The Super Bowl blackout and the rise of real-time content marketing

oreo copyDid you see what happened during the third quarter of the Super Bowl last night? No, not the electrifying 108-yard kick-off return for a touchdown by Jacoby Jones. I mean the world debut of real-time content marketing. Shortly after Jones’s romp to the end zone, half of the lights in the New Orleans Superdome went out, leaving players, coaches and fans alike with an unexpected 33 minutes to mill around.

Seeing an opportunity, advertisers and media outlets alike swept in with content developed just for this moment, when they knew millions upon millions of people would be looking for something to fill the time so they wouldn’t have to listen to the CBS sports crew try to improvise.

Oreo and Tide get props for being and incredibly creative and fast on their feet, but there were others. And new media companies like Mashable and BuzzFeed, who are used to the pace at which the world moves today, were all over the place, not just during the blackout, but during the entire game; my phone was lighting up with Google+ updates from Mashable all night and BuzzFeed was awash in Twitter trend summaries and Illuminati speculation.

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Mashable was creating and sharing content all night. We all responded by widely sharing everything they did.

The collective reaction proves what content marketers have been told for a while now: to make an impact, you have to be there with relevant content when there’s an audience ready to consume. Oreo had the great (but expensive) whisper fight commercial last night, but what’s bringing them the most attention this morning? A cheapo jpeg created and approved on the fly.

Now, admittedly, most of us don’t have social media mission control rooms filled with creatives and executives gathered for the sole purpose of capitalizing on a huge ad spend, but the principle remains the same: know your audience, seek opportunities to create content that’s interesting to them and provide it at just the right moment. What’s the right moment? Keep your eyes and ears open and you’ll know.

In the meantime, be prepared, be nimble and be smart. To the quick-draw content marketer goes the spoils.

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