Joe Meloni

Every year, Earth Day falls on April 22, as people around the world celebrate the planet and raise awareness for environmentalism. The holiday, which the United Nations formally designated in 2009, has generated substantial search and social media traffic. A number of internet marketers are bringing the green spirit to their content, demonstrating that thoughtful content creation gives brands the chance to offer their perspectives on the latest trends.

On Friday, Earth Day was among the most frequently searched topics, according to Google Trends. Americans searched for information on its status as holiday as well as updates about Earth Day sales from their favorite businesses and planned celebrations.

Hitting on trending topics can be a great way to get your brand involved in hot web conversations… but when it’s not done right, you run the risk of alienating readers and prospects with off topic information. Plus, bringing in relevant traffic will boost your bottom line more than bringing in volumes of traffic.

For some companies, it’s easy to develop targeted, brand-friendly Earth Day content. For instance, Earl’s Organic Produce updated its website on Friday with an Earth Day article all about why its good for the environment when people eat organic (and promoting its related event).

But you don’t have to wait for a holiday or national news that’s centered on your industry if you’re working with creative content writers who can put your brand voice behind a trending issue or connect the dots as to how your customers would be impacted by the talk of the web.

Websites representing a variety of sectors have given their take on on Earth Day to drive relevant traffic and offer brand insights. Here’s a look at a couple green campaigns that reach their audiences in sometimes expected and all-around standout ways.

Political organizations use Earth Day articles to target policy support

The Environmental Protection Agency used Earth Day to solicit the opinions of its supporters and website visitors on the best ways to improve their contribution to reducing pollution throughout the world. This is an example that might be more intuitive… the EPA should probably have a lot to say about Earth Day. But less eco-centric government organizations have similarly leveraged interest in the day to engage their audiences. (Last year, the Department of Education posted information about the day and posted resources for teacher to provide information to students.) And the EPA shows how to hit a relevant and anticipated trend the right way because it was prepared with content in advance of the big day.

With Earth Day searches set to spike on Sunday, the EPA has designed a pledge aimed at making people „Commit to Protect the Environment.“ The campaign helps those visiting the website to understand the potential value of their decision to change their ways. Moreover, the EPA launched the campaign days before Earth Day to leverage the growing interest in the holiday.

The company is also working to build user-generated content off of the trending holiday. The EPA’s blog asks supporters to write six-word poems describing what the environment means to them. All of the landing pages for these offers contain content with informative, keyword-heavy descriptions of them along with the importance of Earth Day.

For tips on how to prepare for events or seasons that you know will spark trends related to your industry, check out Brafton’s recent blog post about developing an editorial calendar for content marketing.

Interesting infographic on the web’s carbon footprint drives traffic for PPC firm

PPC company WordStream offered a different take on the holiday, presenting an interesting infographic that analyzed the impact the web has on the planet. (Notably, searching the web is better for the environment than driving a car.)

The infographic is a different approach than the EPA’s. However, it is likely to catch the attention of Wordstream’s tech-savvy audience. The graphic presents a number of interesting ideas designed to help those who live on their laptops understand that they may want to make a few adjustments in the name of the environment.

Those using email marketing, specifically, may want to take heed in some of Wordstream’s information. The company suggests that the amount of spam sent throughout the world every year produces the same levels of carbon emissions as 1.6 million cars. While no one should stop using email marketing because of this, it provides another strong example against spam.

WordStream’s campaign reminds people to focus on quality over quantity so their web time counts (and doesn’t cost the environment). It’s a good reminder for marketers to invest wisely in campaigns, which the infographic publisher offers services for…

Social content helps Sprint leverage Earth Day and collect recycled phones

In terms of social media, „#earthday“ became a trending topic early on Friday.

Consumers discussed their plans to increase their commitments to living a greener lifestyle, while businesses plugged their own measures and announced sales and discounts for the event. But some companies set themselves apart by offering more substantive Tweets about Earth Day than simple sales promotions.

Sprint is using Earth Day to recycle old mobile phones and provide consumers discounts.
Sprint is using Earth Day to recycle old mobile phones and provide consumers discounts.

Sprint, for example, has a Twitter handle designed solely for its own environmental awareness. Using „@SprintGreenNews,“ the company told customers they could receive credits toward new devices or their accounts in general by recycling old phones. It also talked about its employees‘ efforts to reduce #ewaste and shared links to related content across the web.

The campaign connects a perhaps unexpected industry to a hot web trend, offering valuable information and straightforward opportunities for social followers to connect with the brand.

Companies using content marketing for their sites and social channels can improve their visibility on the web by leveraging similar trending topics – which is why Brafton advocates news content marketing. While using discounts or offers for every major web trend is unsustainable, frequently providing interesting content and social updates around hot topics can help organizations keep prospects engaged even after the initial interaction.