Content Brief: recapping holiday marketing, Facebook Instant Articles, and more

Goodbye, 2016. We may have categorically ranked you as “the worst” but you are now behind us. Onwards and upwards! But first, let’s look into the most interesting content marketing news of the last month, including some stellar holiday marketing, experimentation with Facebook Instant Articles, and more.

‘Twas the season for holiday marketing

The holiday season remains one of the biggest, craziest times of year for pretty much everyone; there are dozens upon dozens of holidays people celebrate all around the world. Which makes the job of marketing holidays sales to people who celebrate different holidays all the more challenging.

Last year, brands churned out plenty of content and marketing campaigns to make a call to shoppers to spend their money on them. Some brands—including Coca-Cola and UK department store John Lewis—are known for their holiday marketing. Others rise to the occasion like the outdoor adventure brand REI, which campaigns for its customers to #OptOutside of the Black Friday sales and spend some time in nature. (It may seem counterintuitive, but it’s really just smart audience-centric marketing.)

Brands are experimenting with Facebook Instant Articles

Facebook Instant Articles are a staple distribution feature among publishers, but now brands want in on the action. Digiday reported last month that cable network TBS used Instant Articles to promote its television show People of Earth by publishing fictional diary entries of the show’s characters. They are also notable because they look considerably different than how publishers have utilized Instant Articles.

what happened in content marketing

As Digiday notes, Facebook has made Instant Articles available to brands since May (which we covered here), but few brands are utilizing it because “most lack the infrastructure and expertise to publish on a regular basis.” Yet TBS’s experiment could open up the door for more entertainment brands—who do have the infrastructure and expertise to publish on the platform—to distribute “in-world” content on Facebook. Imagine seeing a diary entry from Star Wars in your Facebook feed or case files from The Avengers in another.

In many ways, this is an interesting experiment to keep an eye on. Most of the time when we talk about content, we mean non-fiction content, but this experiment is a reminder that content can be anything—fiction, non-fictional, unique—as long as it’s good.

The best year-end coverage of content marketing

There wasn’t too much news to digest this December. Instead, there were a ton of “best of” lists about the content marketing industry. So, we’ve made a reading list of our favorites.

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