The illusion of controlling our own destiny is always more real than actual reality. When you look at it, we are in control of very little. Knowing that and concentrating our main efforts only on those aspects we can control is what differentiates the successful from the rest.
So what has this got to do with marketing? Quite a lot actually. This whole post was inspired by a conversation with a potential client the other day. They wanted a content marketing campaign built from scratch and almost entirely centred around social media. It is something we do, but it isn’t the way we usually do things.
First, let’s set the scene of a typical marketing campaign. Let’s use a fictional content marketing client in Cornwall. They are launching a new brand and want to build an audience and promote brand awareness. Usually, this would involve a website, some social media presence, a few press releases, some free offers to begin building an email list and a blog.
A lot of effort will go into creating content for social media sites like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. We would also usually suggest a PPC campaign to help build awareness. Blog posts would be published on guest sites, we would write content for Reddit (depending on the target audience) and work with other creatives on content for sites such as Vimeo, YouTube and Pinterest.
So far, so good right?
Wrong. The one thing all that effort has in common is that it depends on other people. The campaign requires a lot of effort, time and a bit of money to get off the ground, yet we are ceding control of all that effort to those third party websites. As we have seen with the likes of MySpace, Digg or Squidoo, those websites aren’t always the most reliable.
Remember the empty high streets of 2008/9? When landlords increased rents while shops were earning less? How many hundreds of businesses went down because of something out of their control? How many landlords eventually went the same way out of greed or poor management?
While social media is of course vital to any marketing campaign, the campaign itself should not revolve around it. We don’t control Facebook, we don’t control Twitter and we have seen how both sites make some interesting decisions about the direction they move in. Would you want to pin your fortunes onto something you couldn’t control?
Concentrate on yourself first
In our opinion, the key to a successful marketing campaign is beginning with what you control. That means building a quality website for the brand, setting up a blog with regular quality content, including an offer to help build an email list and produce lots of printed and digital material that you can publish where and when you’re ready to do so.
You could also add a series of minisites that mutually support each other that you also control. For example, we do a lot of work for a car dealership in Canada. As well as general content and blogs, we also run some minisites for them. Subjects like car detailing tips, workshop tips, how to save on car running costs and so on.
All are only a few pages each, but all support the primary business both for marketing purposes and SEO. More importantly, all are controlled by the company. Each has its own audience and participants and each has its own host. It helps engagement, SEO and authority. All powerful inducements.
Only once the basics are taken care of should any marketing campaign branch out. We always promote our posts and content on social media, but only put time and effort into building exclusive content once we have plenty of material within our client’s control.