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Content Marketing Plan for the Biz Blogging Telesummit
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Note: This post was part of the “Marketing That Works” Ideas Contest, showcasing 20 of the most innovative marketing ideas from the blogosphere’s up and coming marketers. We’ve since picked a winner – check out this post for the details! :)

content marketingI had a crazy idea over the summer.

Why not run a telesummit featuring experts in blogging, social media and SEO providing information designed specifically to help small businesses market online? Oh, and why not add in actual small business case studies as well?

Great idea, right?!

Well, I pulled together the pitch, signed up some amazing interview subjects including Marcus Sheridan, Pamela Slim, Denise Wakeman, Jack Humphrey and Danny Iny (of Firepole Marketing) and started conducting the interviews.

This may sound easy, but how I did this is another story! Anyway… halfway through the 18 interviews I started to realize the enormity of the task required to not only pull this off, but to get people to attend!!

(Go here for more on hosting a telesummit)

So I quickly pulled together my marketing plan consisting of…

  • Email marketing (marketing to my list)
  • Affiliate marketing (marketing to their lists)
  • Advertising (marketing to the world)
  • Social Media Marketing
  • And…. Content Marketing

For this article, I’ll focus today on the last one (Content Marketing), including what I created, how well it worked, and what I would do differently next time.

But first, what is Content Marketing?

This is a marketing competition so I have to set the stage about what I tried to pull off here. What is the definition of Content Marketing? I take a fairly broad and simplified definition of content marketing:

“Content that serves as Marketing for your business, organization or cause.”

This (in my opinion) can include:

  • Content that adds value or entertains.
  • Content that gets shared or helps people discover you.
  • Content that you create, have created for you, or that you curate.
  • Content that gives you an excuse to get out in front of people more often.
  • Content that leads users down a path to perform actions you would like them to.
  • Content that is shared via your blog, social media, advertising or email marketing.

Content Marketing and Social Media Marketing

While content can be spread a variety of ways, one of the best ways is via social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Google+ and YouTube. Spreading to even a small number of followers, you can get extremely broad distribution if a) influencers find it and spread it to large number of people, or b) lots of people spread it and it moves from network to network and “goes viral” (or a combination of both).

Content is the fuel of social media marketing. Without content you’d have very little (of interest) to share with people on social media and you’d have a hard time staying top of mind with them (which would impact your marketing efforts negatively!).

Here are the five types of content that I created for the Business Blogging Telesummit and my assessment of how well each worked for the event.

1) Blog Posts on my site:

The first order of business was to get some compelling content on my Right Mix Marketing site. I had been on the fence about going to Blog World LA, which was just 350 miles down the road in Los Angeles (I’m located near San Francisco). I’d missed all of the promotional pricing, so I bought a one-day pass and booked a hotel and flight. Little did I know that this event would lead to the development of blog content, pictures and videos that would play a large role in my content marketing effort.

Blog World LA-related posts:

I covered a couple of the most popular presentations at Blog World (Peter Shankman’s keynote, Guy Kawasaki & Chris Brogan on Google Plus), conducted a video interview (with Joe Pulizzi of the Content Marketing Institute), and shot a some pictures and video. The subjects and audience for this content are mostly influencers of my target market (small business marketers). This turned out to be a great way to create useful content with a ready-made audience to spread it more broadly than I possibly could have.

Business Blogging Telesummit Speaker Posts:

I also wrote three posts featuring the speakers for my event. Versus being puff pieces or purely promotional posts, I wanted to make sure they added value so people would want to share them. In addition, the speakers were naturally incentivized to spread the content via social media to help get the word out. See Business Blogging Telesummit posts.

Other Targeted Posts:

Separately, I wrote several posts about blogging, WordPress security, Guy Kawasaki’s book launch, content curation, #blogchat, and other topics of interest to marketers. These added to the content marketing mix that I hosted on my own blog. Having this content allowed me to stay top of mind for my own social media audiences on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and LinkedIn and provided content for my new friends (e.g. speakers, partners, new connections) to share as well!

While I think email marketing (both your list and affiliates) provides the most direct bump in terms of registrations, I think good, shareable content on your own blog provides a steady stream of sign-ups, gets people excited about an event, allows people to get to know you (including potential buyers), and keeps you on the radar of your speakers, participants, audience and supporters.

