visuals, you also need strong copy to get your message across in case someone only watches for a few seconds.

Interested in more social media marketing tips? Here are some additional resources that can help you get started:

3. Target a new market

Most of the year, you’re trying hard to convert the people who are your biggest spenders and most qualified leads. This makes sense. These are the most profitable members of your target audience. But what are you doing to keep other people engaged in your brand? You can’t ignore prospects who spend less often or at a lower price point. 

It’s important to create content that recognizes these visitors as brand fans and keeps them engaged. Here are some examples: 

  • Emails that appeal directly to this group’s needs and pain points
  • Social media posts that recognize highly engaged followers
  • Blog content that nurtures their interest
  • eBooks or guides that answer FAQs

Putting energy toward a new market is a good move for brand awareness, and could be an opportunity to turn this segment into a better converting segment overall.

4. Post something just for fun!

For most companies, the summer is a perfect opportunity to take marketing risks. Whether you’re in the busy season and fighting to compete with others in your industry, or in the slow season and struggling to get your audience’s attention, you need to find a way to stand out. Some ideas:

  • A community post that highlights your top employees and their personal interests
  • A video that gives a behind-the-scenes look at an event (or your company in general)
  • A social media contest 
  • A Q&A interview piece with your company’s leaders
  • A Q&A interview piece with your customers

No matter the form it takes, make sure the campaign doesn’t come across as too promotional. The entertainment factor is key to getting your audience’s attention and keeping it.

What are your favorite summer campaigns?

We’d love to check them out, so share them with us on Twitter or in the comments section below. Thanks for joining us this week and happy content marketing!