RelevantIn a 24/7 news cycle, where narrative marketing has supplanted digital marketing, and content and context enjoy a co-regency, relevancy is a marketing must. Brands must find a way to relate to and insert themselves into the news of the day. But can relevancy go to far? And just where is the line that shouldn’t be crossed?

In the past month, we saw an example of companies on both sides of that line. One company connected their services to a tragedy in the news and received a big industry slap for insensitivity. (It would be relevant to mention the tragedy and the brand but I don’t need to cross that line to make my point). Another company, Jawbone, released data related to its users during the Napa earthquake and received headlines, stories and most likely, a spike in positive brand awareness. Why? Jawbone followed the rules of relevancy. The other company broke them.

Here are the five rules of relevancy.

  1. Anticipate second day stories. When a major story breaks, reporters will develop related content to answer the questions readers and viewers need and or want to know? If you can help them by sharing useful information, pass it along.
  2. Stick to the facts. Jawbone shared hard data mined from its database. The company steered clear of opinions or analysis.
  3. Be sensitive. Don’t comment on tragedies resulting in death. Ever.
  4. Be a resource, not an opportunist. If you’re an insurance company and a reporter wants to write about disaster claims, help them when they call.
  5. Stay ahead of the calendar. Do you have a great product for Valentine’s Day? February is too late to share it. Start spreading the news 2-6 months earlier depending on the media’s lead times. Think Christmas in July.

You have marketing metrics to meet and the media has eyeballs to reach. When your message meets their needs, that’s when the magic happens.