There’s nothing novel about creating a piece of content with a group of contributors.
This is commonplace in B2B marketing circles worldwide.
Content marketing is a grind and any opportunity where we can take off the executioner hat and trade it for the facilitator hat is welcomed.
We like collaborative content projects because they give us the opportunity to network with people like us, share some links, and gain exposure to new audiences.
Co-marketing campaigns allow for companies to gain exposure in new distribution channels.
We spent all of this time crafting blog posts, creating YouTube videos, and hosting podcast episodes with the hope that someone finds them organically, subscribes, enters the content funnel, and eventually becomes a customer.
It’s work that takes a lot of consistency, patience, and testing.
Why wouldn’t we try to buy the fast pass to new audiences by collaborating with companies who serve similar customers?
It’s a no brainer. It happens all of the time.
It happens outside of B2B marketing.
Just think about hip-hop music.
Would Eminem have gotten so massive without Forgot about Dre?
What about Nicki Minaj without Kanye’s Monster?
Gaining exposure from other people’s platforms is what makes the world go round.
The perfect chord is struck and true harmony is found when we focus our collaborations around the message that we want to take to market.
We should not decide on the participants of the joint venture and then decide on the message.
If you want your campaign to come across as more than a marketing thing you need to start with the message.
The message is the strategy.
It will make your pitch easier, it will make gaining agreement easier, and the end product will have the opportunity to transcend your company.
I share with you these thoughts because it has been what has been running through my head over the last 3 months.
I knew that we needed to get in the collaboration game in order to launch with the most impact.
Thinking about creating a co-marketing campaign of your own?
Here’s some fundamentals that I am working through for our first big co-marketing campaign that will launch in June.
Steps to Consider When Creating a Collaborative Campaign in B2B Marketing
Have dozens of conversations with your target audience. Get on a Zoom with your customers, future customers, and other marketers who you want to learn from.
Create a set of questions around topics that you are thinking about for your campaign and practice.
It’s amazing what you will learn in the responses and common threads will begin to form.
After a few weeks of regular calls you will be able to hone in and focus on the right message that has the greatest chance of landing with your audience.
The message that I took from these conversations was B2B Marketing Sucks. Yes, all of the participants were in B2B marketing and they all still thought it sucked.
They might not have directly told me it sucks, but it felt like they were at war with the words they used to describe what they were seeing in their industry every day.
When I thought I had a message to use I started playing it back to new people who I was speaking with and that was all the confirmation that I needed.
10 minute rants followed. This is when I realized that the message is strategy.
Everything sounds good when we operate in an isolated bubble. I thought I was on to something, but needed that internal validation.
I created a one-sheet deliverable to share with my stakeholders to let them know what I wanted to work on and gather their feedback.
Here’s a copy of the Campaign Brief that I used to gain internal buy-in.
The internal pitch is just as important as reaching out to your network to get contributors.
It gives you confidence that you are on track and allows for feedback.
Gain all the support you can get up front. It will be impactful when more inevitable conversations and decision making take place before launch.
- Request collaboration
I recently did an episode of the 3C Podcast with Sara Pion with Alyce. It will drop soon and you should put it to your ears when it does. She offers a ton of great insight on non-traditional ways to deliver great content to your audience.
The episode turned out great and I knew she was someone who I wanted to ask to contribute to the B2B Marketing Sucks Campaign.
I made it simple. Ask 2 questions. Gave a maximum word count. Gave a deadline.
Here’s an example of the email that I sent over to her:
The easier you make it on your contributors the better returns you will get.
Make it a win / win situation. Offer backlinks, future features, or anything else you can possibly think of that will let your guests know that you appreciate their time and effort.
- Tease and celebrate responses
This is something that I have not seen done too often, but I thought it would be worth trying to keep momentum going with the stakeholders around the campaign.
The B2B Marketing Sucks campaign is going to be a multiple month process from ideation to creation. We are working with an outside vendor to make sure we create a kick ass content experience while making our contributors look like total bad asses.
I decided that once responses started to come in I wanted to screenshot pieces of their work, tag them on social, and start sharing it with the audience.
It’s a good way to say thank you out loud to the community and also a chance to get your message to market before the deliverable is ready.
I’m already thinking about the follow up post to this topic once the campaign is launched and all the things you can do to maximize chances of success, but for now that’s what I’ve got to share.
It’s important to think about campaigns from a collective perspective and not remain in a bubble.
You get better ideas, you create better copy, and you make some new marketing friends along the way.