Integrating Content Marketing Into Your Online Campaigns
As a content marketer, it's very common to be pulled in many directions, having to wear multiple hats at once. While the ability to react to current trends and evolving buyer demands is just part of the job, reactionary behavior should not define your content strategy.
If you don't take a step back every now and then, you could spend weeks or months at a time creating content that's simply meeting the demands of individual branches (sales, PR, social media, etc.) within the organization, without a single theme or goal(s) connecting it all together.
In an effort to save time and maximize resources and results, your organization (and you as a content marketer) should think about ways to create integrated content marketing campaigns. Below are some steps to consider as you embark on your journey toward a more rewarding campaign.
Step 1: Identify a Campaign and its KPIs
Before anything else can be done, you must first identify a theme for the campaign. Whether the campaign is for the quarter, half year, or a full year, you should always consider the questions your prospects are asking as well as those that got existing customers through the door initially. This is where marketing and sales alignment comes in. Get together with the sales team to have a brainstorming session and whiteboard all the questions and pain points the sales team is hearing out in the field.
By pinpointing customer needs, you will be better able to come up with a campaign that sticks. During the brainstorming process, it's also important to think about seasonality. Are certain questions or concerns more common during one time of the year vs. another? If so, be sure to map your ideas so you have associated campaigns running at these times.
During this phase of the process, you will also want to outline the campaign's KPIs. Are you targeting new leads? Returning customers? Driving brand awareness? Equipped with this information, you will be ready to take the next step.
Step 2: Perform Keyword Research
After you've landed on a campaign theme, it's time to start thinking about how to draw web users in. Identify a core keyword term or phrase that will be the center of your efforts. This should be a term or phrase that's relevant to all aspects of your campaign – don't be afraid to keep it broad.
From there, you will want to dig deeper and identify longer-tail (more specific) terms that users are searching online. Think of this process as a “hub and spoke model.”
A few of my colleagues here at KoMarketing have put together some very helpful resources around this process. Take a look at their posts (below) to sharpen your skills:
- How to Generate New Keyword Lists and Ideas
- Using Top-of-Funnel Content to Drive SEO Results
- How to Uncover Actionable SEO Opportunities with a B2B Content Audit
Step 3: Build Out Topics for Pillar and Supporting Content
With your primary and secondary keyword terms in hand, you can now start to think about the content marketing assets that will be created to drive the campaign forward. A great way to keep everything organized is by creating an editorial calendar that includes all the web initiatives that will be used to power the campaign.
When putting this together, you should first identify a “pillar” piece of content that will be the center of all the efforts. For example, you may work with the sales team to create a helpful whitepaper or video on the topic. Or, you may take an existing customer example to create a case study that speaks directly to the campaign you are promoting.
This asset should go out at the start of the campaign, and all other efforts should be driving visitors back to it throughout the process (CTAs from blog posts, links, and graphics from social media, etc.). After you've determined what type of asset will serve as the pillar and its launch date, it's time to start thinking about supporting content.
Within your editorial calendar, start mapping out the vehicles that will be used (this may seem obvious but be sure to keep resources in mind – you do not want to overcommit yourself and your team to the point quality suffers). With your pillar content at the top of the list, the rest of the calendar may look something like this:
- Blog Post #1
- Blog Post #2
- Guest Post for Third Party Website
- Email Campaign #1
- Email Campaign #2
- Twitter Updates
- Facebook Updates
- PPC Campaign
As you build out the supporting content materials, be sure to use the keyword research you performed to create relevant assets that will stick beyond initial promotion. If you are running a year-long campaign, you will want to make sure you've targeted a keyword phrase you can rank for and continue to draw in clicks without effort from your team.
Step 4: Execute the Campaign and Tell a Story
Regardless of the content marketing vehicles being used throughout the campaign, it's critical to maintain a consistent voice and always keep the story and end goal in mind.
Use each effort as a step toward the end goal – this means outlining what each message or effort will entail within your editorial calendar. For example, you may execute a paid search campaign that targets the keywords of the main theme, or you might create a social media update that calls out a quote from your pillar content.
At the end of the day, you want all of your efforts around the campaign to be related and on target. Integrating your content strategy within marketing campaigns will drive growth, establish a cohesive brand story, and hopefully, help you eclipse the goals that were set at the start.
Feel free to drop a comment below or connect with me on Twitter to keep this conversation going!