Ok hear me out for a sec, I”m not talking about anyone breaking into your blog or anything crazy like that.
This hacking is where you’re stepping aside from your standard process and presenting your challenges to a group of experts so they can hack together new approaches to tackle the problems you’re facing.
On Wednesday I was lucky enough to have RainTaps be part of the first Boston Content hackathon. It was fantastic, and not only did I come out of the event with a total gem of a new content marketing campaign but I also got to have a fresh look at my marketing approach.
I’ll go into more details about the event in a future post, right now I’ll give you a quick overview of the immediate impact I got from it.
The Problems I’m Facing
I’ve been struggling with my content marketing. When I talk about my beer tap handle umbrellas and other beer gifts people love the idea, but how would you find out about the umbrellas in the first place? It’s not like anyone is going to go online and search for beer tap umbrellas.
On top of that, I’m a team of one over here (I do have one friend helping out, but only occasionally). From working with breweries, to making products, sometimes even delivering orders, I’m always pulled in a bunch of directions. How can I handle all of the operations while having the time to get the word out?
How Boston Content Set Up The Hackathon
The teams were randomly selected and paired with their companies. There was time to discuss the challenges, brainstorm and refine ideas, and present the suggestions to the other teams.
With our team, the conversation was very fluid. The discussion went back and forth between the current challenges and potential solutions. This allowed the content marketers feel out ideas to see if they’d been tried before, if they seemed like a good fit for the market, and how well that fix might work for me.
The team came up with some great ideas. Since it’s just me, and I’ve gained some traction on Instagram that ended up being the prime focus. I’ve been trying to encourage interaction with my posts and haven’t figured out a good way to do it. They suggested that I do giveaways of beer merch, that way I’m promoting the partners I want to work with and it’ll be less expensive than my own products.
Another suggestion that they had was to provide more context and information around regional breweries. While I have beer gifts by state as a category, I can tell more about the local breweries and their tap handles when they’re visiting the pages for different states and cities.
Now it’s time to implement. First thing is to select the products for the first test campaign, I already have an idea for a few of them but I need to have them all ready to go and photographed well in advance of the campaign. Then I’ll launch the campaign and plan for the next one. Since it’ll be significantly different from my regular approach to Instagram I want to try at least three different campaigns with slight variations before really step back and evaluate the approach.
I’ll also be updating the category pages so they can serve as regional reference guides. I’m going to start with a few target cities and states that are near them. With these updates, I’ll reach out to content marketers as I go to get feedback and advice.
How You Can Hack Your Content
You don’t need to be part of a formal event to hack your content, all that you need is a team of people that are outside of the group you work with and is willing to come up with new ideas. Boston Content is a great starting point to reach outside your network, you can connect with their members to form a team or you can see if they know of any marketers that are local to you that could lend a hand.
If your company is large enough you can also source from within, a great way to do this is to pull in people from departments that don’t actively work with your product or with marketing. When you’re pulling in people that aren’t familiar with a particular platform you can rephrase ideas by looking at the process. They may have solved similar challenges when working on their own projects.
PS this is part of the amazing team that came up with the great new campaign (one person is missing because they had to head out early).