The world of marketing has changed dramatically over the past decade. Social media, SEO , and white paper content now reign king. But with this shift in marketing, there is also a shift in what customers expect of the marketer.

This creates a challenge for marketers that are already scrambling to come up with the next big campaign. How can they find a way to stay relevant online while also creating unique content that grabs the attention of potential customers? Eventually, all the online advice for marketers can start to sound the same. How are marketers supposed to continually push out content and stay inspired?

So if you’re in need of some new ideas — or just a fresh look at creating content — look no further than these three obscure sources of inspiration. They aren’t as strange as they seem, and their relevant marketing tactics might be the key to sprucing up your business’s campaign.

WWE and Audience Interaction

The World Wrestling Entertainment network (WWE) is certainly an obscure place to find relevant marketing advice, but the entire company is powered by their dedication to marketing. How does it work? They focus all their attention on audience interaction, and write their content accordingly.

The company has been a television giant for years, ever since they first gained mass popularity in the 1990s. Since then, matches have been occurring on a weekly basis, with no off season. Over the 27 years that they’ve been on television, they’ve created such stars as “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, John Cena, and Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson. But these superstars were not created overnight. They took years to build up their storylines and rivalries, and the audience cheered them on the whole way. The audience interaction is what created these stars, and WWE uses this to their advantage.

The WWE writers provide plenty of insight on how to properly interact and engage your audience. The writers themselves will create dynamic storylines and characters, but all of that can fall flat if the audience isn’t willing to get behind them. They’ve made a lot of mistakes, but they’re always willing to put in the research, find out how they can engage their audience, and create a more cohesive angle that gets the fans excited.

They understand the changes happening within sports marketing — such as an increase in female viewers, which resulted in recreating the Divas of WWE — and are willing to evolve with their audiences’ needs. In this way, they provide a perfect example of how marketers should approach their campaigns .

Find Out What Engages Your Fans

To start, content marketers should utilize their tools at hand to find out what exactly engages and excites their fans. If you’re writing for the small business niche, touch on subjects such as payroll, cash flow , and recruiting Targeting foodies? Create videos inspired by Tasty , or vivid pictures to go along with your blog recipes.

Identify who you are trying to reach, and create Facebook ads , scan Twitter hashtags, and develop surveys to more accurately target your desired audience. Dive into the analytics, and see what content works best, and if old campaigns haven’t worked don’t be afraid to drop them and move along to the next thing. Once you find the right campaign that drives your fans wild, go with the flow and let them lead you to greatness.

Memes and Staying Current

If you’ve been on the internet for a while, you might already be familiar with a phenomenon called “memes.” They often make little to no sense, and they spread like wildfire across the various social media platforms. Businesses often try to hop on the “meme train” by creating and sharing their own versions of popular posts. However, they don’t always pan out.

The trick to memes isn’t in the content itself, but in the way that content is presented. In fact, successful memes are often the ones that businesses create themselves, or that is hyper relevant to their product.

For example, when Brad and Angelina Jolie broke up, Norwegian Airlines released an ad that simply stated “Brad is Single” with a low price to feature their new one way tickets to Los Angeles. It was simple, people understood the joke, and it worked well with their marketing campaign for that new product.

Of course, situations like this rarely work out so perfectly, but it’s important to stay on your toes so as not to let a possible “newsjack” moment pass you up. This is another trick to using memes in marketing: staying current.

Old News is Bad News

Memes can often burn out within a couple of days to a couple of weeks. If you want your content to be shared and enjoyed, you have to be conscious of that short shelf-life. Of course, this can be applied to any white paper content you might create: if you’re talking about old news, no one is going to stick around to read about it. In the age of the internet, you always have to stay fresh and current.

You can keep your content fresh and interesting with these tips. Staying on top of the current events is another extremely important way to catch potential new customers as well as not taking yourself too seriously. Lastly, don’t be afraid to get creative or to jump on a popular wave. Sometimes joining the fun can be extremely successful, resulting in new followers and customers. On the flip side, be sure to do your research on what is trending online. The last thing you want is to slip up and jump on the wrong will bandwagon like DiGiorno’s did in 2014 .

The Absurdity (and Relevance) of Denny’s Twitter

Denny’s Diner is another strange source of inspiration, but their marketing campaign is an absolute hit. By utilizing tactics that can only be defined as “ “Weird Twitter” their marketing team has made a memorable impact on their followers.

They are all too aware of the fact that their Twitter is absurd, and by embracing that absurdity they have cultivated an impressive 388,000 followers. This is because Denny’s understands their audience online: millennials. They know that the internet is full of memes, and that companies should never take themselves too seriously if they want to stay relevant and appealing. So instead, they fully accept that memes and self-deprecation are the best ways to engage, and retain, a loyal online following.

For marketers, the lesson lies in Denny’s ability to stay relevant, while also not acting too serious. Although they may be comparing their pancakes to pillow-top mattresses, or sharing silly memes that send their viewer into a scavenger hunt , they are always sharing content related to their product: breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Not only is their content relevant and fun, but it’s enjoyable, and the content they create is often shared widely across the web.

Also, because they are not directly pushing their product to their audience, their content comes across as more friendly, humorous, and less like a sales pitch. In our modern age, marketing that doesn’t sell a product but an idea can be considerably more powerful and appealing to a wider range of people, but especially to the millennial generation . It comes across as genuine: you care and respect your audience enough that you don’t need to sell them on your product. Your entertainment, knowledge, or hospitality is free, and the customers will be more than happy to buy your product because of your generosity.

[[ Embedded tweet: https://twitter.com/DennysDiner/status/862002656373592066 ]]

 

The Highlights

There’s a lot of anecdotal evidence presented here to give you some fodder for new campaigns, but here are some highlights on how these three sources can inspire your next marketing campaign:

  • Rely on your audience and their interaction to determine how your campaigns will flow. If there is little to no engagement on a post, don’t be afraid to drop your work and try something new. Your audience won’t let you down, so let them guide you.
  • Identify your audience with the tools available (surveys, analytics, etc), and use this knowledge to better target who you’re trying to reach.
  • Stay current, stay fun, and do your research. Memes can be a perfect recipe for new followers if you play your cards right, but they can also be disastrous if you don’t.
  • Like Denny’s, don’t take yourself too seriously. Have fun with your content, and lay off on the sale-pitching for a bit. Customers don’t need to be “sold to”, but they will buy your product if you provide them with entertainment or free advice.
  • Also, stay relevant to your product when you’re getting creative. Memes might be fun, but you want them to somehow tie in with what you’re offering. Like Denny’s, you can get absurd without drifting too far from your product.

Now that you have the inspiration, hopefully you can get out there and create your next campaign. Happy marketing!