When I started Break The Ice Media in 2009, I saw how new digital tools were causing PR and marketing to collide and decided to start an agency that would assist small businesses in bringing both disciplines together. For 6 years, my team and I have been constantly learning and adapting our skills to integrate PR and Marketing tactics to work more effectively in order to achieve our client’s goals. The most successful client campaigns have 5 key ingredients: strategy & planning, relevant content, coordinated content delivery, consistent & on-going campaigns and review & campaign measurement.
Key Ingredient #1: Strategy & Planning
Knowing where we are starting and where we want to go is the most important ingredient. We begin all of our client engagements with a planning session that helps identify:
- Desired results – What is the business problem that the client wants to solve? How will they know that they are successful?
- Target audience – Who are the client’s current customers? What is important to the customer? Where do they get their information? Learn how to find out about your customers on our blog post Easy Research with Online Surveys.
- Marketing objectives & strategies – What are the desired outcomes of the marketing campaign – the objectives? What is the game plan to achieve those outcomes – the strategies?
- Tactics & Timeline – What are the tasks, activities and timeline that will be executed for the campaign?
Key Ingredient #2: Relevant Content
When developing a content strategy, we start with three things in mind:
- How is the content relevant to the audience? Does the target audience care about what we have to say? Will they be better off for having the knowledge? How will this knowledge help our client meet their objectives?
- What will the target audience get out of the content? If the audience is a blogger or news outlet – what will their audience get out of the content? We are constantly putting ourselves in the reader/viewer/consumers shoes and thinking through how they will interpret the content.
- Is the content timely and newsworthy? Is there a recent trend or recent news story that the content can relate to? Is there an upcoming event that the content can support? Thinking through the timing and hitting the timing right makes the difference between a successful campaign and a failed one.
Key Ingredient #3: Coordinated Content Delivery
At Break The Ice Media, we often start with the press release as the driver for all of our content. The press release is the longest piece of content that we use in a campaign. It tells the full story. Then we take the key messages from the press release and re-purpose them for every communication channel that we are using for a campaign. Channels include social media (Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, Instagram), eNewsletters, blogs, website, paid advertising, collateral and in-person events.
Keep these things in mind as you “slice and dice” your content:
- Audience for each channel – what is most relevant to that audience? An eNewsletter subscriber is looking for different information than a Twitter follower.
- Key messages – no matter how you cut up the content, keep the key messages intact.
- Inspire action – will the content inspire action from your audience? Make sure you keep the content compelling and relevant even if it is only 140 characters.
Key Ingredient # 4: Consistent & On-going Campaigns
It is impossible to build-relationships when you are only in front of your audience for one campaign. Successful campaigns come from the momentum of the campaigns that came before them. Consistently communicating with your audiences over all channels is the best way to see growth and success. We have seen this time and again with PR campaigns that we execute. When building relationships with journalists, the more you are able to talk with them, share story ideas, provide contacts for stories they are working on or follow and interact with them on social media, the more success you will have in getting story placements. The same is true for email marketing. The more consistent you are in sending out messages, the more opens, clicks and forwards you will receive. Social media followers and interactions follow the same rule. The bottom line:
- Always stay in front of your audience.
- One and done will not produce desired long term results.
Key Ingredient #5: Review & Campaign Measurement
According to the B2C Content Marketing 2016: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends—North America report, marketers ranked the following goals as most important to their content marketing strategy: sales, customer retention/loyalty, engagement and brand awareness. In order to make sure that our client campaigns are meeting the client’s goals, we use the following metrics to evaluate and adjust campaigns:
- Website traffic
- Sales conversions
Join me and my colleague Camille Zess at the Rochester AMA Digital Speed Networking event on October 28th where we will present a case study on how we used the above 5 Ingredients and an integrated marketing plan to achieve over 19 million media impressions, 66 media placements, huge increases in social media metrics and increased retail traffic for Casa Larga Vineyards.