Score: 9 of 10

The timing of Blog World really worked to my advantage. Also, I’d say the content was solid and was shared well by my network of contacts and by key industry influencers.

Do better next time:

Next time I would do more posts featuring the presenters – including featuring them individually or getting them to do guest posts.

2) Guest Posts on other sites:

The next order of business was to make sure that I “borrowed other people’s audiences” via guest blogging. I managed to get post ideas accepted at Problogger.net, at DeniseWakeman.com and at Technorati.com. The first two posts proved to be very popular, allowed me to get in front of different audiences and also allowed me to interact with people via the comments.

This is an essential part of a launch and I’m following in the footsteps of people like Jon Morrow and Danny Iny who have used guest blogging as a powerful tool to launch a new program, book or other offering.

Score: 6 of 10

The guest posting I did was good, targeted at the right audiences, and was effective in bringing traffic and creating interest. But, more would be better!

Do better next time:

Guest blogging takes lead time and requires some up front work. I was clearly behind in my planning on this one. I was lucky to get two posts scheduled prior to the event at popular blogs! Next time I would start planning for this first and get my requests out to the target blogs. Also, I would find more blogs that are focused on niche small business topics or on specific industries and pitch articles that suited those audiences.

3) Participating in Podcasts, Online Radio Shows and Video Interviews

Part three was to get interviewed on video, on radio shows and on podcasts.  With my efforts here, I was able to secure spots on The Online Business Hour, on the Women Entreprenuer’s HQ and on Tapping To Success (on Blog Talk Radio).

This rounded out my content marketing effort and allowed people to see me in action. It also allowed my message to get on other platforms such as iTunes, Blog Tak Radio and YouTube and gave me multimedia content to post on my own site.

Score: 5 of 10

I was very happy with the interviews I did and the people who hosted me but there were not enough.

Do better next time:

Next time, I would start earlier and spend more time identifying top radio shows, podcasts or video interview series in order to have a larger set of potential venues to be featured on. I would then pitch interesting or unique topics that would intrigue the hosts.

4) Video and Photo Creation and Sharing:

In my opinion, multimedia content is an important part of a content marketing campaign. With that in mind, I create some video content as well as did some photography at Blog World LA and with the Minimalists (two my interview subjects) up in San Francisco. In addition, Denise Wakeman created a short video for the event using YouTube search stories. The video content included Blog World LA clips of Guy Kawasaki and Chris Brogan, the interview of Joe Pulizzi and telesummit promotional videos (not much “value add” in those). I shot pictures at Blog World of Mari Smith (see it on Facebook), Guy and Chris, Joe Pulizzi and Jay Baer (see it on ConvinceandConvert.com), Amber Naslund and Peter Shankman. In addition, I was interviewed on video for the Women Entrepreneur’s HQ (mentioned earlier).

The video and pictures liven up your content marketing efforts, allow you to reach people who consume information differently, enhance sharing on places like Facebook, Google+ and YouTube and allow you to be found on more social media platforms.

Score: 7 of 10

While the video portion lacked enough value-added videos, the photography portion was a nice surprise and led to a lot more sharing of both the pictures and the associated content!

Do differently next time

I was pleased to be able to include the Blog World pictures and video as part of the content marketing strategy. Also, it was important to produce some of my own videos and to include these as video responses to some other popular videos (thanks Paul Wolfe for your timely YouTube marketing tips!) . Next time I would take the time to make more valuable video content such as tips or strategies targeted at my ideal audience. I would also consider doing short video interviews with some of the presenters (again with some tips or advice).

5) Press Releases

I used PRWeb and created a press release for the event. While more promotional in nature, this can help with search engine optimization (backlinks), in getting your message out broadly via all the sites that pick up (and publish) press releases, and it can give you the opportunity to be found by the press.

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Score: 5 of 10

I think the press release was decent, but more releases may (or may not) provide more opportunities.

Do differently next time:

The jury’s still out on how much this added to the marketing of the event. If the budget was there, I would consider running a series of releases every 2 weeks or so with different messages and “angles” and then try to measure the impact in terms of press contacts and traffic generated. Another option to consider is responding to HARO (helpareporter.com) requests to get some press coverage on topics related to the event.

