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Posted by Shannon-McGuirk
We’ve all been there: you plan, launch, and eagerly await the many returns on a content campaign, only to be disappointed when it falls flat. But all is not lost: there are clever ways to give your failed campaigns a second chance at life and an opportunity to earn the links you missed out on the first time. In this popular Whiteboard Friday from 2018, MozCon speaker Shannon McGuirk graciously gives us a five-step plan for breathing new life into a dead content campaign.
Hi, Moz fans. Welcome to this edition of Whiteboard Friday. My name is Shannon McGuirk. I’m the Head of PR and Content at a UK-based digital marketing agency called Aira.
Now, throughout my time, I’ve launched a number of creative content and digital PR campaigns, too many to mention. But the ones that really stick into my head are the campaign fails, the ones that got away from the link numbers that I wanted to achieve and the ones that were quite painful from the client-side and stakeholder-side.
Now, over the last couple of years, I’ve built up a couple of steps and tactics that essentially will help me get campaigns back on track, and I wanted to take you through them today. So, today, I’m going to be talking to you about content campaign comebacks and what to do if your content campaign fails.
Step one: Reevaluate your outreach efforts
Now, take it right back to when you first launched the campaign.
- Have you contacted the right journalists?
- Have you gone to the right publications?
- Be realistic. Now, at this point, remember to be realistic. It might not be a good idea to start going for the likes of ABC News and The Daily Telegraph. Bring it down a level, go to industry blogs, more niche publications, the ones that you’re more likely to get traction with.
- Do your research. Essentially, is what I’m saying.
- Less is always more in my eyes. I’ve seen prospecting and media lists that have up to 500 contacts on there that have fired out blank, cold outreach emails. For me, that’s a boo-boo. I would rather have 50 people on that media list that I know their first name, I know the last three articles that they’ve written, and on top of that, I can tell you which publications they’ve been at, so I know what they’re interested in. It’s going to really increase your chances of success when you relaunch.
Step two: Stories vs. statements
So this is when you need to start thinking about stories versus statements. Strip it right back and start to think about that hook or that angle that your whole campaign is all about. Can you say this in one sentence? If you can get it in one sentence, amazing because that’s the core thing that you are going to be communicating to journalists.
Now, to make this really tangible so that you can understand what I’m saying, I’ve got an example of a statement versus a story for a recent campaign that we did for an automotive client of ours. So here’s my example of a statement. “Client X found that the most dangerous roads in the UK are X, Y, Z.” That’s the statement. Now, for the story, let’s spice it up a little bit. “New data reveals that 8 out of 10 of the most dangerous roads in the UK are in London as cyclist deaths reach an all-time high.”
Can you see the difference between a story and a statement? I’m latching it into something in society that’s really important at the moment, because cyclist deaths are reaching an all-time high. On top of that, I’m giving it a punchy stat straightaway and then tying it into the city of London.
Step three: Create a package
So this seems like a bit of a no-brainer and a really obvious one, but it’s so incredibly important when you’re trying to bring your content campaign back from the dead. Think about creating a package. We all know that journalists are up against tight deadlines. They have KPIs in terms of the articles that they need to churn out on a daily basis. So give them absolutely everything that they need to cover your campaign.
I’ve put together a checklist for you, and you can tick them off as you go down.
- Third-party expert or opinion. If you’re doing something around health and nutrition, why don’t you go out and find a doctor or a nutritionist that can give you comment for free — because remember, you’ll be doing the hard work for their PR team — to include within any press releases that you’re going to be writing.
- Make sure that your data and your methodology is watertight. Prepare a methodology statement and also get all of your data and research into a Google sheet that you can share with journalists in a really open and transparent way.
- Press release. It seems really simple, but get a well-written press release or piece of supporting copy written out well ahead of the relaunch timing so that you’ve got assets to be able to give a journalist. They can take snippets of that copy, mold it, adapt it, and then create their own article off the back of it.
- New designs & images. If you’ve been working on any new designs and images, pop them on a Google shared drive and share that with the press. They can dip into this guide as and when they need it and ensure that they’ve got a visual element for their potential article.
- Exclusive options. One final thing here that can occasionally get overlooked is you want to be holding something back. Whether that’s some really important stats, a comment from the MD or the CEO, or just some extra designs or images for graphics, I would keep them in your back pocket, because you may get the odd journalist at a really high DA/authority publication, such as the Mail Online or The Telegraph, ask for something exclusive on behalf of their editor.
