How to conduct a best practice content campaign from start to finish (part 2 – listening)
We see loads of excellent content campaigns executed by clients using Passle. Here on our blog, you’ll find lots of best practice examples of great content from professional services, data analysis from across our network, and answers to content marketing questions.
From all those learnings and working with the top firms in the world, we’ve put together this guide to running a best in class content campaign, all the way from planning through execution and reporting.
In this second post, we’ll take you through execution and cover how to listen for the insights you need to execute effectively. We’ll touch on:
- listening as a firm at scale
- gaining insight from event schedules
- listening to the competition
Listen to the market – discover your channels, topics & message
By starting a campaign execution with listening, you discover the three key variables you need to be effective.
- What are the challenges facing the people? – topics
- What do they need from providers? – messages
- Where are they active? – channels
Listen at scale for granular insights
A big mistake centralised marketing teams make is that they funnel all the insights through marketing. Marketing, being a relatively small function in most professional services firms needs to deliver a concise message. The end result is a single, under-consumed, generic marketing approach that isn’t relevant enough to the target.
A content campaign is not a single piece of content. It is a concerted effort to reach a target segment with content. Several, simple, digestible content pieces with information from the experts at your firm may be a better way of reaching the people that count.
In larger firms with multiple client industries and service lines, marketers will either need to train and talk to their client-facing staff for insights or empower those fee earning staff who understand client issues to create short, authentic content themselves.
Listen to your clients
The challenges and needs of one client are often repeated within your target market. The better you understand the clients that fit your ideal target segment for new business, the better you’ll be able to execute.
Where possible, meet and talk to your clients. If there are social events, be present and active, if there are opportunities to sit in on meetings then do so. Read the notes that come out of client meetings.
Listen to events
Industry events bring together people and ideas in one easy to access place. It’s a goldmine for marketers looking for insights into the market.
If potential clients within your target segment are speaking you have ready-made insights into their challenges and approach to overcoming them. It’s possible to engage your target with a simple summary of the presentation. People read what’s written about them and you are putting your firm on their radar. A full description of this strategy is here, specific advice on using Passle is here.
There is another lesser-known source of insight at events. Schedules and topics of discussions or panels are an absolute goldmine of insight. Below is an excerpt from a World Economic Forum event around trade.
Within your industry, event schedules have been scrutinised and planned sometimes a year in advance. They bring together knowledge about your market from dozens of firms and hundreds of people.
All that insight is just sitting there ready to be used as a starter for your content.
The headlines here give you your talking points for the campaign. The drill-down for each session gives you the message and the channels that the event organiser is using most successfully give you the channels you should promote this content on.
Rather than spending thousands on a booth, maybe do a podcast or video interview on each topic with an expert at your firm and use the spend to target the firms you are targeting.
Listen to your competitors
There is an argument some marketers make that you shouldn’t look to your competitors and you should avoid the channels where they are active. This seems quite frankly like insanity to me. If your clients or targets are there and engaging then you need to understand why.
An easy way to listen to competitors is to go to their LinkedIn page. By law, LinkedIn has to show the advertisements of firms on their platform. You can see the backlog of advertisements that the firm has sponsored and the messaging they are pushing.
Twitter, Instagram & Facebook have similar tools that help to keep you on top of what messaging your competitors are using.
From here, we’ll look at how to define your message, package it and how to deliver it to your targets. Stay tuned for part 2 next week.