Final Assessment

All in all, the Content Marketing efforts were a huge success despite the limited time and resources available. The content helped bring hundreds of new visitors to both the Right Mix Marketing and the Business Blogging Telesummit sites. While the affiliate and email marketing efforts led to probably two-thirds of the sign-ups, the Content Marketing probably brought in one to two hundred new subscribers. The advertising efforts were probably the least successful (although some portion of it fed into the Content Marketing).

In addition to subscribers, the content – including blog posts, videos, pictures and audio – also helped to keep the event top-of-mind with the audience and the speakers. It also gave people a chance to get to know me and the interview subjects in a much deeper way. Another great side benefit is that it allowed me to model Content Marketing in action for a major event that featured Content Marketing as a major component!

Let me know your thoughts? What would you have added to the Content Marketing plan?

Tom Treanor is the President of Right Mix Marketing, helping businesses with content marketing strategy. Get a sample of the Business Blogging Telesummit small business online marketing training.

31 Comments

  1. Josh Sarz says:

    Great points on content marketing, Tom. Consider me a reader.

  2. Chris Nadeau says:

    Tom, great post and thanks for sharing the good and bad with each area.

    Being an event, one area I noticed you didn’t try and maybe it was on purpose, but what about a #hashtag for the event on Twitter? Even for virtual events this seems to work well.

    I find this is a great way to create buzz for your event in real time.

    Maybe you did do this, but didn’t share. Thanks again!

    • Tom Treanor says:

      Thanks Chris! Yes, I should have mentioned that I created a hashtag #blogsummit that I used actively. I plugged a link for each interview and in the emails that would allow peopel to quickly tweet things like “Join me for the … featuring… today! #blogsummit (Link)”. I also tied this to giveaways of Engagement from Scratch and my book, SEO Boot Camp. This definitely worked well and created a ton of buzz. Thanks for the reminder!

  3. Way to knock it out of the park, Tom! Very well rounded and systematic approach.

    I really enjoy content marketing. As you mentioned it provides value, which is extremely important. You’ve outlined the many different avenues one can take. The more you can serve your customer, client, audience, the better. Great article.

  4. Ryan | Strategies in Content Creation says:

    Tom,

    You are an extremely valuable resource dude. I’m am still relatively new to the content marketing scene in any type of hardcore fashion so there is a lot for me to take out of this so all I’ll say is Thank You and Well Done!

    Ryan H>

  5. Sylviane Nuccio says:

    Thanks Tom,

    This post is full of great ideas that once can use to create other blog competion ideas. Thanks for all the details you are revealing. I will put tem to good use for inspiration.

  6. Hey Tom,
    You included lots of great tips here, but I’m especially glad you explained the strategy of interviewing people at BlogWorld in such detail. I bet a lot of people go to seminars/conferences, even networking meetings and would never think they could create content within that experience. Even if you don’t get the interview then and there, or would prefer not to, it’s still a good way to set up future interviews and fill your content calendar.

    • Tom Treanor says:

      Thanks Cheryl,
      Yes, I prepared for the blog world interviews, photography and note-taking but had no idea if things would work out – you never know if great opportunities for content will materialize at a live event but the pay off can be great!

  7. Jeanne Pi says:

    Wow, this was a big undertaking! My hat’s off to you.

    An idea you might want consider for your next project is to use a link bait such as an infographic. Inforgraphics seem to be all the rage these days. A well-conceived infographic can go viral.

    People love visuals. Especially ones that give you a quick snapshot of something that would otherwise take a long post to explain. And people love to share infographics.

    KISSmetrics uses infographics to great effect. Their most popular infographic brought in over 4,000 tweets and Facebook likes. If you can somehow tie in useful information with the topics of your telesummit, I think this would be a great way to get PR.

    • Tom Treanor says:

      Jeanne,

      You are so right about that. I could/should have created an infographic for the event! I did create one that still gets shared and commented on so I definitel agree with you on the power of the visual. Thanks for the comment!

  8. Wow…

    I um, dunno what to say, Tom. Sounds like you tackled a phenomenal task in a short time with… interesting levels of preparation and succeeded.

    I’ve done it before, and there is absolutely nothing wrong with it. In fact, some of the world’s most powerful creations come about this way.

    Even cooler than that though, is that you shared all these amazing content-marketing lessons and experiences. I know it gave me a lot of insight and ideas to try. (One step at a time, J.)

