How to build a content strategy: Phase three
Updated: Apr 7, 2020
Check you out. You’ve identified your key audience, messages and channels in phase one. Then you went onto your evergreen strategy of optimising your website for Google and increasing your customer reviews in phase 2.
Now its campaign time, and you’re all fired up to hit the ground running.
So. Much. Lush.
So let's shout about your product with a memorable campaign!
In this final part of the content strategy trilogy, we’ll be looking at how to plan and implement successful campaigns.
The emphasis here is on:
Attracting new customers
Retaining exiting customers
This section will shine a spotlight on how you can maximize your customer reach through:
Feel free to adapt, smash, chop up this strategy and blend it into your own unique smoothie. No two businesses are the same right?
January: Identify the best place for your campaign
Use your audience research to find the best outlets for your advertising. The content will vary depending on where you choose to place it. For example, a roadside sign will be sharp and punchy. By contrast a full-length advertorial feature will read more like an article within the magazine or paper.
Find out the best place for your audience
To get the best results, you’ll need to dig around the loves, hates and lifestyles of your target customers. There’s no point advertising on the London Underground if they nearly all live in Norwich. In the same way you wouldn’t advertise in a basket-weaving course in a strip club. You might think that this is obvious, but it really isn’t. 76% of marketers fail to use behavioural data for online ad targeting.
Keep the message tight and relevant
As the average person faces an explosion of over 1,700banner ads per month, you don’t stand a chance unless you target. Even then, according to Search Engine Land, 70-80% of users will totally ignore sponsored search results. You’re already fighting an uphill battle, so you need to make the message count. Focusing on benefits to the customer and working with a skilled graphic designer can help.
Creativity is key. Memorable campaigns tend to offer the customer a benefit. Brainstorm ideas with teams, agencies and your audience. It could be an event, social media trend or theme which appeals to them. Get popping, fizzling and overflowing with juicy ideas and see what sticks.
January – March: Using PR in your campaign
I swear by David Meerman Scott’s New Rules of PR and Marketing book. It’s a long read but the crux of it is that you shouldn’t push ads on people, just be helpful and get your face out there. If they like you, they will come to you on their own. I love this logic, and so my top PR advice is to be helpful to publications or blogs that your readers love.
Be the go-to person that they call upon for quotes. If you pay a blogger or published to endorse you, they need to state it, and you lose the effect. It’s best to be a genuine source of helpful and free authority for publications.
… But how?
Pitching to publications
I have to be honest and tell you that I’m still learning this part. I’m trying to do this for my own business right now, so it’s a living process! I write for publications to get my name out there and increase my credibility as an investment copywriter. When it works, it works beautifully, and I get about half my clients (and about a third of my salary) this way, but when it doesn't it leaves you feeling a bit deflated. All I can say, is just keep going. Get your energy from the rejects, rather than the successes and learn from each one.
I have a strategy, which I’ll share with you here. Following Kerrie Flanagan’s Guide to Magazine Article Writing, I spend a lot of time researching a publication, then do a couple of very targeted pitches. So far I’ve got four articles commissioned or published, but it’s a slow process.
Another classic is to reach out to editors and journalists at networking events or via LinkedIn. Be careful you don’t say anything silly which you might later regret. Striking up a good working relationship over the long-term is a more sustainable way forward. It’s a matter of give and take for both of you.
You could also create or sponsor events and invite the press to attend.
A really easy way to establish yourself as a thought leader is to have your experts self-publish. This could be on your company website, or it could be on LinkedIn, which has a self-publishing option for articles, which I love. Here is one of my most-viewed articles.
February to April: Email marketing
You can collect more email addresses in exchange for guides on your website or have pop-up boxes. When you do this, remember that you’re now invading somebody’s inbox and its dangerous territory. You’re fighting for space against their daughter’s emails, a dentist appointment and concert e-tickets, so it needs to be worthwhile.
Three words: Keep it short.
A good tip is to focus on the client benefit and call to action. There should nearly always be just one call to action, otherwise it can feel overwhelming.
Experiment with different email styles, using a process called A/B testing. This essentially means, try out a few different messages and see what gets the most clicks. It's more of an art than a science, but you will find your most effective email marketing in the end.
I hope that this article was helpful for you to begin planning your content strategy! With content, it's a living process. You'll always be busy, but it's good to have a vague plan for the year ahead, which is why I broke this into months. It's not a complete plan by any means, but will hopefully help you to cover the basics. Best of luck, and don't forget that if you need a copywriter to support your business... I'm right here :D