If you want to run a successful content marketing operation, you need a strong content strategy. A good strategy provides transparency, sets benchmarks, and gives you a high-level view of your content ecosystem. Most importantly, it keeps everyone on the same page. (Which is why it’s important to actually document it. Find out how to get your content strategy on paper if you haven’t already.)
There are many elements that go into a content strategy, but content, of course, is front and center. Unfortunately, this is where some marketers can go off course. Once you’ve done the work of crafting your strategy framework, it’s tempting to start brainstorming and greenlighting a ton of blog posts, infographics, and videos. But the whole point of a strategy is to intentionally and methodically create content that is tied to an objective. Tossing content into the abyss without a clear sense of how it moves the needle only wastes your resources.
The smarter route? Think about your content in terms of campaigns.
What Is a Content Campaign?
Back in the day, a campaign would refer to a large ad campaign. But in the content marketing sphere, we know communication is far more nuanced. When we talk about a campaign, we define it as a batch of communication tailored to a specific audience and a specific channel, in pursuit of a discrete objective.
Why Do You Need to “Think” in Campaigns?
One message doesn’t work for everyone, obviously. But even targeted messages need to be packaged differently for an audience splintered across media channels. Hence, channel-first thinking is becoming more pervasive.
That means thinking in terms of:
- Channel > Audience > Message
- Audience > Message > Channel
- Message > Channel > Audience
To identify opportunities to make the most impact, thinking in terms of campaigns (including channel, audience, message, and format) helps you craft more effective content. But it also makes producing that content a lot easier.
6 Ways Content Campaigns Help Your Content Strategy
Thinking in terms of content campaigns is basically modular thinking. You see the components you need for separate campaigns, but you can also see how campaigns relate to each other. Most importantly, you can plan and allocate resources more effectively. This improves every part of the process, making your life a lot easier.
1) You need fewer approvals: Because campaigns are smaller subsets of your larger strategy, you don’t need as much top-level buy-in as you would for, say, a new brand tagline or messaging strategy. On the other end of the process, specific assets are subject to less scrutiny once you’ve built enthusiasm internally for the campaign as a whole.
2) You can use budget more efficiently: Content can eat up budget quickly, depending your formats, volume, and publishing frequency. But getting a bird’s eye view of your content campaigns can help you spot opportunities to make the most of your content. You may be able to repurpose infographics, spin more content out of an e-book, or create a series of assets to promote a larger piece of content.
Learn more about how to get the most mileage from your content with a divisible content strategy.
3) Campaigns are scalable: Whether you have a huge department or a two-person team, a multi-million dollar budget or a hundred-dollar budget, campaigns are easily scaled to your goals. They are also great ways to test on a smaller level.
Targeted campaigns are tied to metrics, so you can quickly see if they’re working or not. This saves you money if they’re not working but can also reveal other opportunities. For example, a successful Instagram campaign may help you garner the support to launch a larger Facebook campaign.
4) Team members are accountable: One of the biggest hindrances to steady content production is the lack of a proper team or infrastructure. When responsibilities are unclear or an asset is late, it can totally throw off the production schedule. With clear campaigns, you know who is handling what, what you might need extra help with (if you don’t have the skills), and what the timeline looks like.
5) You’ll always choose the right format: The format you choose to deliver your message matters just as much as your message. But marketers don’t always stop to consider what the most effective format might be. They’re usually either too busy trying to hop on the latest fad or totally unwilling to experiment.
Luckily, knowing your channels from the get go helps you choose the strongest format for your content campaign. For example, an interactive infographic wouldn’t work well for Instagram, but a brand video would.
6)Promotion is more effective: Distribution is an essential component of a campaign strategy, and working far ahead is crucial if you want to get featured in a publication or even collaborate with one. Knowing your messages and channels can help your PR team identify as many opportunities as possible.
Tips to Craft Your Campaigns
To craft a strong campaign, you need to know what you’re saying, who you’re saying it to, where they are, and how they want to be connected.
- Start by building marketing personas to help you identify the people you want to reach.
- Download the Ultimate Guide to Content Distribution to identify the best channels for your message.