Meet 3 of the summer’s hottest content marketing trends

Well hi there Mr. Triple-Digit Temps, how very nice of you to join us this summer. We were beginning to think you wouldn’t be visiting this year—what a shame that would have been.

Instead of bemoaning the arrival of 100-degree-plus heat here in Austin, we decided to embrace it as the perfect opportunity to share a few of the hottest trends in content marketing.

To protect you from burns, and to maximize the value you can bring to your brand’s content marketing efforts, we suggest grabbing a frosty beverage (it’s specific contents depending on where you’re reading this) and soaking up the cool comfort of air conditioning.

Or, if you must venture outside, please ensure a cool pool is nearby. May we suggest the brisk 68-degree waters of Barton Springs.

Trend: Partnering with successful YouTube channels for sponsored content

Beaches, barbecues, baseball and, of course, big budget blockbusters: “What are a few things synonymous with summer, Alex?”

This summer, studios spent a piece of their big marketing budgets enlisting small-screen stars to produce compelling sponsored content in hopes of luring the creator’s massive, engaged audiences to the big screens.

To observe this hot content-marketing strategy in action, check out the Dude Perfect crew, the trick-shot magicians with 6.2 million YouTube subscribers, who for five weeks straight this summer have wowed the world with their jaw-dropping, sponsored videos. Among the efforts was one of their signature battle videos where Ant-Man star Paul Rudd joins the hillarious competition.

And this “impossible” compilation of paint-ball trick shots promoting the latest “Mission: Impossible” flick—gratuitous use of the theme song included.

Hollywood blockbusters aren’t the only brands employing small-screen stars to promote their products, in this same summer stretch Dude Perfect has produced videos promoting LG’s latest flagship smartphone (the G4), a professional sports league (Major League Lacrosse), zippy remote-controlled toys from Traxxus and a new TV show on NBCUniversal’s Golf Channel.

The dudes at Dude Perfect are one of an increasingly-large stable of online video outlets brands are partnering with to create and distribute compelling content.

Warming the past few years, this content marketing tactic will soon be smoldering because creators like Dude Perfect deliver what smart content marketers search for, namely:

  • Established, engaged audiences at scale.
  • The consistent ability to deliver compelling content tailored to their target audience’s cravings, guaranteed to earn social shares.
  • Expertise and experience reaching the markets where traditional methods are flatlining.

Trend: Partnering with SnapChat stars for sponsored stories

If sponsored video is hot, then sponsored content marketing mashups popping up as SnapChat stories are even hotter.

Meet SnapChat’s resident DaVinci, Shonduras—aka Shaun McBride back here in the non-disappearing world.  Earlier this month Taco Bell leaned on Shonduras to help launch their latest junk-food smashup.

Using his signature zany style, Shonduras introduced the world to the origin of the Cap’n Cruch Delights while guiding viewers through a tour of Taco Bell test kitchen.

By teaming up with Shonduras, Taco Bell became the latest brand (joining Red Bull, Disney, Pepsi, L’Oreal Paris and Unicef) to use his engaging STORYtelling skills—including an impressive ability to animate using his fingers in the app—and dedicated following (in the 100,000s) to boost their content marketing.

In addition to an authentic voice and dedicated audience, McBride and his fellow SnapChat savants bring content marketers a few things creators on other social networks can’t: namely a sense of urgency to the message (stories disappear after 24-hours), and a deeply personal level of engagement.

“As a society, we’ve kind of learned to tune out advertisements on TV,” McBride said in an interview with The Verge. “With Snapchat, we’re not used to it. When you advertise on Snapchat, if you do it in a fun and creative way that adds value; they don’t see it as an annoying ad. They actually enjoy it.”

Trend: Mesmerizing social audiences with stunning cinemagraphs

With content marketing this beautiful, it would be impolite not to stare. Plus, you’ve got your sunglasses on—so go for it.

While the animated GIF is best known as the king of the meme, brand storytellers (and audiences alike) are smitten with it’s sophisticated cousin—the cinemagraph. With understated, flowing animation, cinemagraphs capture the ever-fickle attention spans of social media users. Earlier this year, Instagram joined Facebook in enabling auto-playing, looping videos, an update brands (from Budweiser, Dunkin’ Donuts and Lay’s to fashion’s Stuart Weitzman) discovered cinemagraphs were perfectly suited to capitalize on.

“Cinemagraphs allow us to share mesmerizing moments that extend the visual vocabulary of the brand. We are very excited to bring life to this innovative Instagram campaign, which will enable us to connect with new consumers on an intimate and aspirational level. The opportunities for engagement and organic reach are limitless”

— Susan Duffy,  Stuart Weitzman’s CMO.

With the summer heat beating down it’s important to always wear sunblock, stay hydrated and remember:

  1. Demand for visual content, especially video, is exploding. Compelling visual content captures ever-shrinking attention spans, drives engagement and earns valuable social distribution.
  2. Creators with established audiences and proven skills are great partners to help you reach your target audience.
  3. Sponsored content works best when the creators retain creative control. After all, they know their audience best.
  4. Embrace the ethos of a social media star in every ounce of your content marketing: know your audience, remain authentic in everything you do, consistently deliver real value, and always be accessible.
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