Carabiner PR's Peter Baron discusses the importance of an integrated content campaign...
Do you remember playing hide ’n’ seek or catch ’n’ kiss when you were a kid? If you really wanted to get caught, you’d make it easy for your friends or that cute girl or boy to find you, right? Now that you're a sales or marketing whiz, don’t you wish your customers could find you as easily?
Luckily for you, the lesson you learned back then still applies today—be where they’re looking for you. (Whether customers are looking for you or not is the subject of another blog post.) Like many things that sound simple, however, the practical implementation of all this can be a bit more complicated. How do you “hide” yourself where your prospects are looking? One great way is to run an integrated content campaign. Such a campaign places content about you, your thought leadership and your solutions in a context that matches your buyer persona insights.
If you need help creating and implementing an integrated content campaign, here is my advice: First, begin with the end in mind. Have you ever noticed those drivers who always back into a parking space so they can leave more quickly when they’re done? It turns out that if you apply this predilection to planning your campaign, you’ll be much more successful. Begin by asking yourself: “How much of our product do we need to sell by the end of this year?” “How long is our sales cycle?” “How many leads do we need to convert to be able to hit our number?” “What defines a lead?” You get the idea. Back away from your ultimate goal and piece together the milestones to get there, along with the facts you will need to know, so that you are in perfect alignment with your aims. When you combine these facts with your buyer persona insights and create the content your targets need, you’ll be like a backed-in driver, able to zip quickly out of your slot so you can start to help your customers find and select you.
Since you’ve got a thousand things on your plate already, the good news is that you can get help with such a campaign. There are now numerous marketing firms out there that really get this stuff. Here’s how to choose a good one:
1. Trust someone who insists on parking backwards! They’re the ones who ask the questions that reveal the desired end of your journey. They need to know where you want to go and start from there.
2. Look for years of proven, effective experience. Do they have a combination of skills and talent on their team? It should span marketing strategists, PR professionals, writers, designers, SEO experts, etc., all with at least a decade in their respective fields. The lessons they’ve learned will lead to less experimentation on your dime.
3. Who else likes them? Ask around. If they have 10-plus years of experience, they’ll have a track record. People will know them. Talk to their current clients.
4. Lastly, I’m sure you are wondering if you have the budget for outside help. There are three levels you can look at: freelancers, depending on the region, will likely be the least costly, and you’ll need a budget of $2,500 to $3,500 a month for their help; medium-sized firms like ours pack the punch to get you quickly in front of your customers and typically need a budget of $4,000 to $8,000 a month to get things done; and the big firms that are used to working with big clients (the results match the commitment on both sides), so expect to budget $15,000 and upward a month for this level of help.