What App Developers Can Teach Content Marketers: 5 Tips to Energize Your Brand

Apps developers think about what folks need. So should you!

Apps developers think about what folks need. So should you!

Find a need and fill it. That’s Marketing 101.   Well, today some of the folks most clued in to what people want are the apps developers. Why not piggyback on their insight and research to enrich your content marketing strategy?  The key is to tie it to your brand promise (i.e., why you’re on this planet and what folks perceive your value to be to them). Find an angle that makes the trend relevant to your business.

End your constituents’ pain.  This is simply another way to think of taking the consumer-oriented approach that means the difference between failure and success. What’s bothering your community?  What keeps them up at night? How can you help? This is how app developers – and inventors, and successful business start-ups – think.  Demonstrate on a small scale; then let folks help you – on a large scale — to help others like themselves. For example, let’s say you provide services to seniors.  You no doubt have potential supporters who worry about their aging parents.  Give them a ‘Home Safety Tips for Seniors” tip sheet (via your blog or e-news or Twitter link); sometime thereafter ask them to support your services to low-income seniors.

5 ‘Tap into Trends”  Ideas to Kick-Start Your Content Brainstorming:

Digital overload

‘Take a break’ app and campaign

1.Digital Detox app and spin-off branding campaign

Trendwatching suggested at the start of the year that there would be an increase in Digital Detoxing where people start to take digital holidays, switching off their electronic devices and 24/7 connection to social media. Digital detoxing is said to help people relax, declutter their brains and even make folks happier. An app developer saw the opportunity to help folks do what they already wanted to do!  Kit Kat in Amsterdam tapped into the trend with their Free No- Wi-Fi Zone campaign, which tied neatly into their brand promise to “have a break” with Kit Kat: Free WiFi is available everywhere we go. People are constantly online, busy with their electronic gadgets all the time. As Kit Kat we saw that as an opportunity to give people a break. So instead of offering Free WiFi like every other brand, we created a Free No-WiFi Zone. A big sign with a small WiFi jammer that blocked all signals within a five meter radius. By doing that we encouraged people to read a newspaper, a real book or have a genuine conversation again. All while munching on a Kit Kat.

Piggyback on app developer ideas with your own creative brainstorm

Piggyback on app developer ideas with your own creative brainstorm

2. 10 Hot Apps for Android and spin-off brainstorms

  • I like the idea of tapping into the “Weather Bomb” if you’re any kind of outdoor action or environmental organization.  The app helps folks plan outdoor activities according to the weather of their city.  Why not piggyback on the idea by sending a weekly ‘Weather this Week’s Weather’ forecast of activities, events and/or ways to help?
  • The “App Lock” made me consider something that could work for human services organizations concerned with the safety of children, families and seniors.  How about a regular “Put a Lock On It” feature that shares information about safeguarding kids from poisons, women from abuse, seniors from falls, etc.?
  • “Friday” is an obvious content trigger.  Help folks remember the important activities they can become involved with through your organization with a weekly reminder. You’re probably doing it already, but perhaps you can come up with a catchy title and modernize your delivery modus operandi. “Facebook Fridays?” “Twitter Tuesdays?”

3. Must-have iPhone apps and spin-off brainstorms

  • The “Do Nothing” app made me consider the underlying reasons folks want to take a moment to clear their heads and get grounded.  Sometimes they want to connect with their existential purpose. What if you helped by offering a regular content feature chock full of purposeful volunteer activities?  More along the lines of “Do Something” perhaps?
  • “RE.minder” is similar to the “Friday” app above.  Seriously, folks today are busy and overwhelmed.  Anything you can do to help them get organized (as long as you figure out an angle to tie it to your mission) would probably get a good reception.
  • “Lift” is pretty neat (I love the reminder to “Tell my wife I love her”).  How often do we ignore the little opportunities in life that can make a difference in people’s lives? How can you give your supporters a regular lift? Perhaps a weekly suggestion of one thing they can do that week to pay it forward? Make it something that ties to the values your organization enacts, but don’t make it a direct ask. Here are some ideas from randomactsofkindness.org.  Choose a few that resonate with your mission.

4. Best Blackberry Apps and spin-off brainstorms

“Flixter” is an app that provides reviews on popular films.  How about a regular feature reviewing films, movies and local theater on subjects related to your mission?  Or how about simply asking your fans to submit their favorites? OneJustice had a “What is your favorite justice-related movie?” contest. Great idea!

Game for some games?

Game for some games?

5. Speaking of contests

Look at the popular new apps out there. You’ll notice a lot of games. Why not try to model one of them and turn it into a game on Pinterest? Or perhaps just a guessing game or quiz on Facebook, your blog or via email?

If you want to fill your content editorial calendar in record time, think like an app developer.

BONUS IDEA: Set up a pseudo focus group a la “Operation Starbucks” . If it’s good enough to test an app it’s good enough to test whatever you’ve got. It’s a really cool idea, and I’d love feedback if anyone tries it!

Time to work up your organization’s appetite! If you come up with any creative brainstorms, please share!

If you’d like more tips like these, and have not done so already, please subscribe to Clairification to receive regular blog posts jam-packed with useful tips and links to other helpful resources.

Photos: Flickr, Anthony Sigalas; Keoni Cabral; Emily Chang; Nemuneko.jc

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About Claire

I’m Claire and I want to help you raise more money, reach more people and build long-lasting relationships with your supporters. Take a look in the archives.


  1. Great suggestions, Claire, as always – thank you!

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