“Anyone working in advertising has a duty to know their client’s business and industry inside-out”

David Ogilvy, the Godfather of advertising said that and it’s something I whole-heartedly agree with. However, the knowledge can’t stop there – it has to reach far and wide.

When you work in real-time, you need to know what’s going on in real-time

Social media (and content) marketing are the fastest forms of marketing we’ve ever known – we can put whatever we want out there in the mere flash of a tweet or the flick of a blog post. The fact that the world around us moves so fast means that in order to make the most of this super-fast opportunity, we need to have a very strong handle on what is happening around us. This extends to:

Pop culture – what’s ‘trendy’ in everything from music to movies to fashion and way beyond. Harnessing these can be very effective.

Politics – what are they key issues and debates in our immediate environment and beyond? Depending on the client, we may see opportunities here, or topics to be avoided. Don’t go political without serious thought and consultation with clients!

Events – what large events are happening that people are talking about en masse? Are there niche events that you can tap into? Think Commonwealth Games Vs the Devon cheese-rolling festival.

News – are things happening in the world that you need to consider when creating content and using social? For example, the recent air-travel tragedies may have led to travel brands etc pulling pack on certain activity out of respect for the victims. The flip-side is good news – Royal babies, pregnant Pandas and economic upturn to name but a few. Just don’t overdo the news-jacking!

This list could go on and on, but these areas cover a lot of the day to day goings on in our world! If you work with social media and content marketing, you have to have a real awareness and understanding of what’s happening around you, it might sound like a lot of work, but tough luck! You’ll offer your employer and/or clients serious value if you can prove to be a know-it-all. I’d also encourage anyone who wants to work with social media to ensure they have very strong knowledge of all areas of marketing. Yes, there are roles that will see you immersed in social and little else, but do not pigeonhole yourself!

This doesn’t mean you don’t need your own inspiration…

If you rely on harnessing the areas above, you face the very real threat of blending in with and becoming part of the mediocre. Yes, you must keep things current, and look for genuine opportunities to harness the real-time, but if you don’t have your own thing going on,  you’ll struggle to achieve true success. Be pro-active and re-active and you’ll be in a good place. Never feel the need to jump on everything that’s happening out there in ‘the real-world’, if you can’t take something and add a new (and relevant!) twist on it, then leave it alone!

So, off you trot and learn. Everything. 

Agree? Disagree? Got something to add? Please do!

Some great David Ogilvy quotes here.

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Image credit – jdhancock via Flickr creative commons.

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