The client all-agency planning table is getting to be a friendlier place, now that integrated campaigns and calendars are a must-have on brand marketing shopping lists.
But while the more commercial one-liners – sales, offers and new collections – are the lifeblood of PPC and email campaigns, it’s in the meatier stories that digital marketers should invest content and social budget.
The newsworthy collections, collaborations and brand story narratives are what hold it all together.
So this is where it’s key to make the distinction between campaign and evergreen content, letting you work both into your campaign planning for short and long term gain.
Hero, hub & hygiene
Though Google’s Hero, Hub, Hygiene YouTube strategy for brands is nothing new to journalists, editors and publishers, it’s a good model to help explain content strategy.
‘Hero’ is the big-splash emotional storytelling campaign content that runs a few times a year – the advertising and PR campaigns. ‘Hub’ the regular always-on content that keeps proving its worth over time.
And ‘Hygiene’ the feedback, from letters-to-editor to social media comments, that helps us measure success and sentiment and can feed into future plans.
If you’re not sure which type of content you’re dealing with and who should be involved simply ask: Will the creative achieve a dramatic spike of attention or draw steady interest over a longer period?
When going for a big splash, think PR, outreach and paid media to help amplify your creative at scale.
PR agencies have the contacts and clout make headlines in the publishing world, while digital outreach professionals the online contacts to help spread the word for social, SEO and brand benefit. Finally paid media the targeting options to reach the right customers in the right places at the right time.
Content that keeps on giving
This is where many will pack up tools and call a job well done. But for content marketers it’s only the beginning. Good planners see past the initial noise to think about how we can spin this idea to engage people over a number of weeks, months and even years; on multiple channels and for different objectives.
On top of helping vary conversation starters and ‘push’ messages throughout a campaign, investing in long-life content (and keeping detailed accounts of what’s been created) will let you promote again at relevant points and link to it from other related content in the future.
Though the initial excitement of the Ann Summers’ erotic fiction competition we worked on is over, for example, the expert guides and tips we used to help promote it will keep drawing interest.
And with hub there’s no need to reinvent the wheel.
Think about what draws people back to their favourite newspapers and magazines. You might attract new and casual readers by the cover story – the hero – but readers come back for the regular series, columns, features they know, look forward to and associate with the title.
Brands should aspire to create regular content that customers will value and engage with in the same way. A tough ask when you’re up against fresh and well researched content from publishers who spend all their time and energy on this stuff. Those that seek genuine relevance and engagement really need to work out how they can offer something different that will work hard for them.
So when planning content check off lifespan, quality and value through promotion and connections. Make your content investment work harder by deploying assets across channels – on social media, influencers’ sites, in email and direct marketing.
Putting content to work for you is not always easy – it requires genuine audience insight, strong ideas, quality execution and carefully considered promotion to compete with all the other noise in the market.
But done right – whether big splash, evergreen hub, or social hygiene – it’s the way to build a more valuable, more sustainable brand-consumer relationship.