Ready, Steady, React: Why Reactive Marketing Works

Colleagues Brainstorming Together

Reactive marketing is the art of using breaking news, hot topics, or emerging trends to put your content in front of the right audience. It’s a great way to boost awareness and generate leads for your brand, and it helps to level the playing field for smaller businesses on a tighter budget than established market leaders. 

In the fast-paced modern era, reactive content is also crucial for staying relevant. It shows that you’re plugged into the zeitgeist and gives you an opportunity to talk about issues that are important to your target demographic. 

Of course, the quicker you react, the greater the impact will be – but that’s not to say you can’t have a strategy. Stick with us for tips on how to prepare for those opportune moments…

Predict the future

Though reactive marketing means responding to events in real time, that doesn’t mean you can’t plan some reactive content. Seasonal reactive marketing can be noted on your calendar months in advance – and this could be anything from a general election to the annual Budget, or even Black Friday. 

Keeping track of these events and leaving room for them in your content schedule allows you to jump on them as they occur, putting your brand on the inside track. Where possible, you can even try and prepare posts ahead of time (major publications often do this with newsworthy obituaries). Or, for an event with two possible outcomes like an election, draft something for each.

Don’t waste a second

Since the whole point of reactive marketing is your brand’s ability to quickly and effectively add to the cultural conversation, the key to successfully piggybacking on emerging news stories or trending topics is speed.

Obviously, not all notable events are as predictable as the ones mentioned above. So, as well as plotting out those you can plan for, you should also make sure there’s some flexibility for reporting on unforeseen scenarios as they’re happening. If you’re first with the commentary, you’ll successfully position yourself as a thought leader to your audience – easily standing out among your competitors.

Know where to look

Thankfully, there are a couple of tricks you can store up your sleeve to beat other brands to a story. In addition to keeping up with the news and current events in general, it’s a good idea to follow hashtag trends on Twitter, tap into data from Google Trends, and set up Google Alerts around keywords relevant to your brand.

Often, it helps to have a dedicated member of your social media department keeping an eye on trending stories that your business could weigh in on. But your wider team can still lend a hand – why not create a dedicated Slack channel or Microsoft Teams chat where everyone can post hot topics and reactive inspo?

Determine the value 

Your reactive content can take the form of a short social media post or a long-form blog post or article. When crafting topical content, though, try and bear in mind that it has the potential to date very fast. 

As a general rule, flash-in-the-pan stories will work better as social media content. On the other hand, more significant and long-running issues are worthy of your blog – or even a meatier piece, like a whitepaper.

Stay true to your brand

This brings us neatly to our final point: in order for your reactive marketing efforts to be effective, you need to make sure that whatever you’re reacting to is relevant to your values and objectives, and you’re not just jumping on the bandwagon. This means really knowing your brand and your customer personas – for instance, if you’re an accounting firm, a ranking of the most popular rom-coms of all time probably won’t resonate with your audience. 

Sometimes, however, trending topics might refer to a universal experience – and these can be mined for relatable marketing gold. A great example of some reactive content that was both relevant and relatable was Innocent’s response to the highly anticipated ‘Freedom Day’, when UK pubs reopened after the third lockdown back in 2021. Innocent’s confident, tongue-in-cheek marketing style lent itself perfectly to their post of a note on a mobile phone with all the letters mixed up – as though the marketing team were working from the pub.

Ready to get on your soapbox?

Reactive marketing is a creative and cost-effective way to get your brand noticed. It allows you to build a genuine connection with your customers, and leaves your competitors in the dust. Nonetheless, it’s important to know when to get involved and when to stay silent. If you’re just adding to the noise of an already oversaturated digital market, it may be worth simply rising above it. 

At MYC, we have a trained eye for spotting valuable opportunities to keep your brand relevant or start a conversation. So if you’re keen to kick-start your reactive marketing strategy, get in touch.

Words by Kelly


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