We were all there: They plan, start and wait eagerly for the numerous results of a content campaign to be disappointed when it comes to a standstill. But it's not all lost yet: there are clever ways to give your failed campaigns a second chance in life and earn the links you missed the first time. In this popular whiteboard Friday from 2018, MozCon spokeswoman Shannon McGuirk kindly gives us a five-step plan to breathe new life into a dead content campaign.

What to do if the content fails?

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Video transcription

Hello Moz fans. Welcome to this issue of Whiteboard Friday. I'm Shannon McGuirk. I'm Head of PR and Content at a UK-based digital marketing agency called Aira.

Now, over the course of my time, I've launched a number of creative content and digital PR campaigns, too many to mention. But the ones that really come to my mind are the failed campaigns, the ones that broke away from the link numbers I wanted to reach, and the ones that were pretty painful on the customer and stakeholder side.

Over the past few years, I've developed a few steps and tactics that essentially help me get campaigns going, and I wanted to walk you through them today. Today I'm going to talk to you about comebacks from content campaigns and what to do if your content campaign fails.

Step one: Reevaluate your outreach efforts

Now take it back to when you started the campaign for the first time.

  • Did you contact the right journalists?
  • Did you visit the right publications?
  • Be realistic. At this point, remember to be realistic. Choosing ABC News and The Daily Telegraph may not be a good idea. Take it to the next level, go to industry blogs, more niche publications that give you more traction.
  • Do some research. In essence, that's what I'm saying.
  • Less is always more in my opinion. I saw prospect and media lists with up to 500 contacts that sent blank, cold emails. For me it's a boo-boo. I'd rather have 50 people on this media list whose first names I know, I know the last three articles they wrote, and I can also tell you what publications they were on, so I know what interests them. It will really increase your chances of success during the relaunch.

Step two: stories vs. statement

This is when you need to think about stories and statements. Pull it out right away and think about the hook or the angle that your entire campaign is about. Can you say that in one sentence? If you understand it in one sentence, that's amazing, because that's the core thing you'll tell journalists.

To make this really tangible, so that you understand what I'm saying, I have an example of a story statement for a recent campaign we did for one of our automotive customers. Here is my example of a statement. "Customer X has determined that the UK's most dangerous roads are X, Y, Z." That is the statement. Let's spice things up a bit now. "New data show that 8 out of 10 of the UK's most dangerous roads are in London as cyclist deaths reach an all-time high."

Can you tell the difference between a story and a statement? I cling to something in society that is really important right now because cyclist deaths are reaching an all-time high. In addition, I immediately give him powerful status and then integrate him into the city of London.

Step three: create a package

So this seems like a no-brainer and a really obvious one, but it's incredibly important when trying to get your content campaign back from the dead. Remember to create a package. We all know that journalists face tight deadlines. They have KPIs related to the articles they have to publish every day. So Give them absolutely everything they need for your campaign.

I've put together a checklist for you, and you can check it off if you go downstairs.

  • T.Third party expert or opinion. If you are concerned with health and nutrition, look for a doctor or nutritionist who can give you a comment for free – remember that you will do the hard work for the PR team. Include them in all the press releases, that you will write.
  • Make sure your data and methodology are watertight. Prepare a methodology statement and get all your data and research on a google sheet that you can share with journalists in a really open and transparent way.
  • Press release. It seems easy, but you should write out a well-written press release or supporting copy in good time before the relaunch date so that you have the resources to support a journalist. You can take snippets of this copy, shape it, customize it, and then create your own article on the back.
  • New designs & pictures. Once you've worked on new designs and images, put them on a shared Google drive and share them with the press. You can dive into this guide if necessary and make sure you have a visual element for your potential item.
  • Exclusive options. One last thing here that can occasionally be overlooked is that you want to hold something back. Whether it's really important statistics, a comment from the MD or the CEO, or just additional designs or images for graphics, I would keep them in your back pocket, as you may have one or the other journalist at a really high DA- / Find authority publication Ask like Mail Online or The Telegraph for something exclusive on behalf of their publisher.

Step four: ask an expert

Think differently about working with journalists and influencers than asking them to report on your creative content campaigns and generate links. Build a solid network of freelance journalists who can ask for feedback on ideas directly. Now it can be any aspect of the idea you are asking for feedback on. You can select dates, angles, start times, design and images. It doesn't really matter. But they know what that killer angle and snag needs to be in order to write an article and essentially get a link. So tap on it and ask them what they think about your content campaign before you restart.

Step five: restart the timings

This is the only thing you need to consider just before the relaunch, but it's the relaunch timings. Did you really pay enough attention to it when you first started? You may not have one and something has slipped through the net here.

  • Awareness Days. Therefore, be sure to check the awareness days. This can be anything from the National Proposal Day for a wedding customer, or it can be Internet of Things Day for a larger electrical company or something. It doesn't really matter. However, if you can tie it to a day of awareness, it means that there is already media interest, journalists are writing on the subject, and there is a way for your content.
  • World events. Again, think of everything to do with elections or world disasters like tornadoes and bad weather, as this means that the press will be over-saturated with everything to do with them and you may want to hold back yours Relaunch until the dust settles and give your content campaign the best chance of success in round two.
  • Seasonality. It's not just Christmas. It is also Easter, Mother's Day, Valentine's Day. Think about what time of year you're starting and whether your content campaign is really relevant at that time of year. At home in the UK, for example, we don't start content campaigns in the run-up to Christmas unless it's Christmas content because it's not relevant and the press is already interested in one seasonal thing.
  • Vacation. Holidays in the sense of half-time and summer holidays, since journalists are not in the office and you therefore reduce your chances of success when you call them or throw your emails at them.

So there are my five steps to comeback your content campaign. I know you were all there, boys, and I would love to hear how you overcame some of these hurdles to bring your content campaigns back to life. Feel free to comment below. I hope you will be with me for another Whiteboard Friday soon. Many thanks.

Video transcription from Speechpad.com

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