A Template for Killer Content Marketing Campaigns

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Many marketers are shooting in the dark with their content marketing campaigns. This simple yet effective formula will prove to be your new best friend for driving leads in your content marketing strategy.

For years I was a bit confused on exactly how to run an individual content marketing campaign. I would create an e-book and simply rely on social and email to promote it out, with mixed results.

Turns out I'm not alone. There are many marketers who are shooting in the dark with their content marketing campaigns. Over the last few years I have been working to get clarity on the subject and have found an effective template to follow.

After reading this article you will have a very clear process for running a successful content marketing campaign.

Conversion Offer
The conversion offer is the item of value that we are going to offer to your audience in exchange for information from them. This could be an e-book, webinar, whitepaper, tool, etc.

The topic should correspond to your personas, the life cycle stage that person is in, and your overall marketing goals. For more information on content strategy, read my ClickZ column "Creating an Inbound Marketing Content Strategy."

Once you have your conversion offer chosen, you will then need to build some of the supporting pieces to the offer. These include:

  • Landing Page: The specific page visitors will be funneled to convert on your offer. This page should be tailored specifically for the persona.
  • Thank You Page: After the form has been submitted, this page will contain your conversion offer along with additional call to actions.
  • Thank You Email: Once the visitor converts on the offer, you should send a follow-up thank you email with another link to the offer.
  • Call to Action: The various graphics needed for placement around the website as call to actions to push visitors to the landing page.
  • Lead Nurturing Campaign: After the user conversion on the offer, they will be sent a series of emails to nurture them to the next stage in the process. These emails should be mapped out and created prior to the offer launch.

Each one of these pieces should be planned out in advance so they are completed and ready for the campaign's launch.

Supporting Blogs
One of the best ways to drive your audience to the landing page to convert on your offer is to write supporting blogs. These will be a series of blogs that you will release throughout the campaign that you can pair your call to action with. So when the reader finishes the blog, they see the call to action to learn more about that topic.

Your supporting blogs should be on the same topic and geared toward the same persona in the same stage in the buying cycle as your conversion offer. One easy way to think of topics is to simply pull a few of the points from your conversion offer and expand on them or take them in a different direction.

The number of supporting blogs varies depending on the size of the campaign and your internal resources, however, I genuinely suggest doing a minimum of five different blogs.

Co-Written Blog
In addition to your supporting blogs, you will also create at least one blog that you team up with a respected industry expert to collaborate on. This will not only give you more content but also offers the opportunity that this expert will share the blog so you can get in front of their audience.

It's important that when you pick the person to collaborate with that you choose them based on their audience. Find someone whose audience matches the persona for your conversion offer. You can use social media tools like Followerwonk to get a glimpse of who's following that expert.

Guest Blog Post
The next piece to your campaign is to secure a guest blog post on a well-respected industry website. Your guest blog post should again be on a similar topic to your conversion offer.

Just like in choosing your industry expert to collaborate with, you want to strategically choose the website to write for based on their audience. Make sure their audience matches your persona.

It's critical that this post is really well done and includes a great deal of value to the reader, but find a way to tie it back and link to your conversion offer. Do not write a short post with little value and expect the website to publish it or link to your offer.

Targeted Email
Put together a targeted email to send to your current contacts to re-engage them or move them down the funnel. The list you create and target should be those contacts who fit the same persona and life cycle stage as the conversion offer.

Social Media Posts
Social media is an amazing channel to promote your conversion offer and supporting blogs on. Take the time to plan out each one of the posts and schedule them out throughout the length of the campaign.

I often suggest reaching out to some of your industry friends and co-workers to persuade them to share out the content to their communities as well.

Paid Amplification
One of the biggest myths around content and inbound marketing is that there are no elements of paid advertising. This is not true, however, the strategy behind your ads and placements is a bit different.

In this case we will be using advertising to help promote out the conversion offer or even supporting blogs. This could be on social, pay-per-click (PPC), or sponsorship with a specific destination. You can even incorporate retargeting on those who are in your current funnel to get them to convert on the next stage and nurture them down the funnel.

Look at the persona you are targeting with your conversion offer and find the other places that they spend their time. This will give you a very clear idea of the various places you should be advertising on.

This simple yet effective formula will prove to be your new best friend for driving leads in your content marketing strategy. Please keep in mind that in addition to the above steps, there are many other paths to promote your conversion offer in other marketing activities, like newsletters or at events, and it is important that you take this formula and tailor it for your business.

Your goal should be to run at least one inbound marketing campaign each month. As you're promoting this month's campaign, you can be working on developing next month's. The more campaigns you can run, the more results you will see and before you know it, your inbound marketing campaigns will be driving some huge results.

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