It is a purely human truth: everything that is unexpected feels better. Those nights that start with a “I’m just going out for a coffee” and turn out to be the most amusing nights. That time when, without even checking any reviews, you decided to go in a restaurant that you just walked by, and ended up pleasantly surprised with the quality. Or a simple present outside any festive season. The same thing happens to those who consume content.

But when does that happen?

Who hasn’t searched for “quick light recipes for dinner” and ended up looking at prices for a trip and accommodation somewhere in the world? Yep, it happens when we consume content without previously deciding we were going to do it. When we venture into the world of research.

Why is that good?

Ok, let’s look at the data. A recent study by Outbrain tells us that we spend an average of 21 to 40% of our time online consuming suggested content. The same study also indicates that 77% of the consumers has more confidence in content that was shared by a brand that they are familiar with, while “only” 67% has more confidence in what their friends share on social media.

These are good news for brands, so what are the best online media to “hide” unplanned content? Well, 6 in every 10 consumers like to read relevant content from brands in the traditional media. In Portugal we don’t have great examples of this yet, but as an example of good practice, there is One, a Vodafone’s platform in El País, that has the goal of helping people understand how technology improves life in all senses, inspiring them to incorporate more and more innovation in their daily lives.

And what is the potential of a good piece of unplanned content?

A lot can happen! And, according to the study mentioned above, here’s a buffet of data as an answer:

  • 1 in every 3 readers ends up reading more content from the website where they found the first one,
  • 1 in every 5 goes back to the site where the content is hosted and,
  • 1 in every 3 goes looking for more information about the brand and its products.

But there are some not so good news. It’s clear that good unplanned content can cause a reaction, but it is also true that, as everything else in the marketing world, it is not easy to implement and… it doesn’t live by itself.

What about the tips?

Here they are.

First off, remember that patience is sacred. In the digital world, “playing” strategy isn’t like putting coins in a vending machine. Results will come, but first you have to test and test again, you can’t be scared to make mistakes and, when you determine the right recipe, results will start arising.

When it comes to unplanned content:

  • Try to explore topics that are relevant to your target and not to limit yourself to the brand core;
  • Keep in mind that consumers prefer information to selling pitches;
  • Storytelling is crucial to guarantee that the consumer reads/watches/listens to the content until the end;
  • Don’t forget e-mail marketing, PPC campaigns, the mobile strategy and everything that can boost a digital strategy.

And now, let’s plan the unplanned?