Step four: Ask an expert
Start to think about working with journalists and influencers in a different way than just asking them to cover your creative content campaigns and generate links. Establish a solid network of freelance journalists that you can ask directly for feedback on any ideas. Now, it can be any aspect of the idea that you’re asking for their feedback on. You can go for data, pitch angles, launch timings, design and images. It doesn’t really matter. But they know what that killer angle and hook needs to be to write an article and essentially get you a link. So tap into it and ask them what they think about your content campaign before you relaunch.
Step five: Re-launch timings
This is the one thing that you need to consider just before the relaunch, but it’s the relaunch timings. Did you actually pay enough attention to this when you did your first initial launch? Chances are you may not have, and something has slipped through the net here.
- Awareness days. So be sure to check awareness days. Now, this can be anything from National Proposal Day for a wedding client, or it can be the Internet of Things Day for a bigger electrical firm or something like that. It doesn’t really matter. But if you can hook it onto an awareness day, it means that there’s already going to be that interest in the media, journalists will be writing about the topic, and there’s a way in for your content.
- World events. Again, keep in mind anything to do with elections or perhaps world disasters, such as tornadoes and bad weather, because it means that the press is going to be heavily oversaturated with anything to do with them, and therefore you might want to hold back on your relaunch until the dust is settled and giving your content campaign the best chance of success in round two.
- Seasonality. Now, this isn’t just Christmas. It’s also Easter, Mother’s Day, Valentine’s Day. Think about the time of year you’re launching and whether your content campaign is actually relevant at that time of year. For example, back home in the UK, we don’t tend to launch content campaigns in the run-up to Christmas if it’s not Christmas content, because it’s not relevant and the press are already interested in that one seasonal thing.
- Holidays. Holidays in the sense of half-term and summer holidays, because it means that journalists won’t be in the office, and therefore you’re reducing your chances of success when you’re calling them or when you’re writing out your emails to pitch them.
So there are my five steps for your content campaign comebacks. I know you’ve all been there too, guys, and I would love to hear how you got over some of these hurdles in bringing your content campaigns back to life. Feel free to comment below. I hope you guys join me soon for another Whiteboard Friday. Thanks.
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This may be of some interest.
Account-based marketing (ABM) is transforming the B2B marketing and sales world because of its effectiveness in reaching high-value target accounts — but it’s a difficult strategy to manage.
ABM has a lot of moving parts that need to move as a synchronized whole to bring success to your organization.
Fortunately, like any aspect of marketing, ABM is made easier with strategic planning.
Starting with your goals and mapping out a targeted plan is key to building an effective ABM campaign.
Here, we’ll break down the steps of how to put ABM mapping into practice within your organization and implement the right process to make it happen.
What is Account Mapping?
Account mapping involves selecting and organizing the accounts targeted within an ABM program.
After establishing goals, the next and arguably most critical step to ensuring a successful ABM campaign is selecting and mapping the accounts.
Once accounts have been selected and mapped, the sales and marketing team can build their engagement strategy and ensure both sides maximize their alignment.
How to Get Started With Account Mapping
Account mapping is an exercise in account research and documenting details that will be useful as you target an account on your journey to a successful close.
Here are the four main steps you’ll need to take when account mapping:
1. Identify Key Decision Makers and Influencers
After identifying what accounts to target through account planning, the next step is digging into the account to understand the organizational structure and how decisions are made. Starting with the top person in a functional area is an excellent place to begin mapping the functions.
The larger the account, the tougher this task, as many large organizations operate in a matrix environment where influence comes from many directions.
Nonetheless, sourcing these contacts and documenting their Buyer Role using HubSpot or alternative system of record will allow you to track and manage information related to each contact. This will also improve your ability to create unique experiences as a part of your ABM program.
It’s essential to consider buyer roles as it relates to the buying process, not a functional title.
Buyer roles to be considered include:
- Decision Maker
- Budget Holder
- Legal & Compliance
Depending on the goods/service sold and the operational impact it may have in the account, there may be a need to expand the roles to meet the specific needs of the account, so you can edit or add new roles as needed.
Using tools such as LinkedIn or ZoomInfo can be helpful when researching an account and the key contacts within the account. Using the Buying Role Property within HubSpot is a great way to align your account intelligence to the contacts within the account.
During your research, you may find that one contact has multiple roles, so you can assign them accordingly as well as assign multiple contacts to the same role.
2. Gather Intel and Align Content
Understanding an account’s needs and pain points is an important input to your ABM engagement strategy. Whether it’s for content alignment or sales outreach, align relevant communications to each stage of the buyer’s journey.