    Keep ryzing man! Woo!

    • Tom Treanor says:

      Thanks Jason! Yes, it was a big meal to swallow – bigger than originally planned. That really helps you learn fast though. When you stretch yourself, knowing that you’ll be able to do something but not quite knowing how…until you do it!

  9. Your project reminds me of what Social Media Examiner does several time a year. If you’re not familiar check it out- you could probably leverage some of the things they do.
    Good for you for gettin’ your booty down to LA for that conference – I plan to generate lots of content at the next conference I attend – they’re terrific for that.

  10. Ileane says:

    Hi Tom, great to see you guest posting here! I’m impressed with the work you’ve done. I thought about guest posting on Technorati and it’s encouraging to see that you’ve already been there done that! Thanks for sharing your strategies.

    • Tom Treanor says:

      Hi Ileane – you’re just about everyone I go but I’m glad I beat you to Technorati! They’re a friendly bunch and I’m trying to do my part to help one of the big blogging stalwarts. Thanks for the comment!

  11. Paul Jun says:

    Hey bold move, love how you recorded and have all your results right in front of you — BAM.

    Many people can learn all sorts of lesson from your project. Out of all the marketing ideas and strategies, I really do love guest posting, but that’s also because we’re both students of the class ;)

    • Tom Treanor says:

      Hey Paul – it’s all there in living color. Actually I think I missed a few things but who’s counting when you’re pulling a couple of all-nighters! See you back in class!

  12. Hey Tom, This is a great piece!
    I am a HUGE fan of content marketing and have it as a majority stakeholder in my regular marketing strategy. I have to admit that I’ve only really begun to think about content marketing as a build up to a single event or promotion. It’s one of those realisations that only come when you step out of the trenches and look at the big picture.

    I am full of admiration for the task you undertook as it really seems like a big wheel that needs a lot of effort to get moving but once it’s going whammo, the momentum is powerful!

    You listed some excellent ways to create useful (and socially proofed) content which has definitely got me thinking about how I can add depth to my own content marketing. Most of all I’m not aware of the time needed to really get the momentum going. Thanks!

  13. Jane says:

    A really useful information. You have covered many points which are very important in a blogger’s life. These kind of interviews will encourage bloggers to streamline their activities in a better way and thus succeed more.

  14. Tom Treanor says:

    Belinda,

    I love that content marketing is a majority stakeholder of your marketing strategy. I’m a huge fan as well. It was a huge wheel to turn but I (recently) hate to start things and not finish so there you have it. Thank you for the input – I appreciate it!

  15. Hi Tom,

    There’s not much you missed, but as you said, more is more with content marketing :)

    The best part of your post was the practicality of it. Posts about content marketing are almost always only theoretical and at least they lack the benefit of hindsight. Thanks for sharing :)

  16. Priya says:

    Wow, what an amazing post Tom. Thanks for sharing so much of your efforts with us. I love the way you scored everything as well, and gave pointers on how to improve for next time.
    I’ve been reading a lot of philosophical marketing blogs lately, that are great on the theory and strategy but not so hot on actually giving tactics for using those strategies.
    Your post is so detailed I’ve added it to Read it Later and Evernote as a handy resource for checking back on again and again.

  17. Rana Shahbaz says:

    Tom,

    Thank you for sharing your experience and I am sure it will help lot of people to understand content marketing in a easy way.

    There is no doubt about the effectiveness of the content marketing. I would add one more benefit of content marketing to your list is that the shelf life of content marketing is quite long and all the content you created will keep bringing you the traffic in coming days or even months as well.

  18. Pinakin says:

    Hi Tom,

    I am pinakin….i don’t usually make comments on the blogs but you have very nice writing skills

    Now to the question i want to ask you is how to invite people for guest blogging i know there are some site around but they offer really very low quality articles many time i have found a spun articles on their sites….i wanted to start a blogging carnival where a quality author can have platform to my audience but i m not able to find a quality writers….so the article on finding quality guest author will be very much interesting to read :)

    Kind Regards
    Pinakin

  19. [...] guest posts on other blogs. I’ve even had writing relationships with Copyblogger, Problogger, Firepole Marketing, DeniseWakeman.com, Basic Blog Tips, Social Buzz Club and some others we can talk another [...]

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