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7 Steps for Structuring a Product Campaign
Posted on April 19th 2014
We’re going to create a company, build a campaign, and capture the interest of news outlets and millions of unexpecting online viewers. Why? Because this is done all the time.
In this case, a content campaign is going to be used to push a new product out into the market by Company XYZ. The XYZer is the latest innovation in technology, a living accessory that puts others to shame and held its ground at the world’s most popular tech conventions. The prototype generated decent exposure, but now, with social platforms and blogs rolling out by the day, it’s time to think long term.
The Game Plan
Our goal is simple: To prepare the world for the XYZer. It speaks for itself, of course, though the already flooded tech industry tends to drown innovation. Fine — we’ll just have to double our efforts and create a content campaign that utilizes our growing social media fan base, website, and other online assets.
It’s three months until release and the marketing department has some breathing room to build up a campaign that’ll turn heads and generate hype like never before. Content is our weapon.
1. The Press-Friendly Content
We’ll begin by publishing pre-release content. This includes:
- A press release packed with product information and the release date. This is sent to tech media outlets and local sources for syndication.
- A series of buildup tweets and Facebook posts, such as: “The XYZer will ship in t-minus 90 days! More info on our website and press release.”
- Build specific pages on our website introducing the XYZer. This includes updates and purchasing information.
Images and specs of the product need to be implemented in the content and periodically updated/sent out through various channels.
It’s time to earn the social media presence the XYZer deserves. Let’s start by laying out a few ground rules (a product style guide, if I may).
- #XYZer is the hashtag of choice for social media posts.
- All posts will be scheduled out in advance and revised for grammar and concision.
- 1-2 Facebook posts per day (max) and at least 3 tweets.
- LinkedIn and Google+ are reserved for links to important blog posts, news mentions, and releases.
- Common blog tags will be used. “Technology,” for instance, and others that apply.
- Blocks of time per day will be set aside for responding to social comments, shares, and likes.
These strategies may sound vague, though setting the ground rules is a good way to lock down a campaign calendar. By knowing how much you should post and promote every day, you can work in advance and spend more time on the big-hitter campaigns mentioned below.
3. Content Optimization
We’re going to reassess our online assets before publishing anything else. Google Authorship needs to be up and running for blog posts, our Facebook cover image is a year old, Twitter’s new features need investigating, and our LinkedIn page is a bit dusty.
The social assets are important, though the blog and website are at the heart of the XYZer campaign. We need to approach our Web development team and make sure the site is perfect and ready for pushing our big content, that the blog is in top shape, and all the back-end search marketing is in place. All that “SEO” stuff will just get in the way of writing quality material.
We also need to consider combining our efforts to create a “brand persona” for the XYZer (one a bit more exciting than Company XYZ’s current persona). Do we already have a dedicated blog persona we use to curate and publish our content? No? Then we need to create one and even consider building that persona on social media profiles in conjunction with Company XYZ.
4. Social Assets
The social media side of things will be a constant workload for this campaign. We’ll be working week to week up to the release (and well beyond it, I assure you). Our goal is to pre-write a number of posts so we can focus on the big picture. Using a calendar that we work on together, we’ll collect links related to our product, images from our branding team, and write original content for Facebook and Twitter.
If the assets are in place, we can even plan out our blog posts and press release announcements on social media. If not, then we’ll have to go into our social channels the day of publication to promote them.
Early on, let’s make sure to start following tech advocates, journalists, and press outlets on Twitter and Google+. When the time comes, we can begin tweeting @ them (especially useful once we come nearer to launch).
5. The Blog
The blog is the main arm of this campaign. It’s our job to promote Company XYZ and, at the same time, grow online interest in the world-changing XYZer.
We’re going to plan to write two types of blog content:
- The general “Company XYZ-sponsored” post that answers questions people might ask about technology and the industry our company is part of. These are standard for businesses and effective at generating a broad group of visitors.
- The specific XYZer and its merit to society post. These posts are a bit more promotional in nature but don’t have to be. This may include 10 ways to use the XYZer, the XYZer’s appearance in a tech showroom, product updates, and the XYZer vs. our nearest competitor.
We want to avoid repurposing press releases and tech-heavy content in our posts. If we have something important to say about our product, let’s either tweet it or save it for a weekly update post.
Most of this content can be written well in advance, giving us more time to focus on micro-promotion and building relationships with fans. Let’s aim to publish as many high-quality blogs as we can. How about three general posts and two product-specific ones per week?
6. The Media Blitz
And now launch is getting closer. By now our social and blog content should be automatic and unchanging, though our big-hitter posts about the XYZer need to be published sooner to release.
Our goal here is to wave red flags to media outlets and popular Twitter handles within the tech industry. We can do this by tweeting articles directly at them, sending them press releases, or seeing if they’d be interested in a pre-release XYZer for a review piece. The more attention we generate, the more ammo we have for sharing.
The media blitz is easier for big companies with high levels of exposure. Company XYZer, however, isn’t a Fortune 500 technology company. Not yet, at least. For now, let’s focus on smaller Web-based publications and virtually wine and dine every reporter, journalist, and columnist we come across.
The blitz persists through launch, which brings us to the final step in our content campaign.
7. The Launch
After a 90-day countdown, 70 some blogs, 180 Facebook posts, 400ish tweets, and more LinkedIn connections and plus ones than we can stomach, the XYZer is finally released. That hard work paid off because more people are aware of the launch than before.
Dealing with the post-launch requires more attention to detail and preventing any backlash from unsatisfied customers (there are none, at least not the ones who understand the XYZer). Now’s the time to micro-manage comments and turn these fans into prospective customers and buyers.
The result? More media exposure than a company 20 years ago could generate in an entire year.