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 9 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 clients’ 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. Here’s our take on mixing these ingredients into marketing campaign success:
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 projects with a discovery session that identifies:
- Desired results. What is the business problem? What does success look like?
- Target audience. Who are your current customers? What is important to those customer? Where do they get their information? Learn how to do easy research on your customers with online surveys.
- Marketing objectives. What are the desired outcomes of the marketing campaign – the objectives?
- Marketing strategies. What is the game plan to achieve those outcomes – the strategies? How will you solve the business problem?
- Tactics & Timeline. What are the tasks and activities that need to be completed? What is the timeline for the campaign and these tactics?
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? What is the message? Does the targeted audience care about what we have to say? Will they be better off for having the knowledge? How will this knowledge help meet the 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 readers’/viewers’/consumers’ shoes. Think through how your targeted audience will interpret the content.
- Is the content timely and newsworthy? For public relations content, we want it to be newsworthy. Is there a recent trend or recent news story that the content can relate to? For consumers, being timely with your message is also important. Is there an upcoming event that the content can support? Thinking through the timing and hitting the timing right makes the difference between marketing campaign success and failure.
Key Ingredient #3: Coordinated Content Delivery
We often start with the press release as the driver for all of our content. The press release is often the longest piece of content that we use in a campaign. It tells the full story, and is one of the first pieces launched once all the campaign details are in place. Then we take the key messages from the press release and use them for the other channels we are using. Channels include social media, email newsletters, 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? A newsletter subscriber is looking for more in-depth information than a person seeing your ad for the first time. Your followers on Facebook may be different than visitors to your website.
- Key messages. No matter how you cut up the content, keep the key messages intact. Decide on the key messages up front so that everyone involved can agree on them.
- Inspire action. Will the content inspire action from your audience? Make sure you keep the content compelling and relevant even if it is only 280 characters. Always include a call to action on every message over owned and paid channels.
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 relevant messages, the more opens 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
In the B2C Content Marketing 2016: Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report, marketers ranked the goals most important to their content marketing strategy. They were: sales, customer retention and loyalty, engagement and brand awareness. In order to make sure that our campaigns are meeting the client’s goals, we use the following metrics to evaluate and adjust campaigns:
- Impressions & Reach
- Website traffic
- Followers and Follower growth rate
- Reactions, Comments and Shares
- Activity taken: sales conversions, downloads, newsletter sign ups, etc.
Read our client story on how Break the Ice Media achieved marketing campaign success using these 5 key ingredients and an integrated marketing plan for Casa Larga Vineyards.