How to create a successful collaborative content marketing campaign

Lynx AfricaCollaboration was one of 2013’s hottest topics; whether it’s a classic case of a sports label tying up with their sponsored player or something less expected like the Kit-Kat and Android partnership. Collaborating with someone or something that complements your brand and delivers something out of the ordinary can help you reach a whole new audience.

As an agency we’re often involved in the launch of new products – whether it’s a whole new offering or a new addition to an already successful range. It’s not often we’re asked to revisit existing products, let alone  celebrate 18 successful years of one, but that’s exactly what we did for Lynx Africa – the brand’s longest running and most iconic fragrance here in the UK.

To celebrate ‘the can becoming a man’, we felt it was only right to get others to share what Africa means to them. We reached out to a wide range of artists and the response was amazing. As part of the campaign, we commissioned 17 of the UK’s most talented artists to produce a piece of artwork and like a reboot of the original advertising back in 1995, many of the artists looked to Africa itself for inspiration. They then added their own unique style to create some stunning final pieces. Graffiti, illustration, MS Paint, video, music, sculpture, pattern design – it’s all there and more.

We also opened the campaign up to our highly creative fan-base, asking them to submit their artwork for a chance to take the 18th slot and appear alongside our professional artists on a custom made Tumblr. We wanted all of the work to be as genuine as possible, giving the artists complete creative freedom to interpret Lynx Africa in any way they wanted. This is key because we wanted the artists to be doing what they love and create work they’re proud of and happy to showcase.

Creating content in this way can be highly successful. There are however a few things to watch out for. You can’t just buy the biggest and best names and hope they’ll hold your logo up to the screen. It needs to be a true collaboration with value on both sides. With a whole new wave of creators across a huge range of platforms, brands have a huge talent pool to work with.

Here are my top five tips for successful collaborative content marketing:

1)       Choose partners that have a strong affinity with you brand and what it stands for. It also helps if they’ve got an established fan-base.

2)       Collaborate with those who love what they do. This is more likely to lead to authentic content that people love. Be warned though, it might not always have your logo on it.

3)       Where possible aim to both entertain AND educate but most of all, aim to give value.

4)       Allow collaborators to express themselves in a way that is right for them and their audience.

5)       Tailor your content to the platform. It’s essential to get the context right in order to distribute your content effectively.

In summary, it’s important to let go when it comes to collaborative content marketing. Embracing collaboration can lead to credible, innovative and authentic content that reaches far beyond your traditional audience.

Mark Carroll is senior campaign manager at TMW. Follow him on Twitter @themarkcarroll.