The Bring Digital content marketing team were given the opportunity to gain some media expertise straight from the horse’s mouth, at a BBC briefing event hosted by Gorkana and Havas PR in Manchester.

Rubbing shoulders with the stars is something the Bring team could get used to, as we were briefed by BBC Breakfast’s Rebecca Wearn and BBC 5 Live’s Sean Farrington. The BBC team ran through a typical day in the life of an early morning BBC presenter, from working through a 9pm to 5am shift, to convincing businesses to open up a tad earlier to create a more interesting location to film.

Yet, as interesting as hearing that the CEO of J D Wetherspoon turns up to interviews in a scraggy polo shirt may be, as content marketers, we were primarily interested in the content the BBC chooses to show on its breakfast programs. In particular, what makes the cut and why?

Despite the initial trepidation, since moving to MediaCityUK in Salford, BBC Breakfast viewings have increased by 1.8 million on average. Viewings peak at around 7.45am, when there are around 2.2 million people watching. Rebecca informed us that during the show, they feature the more serious news stories at the beginning, around 6.50am, gradually getting a bit more light-hearted towards the end at 8.30am, while the main news story generally features in the middle around 8am.

“What are people going to react to?”

The move to MediaCityUK has helped to transform the two breakfast shows from London City-focused business pitches, by including local people, locations and businesses. Rebecca told us that the businesses they feature on the programmes are there to tell a story that people are genuinely interested in. The point isn’t to grill people or catch them out, Rebecca went on to say, so you shouldn’t be afraid of putting clients forward if you are sure they have an interesting story that people will react to.

“Getting an economist to talk about the economy is dull”

Sean and Rebecca were enthusiastic about approaching content from a unique angle. That way it will be more interesting and less regurgitated. If you are struggling to think of a creative angle to take, the BBC experts suggested putting a completely different spin on it, for example when discussing the economy, invite the owner of an interesting business in to discuss it, rather than an economist. This keeps your content relevant to your audience, which will in turn keep them more engaged.

“Think about what’s on the publisher’s diary, not yours”

Even if you produce fantastic content that is guaranteed to astound your audience, if it is not perfectly timed with your publisher’s calendar, then it won’t be included. Plan ahead and produce your own content calendar so you know exactly when and what to approach the likes of the BBC with.

Top 5 things we learnt:

1. Don’t approach people with an advertisement – Sure, our job is to get our clients noticed, but this can be done via different means, such as through engaging content rather than repeating slogans.
2. If you approach the BBC, and anyone else for that matter, approach direct and approach well! There is nothing worse than someone absentmindedly trying to feature on something they have never seen/read.
3. If you are pitching a survey, use a sample of over 2,000 people – unless it’s a niche group.
4. It’s far better to make your business seem normal then present it as polished.
5. Be yourself – no corporate speak!

This is what content marketing is all about, as consumers can spot promotional material a mile off. This doesn’t mean you can’t get decent exposure for your clients, but it does mean you have to talk about subjects that people are passionate about and interested in, rather than attempting to blatantly ram your brand down their throats.

Lee Wagstaff