Another episode of Peak Ace on Air, and another episode where we couldn’t help but chat for a full hour. It’s hard to avoid when your guest and the topic are both so interesting! We were delighted to welcome James Brockbank – he’s such an expert when it comes to international content marketing campaigns.
As the founder and managing director of a content marketing agency Digitaloft, James has more than 10 years of SEO and digital PR under his belt. He told us all about how the UK industry has evolved since he started and how it has changed since the onset of the pandemic.
James said he felt COVID pushed the digital PR scene back into 2016 and 2017, when digital PR was accomplished with an arsenal of small, infographic-type assets. As we all know, 2020 was not a good year for big campaigns: with corona dominating the news, campaigns are always at risk of becoming irrelevant overnight.
On another note, the UK is a great example for us in Europe. UK journalists have often “been there, done that” when it comes to things that make waves here on the continent. For example: data-driven campaigns, which James said have been wowing the Nordics, are something UK journalists have already been receiving daily for some time. So, let’s keep following British agencies for some great digital PR inspiration.
John Miller’s digital PR endorsing Tweet
John Miller from Google caused a commotion among SEO and content marketing/digital PR circles as he openly endorsed digital PR in his tweet, stating that it can even be more important than technical SEO. A lot of people took it literally, but Bastian, Domi and James agreed that if your website is not optimised for SEO on a technical level, even great campaigns will go nowhere. And, on the other hand, if your website is technically top notch, you’ll need great digital PR too if you want to truly grow the business.
What makes a content campaign successful?
First: know your audience. Content campaigns should amplify your brand’s message and you can’t do that without understanding your target audience.
Second: know your market. Your content needs to fit with the business as well.
The journalist ensures that your message reaches your target audience, so they need to easily understand why this content comes from you. If there’s a mismatch, e.g. a brand talks about corona, or PPE, when their product doesn’t really relate to it, then their content is less likely to be understood and passed on to readers or viewers of the media.
Which metrics to track the content campaigns with
In digital PR, the goal is generally: links, links and more links. But James, Bastian and Domi all agreed that a great content marketing campaign can (and should) deliver a lot more than “just” links. Focusing on gaining follow links alone might lead you to dismiss great coverage from a respected online publication with a large audience, but which only gives no-follow links. However, this exposure might lead to a surge in referral traffic to the site, more brand searches and even more subscribers or clients.
James also said the purpose of a content campaign should be getting the brand’s message out there – the links are more of a by-product. Solely concentrating on building links might also affect the content quality, limiting its performance in other areas. The demand for content marketing to have an impact on revenue has been increasing – and rightfully so. When done and measured right, digital PR can have a real impact on the bottom line.
What makes an international content campaign successful?
This question is more or less the same as for any content marketing campaign: know your audience. An international content campaign needs to be relevant in all the target countries. You need to actively research your audience in each region about how relevant the topic really is.
There are certain topics, for example pop culture, which can be used to reach audiences worldwide with no changes at all. Others are relevant globally but require some localisation work in order to really be a hit.
Client’s own data: should it be used in campaigns?
According to James, a client’s own data can be a major asset in standing out from the competition, as this data can’t be accessed by anybody else. Google trends and search data for example are publicly available to everyone, so there’s the risk that someone else somewhere has also already covered the same data. However, the data always need to be trustworthy and representative – a client’s own data might not always fulfil these requirements.
James gave an example of this by presenting a data-driven campaign Digitaloft did for Cosmetify, a price comparison site for beauty products. The client didn’t have enough data to justify a content piece, so they collected data from Google trends, search and Instagram, to create a Cosmetify Index about the hottest beauty brands. So, when used creatively, publicly available data can work wonders.
Then all of a sudden, we were about to hit the one hour mark and Bastian had to wrap it up! Luckily, he managed to get a promise out of James to come back soon to discuss the topic further. You don’t have to wait, however – to learn more about international content campaigns, why not check out our recaps of content localisation best practices and international outreach. And follow us on social media (e.g. Linkedin) to stay up to date with Peak Ace on Air!