While getting direct intelligence through discovery calls is an excellent way to explore account needs, you should use a wide range of sources to gather as much information as possible to fill any gaps.
Social listening, search intent, press releases, and Google Alerts are all great resources to leverage for information that can be used to gain insights into future account needs. Once well-documented, these insights can be used to map marketing content and sales playbooks to ensure each interaction with the account is meaningful.
3. Engage and Learn
Develop a plan for how and when you will engage the target account. Using a playbook for both sales and marketing engagement plans can help standardize the approach you take and identify points within the process that are working well or areas that need improvements.
Depending on where the account is within the sales cycle when you implement the ABM strategy, the engagement approach may vary. Targeting with account-based advertising may be an excellent first step to warm up the accounts if starting with cold accounts.
Many platforms can enable ABM advertising; however, using HubSpot’s Company List and its LinkedIn Ads integration provides a seamless introduction into account-based advertising without leaving HubSpot.
4. Document How Decisions are Made
Throughout the research and documentation process, you’ve been collecting data that will be useful for both marketing and sales teams. As you seek to advance the engagement process, direct outreach to contacts within the account will be required. Be sure to add value and use best practices to improve the quality of this interaction so that it’s a seamless and valuable experience for the prospect.
You have been gathering account intelligence through the planning process, so now it’s time to put those activities to work. Before reaching out, utilize LinkedIn or LinkedIn Sales Navigator to research the contact. Using the outreach activities to fill data and intelligence gaps will help improve future interactions and engagements.
Of the things you need to learn, understanding who will influence the purchasing decision is high on the list. It’s also helpful to know how the company makes a purchasing decision and their process of awarding a contract. Ensure that you’re gathering these details effectively by recording information in your CRM under the deal, company, and contact records.
Account Mapping Software
There is a long list of software applications that can assist with the account mapping process. The good news is that a lot can be done with free tools, many of which are commonly used within both small and large sales and marketing organizations.
Below is a short list of free and premium tools, along with a brief description that will get you started with ABM Mapping.
HubSpot is the centralized marketing platform that helps sales and marketing leaders execute marketing campaigns. HubSpot provides a set of tools that helps keep an ABM-centric campaign, which enables greater transparency between sales and marketing teams when compared to disparate systems.
Cost: Freemium to Paid
The king of professional networking within a digital environment has become a dream tool for sales and marketing professionals. When targeting specific accounts, LinkedIn is a great free resource. In addition to general account research, LinkedIn also is a great integration partner for three of their paid services, which can be invaluable to ABM.
- LinkedIn Ads
- Sales Navigator
- LinkedIn InMail
Cost: Varies depending on tools/service used.
From prospecting to buyer intent, ZoomInfo is an excellent resource for finding and tracking companies that fit your Ideal Customer Profile (ICP). In addition to identifying the account, they provide a comprehensive set of products that offer deeper account insights, including organizational charts. ZoomInfo is also a HubSpot integration partner, which makes working with the tool seamless.
Cost: Free Trial to Premium
If you are seeking to take action on Buyer Intent, 6sense provides solutions that improve the transparency into the buyer’s intent using AI. It captures signals across a wide variety of channels and connects it to prospect accounts.
When moving into the engagement stage of an ABM campaign, these tools provide the ultimate reach and scale.
Cost: Paid (Contact 6sense for pricing details)
ABM mapping can be an effective process to help sales and marketing teams navigate complex account structures. While there are great tools that provide helpful insights, the mapping process is robust and tends to be manual.
An important part of the planning process will be to gain buy in from your internal team and properly assign team members who will be part of the research and documentation process so that your organization will have access to centralized information about your target accounts and contacts within them.
The payoff can be well worth the work if you take the proper steps while developing a focused account-based marketing strategy.
Thank you for reading.
This may be of some interest.
If you manage a Google AdWords account to supplement your organic SEO efforts, you know there are a plenty of metrics available to track and analyze.
Sometimes it can be confusing and overwhelming.
Since we all have limited bandwidth, it’s a good idea to narrow down the key metrics that really give you meaningful insight into what’s working — and what isn’t — in your paid search campaigns.
Before we dive into the key metrics to track, let’s review a checklist to look over when you’re auditing your pay-per-click (PPC) campaigns.
1. Check your location and target settings.
When you’re auditing your PPC campaigns, the first step should be to check your location targeting settings.
To do this, ensure that you’ve properly set up the regions that your business serves. Keep in mind that you can also exclude locations where your company doesn’t have stores or can’t deliver to.
Additionally, you can review geo-reports to see what locations perform best. By doing this, you can prioritize your ad budget by location.
