How The Economist smartly repurposes content to engage audiences

The Economist Content Calendar Content Marketing Digital Defynd

It’s that time of the year when we all would like to look back. We would wait for TV channels to air the top 10 world news, top 10 sports news etc. Here is an example of how a publishing brand, The Economist, has provided an interactive experience of looking back on their website. Beginning 1st December, they share one important news per day that was published earlier in the year. Some digital marketers may tag it as a ‘repeat visit tactic’ / ‘throwback’ / ‘repurposing’, some may call it as a ‘content marketing initiative’, but overall the thought and execution both deserves an applause.

Thought: Shortlist best content rich informative articles (that consist of maps, charts, data visualizations and interactive features) published throughout the year, share it with target audience and bring them back to the website

Execution: Unlike a blogpost with a list of top news items, an element of interactiveness has been very well leveraged. A layer of suspense and hence curiosity has been infused into the effort, which is very good from engagement perspective.

A specific page has been created and titled as The 2015 Daily Chart Advent Calendar, which hosts a calendar.The Economist Content Calendar Previous Calendars

Each date’s window is locked and will reveal the content only on that day. So as of 5th December, only five windows (From 1st -5th Dec) have been enabled. When you click on other days, it shows the locked sign.

The Economist promises a new graphic that’s hidden behind the Number 25 window, which will be revealed only on the eve of the Christmas.

The Economist has been doing this exercise year-on-year and you can check their earlier year’s calendars too.

The major learning of this campaign are:

1. No fresh content required for the Christmas campaign

2. Great thought to re-use existing content

3. Intelligent way to bring back traffic to the website

4. Surprise element ensures visitors will revisit website regularly for these 25 days

5. From engagement perspective it’s a great strategy


Anandan Pillai

Anandan Pillai is Social Media Lead at HCL Technologies. In the past he was associated with digital marketing agencies like ZenithOptimedia and AdGlobal360. He also tested entrepreneurship waters when he co-founded Turning Trends, a social media agency. His interests are digital campaign planning, social media strategy and execution, content strategy, blogging etc. He is open for discussion at @anandan22 on Twitter.

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