An Adaptable Content Marketing Campaign Strategy for Any Business

Below I am going to share the default content marketing campaign process we use at Inflow, which we heavily customize for each inbound marketing client based on their needs, audience, budget and other factors.

Tree Falls Small

The Content Marketing Campaign Strategies we provide clients, typically lay out the details of a three-month plan covering one complete content marketing campaign cycle.

Each campaign cycle will last three months. A content marketing campaign will include one primary piece of content, and two or three supporting pieces of content. We will conceptualize and plan out each of these pieces of content within the Content Marketing Strategy. A new strategy should be completed every three months for a new “campaign”, which should incorporate findings from previous campaigns in an effort to continually improve impact and ROI.

The Content Marketing Calendar portion of the document is meant to provide a general timeline for the client, and the strategist, to ensure all necessary pieces are in place for the three month campaign. The strategist is free to adjust the timeline based on the needs of each campaign, but generally speaking it will follow the Five P’s of Content Marketing:

month 1 Planning & Prospecting with Outreach

 

 

Prospecting for writers, interviewees, influencers/thought-leaders, and/or placement opportunities. Outreach to all of these. Set dates/deadlines for publishing.

month 2

 

 

Production of content from start to finish, including all supporting pieces.

month 3

 

 

Day 1 = Publish the primary content piece. The remainder of month 3 will be used for promotion of the primary content piece, which includes publication of supporting content, outreach, possibly paid advertising on search / social platforms, email newsletters, etc… And reporting, toward the end of the month, on our KPIs for this campaign.

Inflow’s Process for Developing a Content Marketing Campaign Strategy

Research
The Research portion of the document only needs to be completed once. Subsequent Content Marketing Campaign Strategies will be able to reuse much of the information gained from this. The first strategy will seek to answer the following questions in order for the strategist to develop a successful plan that aligns with the client’s business goals:

  • What type of content marketing is already in place?
  • What content assets exist that could be improved upon and promoted without creating new content? Look for exceptional content in the form of: white papers, ebooks, image libraries, in-depth articles…
  • How are they promoting their content?
  • Is there an editorial calendar and, if so, how will our campaign fit into it?
  • What types of non-content assets exist that could be leveraged for our content marketing campaign? (e.g. social profiles/followers, in-house writers, in-house social media team, email newsletters, strategic partnerships, etc…)
  • Who are their existing and potential customers (do audience personas if necessary)
  • What are the problems their customers are trying to solve?
  • Where do they spend their time online?
  • How can they be reached?
  • Look into GA demographics, Facebook Insights, YouTube insights, Google Adwords, Quantcast, etc…
  • Who are the influencers and thought leaders in this industry?
  • Are there ways to get influencers involved in a content marketing campaign for this client? (e.g. For quotes, writing, images, co-branding / cross-promotion…)

The Strategy Planning portion of the document (outlined below) will need to be redone every three months using the information gained above, which will inform a 3-month content marketing campaign strategy covering the following areas:

  • Statement of goals and KPIs we will be held accountable for with regard to this campaign: e.g. Increased followers, traffic, links, sales, engagement, brand mentions, authority-building, etc…
  • Conceptualization of one primary piece of content around which the campaign will be built. It will include the following considerations:
    • What is the content we need to cover?
      • e.g. Yoga, Personal Injury, Tech Gadgets…
    • What format is best suited for this content?
      • e.g. An egoscraper article featuring the top 20 widget manufacturers sharing their predictions on The Future of Widgetry at the end of the year
      • e.g. The Ultimate Online Resources Blue Widget Collectors
      • e.g. An interactive infographic walk through the history of widgets
      • e.g. video, interactive web page, blog post…
  • Where will we attempt to have the content be placed?
    • e.g. On the client’s blog
    • e.g. On a topical landing page on the client’s site
    • e.g. On YouTube
    • e.g. On a leading industry website
    • e.g. On an influencer or expert-writer’s website
    • e.g. In the mainstream media
  • If we are unable to get the content placed there, what are our back-up options?
    • e.g. Client’s blog or a topical landing page on their site
    • Clients’ social media profile
    • Email newsletter list
  • Strategize the promotion of the content on native ad platforms (e.g. Twitter, Facebook, Stumbleupon…) and content marketing amplification platforms such as:
  • Conceptualization of two or three secondary, supporting pieces of content covering the following for each:
    • What format is best suited for this content?
      • e.g. A blog post, a curated resource round-up…
    • Where will we attempt to get the primary content placed?
      • e.g. On a leading industry blog
      • e.g. A contributor article on an industry website
      • e.g. On the client’s website.
      • e.g. On an influencer or expert-writer’s website
    • Where will we attempt to have the “supporting” content placed?
      • e.g. On the client’s blog
      • e.g. On a topical landing page on the client’s site
      • e.g. On YouTube
      • e.g. On a leading industry website
      • e.g. On an influencer or expert-writer’s website
    • If we are unable to get the content placed there, what are our back-up options?
    • e.g. Client’s blog or a topical landing page on their site
    • e.g. Clients’ social media profile
    • e.g. Client’s email newsletter list
  • How will this content support the primary piece in the campaign?
    • e.g. The main content piece is a 3-minute video about collecting widgets. This video will be embedded within a guest blog post on a widget hobby site, along with a link to the clients’ widget eCommerce site.

