Tag Archive | "Fails"

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.

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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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How to Improve Influencer Engagement? Avoid These 50 Fails

Influencer Marketing

Brands: Stop Doing These Things!

Influencer Marketing is hot and that means the value of influencer relationships is higher than ever.

Working hard to romance in-demand experts to collaborate, co-create and even advocate can be a substantial investment. The mutual benefit from these long term relationships can mean anything from hugely successful marketing programs for brands to top billing at speaking events, book deals and consulting work for the influencers.

Unfortunately, outreach communications, expectations and negotiations with influencers to work together are often so lacking of empathy, relevant context or even courtesy that the industry expert “checks out”. Losing influencers is sad and wasteful.

But it doesn’t have to be that way if you know what makes them leave. Trust me, I work on influencer outreach nearly every day (sending and receiving) and am both guilty of committing some of these influencer marketing sins and having them committed against me.

So, with a little help from some of my marketing influencer friends, here’s a big list of what NOT to do.

50 ways to lose your influencer:

  1. Using the wrong name in a pitch email or other inaccurate information (that should really be correct).
  2. TLDR requests that take forever or never get to get to the point.
  3. Irrelevant requests that have little if anything to do with the influencer’s expertise.
  4. Not making it clear what the value exchange is.
  5. Being too familiar and friendly with influencers on the first contact. Hey, we’re not actually friends (yet) are we?
  6. Making it difficult by asking numerous, complicated questions, like those fun essays in college.
  7. Unreasonable deadlines: “Hi you don’t know me,  but please send me 1,000 words by tomorrow.”
  8. No credibility. Emailing a pitch from a gmail address and pointing to a website that looks really spammy or just bad.
  9. #influencerstalking Following up one day after the first pitch. Then again the next day. Then again the next day and so on.
  10. #failuretofollowup Asking for participation and then never following up.
  11. Cold shoulder. Engaging an influencer online several times and then ignoring them when in person at industry events.
  12. Lying or being disingenuous in any way.
  13. Bait and switch. Offering access to a tool to preview, then requiring an guided demo where the influencer is “sold to”.
  14. Bait and switch 2. Inviting the influencer to an event, then requiring attendance of a presentation where the influencer is “sold to”.
  15. Micromanage. Requiring an unpaid influencer to cover specific topics in specific ways to the brand’s benefit that are not natural to the influencer (or their community).
  16. Taking advantage. Expecting an influencer to do for free, what really should be paid for – moderating a panel, writing substantial content, extensive participation requirements.
  17. When a brand takes unearned credit for ideas the influencer created, wrote about and used in their business.
  18. Misappropriating. Using influencer content in ways never intended, especially when it is monetized by the brand or someone else entirely. Also, misrepresenting how the influencer’s contribution will be used. For example, saying it is for a public article and then using it for a gated ebook.
  19. Making public, disparaging remarks or being disrespectful about an influencer.
  20. Not being patient – these people are busy!
  21. Switching the conditions of participation – shame on everyone if there is not a written, signed agreement for specific expectations.
  22. Not being thankful for the influencer’s efforts. This goes both ways too – influencers should be thankful for the opportunity as well.
  23. Failure to communicate. Managing communications and coordination poorly, in a disorganized way and without clear direction.
  24. No edits. Publishing influencer content “as-is” without copyediting.
  25. Being an asshat. Going over the line with sarcastic humor in influencer communications – you really need to know if they’re in to that.
  26. Slimy SEO. Taking the influencer’s contribution and then SEO-ing the heck out of it with keywords and anchor text galore.
  27. Backchannelling. Reaching out the the influencer’s “boss” or co-worker to ask why the influencer hasn’t responded to pitch emails.
  28. Not being clear about the premise or context of the ask and thereby confusing the pitch.
  29. Being one sided. When brands do not follow through on commitments made to the relationship.
  30. And you are? Changing the client side contact and not doing any kind of hand off to ensure continuity.
  31. Making it incredibly difficult to share the result of the brand/influencer collaboration. i.e. not providing pre-written tweets and social shares, properly sized graphics, embed codes, etc.
