You cannot run content marketing like a campaign. You can, however, run campaigns inside a content marketing program.
If this sounds like semantics, it is not.
Campaigns are how every marketer is trained to think. We have an objective – revenue, leads, takeaways or retentions – and we backwards plan from there.
Campaigns have a start date…and an ending date. These have milestones that lead to that objective, to a finish line. Campaigns might include multiple metrics, multiple tactics, and often, multiple stakeholders.
Campaigns in B2B marketing are common around product launches, where traditionally these include basics such as:
- a press release announcing the new product to the market
- an email about announcing the new product to customers or prospect
- a white paper that makes the case for solving a problem in a new way
- a webinar with third-party expert, and a tiny pitch at the end
- perhaps there is a PPC campaign supporting the white paper or product demos
These are all tried and true fundamentals. It might even be integrated marketing. You may even have good processes for executing new campaigns efficiently. There is nothing wrong with any of this, but is not content marketing.
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Content marketing is publishing useful content, at the same place, at the same time, and doing it consistently over time in order to build an audience, that helps attract, convert and retain customers.
A blog that publishes every day, a newsletter that goes out once a week, or article-section of a website that updates a twice a month, are all sound and classic examples.
Once that machinery, that framework, that process is in place, it’s very easy to layer in a campaign. There are usually two or three very easy articles or blogs that can be carved out of the white paper alone – and point back to the registration page for those interested in the complete idea.
These posts make great tinder for social media – both earned and paid. They can be repurposed for PPC, email campaigns, and even sponsor posts, where sites exist that you might not ordinarily reach – but would very much like a little of that audience to become part of yours.
And that’s just one asset. There are probably other pieces to be gleaned from the webinar, the news coverage, and customer or market feedback.
If your business publishes five times a week, you easily have a list of ideas to include one post weekly for many months. With a little listening, adaptation and learning, your content will get better, not worse with every iteration. You get insights from the market, feedback from readers, and you’ll have data from the many opportunities to conduct marketing tests over the course of time.
Building an effective content marketing program takes time, study and experience, but once it’s made, you have an engine that adds value across the entire business — the ignition for marketing campaigns is just the bonus. You can run campaigns inside a content marketing system, but this doesn’t work the other way around.
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