Content Marketing - Amplify Content - by Cision.com

Example Content Types to Include in the Strategy

There are dozens of content types that we use regularly. Below are just a few of them, along with some examples of supporting pieces that might work with each. Don’t forget to PROMOTE each piece, especially the main one, on paid channels, such as those mentioned above. If it is really great content it may take on a life of its own, but that is unlikely to happen without some level of paid promotion, such as a boosted FB post or a content amplification campaign on Outbrain, Zemanta…

Small Research Project

Main Piece: Conduct a small research project, such as keywords by city and topic, and share the results with the industry and media in a whitepaper or infographic. Example: Favorite Athletes by State.

Supporting Pieces: Reuse the content for a webinar presentation. Reuse the webinar presentation for a SlideShare page. Link all re-uses to the original whitepaper or infographic landing page.

In-Depth Article

Main Piece: Use an in-house writer or hire an expert writer (not just any freelancer) to create the most informative piece of content online about a potential topic (e.g. “The Green Widget Buyer’s Bible”, or “Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Green Widgets”).  Example: How to Do a Content Audit – Step-By-Step

Supporting Pieces: Tools or resource lists that can be mentioned and linked-to from the main piece. This works especially well if you are publishing the main piece on another domain, and can put the tools/resources on your own. Continuing the example from above: The Content Audit Strategies Tool on our blog and the Content Audit Template in Googledocs were both linked to from the article above. We also created a PDF version of the Content Audit Strategies Tool and included a download option (for email newsletter address acquisition) on the landing page. It will be interesting to see how that email newsletter cohort evolves over time.

Promotion: Create a conversion-oriented ad on Facebook for the free downloadable PDF guide on GoInflow.com and show it to FB users who follow Moz.com. Do the same on Twitter by including a Lead Gen. Card.

eBooks

You may think this is cost prohibitive, but SixEstate specializes in this type of content and can probably do it for less than you’d think. Alternatively, you can write it yourself, or as a team. Main Piece: eBook on any topic.

Supporting Pieces: A blog post (and email/social blast) announcing the launch of the eBook and the FREE download of it either on the client’s site or on Amazon is a good way to start. Another supporting piece can be an unbiased review from a high-profiler blogger in your niche, preferably one with whom the client has a good rapport.

Promotion: Use a FB ad to drive traffic to the “Free eBook Download” page. Target audiences based on demograhpics and/or thought leaders in the industry.

Multi-Expert Interviews

This is a great one when it comes to getting influencers onboard and invested in the content. Main Piece: Ask the top 10/20/30… experts in the client’s niche (who aren’t directly competing with the client) a well-thought, timely question and allow them to write a few paragraphs about it. Then you can follow-up with them after publishing to thank them for their participation, and to provide them with the links or request for sharing the content to their own social and email following. Example: 20 Therapists Talk About Getting the Most Out of Therapy

Supporting Pieces: Do a more in-depth interview with whichever expert from the interview has the best responses, or biggest / most helpful social following. Take the best short quote from each respondent and make a slide-show with their headshot and bonafides along with that quote to publish on Slideshare or as individual quote-images on Pinterest and elsewhere.

Promotion: The promotion is baked-in here because each influencer will be helping to spread the word. However, using Google AdWords, Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In and other ad platforms will greatly assist in getting the word out. The more the influencers see people sharing and interacting with the content, the more likely they will be to help promote it on their channels.

By know you probably see the pattern of one main piece, two supporting pieces that help boost up the main piece, and paid promotion of all three, or at least the main piece of content.

This default strategy, consisting of three tactics with promotion, is our bread and butter at Inflow when it comes to Content Marketing campaigns (though each is highly customized). We used to write “link bait” and put it out there hoping that a few Tweets from the client’s social profile, along with the ten subscribers to their blog, would help our awesome content “go viral”. This plan consistently failed for obvious reasons. Eventually we learned that 1+1+1 can equal 4 or even 5 once the loop between main and supporting content pieces begins churning in the right kind of visitors and attracting the right kinds of links.

Content Marketing Resources and Reads

The best way to ensure the success of any content marketing campaign is to know your audience and give them the content they’re looking for or the content/tools they need. One sure-fire way to fail is to continue looking at this as a way to attract links. This is not “link-bait” anymore. Define your audience, create content for them, and promote the content directly to your audience via targeted ads. If possible, get influencer buy-in. Wash, rinse, repeat and watch the ROI roll in. But if you need more detailed instructions, here is a big list of articles that helped me out a great deal…

Note: The opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author, and not necessarily the views of Caphyon, its staff, or its partners.

Author: Everett Sizemore

Everett has been doing enterprise SEO since 2006. He is currently Director of Research & Development for Inflow, a Denver-based inbound marketing company: www.GoInflow.com.

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