Effective Content Marketing: Activating your content
In this series, we’re going to look more closely at the Hero, Hub and Hygiene model that can be used as a strategic framework to create content to. We’ll look at each type of content in more depth, as well as some examples, where you should place it and how to make it work for your business.
The final part is the Content Marketing Framework series is this post – Activation. I know many of you will be confused, as I’ve already covered the Big Three (Hero, Hub and Hygiene) in previous blog posts.
However, there’s a good reason that we need to talk about Activation as a stage. It’s because a lot of brands totally ignore it.
A good content marketing strategy is nothing without the activation that goes behind it. This is, ultimately, where a lot of businesses fail in their content marketing efforts.
If you build it, they will come.
No, they won’t.
In the current day and age, consumers are constantly bombarded with marketing messages everywhere they turn, it is not enough to simply create content. You can’t just create content and hope that people will discover it because they won’t.
You need to ensure that your content reaches the correct audience with a solid activation and promotion strategy. What exactly this strategy looks like will depend on the type of content you are looking to promote.
When looking at how much time you spend promoting your content vs creating it, you should be looking at spending a lot more time promoting. Some sources will say that you should spend as much as 80% of your time promoting your content.
However, each different type of content will need promoting in a different way and to different levels. Understanding the differences between these promotion activities is key to getting the most from your content.
Hero content is activated by massive promotional campaigns across multiple channels.
While you’re developing your hero campaign, you should be thinking about how you will promote it at all times.
The first step on this path is to think of the two line PR pitch. Think about how you’re going to sell your hero campaign to PRs across the country, using only 2 lines.
Make sure you get that absolutely nailed down before you even consider anything else.
Secondly, think about how you’re going to use all the other channels. This is the point where you really need to have a multi-channel strategy that works together in order to drive the most benefit from your Hero content.
At Harvest, we’re a digital agency, so we focus on purely digital channels. We look at how Display media, social and even PPC can pull together to help gain coverage for the campaign.
However, just because we only focus on digital channels, doesn’t mean that you have to. You should also look at how to use the Hero piece to create different assets for other purposes, including PR, press releases, infographics, events, TV and press.
Hero campaigns often use up a large chunk of many brands’ marketing budget, so not having an effective promotional strategy is akin to taking that money and throwing it in a wood chipper.
In contrast to Hero content, Hub content usually requires more targeted activation. Hub content tends to lend itself well to email. Hub content tends to be around a specific topic or target a specific group of people who will routinely engage with the content.
If you’re producing an on-going series, consider using a newsletter to notify people when a new piece of content goes live.
If you haven’t got an email list already, it’s time to get building one. Forbes has a good article on how to build an email list from scratch, and HubSpot has a great list of tricks to grow your list once it’s setup.
Typically, people will find your hygiene content through search engines. That is the reason that the majority of people create Hygiene content, after all.
But how can you amplify the content that you create for Hygiene?
Simple, get it ranking higher.
A lot of people will set and forget the content that they create for Hygiene, but then complain that it;
- Does not rank well
- Does not get a lot of traffic
- Was a waste of money
But in practice, you should be applying all of your SEO best practices to these pieces of content as well. You should be trying to build links to these pages to get them ranking better, you should be looking at the on-page factors.
Nothing is original.
The chances that you are first at creating a piece of content on the internet is slim. Someone else will have beaten you to it, and theirs will be ranked first.
Consider link building tactics for your content as well, rather than just your commercially focused pages (i.e. product pages).
But most importantly, if your content isn’t performing well, optimise it! Don’t be afraid to re-write and tweak content until it starts to perform better.
Ultimately, activation is what is going to make your content succeed. Sadly, activation is missing from a lot of content strategies, resulting in a massive influx of branded content that goes completely unread.