It’s time to talk about cross-promoting content as we approach week three of Project Open Robe, the real-life, almost-real-time, warts-bunions-and-all case study of our B2B Marketing Manifesto campaign. The idea is simple: in every piece of content you produce, tell the reader (or listener or viewer) about the most relevant other pieces of content you’ve produced. Why? Three good reasons:
- To add value for the reader
- To deepen your relationship with them
- To help drive the key metrics for those earlier pieces
Remember: you’re marketing to someone who has already proven that they’re interested in what you have to say. Getting them to download another piece will be a lot easier than earning a new download from a ‘cold’ prospect.
We did this in the B2B Marketing Manifesto, by shamelessly promoting two pieces of earlier content: The Holy Trinity of B2B Marketing and The Content Marketing Workbook. Why? Because these are our two most important pieces of content (along with the Manifesto itself). They tell people exactly what we do, why we do it and why we think it makes for more effective marketing.
A quick reminder of the idea behind all of this content stuff: we want to attract the kind of marketer that really values what we do best. When someone reads any or all three of these ‘marquee’ pieces, then gets in touch, we know something really important about them: that we are twice as likely to do great work for them and be fairly compensated for it than we would be for the average B2B schmo who stumbles over the threshold of Velocity Villas.
You probably have just this kind of content in your library too. The stuff that will get your best prospect to stand up, wave his hand in the air like a second-grader who needs the loo and start singing, “Sell to me! Sell to me!”. (If you don’t have this signature content, stop reading and go make it).
The problem is, for a lot of companies like yours, the very best piece of content may have been done a long time ago. Maybe it’s buried under lots of more recent, but lighter weight stuff. Cross-promotion lets you drag it back into the spotlight so it can keep working hard for you.
In the Manifesto, we shamelessly plugged the Holy Trinity and Content Marketing Workbook, using links that bristle with Neil’s analytics codes. The URLs ain’t pretty but they’re hidden behind the anchor text anyway and they give Neil and his team of pizza-eating geeks lots of great data to absorb and regurgitate (we tend to bring our wellies when we talk to them). Here’s what the link to the Content Marketing Workbook looked like under the innocent-looking anchor text:
Notice the little clues in there? “source = pdf”, “medium = pdf” and “campaign = manifesto”. That tells Neil and his underpaid daleks exactly where this click came from — via the Google Analytics dashboard and in the emails we get whenever someone fills out a CM Workbook download form.
Note: we don’t use a form for the Holy Trinity so it’s a bit trickier to measure success. We should have used a ‘Thank you for downloading the Holy Trinity’ page back when we published it, but we were babes in the analytical woods back then. (Note to self: must go back and do this).
So looking just at the Content Marketing Workbook, did the cross promotion work? You bet your B2B arse it did:
- We had 87 downloads of the Content Marketing Workbook in the last ten days (including the weekend). That’s about four times what we’d expect if we had done no cross-promotion at all (The Workbook has been a big hit but, with zero promotion, downloads were down to a trickle).
- Of the 87 downloads, 70 came directly from the link in the B2B Marketing Manifesto. Neil tells me that’s about 80% of the downloads.
Here’s a pretty picture to drive home the point:
You can see that traffic to the Content Marketing Workbook landing page is way up in the last couple weeks (the blue line) compared to the previous weeks (the green). We love graphs like this. You can also see that Page Views have gone up by 224%. Average Time on Page went down but only by a hundredth of a second (call us unsophisticated but we just can’t beat ourselves up about this one); and the Bounce Rate went up almost 3% — again, not a killer.
The analytics report breaks all this down by source (and every other damn dimension) but it’s the topline we’re really interested in right now. And the conclusion is clear: as well as getting lots and lots of downloads itself, The B2B Marketing Manifesto is driving downloads of our other signature pieces too. A lot of marketers forget to even measure this knock-on effect — they’re watching the metrics of the new content piece like a hawk and forget to capture the ripple effects on the back catalog.
We’ll report more thoroughly on this in future Open Robe posts. But here are a few things we’ve already learned about cross-promotion:
- Actively cross-promote – every new piece of content is an opportunity to promote other pieces — don’t miss it!
- Make it relevant – don’t plug everything, plug the stuff that helps the reader drill down further on a given point
- Use trackable URLs – so you know exactly where the download spikes are coming from
- Do a Further Resources section – a great place to share your work (and the work of other good people); We didn’t do this for the Manifesto (for some good reasons), but we did it for the Content Marketing Workbook. It adds value and drives downloads.
- Measure your success – and let people know about it; we B2B marketers need to dust off our trumpets
- Go back and sprinkle links – just because a piece of content is already published, doesn’t mean you can’t revise it to cross-promote more recent work.
- Think about what this reader needs from you at this moment – it’s called ‘mapping content to the purchase journey’ but our jargon alarm goes off whenever we say this and the neighbours are starting to complain.
So there you have it: some good reasons to cross-promote your content and a few handy tips to get you going.
If you missed the earlier (or later) Project Open Robe posts, here they are (because cross promotion is addictive):
Project Open Robe Part 1 – the one where we commit ourselves in public (Planning)
Project Open Robe Part 2 – the one where it all kicks off (Thinking)
Project Open Robe Part 3 – the one where confidence starts to rise (First results)
Project Open Robe Part 4 – the one where the trick shots start (Cross-promotion)
Project Open Robe Part 5 – the one where we share the first month’s results (Reviewing)
Project Open Robe Part 6 – the one where we toughen up (Soul Searching)
Project Open Robe Part 7 – the one where we find the world’s best marketers (Segmenting)
Project Open Robe Part 8 – the one where we show that design isn’t everything (Style v Substance)
Project Open Robe Part 9 – the one where lead nurturing proves its worth (Marketo)
Project Open Robe Part 10 – the one where the form fights back (Form v No Form)
Project Open Robe Part 11 – the one about autoDMs in Twitter
Project Open Robe Part 12 – the one about re-purposing and atomising your content
Project Open Robe Part 13 – the one with an early peek at the outcomes
Project Open Robe Part 14 – the one where it ends (before it starts again)