  32. Inappropriate asks. “As for asks like promoting your product (books, webinars, conferences, etc.) in exchange for affiliate revenue please DON’T.” via Carlos Gil
  33. “Out-of-the-blue Asks. I get requests from people I know really well every week. What makes you think I’ll make time to work with you if I’ve never interacted with you before? Take some time to comment on my posts, rate my podcast, review my book. I’ll return the favor in a heartbeat. If you hit my inbox out of nowhere… Delete.” via Drew Davis
  34. Too soon. “My pet peeve is when someone follows me on Twitter or Instagram and/or fans me on Facebook and immediately reaches out to me with a request to check out their business.” via Kim Garst
  35. “Ask Them To Sell. Your influencer is there to help you increase the awareness, association and consideration of your brand in a certain space – not to shill for you.” via Gerry Moran
  36. Using the wrong channels to communicate: “Sending me a message about LinkedIn using Facebook.” via Jason Miller
  37. Hello, can I interrupt you? Calling an influencer without an appointment to pitch. via Mark Schaefer
  38. Peerless pressure. PR people that try to persuade influencer involvement because their peers are involved too – except they are not. via Mark Schaefer
  39. Impersonal pitches. When companies send out generic en masse pitches, like a robo-call, but via email. The personal touch can make or break an influencer’s decision to engage. via Chad Pollitt
  40. “Don’t tell me your story, let me tell my story. ‘LESS fabrication, MORE facilitation’ = a boost to your Return on Relationship, #RonR.” via Ted Rubin
  41. Lazy duplication. “When you get that really interesting Tweet inviting you to take a look at something and then when you click through to it you also see that they have composed basically the same message to 579 other people on Twitter.” via John Jantsch
  42. Delegated and impersonal. “Reach out to me directly yourself. Do NOT delegate this critical step to your marketing agency, PR professional, team member, assistant or intern. Do it yourself and make your note personal. If you want me to respond, I expect you to do the asking yourself.” via Heidi Cohen
  43. “Not greasing the skids. Influencers are most likely to add commentary if there is some kind of existing relationship.  This means at least some kind of history where the person reaching out has already been sharing the influencer content.” via Joe Pulizzi
  44. “Expecting too much in one ask. For example, writing a 1000 word article on your platform due this week without a previous relationship.” via Joe Pulizzi
  45. Misleading opportunity. “Asking for 30 minutes of my time to discuss a “partnership” – which actually means you want me to sell your stuff to my clients.” via Ardath Albee
  46. Asks that are complicated, ambiguous and without deadlines. via Rebecca Lieb
  47. Not following up with that blog post, ebook, or copy of the interview the influencer contributed to. Influencers are indeed interested in seeing the fruits of their labors. via Rebecca Lieb
  48. Abusing the kindness of an influencer by asking over and over again without showing any special consideration. “Set the tone and rules upfront. Influencers can’t be expected to take part in everything you do, so say that. Set the ground rules and expectations.” via Bryan Kramer
  49. Giving up, as in not being persistent (over time) with credible, relevant offers and reasons to engage. “Give them a reason to come back, ask them what they are working on and keep the conversation going.” via Bryan Kramer
  50. Spamming. “Signing up for an app that spams your “top influencer” with automated messages is a sure path to a rocky relationship.” via Glen Gilmore

Basically your takeaway from this list is, don’t do these things! Learn from these mistakes, pet peeves and advice.

To be successful with an influencer relationship, brands need to consistently make an effort to research the experts they want to engage and find out what motivates them. Create value and set clear expectations. Make working with your brand a very easy and satisfying experience. Listen and communicate in a meaningful way – not too different than any relationship, actually.

For brand marketers that want to point their influencer marketing efforts in the right direction, I recommend these collections of resources for best practices:

  • Featured Influencer Marketing ResourcesTraackr
  • What You Need to Know About Content & Influencer Marketing. BONUS: Case Study and 18 articlesTopRank Marketing
  • Influencer Marketing eBooksGroupHigh
  • Influencer Marketing EducationOnalytica
  • Social Listening in Practice: Influencer MarketingBrandwatch

You can also learn more about the influencer marketing services at TopRank Marketing.

If you’ve been on the receiving end of influencer outreach and communications, what are some of your pet peeves?

Photo: Shutterstock


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The post How to Improve Influencer Engagement? Avoid These 50 Fails appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.

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