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Conquering Content Marketing, Step 3: Facing the 'Fans'

Dan Cristo
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Lisa Hughes is Sorry

Previously, on British Outfitters ...

Lisa Hughes, a New York-based content marketer for UK clothing and apparel company British Outfitters, was talking to her boss' boss, Holly Spaulding on an urgent weekend phone call.

The company had been going through a PR crisis, created by Lisa's previous boss, Don, who made some online enemies with a provocative and unpopular marketing campaign. Holly let Lisa know that Don had been let go, and Lisa was now responsible for turning around the U.S. marketing efforts or British Outfitters would pull out of the U.S. entirely, shutting down their New York office.

Missed either of the previous two installments and want to catch up now? See "Conquering Content Marketing in 5 Steps: It All Starts With a Plan" and then "Conquering Content Marketing, Step 2: The Content (and Plot) Develops" before continuing.

Ready? Let's go.

The Video

Lisa unlocked the door to her apartment, and drifted in. She flipped on the lights, set down her coat, and started toward her closet. "Just got to do it," she mumbled to herself. She found her camcorder buried in an old box, and set it up in front of her couch.

When Lisa stepped in for Don a few weeks ago, she suspended all marketing activity, but the company's bashing continued across social media. The PR group tried waiting for the whole thing to blow over, to no avail. They finally issued a press release, but it only served to fuel the fire. Lisa knew what needed to be done, so she leaned over and pressed the red record button.

She uploaded her video to the British Outfitters YouTube account, and went to bed.

With so much drama on her mind lately she often dreamed of work, but tonight she tossed and turned. She finally picked up her smartphone and thumbed through British Outfitters' Twitter account, paying careful attention to the most vocal tweets in the bunch from the still-angry mob of moms.

After a few tweets back and forth from her personal Twitter account, Lisa decided to share her video with them. Immediately, the tweeters' tone changed from irate and angry to unsure, then to somewhat friendly.

Soon, 10 or so moms from the group were discussing ways to spread the word about Lisa's video. One even suggested a brainstorming session the next day on Google+ Hangouts to talk through some ideas for British Outfitters' new marketing direction. This was a very exciting development for Lisa, and after some logistics were nailed down, she called it a night, and tried to get a few hours of sleep.

The Hangout

"What exactly are you hoping to get out of this?" asked Mike. Mike was British Outfitters' head of IT, and he'd just received Lisa's odd request to set up some video conferencing equipment in her office.

"I'm not exactly sure," Lisa responded. "I just want to meet them and see if they can help me fix this mess."

"OK. You're all set. Click that icon right there, and you'll join the hangout." Lisa thanked Mike, and the door closed. She took a deep breath and entered the video chat.

"There she is!" yelled one women with a strong southern accent and a big grin. Lisa had snagged the last video spot, but others joined the chat shortly after. Within minutes there were more than 30 women busily chatting with each other. They were asking questions, talking about Lisa's video and suggesting ideas to help repair British Outfitters' tarnished image.

"You can't just throw a TV ad up on YouTube, and call it social media!" one woman exclaimed. "You need to help people."

"These girls don't understand what clothing works for their body type," she continued. "You guys should create some videos about that."

Another women chimed in, "My daughter doesn't wash her jeans for months. Then, after they're all worn and creased, she hand washes them in our tub to make them look more distressed."

At this point, Lisa stopped talking, and started taking down notes.

"My daughter doesn't even use Facebook anymore. All her friends are on Instagram," someone said.

Lisa jumped in, "How about some sort of photo contest on Instagram?"

A few women liked the idea, but one of them pointed out that contests like that lack SEO value. Lisa was astonished. These ladies were savvy; it turns out many of them were experienced bloggers who understood the ins and outs of online marketing.

Someone suggested, "What if the contest was about girls taking videos of their favorite outfits, and they voted on the British Outfitters website? This way your SEO will benefit from the links and social mentions."

Lisa forgot that Instagram even did video, but she really liked the idea and followed up with, "How about we use the winning videos in a TV commercial?" Everyone agreed, and they spent the next hour talking about ways to promote and market the campaign.


Commercial Break

Content optimization, which is the third in our five-step Content Marketing Framework, is rooted in the idea of fine-turning a piece of content for a specific outcome.

Content Optimization

In our story, Lisa is looking to achieve brand visibility, high engagement with her target demographic, and search engine optimization benefits. She is planning to achieve these goals across different platforms, all working together as part of an integrated whole.

  • For brand visibility, Lisa can take advantage of the video format, and can place the content in multiple channels: Instagram, the British Outfitters website, YouTube and television.
  • For high engagement, Lisa can tap into influencers such as teen celebrities who have highly engaged audiences on social networks such as Instagram or Tumblr.
  • For SEO, Lisa can use the British Outfitters website as the campaign hub, with numerous spokes of consumer engagement meant to generate more traffic to the site Contest details, submissions, voting and video viewing will generate a flurry of activity and buzz, which will get picked up by bloggers and news aggregators, and will result in plenty of valuable links and social shares.

When the actual content is created there will need to be an element of technical optimization by way of keyword placement, engaging copy and effective calls to action, but these activities are secondary to releasing quality content that both users and search engines can react to.

Now Back to Our Story ...

It took several weeks for Lisa to get approval for the Instagram video campaign, but things were coming together. IT informed Lisa that the site was almost ready to accept the video submissions and voting for the campaign, and the legal team finally approved the contest wording.

Monday before the campaign launch, Lisa was in the office packing her things up for the day. She planned on meeting a friend for a quick bite to eat and a movie.

As she headed toward her office door her phone rang. She considered letting it go to voice mail, but she hated knowing that there was a mysterious message waiting for her all night, so she picked up the receiver.

"Lisa, it's Tim from PR. Did you see the email I just forwarded you?"

Lisa could sense excitement in his voice.

"Hi, Tim; no I haven't looked. I'm just about to leave. Can I check it tomorrow?"

"You should really read it now. You're going to want to see this."

Lisa let out a quiet sigh and opened her email. She clicked on Tim's forwarded message, and quickly scanned it. Her eye widened, and her mouth hung open in disbelief.

"They stole it. They stole everything!"

To Be Continued...

What did they steal and who did it? Will Lisa's cross-platform campaign be thwarted? Join us next month for part four of our content marketing series.


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