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Hot Take: Look Outside Your Team For Great Content Marketing

Outside voices can make your content marketing. For example, UK football star Marcus Rashford helps Aldi UK spread the holiday spirit. UGC from Gen Z makes Abercrombie & Fitch a success on TikTok. And a new study from Semrush reveals an opportunity to get better content from outsourced talent.

Aldi UK’s makes Christmas amazing for everyone (with a little help from its friends)

Aldi UK debuted a new animated video starring its famous veggie Kevin the Carrot and football (the Ted Lasso kind) star Marcus Rashford.

In this year’s appearance, called A Christmas Carrot by Charles Chickens, Kevin takes the mean Ebanana Scrooge on a trip in which they encounter the Radishford (voiced by Marcus), and Ebanana becomes a new, nicer banana.

Kevin isn’t a one-time character. Nor is A Christmas Carrot a lone ad to promote Aldi at Christmas or the company’s donation of 1.8 million meals to Neighbourly, a partnership that Marcus, who publicly advocates to ensure no child goes hungry, wholeheartedly supports. (As a child, his family depended on the local food bank for their Christmas dinner.)

Kevin the Carrot also leads the brand’s holiday-related content adventures on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and Aldi UK’s Christmas page.

Aldi’s robust holiday site goes beyond product-related features to offer detailed instructions for homemade decorations and gifts along with recipes and tips for favorite foods of the season.

HOT TAKE: Aldi UK knows how to wrap content into a festive and useful package. Many companies create holiday commercials; some donate to charity during the holiday season; and others use celebrities and athletes to hawk their wares. But Aldi pulls it all together to get the most value out of every last content crumb. Whoever decided to make Kevin the Carrot a returning character is a smart cookie, too. The character feels familiar to audiences – he’s been the star of Aldi’s holiday stories for several years. He’s also a unifying presence across the content types, platforms, and channels. And Marcus’ presence as Radishford is a fun twist with a message that is authentic to both the sports star and brand.

@AldiUK shows how to wrap #ContentMarketing into a festive package – with a little help from an animated carrot and the voice of @MarcusRashford via @CMIContent. Share on X

TikTok and social-first marketing helps Abercrombie & Fitch avoid a wipeout

In a recent Teen Vogue article, Abercrombie & Fitch explains how it turned to social-first marketing to help it shed its early 2000s “preppy surfer” look. The fashion brand took a shine to TikTok to get cred with Gen Z.

The company did run sponsored ads and partner posts on the platform. But user-generated content made all the difference. Posting their own content with #AmbercrombieHaul and #AbercrombieStyle, Gen Zers have helped the brand’s style go viral.

For example, Teen Vogue points out a TikTok about the brand’s logo-less hoodies, posted by Andy Lobos, that earned over 1 million views. Once a product goes viral on TikTok, it typically sells out on the Abercrombie site.

@andy_lobosReply to @gunnawut surprisingly there is no logos on this just a good blank hoodie #fyp #abercrombie♬ original sound – led

Carey Collins Krug, senior vice president and head of marketing for Abercrombie Brands, told Teen Vogue: “We watch reviews and hauls of our products. We take notes of how people describe the quality and fit. There’s an authenticity innate to TikTok and its entire community that has allowed us to humanize Abercrombie.”

HOT TAKE: Abercrombie doesn’t have a lot of TikTok followers (less than 12,000) or a lot of TikTok videos (and the ones they do have aren’t that great). But the brand’s success on the platform shows how user-generated content can do more than an in-house marketing machine (or social accounts.) Instead of jumping on a new-to-your-company platform and going all-in with in-house content, think first about how to truly connect – and become a trusted brand – with your target audience. You may find looking outside works better than staying in-house.

You don’t need to stress your in-house #marketing team with every new platform. User-generated worked for @Abercrombie on @TikTok via @CMIContent. #UGC Share on X

Survey says: Too few marketers appreciate a creative brief for outsourced creators

About half (49%) of brand marketers say they outsource at least some of their content writing, according to a recent survey of 700 brand marketers conducted by Semrush.

Why? Among the most frequently cited reasons are the need to scale content production, the lack of enough in-house writers, and the inability (or unwillingness) to hire internal writers.

One interesting finding in the study came from the role of (or lack thereof) of the creative brief. Two-thirds (67.65%) say their content briefs cover the topic, and 64.71% say their briefs detail the keywords.

Only about half say they include details about the target audience (50.29%) and content objectives (49.71%) in the brief. Even fewer include:

  • SEO writing instructions (36.76%)
  • Information about tone, message, and style (35.88%)
  • Instructions about content structure or an outline (34.12%)
  • References to other content on the topic (31.47%)
  • Information about the company and its products and services (17.06%).

With the paucity of details in (or total lack of) the creative brief, it’s not surprising that the No. 2, 3, 4, and 5 most frequently cited challenges of outsourcing are low-quality content (41%), required a lot of editing (36%), content didn’t deliver expected results (29%), and spending too much time explaining to a writer the specifics of the industry, product, or topic (28%). (No. 1 was finding writers with hands-on experience with the topic.)

HOT TAKE: The Semrush study indicates that marketers have an opportunity to get more from their outsourced content creation. Give the creative brief the attention it deserves. You could eliminate or drastically reduce the back-and-forth with content creators and internal revision time. A creative brief helps you get on the same page with your outsourced talent by identifying the expectations from both your brand’s and the audience’s viewpoints.

A high-quality creative brief could solve many of the #content outsourcing challenges uncovered in a new survey from @Semrush via @CMIContent. Share on X
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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute