Tag Archive | "Campaign"

How to Set up a Well-Integrated Effective Link Building Campaign

Posted by AnnSmarty

Link building remains one of the most effective digital marketing tactics, and not just for higher rankings (even though links do still remain the major organic ranking factor). Links drive referral clicks, and generate leads, making your site less dependent on search and advertising traffic.

But how do you build links these days, now that most self-serving link acquisition tactics are frowned upon by Google and can result in lost search visibility?

Here’s what we know for sure:

  • Link building cannot be scaled
  • Link building is not easy or fast.

A new approach to link building integrates all kinds of marketing assets and processes including content marketing, relationship building, and influencer outreach.

This article outlines exactly how to create an effective link building campaign.

Link Acquisition Campaign Goals:

For your campaign, you want to achieve the following:

  • You want that asset to bring in links
  • You want that asset to rank (because high-ranking content keeps bringing links organically as most writers/bloggers search Google to find sources to reference)

So there’s a little bit of a vicious circle here: You cannot rank without links but links also help to rank.

Link building vicious circle

If you really want your link acquisition campaign to work, you need to aim for both: Your content asset should be linkable as well as rank on top of Google for related keywords.

What Non-Spammy Non-Scaled Link Building Methods Do We Know?

  • Researching and creating linkable content (i.e. Content that attracts backlinks)
  • Vanity baiting (ego-baiting): Featuring influencer(s) in your content for them to link back to the published content as well as attract more links (by name association)
  • Relationship building (i.e. Connecting to publishers and journalists on social media for better brand familiarity and hence higher response rate)
  • Broken link building (i.e. Reaching out to website owners linking to broken pages and offering to link to your live page instead)

If we really want to achieve both links and rankings, we need to combine all of those link acquisition methods within one campaign:

Combine

Before we get into steps and tools, let’s illustrate the above with an example:

Sample Link Building Campaign

We had an ecommerce client manufacturing and selling LED lamps and our research included “light” as the core topic. We came up with the following content angles:

    • Light Therapy
    • Light and (Kids’) Creativity
    • Light and Productivity

While we were doing our content research, we came across multiple articles across a lot of top publications referencing an interview (dating back to 2015) with a professor from NY Lighting Research Center talking about the impact of blue light on Alzheimer’s patients.

The interview had long been deleted but the links were all still there.

With that in mind, we took the following steps:

  • We contacted the professor to get an updated quote on the topic. The professor shared her new interior room designs for Alzheimer’s patients which happened to perfectly align with our client’s main ecommerce focus, i.e. “interior lightning.”
  • We did some additional research (including keyword research) to identify what we want the asset to rank for to be able to get discovered by more bloggers and journalists.
  • At the same time, even before we started working on the actual content, we tracked down all those journalists and bloggers who had written about the deleted interview. We also identified more key influencers who were covering the topic (sticking to our specific angle, e.g. Alzheimer’s disease). We put together a Twitter list and started interacting with them to familiarize them with our team before we reach out.

This way, by the time we started to work on the actual content asset, we knew:

  • The specific linkable asset topic
  • The expert(s) we were able to include in our content
  • The bloggers and journalists we were going to reach out to as soon as it went live
Campaign

By the time we started our actual outreach, we had two strong advantages:

1. We could reference our professor in the outreach email:

Ego-bait

2. We could reference other influencers who interacted with us on Twitter (or even already linked to us). Additionally, we could use our newly-built social media connections to follow up and find more people to reach out to:

Outreach campaign

Note: None of these tactics should be step 1: They are all launched together to inform, direct and empower one another.

Tools for every part of the process

Now that we have agreed there are no “steps” here (because all of those tactics should be connected), here is the tool you can use to launch a well-integrated highly-effective link building campaign:

1. Content asset creation

Like most content creation campaigns, this one starts with brainstorming. It is a specific type of brainstorming, though, one that starts with “linkable” angles, i.e. you want to keep your planned “linking” leads in mind. Generally, the following content angles usually bring in links quite easily:

  • “Safety of XX”
  • “History of XX” (especially if you plan to reach out to educators)
  • Recent research (especially if you plan to reach out to journalists)
  • Industry survey (and stats). This usually goes well with niche bloggers.

Image source and more details: digitaleagles.com.au

But there can be more, depending on what it is you are doing. For example, if you own (or market for) a local business, those angles should be localized.

The format of your linkable asset is another thing to think about. There are many options here:

Formats

Note: There’s no need to stick to one format. You can (and probably should) experiment with several of those by using content re-purposing.

2. TextOptimizer for Brainstorming

Text Optimizer is a great tool to help you find more angles to narrow your research down. It uses semantic analysis to extract related concepts and entities from Google search result snippets, helping you to find more specific angles to cover.

Once you know your specific topic ideas, put them in TextOptimizer, one by one, to find related angles and questions to focus on:

Text Optimizer research

More tools for content research: Research and optimize for niche questions

3. Determining your outreach targets

This is a multi-step, continuous process that never really stops. One of the easiest and quickest way to start is to run the “Top pages” tool inside Serpstat that determines web pages that show up in Google for the variety of queries around your core term:

Serpstat top pages

Note: Export the whole list of top-ranking pages for your core query and determine outreach tactics for each one.

4. Twitter Bio search for more outreach targets

Social media marketing won’t probably bring in organic links on its own but social media (especially Twitter) is an awesome outreach tool to utilize in combination with traditional email outreach.

Twitter bio search is one of the most effective ways to generate link-building leads. Twiangulate is a great Twitter bio search that helps you:

  • Find Twitter users by a certain keyword mentioned in their bio (or the combination of keywords)
  • Find Twitter users by location (this is a great way to find local journalists and bloggers)
  • Find common connections of two Twitter accounts (this is a very useful feature for ego-bait content outreach which allows you to find who is connected to your included experts)
  • Find Twitter followers by a keyword (among friends of a certain account). This one can be used to find active Twitter users that work at the publication you are targeting for links:
Twiangulate

5. Broken link building

Ahrefs has one of the coolest link building features out there allowing you to see (and export) all pages linking to broken pages within any domain. To access the report, run your identified leaders in the target niche and click through to “Backlink Profile -> Broken” report:

Arefs broken report

All you need to do now is to export the report into an Excel spreadsheet, identify most linked-to content on the website, and decide if you can build content to replace the deleted page and claim all those links.

CognitiveSEO is another (newer) tool that shows the most linked-to broken pages on any website:

CognitiveSEO

6. Social media outreach

Since your link building outreach is going to include the social media component, you need to figure out how your link building and social media teams are going to collaborate on that.

ContentCal is a solid collaborative tool that can be used to include your link building team into your social media marketing. Encourage your link building outreach team to use ContentCal’s “Pinboard” feature that will allow them to add social media updates for the social media manager to approve and schedule them to go out from your company’s official Twitter account:

ContentCal

Note: ContentCal allows your link building team to contribute to your brand social media channels without sacrificing on the overall quality: There’s always a moderator making sure everything looks good before updates go live.

7. Email outreach

We have tried multiple tools and ended up building our own in-house solution, but there’s no link building tutorial possible without at least one outreach tool included. So I’ll go ahead and recommend Pitchbox (Disclaimer: This is the only tool here I haven’t tried yet but I’ve heard very good people recommend it, so I have full trust in its awesome-ness):

Pitchbox

Pitchbox stores your contacts and email templates as well as manages the follow-ups and reports]

8. Monitor your campaign performance

If you are managing a multi-format link building campaign that includes more content types beyond text (e.g. a downloadable whitepaper, an embeddable infographic, a video, etc.), you may want to keep a close eye on what content formats your link building leads engage more with.

Finteza is the free analytics software focusing on monitoring and reporting on specific on-page events.

Finteza

While you are actively emailing to your identified link building leads, keep an eye on how they interact with your linkable assets. This is a great experience to learn from for your upcoming campaigns.

Finteza also offers a free WordPress plug-in that makes adding on-page events to monitor easier:

Finteza plugin

9. Personalize your content asset based on the referral

Since your link acquisition campaign includes both email and social media outreach, it is smart to customize your content asset based on the referral source to make sure your link building leads will see exactly what they came for above the fold.

Alter is an easy tool for personalizing your content based on your settings. You will need to add their script to the page to serve a slightly different page copy based on the source.

The first step is to create your audience inside Alter:

Depending on your outreach tactics, you can combine as many criteria as you want

You can create your personalization using Alter’s built-in editor:

Alter personalization

10. Monitor incoming links

Finally, set up link monitoring using Brand Mentions. This tool will promptly alert you of any new linked and unlinked web mentions and allow you to better monitor the effectiveness of the campaign as well as quickly interact with your promoters.

Brand Mentions allows you to authenticate your Google Analytics account. This way you’ll be alerted by new referral traffic immediately — remember: Traffic sending links are the best types of links!

Brand Mentions google analytics

Launching a well-rounded link building campaign: Takeaways

  • An effective link building campaign includes most of effective and legit link acquisition tactics, including linkable content creation, ego-baiting, broken link building and (social media) relationship management.
  • None of the above tactics are step one in the campaign: They all need to be connected — informing and directing one another.
  • A key to successful link building campaign is collaboration (between teams, as well as with niche influencers and experts).
  • One of the major goals behind your linkable content asset is that it needs to rank in top five for a popular query. Once you achieve that, you can stop the proactive outreach process, as links will start coming in naturally: All bloggers and journalists use Google to find sources to reference.
  • An effective link acquisition campaign includes more than one content format. Give your media contacts more reasons to link to you by visualizing results, building embeddable content, and downloadable assets to take home.

With so many ideas, parts and tools, it may also be tough to get organized. In most cases, your campaign manager will be able to put everything together using shared (Google) Spreadsheets (that also easily integrate into online calendars). There are of course many more tools to check out.

Finally, there are many more tools I’ve used at some point or another. There’s no way I could list all of them in one article. I did my best to include newer tools (those that are not already well-covered and well-known) because I believe they bring something innovative to the table allowing you to take a new approach or experiment with new tactics.

If you are using any other link building tools in your process, please list them in the comments below — I am always on the hunt for more tools!

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Build your PPC campaigns with this mini campaign builder script for Google Ads

This script lets you build or add keywords to your Google campaigns following standard best practice.



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

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6 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Launched a Kickstarter Campaign

Crowdfunding is fascinating. Like many people, I have backed projects on Kickstarter. But I was curious about what it would…

The post 6 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Launched a Kickstarter Campaign appeared first on Copyblogger.


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Google Ads bringing click share to Search campaign competitive metrics

The rollout of click share can be seen as a follow up to the position metrics Google introduced last fall as average position has become less useful.



Please visit Search Engine Land for the full article.


Search Engine Land: News & Info About SEO, PPC, SEM, Search Engines & Search Marketing

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Domino’s AI-Powered ‘Piedentifier’ Stars in New Ad Campaign

Domino’s software engineers and digital ad team have created a unique AI-powered ‘Piedentifier’ to launch it’s Super Bowl week marketing blitz. Domino’s is encouraging people to send in a photo of any pizza, even if you made it yourself, and it’s system will determine what type of pizza it is and give you ten points toward a free pizza in their rewards program.

‘Piedentifier’ launching for Super Bowl week marketing blitz

Ritch Allison, CEO of Domino’s Pizza, discussed the new Piedentifier ‘Points for Pies‘ ad campaign with Jim Cramer on CNBC:

Domino’s AI-Powered ‘Piedentifier’ Ad Campaign

We’re going to give Piece of the Pie Rewards points for any pizza. Our customers are going to be able to use our great technology to take a picture of any pizza, send it up to us, and earn ten points toward a free Domino’s Pizza. The great thing about this is our team got together and created something called the ‘Piedentifier.’ What it does is it uses your phone to look for what they have referred to as the open-faced expression of crust sauce and cheese. Anything that looks like a pizza and you’re getting ten points.

Today we’ve got more than 20 million active members of our Piece of the Pie Rewards program. We don’t know the exact number of how many customers will come on board with us, but as the leader in the pizza category, we see this as a great opportunity not only to grow the overall pizza category, but also to invite new customers in to download our app and to try our product. We feel that when customers try our product we’ve got the opportunity to bring them back again and again.

This Sunday is a huge day for us. On Super Bowl Sunday, we’re typically up about 40 percent over a normal Sunday. We’ll sell about 2 million pizzas and about four million chicken wings. Each year, it’s the biggest day of the year for us. It tends to not matter which teams are in the game. Certainly in individual cities maybe it does, but broadly across the US it’s a huge day no matter who’s playing.

Average Franchise Makes $ 140K Per Year EBITDA

Opening up a Domino’s Pizza store is still a terrific return for our franchisees. Across the globe cash on cash returns are better than three years in our business. Just a few weeks ago at our Investor Day, we released again our unit level average for our franchisees in the US. Once again it went up. We’re expecting it to be somewhere between $ 137,000 and $ 140,000 a unit in the US on EBITDA on a Domino’s Pizza store that you can open for $ 350,000.

Driving is Still a Great Opportunity

Driving for Domino’s is a great opportunity because of the volume that we do out of our stores. In a lot of cases, drivers are able to come in and earn a lot more than they can driving for some of these other businesses. As we continue to tighten down our territories through our fortressing program, it’s giving our drivers the opportunity to get more runs per hour. That means more tips per hour and in turn, higher wages.

In addition to a job that earns a decent wage driving at Domino’s is also an opportunity potentially to be a franchisee in the long term. Over 90 percent of our franchisees today started as drivers or started in as CSRs answering our phones in our stores.

Self-Driving Cars Will be Here Someday

Self-driving cars will be here someday. We don’t exactly know what day but we’re working hard to really try to understand how our customer interface with that car when it pulls up to their curb. They’re used to having a uniformed Domino’s pizza delivery expert bring that pizza to the door. So we’re learning. As the technology evolves we’re going to learn how the customer wants to interact with us and we’ll be ready when it does get here.

The post Domino’s AI-Powered ‘Piedentifier’ Stars in New Ad Campaign appeared first on WebProNews.


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Domino’s AI-Powered ‘Piedentifier’ Stars in New Ad Campaign

Domino’s software engineers and digital ad team have created a unique AI-powered ‘Piedentifier’ to launch it’s Super Bowl week marketing blitz. Domino’s is encouraging people to send in a photo of any pizza, even if you made it yourself, and it’s system will determine what type of pizza it is and give you ten points toward a free pizza in their rewards program.

‘Piedentifier’ launching for Super Bowl week marketing blitz

Ritch Allison, CEO of Domino’s Pizza, discussed the new Piedentifier ‘Points for Pies‘ ad campaign with Jim Cramer on CNBC:

Domino’s AI-Powered ‘Piedentifier’ Ad Campaign

We’re going to give Piece of the Pie Rewards points for any pizza. Our customers are going to be able to use our great technology to take a picture of any pizza, send it up to us, and earn ten points toward a free Domino’s Pizza. The great thing about this is our team got together and created something called the ‘Piedentifier.’ What it does is it uses your phone to look for what they have referred to as the open-faced expression of crust sauce and cheese. Anything that looks like a pizza and you’re getting ten points.

Today we’ve got more than 20 million active members of our Piece of the Pie Rewards program. We don’t know the exact number of how many customers will come on board with us, but as the leader in the pizza category, we see this as a great opportunity not only to grow the overall pizza category, but also to invite new customers in to download our app and to try our product. We feel that when customers try our product we’ve got the opportunity to bring them back again and again.

This Sunday is a huge day for us. On Super Bowl Sunday, we’re typically up about 40 percent over a normal Sunday. We’ll sell about 2 million pizzas and about four million chicken wings. Each year, it’s the biggest day of the year for us. It tends to not matter which teams are in the game. Certainly in individual cities maybe it does, but broadly across the US it’s a huge day no matter who’s playing.

Average Franchise Makes $ 140K Per Year EBITDA

Opening up a Domino’s Pizza store is still a terrific return for our franchisees. Across the globe cash on cash returns are better than three years in our business. Just a few weeks ago at our Investor Day, we released again our unit level average for our franchisees in the US. Once again it went up. We’re expecting it to be somewhere between $ 137,000 and $ 140,000 a unit in the US on EBITDA on a Domino’s Pizza store that you can open for $ 350,000.

Driving is Still a Great Opportunity

Driving for Domino’s is a great opportunity because of the volume that we do out of our stores. In a lot of cases, drivers are able to come in and earn a lot more than they can driving for some of these other businesses. As we continue to tighten down our territories through our fortressing program, it’s giving our drivers the opportunity to get more runs per hour. That means more tips per hour and in turn, higher wages.

In addition to a job that earns a decent wage driving at Domino’s is also an opportunity potentially to be a franchisee in the long term. Over 90 percent of our franchisees today started as drivers or started in as CSRs answering our phones in our stores.

Self-Driving Cars Will be Here Someday

Self-driving cars will be here someday. We don’t exactly know what day but we’re working hard to really try to understand how our customer interface with that car when it pulls up to their curb. They’re used to having a uniformed Domino’s pizza delivery expert bring that pizza to the door. So we’re learning. As the technology evolves we’re going to learn how the customer wants to interact with us and we’ll be ready when it does get here.

The post Domino’s AI-Powered ‘Piedentifier’ Stars in New Ad Campaign appeared first on WebProNews.

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5 Ways to Stop Ad Fatigue From Killing Your Facebook Campaign

The Internet and social media have made it easy for brands to get their message out to millions of people. In fact, the average American is reportedly exposed to 4,000 to 10,000 advertisements every single day. But this accessibility has also led to “Banner Blindness,” a psychological effect wherein people become blind or indifferent to the ads they see.

Banner blindness is essentially the consumer’s defense mechanism in the face of an abundance of information. This means that at some point, your ads will no longer be effective as your audience starts to suffer from ad fatigue.

Understanding Ad Fatigue

Ad fatigue occurs when your target market becomes so used to your advertisements that they become bored and stop paying attention to them.

One platform where ad fatigue can be felt is Facebook, where account holders frequently see advertisements fighting for space amidst the numerous statuses and photos on their News Feeds. Marketers understand the impact ad fatigue can have on a company’s investment. When the Frequency rate of a Facebook ad goes up, its click-through-rate (CTR) tends to go down. Conversely, the cost-per-click for the company will increase.

Luckily, the platform’s robust rotation display and audience-targeting network mean there are strategies that can be utilized to prevent ad fatigue from setting in.

5 Ways to Prevent Facebook Ad Fatigue

1. Change Your Headline and Use Power Words

Image result for free

Mix up the wording in your ad. Consider changing your headline to include a question, your brand name or even a call-to-action (CTA). Another option would be to change the language to target a specific audience. For instance, men would prefer a more humorous content while women opt for something subtle. Power words like “Instantly,” “Sensational,” “Free” and “Now” can boost the odds of having a more positive response to your ads.

2. Tweak Ad Displays

Tweak the design of your ads to capture your audience’s interest once more. Something as simple as changing the background color can make a huge difference so try experimenting with different hues. You can also utilize a simpler image to catch people’s eyes. A photo of a happy woman apparently works best in Facebook ads. Avoid images with lots of details and keep the use of text in the picture to a minimum.

3. Rotate Demographics and Audience Network

When you keep utilizing the same group on the platform’s Audience Network, desktop, and mobile iterations, the ad frequency will increase, thereby raising the dangers of ad fatigue. Separate your ad groups for every placement. This will make tracking bidding and frequency rates more effective. You should also consider rotating your ads and the target audience every few days to reduce individual ad frequency and keep things fresh.

4. Try Out Different Call-to-ActionsRelated image

Your ad requires a strong call-to-action if you want to nab those conversions. Test five to six distinct CTAs as you rotate your ads and see which one gives the best result. For instance, you can start with a straight CTA this week (ex. Take that vacation now!). You can then try one that begins with a question (Need a break from work?) the following week.

5. Stop Underperforming Campaigns

If all else fails, you have the option to stop underperforming campaigns until you can develop something better. Evaluate every aspect of your marketing campaign, from the images you used to the target groups to the value proposition, to see what is causing the sluggish conversion rates. You can also freeze your ads once the frequency becomes too high and wait until people don’t recognize them anymore.

Fighting ad fatigue on Facebook is crucial to the success of your campaign. Utilize a variety of strategies like changing background colors or rotating the audience network to keep things interesting. Bear in mind that these ads are pay-per-click, so you have more than enough leeway to try something different.

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Can’t Tell if Your Social Media Campaign is Really Working? Here’s What You Need to Know

The number of companies integrating social media into their marketing campaigns has been growing steadily over the past decade. Some businesses even rely solely on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter to promote their goods and services. However, measuring the impact these campaigns have on their business remains a challenge.

A 2015 CMO survey underlined this difficulty, with only 15 percent of participating marketers being able to quantitatively measure the effectiveness of their social media marketing plans. Meanwhile, a recent MDG Advertising infographic shows that not much has changed with regards to measuring the effectivity of social media marketing and its impact on a company’s ROI.

According to the accompanying MDG report, only 20 percent of companies said they were able to determine the success of their social media campaigns while 44 percent could not determine social media’s impact on their business. This problem also affects marketing agencies, with 28 percent facing challenges in measuring the effectivity of social media. However, 55 percent of said agencies claim they could somewhat determine the ROI generated by social media while a mere 17 percent could accurately measure it.

[Graphic via mdgadvertising.com]

Challenges of Measuring Social Media Campaigns

Because social media is a relatively new (and constantly evolving) marketing channel, measuring its true impact of ROI remains a conundrum for many businesses. What’s more, a lot of companies remain unsure of social media’s place in the big picture.

There are other reasons why measuring social media impact remains complicated.

  • Businesses Have Different KPIs: Brands have their own goals, values, and propositions and the Key Performance Indicators (KPI) they want to measure depend on these. However, KPIs can change depending on the direction the company wants to take. This makes it hard to set specific metrics and data points.
  • Data is Limited: Each social media platform has its own set of analytics. Some tools engage followers while others show demographic information. It would also require companies to do a lot of mining just to put everything together.
  • Qualitative Results are Hard to See: It’s easy to see quantitative results such as the numbers of comments, likes, and shares. But the more important question is the kind of action consumers are actually taking — the qualitative results. For instance, are they buying products or just sharing content?
  • Business Impact is Hard to Determine: ROIs are about returns and investments. Even if companies are able to tie their social media campaigns to their KPIs and business goals, most remain confused as to what it means for their bottom line. Companies would have to consider the number of people working on social media accounts and their salaries, social media software, and advertising costs and compare them against KPIs.

Best Ways to Check Effectiveness of Social Media Drive

Despite the ambiguity, social media does have a positive influence on a company’s sales and revenue. The question now is how to measure and quantify this impact. Knowing the following metrics of your campaigns can help you measure their effectiveness:

  • Click-Through Rate: While click-throughs are a key metric, companies should do more than just track clicks. They should also focus on metrics geared towards specifically designed landing pages and content. Companies should also look at click-throughs in relation to bounce rates. High bounce rates imply that the site’s content is not delivering on the call-to-action or headline’s promise.
  • Conversions: Whether it’s a sign-up, filling out a form, or an online sale, companies should have a goal when it comes to conversions, especially when creating paid ads. This is significant as it provides direct ROI numbers. Conversions are also relatively easy to track. Some companies utilize lead generation forms while others opt for pixel codes.
  • Engagement: This metric is more than just the volume of likes a page or post has since it doesn’t give a clear indication of commitment. A meaningful engagement that results in brand awareness, product interest or sales are the best testaments to the impact of social media activity. Companies should put real effort into having a dialogue with their audience and influencers.
  • Traffic: Identifying the actual value of traffic is about checking the share of driven traffic and the actions generated by click-throughs. Tools like Google Analytics makes tracking the impact of social media on site traffic simpler. Companies should look more closely at how much of the site traffic was driven by social media since this will provide you with concrete numbers that you can work with.

Remember, you can’t market what you can’t measure (at least not effectively). So, before you run a social media campaign, be sure to set up adequate analytic tools that measure the data that correlates with the outcome you desire. For many businesses, picking the right tools and correctly assessing the data they collect comes with a learning curve. However, once you get past that hurdle, you can use the data to grow your business by leaps and bounds.

[Featured image via Pixabay]

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The Campaign Comeback: What to Do When Content Fails – Whiteboard Friday

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 today’s Whiteboard Friday, we’re delighted to welcome guest host Shannon McGuirk as she graciously gives us a five-step plan for breathing new life into a dead content campaign.

What to do when content fails.

Click on the whiteboard image above to open a high-resolution version in a new tab!


Video Transcription

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.

Video transcription by Speechpad.com

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Unit economics: The foundation of a good SEM campaign

Contributor Kevin Lee outlines how SEM campaigns can benefit from applying smarter business unit economics and asking rational questions.

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