In this installment of the Diary of a Content Pimp, we look at how we’re promoting the Content Marketing Strategy Checklist. It’s all very self-referential in that, as you’re reading this, you’re experiencing the promotion plan discussed in it. Kind of like Inception except you never wake up. Let’s start with:
A startling (made-up) factoid.
Somewhere between 42 and 67 percent of the success of a given piece of content comes down to the quality, relevance and timeliness of the piece itself. (Source: Fictional Research Associates, Ltd)
The rest is down to how hard you work to get your shiny new piece of content out there where your target audience can trip over it.
We despair when we see B2B brands producing terrific content, then just sticking it on their virtual shelf and maybe sending out the odd tweet. What a waste.
We worked too hard on The Content Marketing Strategy Checklist to just leave its distribution to chance. So we made a plan.
Our marketing plan
A content promotion plan can be a detailed document full of media-speak like reach, frequency, impressions, CPM, CPC and… budget.
Ours is far simpler, largely because we have no budget. It’s kind of liberating in the same way that an acute shortage of bells is liberating to a Morris dancer.
Why aren’t we spending big behind the Checklist? Because we feel we can hit our targets by investing a bit of time instead of a lot of money. We might do the occasional experiment with pay-per-click ads or web banners but they’ll be just that: experiments.
When you don’t have any money to spend, it’s even more important to have at least a cursory plan. Ours is built on…
The five pillars of content promotion
Almost every content promotion plan should have at least a token bit of these five tactics:
To make sure your content get discovered, it’s best to think about your keyphrases before you start. Otherwise you end up with clunky titles like The Content Marketing Strategy Checklist. (See Diary of a Content Pimp 1: the kick-off to see why we called it that).
The search part of our promotion plan is basically about getting the keyphrases right (Content Marketing Strategy, etc) and making sure we do all the hygiene things Google likes (titles, tags, URLs, blah, blah, blah). We then track how we’re doing and panic accordingly.
(As I write this, the Checklist landing page listing is towards the bottom of page 1 of the UK Google results for ‘Content Marketing Strategy’. Not bad from a standing start but not where we want to be.)
Under Search, we might also do some PPC experiments but only because it’s fun. Call us old-fashioned but paying ten quid per conversion just doesn’t feel like value in our world.
For cheapskates of our ilk, this is really the engine of content promotion. So we’re blogging about the Checklist (like… now) and tweeting the hell out of it and posting in LinkedIn groups and making cute little pins on Pinterest.
We’ve also given the bloggers we respect most a sneak preview of the Checklist. They gave us fantastic feedback and suggestions for improvements. And they’ve been really wonderful advocates out there in social-land. (A single tweet from a David Meerman Scott, Michael Brenner, Joe Pulizzi, Ashley Friedlein or Maria Pergolino is worth hundreds of tweets from that manic ‘personal branding’ coach on crack.)
Outbound marketing is way out of fashion but it’s about to make a comeback. Only this time, instead of pushing products into people’s faces, we’ll be pushing content at them.
That may disappoint those marketers who thought ‘old-school, interruption-based, broadcast-style’ marketing was dead. It’s not. We’re marketers and it’s our job to interrupt people (intelligently) and to broadcast our stories (in relevant channels).
The good news: a content offer will almost always out-perform a product offer — especially at the top of the funnel, where the wild prospects hang out.
Our outbound marketing for the Checklist consists of email. Because we put some of our content behind web forms (“Boo!”, “Hiss!” Get over it.), we’ve built a pretty good list of B2B marketers who are interested in content marketing.
We’re segmenting that list and using different creative to lure these fine folks back for the Checklist.
Any other outbound? We may test a few PPC ads, sponsored tweets (if we can buy one from a friend) or banner ads. I’d love to test re-targeting but I think our budget is too low (and it does tend to creep me out).
You can’t just fling stuff at people, wait a while, then fling some more. We’re using Neil’s Magic Marketo Machine to manage all of the above efforts, laying down content stepping stones all the way to our virtual door. (We’ll report on these experiments in future Pimp Diary posts).
What’s cool is that you can see things like, “Bob Bonobo opened the email, downloaded the Checklist, then visited eight more pages on our site, got the Content Marketing Workbook and signed up for our newsletter.” If Mr. Bonobo also happens to be the CMO of Adobe, the old Pavlov salivation kicks in and Stan starts baying at the moon. Video to follow.
One big chunky piece of content (like the Checklist) is a really powerful asset. But spinning it out in to 15-20 more pieces makes it rocket fuel.
How will we atomise the Content Marketing Strategy Checklist?
- Blog posts – where we’ll take one topic from the Checklist and drill down
- Diary of a Content Pimp – a special blog series that… oh, you know this already.
- Guest blogging – on great sites like Econsultancy and the Content Marketing Institute
- A Slideshare Sample – we posted the first ten pages of the Checklist on Slideshare as a sample, with a big, crass CTA as page 11. Is it working? We’ll let you know. (93 views in first 8 days – traffic and conversion data to follow)
- Infographics – watch this space (if we didn’t crank out at least one infographic around this we’d be in breach of about 20 B2B statutes).
- Prezis – we like Prezi for B2B content marketing.
- Shorter papers – Which we’ll offer without a web form (“Hurrah!” Sheesh.)
- Video – we aim to do at least one ‘chalk talk’ on Checklist topics. Maybe more.
- Webinars – we’re really bad at doing these for ourselves and need to get better.
- Conference sessions – have passport, will speak (banjo optional)
You get the idea. Content Atomisation takes your original content into new places where different communities hang out. Then, ideally, tractor-beams the best prospects back to the mother ship for anal probing. (Or whatever nurturing process you favour).
Content Atomisation Tip: you can’t just cut and paste into new media; you’ve got to add value and spin the content for each channel and audience. (Well, the Slideshare sample was a cut and paste…).
Our first ten weeks: a content promotion calendar
We’re going to pace ourselves here. Content marketing is an Olympic Triathlon, not a 3-legged sack race.
Some of the things in our plan won’t be happening in the first months. Others will. It really helps to scribble up a content promotion calendar — everyone does editorial calendars but we don’t see enough of these. Here’s our content promotion calendar for weeks 1-10:
Other ‘Diary of a Content Pimp’ posts
1) The Kick-off – why we’re doing this
2) Goals, Metrics & Fears – sticking our collective necks out
4) Forms or No Forms – that is the question
5) The Power of a Blog Series – why multiples are better than singles