2. Evaluate your ad compared to your landing page.
After reviewing your analytics, you might realize that your PPC ads aren’t converting.
When this happens, it’s time to look at your ads and see if your landing page follows through on expectations.
For example, if an ad markets a “Free CMS,” but your landing page is focused on an inbound marketing certification, there’s going to be a disconnect.
To avoid this, ensure that your headlines and ad copy match the landing page you’re linking to.
3.Use ad extensions.
Ad extensions are one of the only ways to set your ad apart from the rest.
Essentially, ad Extensions allow you to supplement your ad with additional information at no additional cost. The information could be your phone number, additional site links, or even ratings.
If you don’t have these set up for your PPC campaigns, it might be time to see how they can enhance your ads.
4. Assess your keywords.
When you choose keywords for your PPC campaign, you should consider the search volume, match type, and negative keywords.
Usually, the keywords you’re targeting should have high search volume.
Then, you should consider the match type on your keywords. For example, if you use broad match, then you’ll want to add negative keywords.
If you use exact and phrase match, you’re more likely to get clicks and conversions, but you might miss out on other opportunities.
Generally, it’s a good idea to target keywords with a high search volume and use broad match. Then, you should modify your campaign with negative keywords so you can increase your conversion rate.
5. Measure your success with analytics.
When you want to audit your PPC campaigns, you have to take a look at your analytics.
These analytics will let you know what campaigns have been successful and what hasn’t. When a campaign hasn’t been successful, then you can troubleshoot and figure out why.
Now, you might be wondering, “What PPC metrics should I be looking at?”
Below, let’s review five metrics that will give you the most bang for your buck.
If you have limited time, these five metrics will give you a great overview of your performance. I’m not saying you should ignore all the other available metrics, but tracking these five over time will provide a solid measure of your success.
1. Quality Score
Quality Score is Google’s measure of the relevance of your keywords, used to ensure that searchers see relevant ads and have a positive experience. The factors that determine your Quality Score include:
- The click-through rate (CTR) of the keyword and its corresponding ad
- The relevance of the keyword and ad to the search query
- The relevance of the keyword to its ad group
- The CTR of the display URLs in the ad group
- The quality of your landing page
It’s important to maintain good Quality Scores because Google uses them to determine your ad rankings as well as how much you pay per click.
Even if you think you’ve dotted your i’s and crossed your t’s when it comes to keyword research, campaign structure, and ad text optimization, low average Quality Scores are an indication that you’re missing some piece of the puzzle.
2. Click-Through Rate
Recently, I asked 17 PPC experts to tell me the top three PPC metrics they pay the most attention to when analyzing their AdWords accounts. Click-through rate was the #1 most common answer. CTR is important for several reasons, among them:
- It’s one of the most important factors in determining your Quality Scores
- It tells you whether or not your ads are relevant to searchers
Low click-through rates are a sign that either your keywords or your ad creative (or both) need improvement.
3. Conversion Rate
Another very popular answer in our PPC metrics interview, conversion rate tells you how many people who clicked your ad went on to complete the desired action on your landing page.
Conversion rate is just as important as click-through rate -– you don’t want to pay for tons of clicks and traffic if none of that traffic ends up taking a meaningful action.
Strong conversion rates mean that the money you spend per click is coming back to you in profits (that’s what we call return on investment, folks).
4. Cost Per Conversion
As Joe Vivolo of KoMarketing Associates put it, “This obviously is the number that makes or breaks a campaign from a success/failure standpoint.”
In other words, if you have to pay more to gain a new customer than that customer is actually worth to your business, then your campaign is failing; you haven’t attained a return on investment.
5. Wasted Spend
Wasted spend is a measure of how much money you’re essentially pouring down the toilet by paying for clicks that don’t convert. In other words, it’s an ROI killer.
The best way to reduce your wasted spend is through smart use of negative keywords. Negative keywords allow you to filter out traffic that is irrelevant to your business and unlikely to convert.
By creating a negative keyword, you’re preventing your ads from displaying for search queries that contain that keyword. Bidding on non-converting keywords is a waste of your marketing budget.
Want a quick way to check your performance for key metrics like these?
The AdWords Performance Grader is a free tool that performs an instant PPC audit on your AdWords account, comparing your performance in areas like Quality Score and wasteful spending to other advertisers in the same budget range.
It’s an easy way to see how you measure up to competitors and to benchmark your campaigns so you can track changes (hopefully improvements) in your results over time.
Editor’s note: This post was originally published in October 2011 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.
Thank you for reading.