How to Plan Better Marketing Campaigns & Content
Author: Jeremy Harrison
Want better results from marketing campaigns? Make campaigns and content work together. In this article, I’ll share why alignment is so important, and share our four-part RACE Formula to plan better-performing campaigns and content.
Why it Matters
Effective marketing is a bit like fishing.
Throw your line in the water and start reeling in fish. Simple – unless you care about what you’re trying to catch. That’s when marketing – and fishing – get a bit more complicated. You need to plan a strategy to fish in the right place, at the right time, with the right bait.
Marketing campaigns and content are like the “casting out” and “reeling in” rhythm that happen in fishing:
- CAST OUT: Campaigns help us reach out and attract the right people… our only goal is to get their attention.
- REEL IN: Content must be engaging enough that we “get them hooked” and keep them engaged.
Savvy marketers think about campaigns and content differently.
I think too many marketers think about campaigns and content as two separate to-dos. But great campaigns fail if they aren’t paired with the right content, and vice-versa.
There’s a four-part formula we use with Spire clients to ensure marketing campaigns and content work seamlessly together.
How To Use The RACE Formula
The RACE formula is a four-part checklist we use to ensure our content and campaigns work well together. We start with four important questions.
Is it RELEVANT?
Is it ALIGNED?
Is it CLEAR?
Is it ENGAGING?
We use a one-page worksheet to help us plan better campaigns and content. I’ll share it, but first, let’s unpack each question.
#1: Is it RELEVANT?
Before creating campaigns and content, we start with the glue that holds everything together. The customer and his/her needs. Who is our ideal customer? And what are their needs?
When I ask a manufacturing client about their ideal customers’ needs, sometimes they’ll say, “they need a more reliable manufacturer.” You’d like that to be their need. But let’s press a little deeper.
What is the ideal customer’s situation before they work with you? Maybe they haven’t realized they need you yet. What problems or needs are they tolerating… or ignoring… or allowing to drive them CRAZY?
We call these felt needs, and you can dig at least three levels deep…
- HAVE: What are the surface-level problems or needs they have?
- FEEL: How do they feel as a result of these problems or needs?
- AVERAGE DAY: How are these problems or needs affecting their average day?
These felt needs are the glue that will hold everything together.
Got it? Then you’re ready for #2.
#2: Is it ALIGNED?
Imagine a bridge, crossing a large ravine.
On one side of the ravine are a bunch of people who might be our ideal customers. The other side is our product, service or solution we really want them to come over and buy.
To move prospects across that bridge, we need to ensure that three things are in perfect alignment – three C’s:
- Campaign – what will we say or do to attract attention?
- Content – how will we keep them engaged with relevant content?
- Call-to-Action – how will we invite them to respond?
The campaign gets people’s attention on the far side of the ravine. The content is what gets them moving (and keeps them moving) across the bridge. The call-to-action is what we invite them to do next.
- If your campaign is misaligned, you’ll attract attention with the wrong people.
- If your content is misaligned, you’ll fail to keep them moving across the bridge.
- If your call-to-action is misaligned, they will fail to take the next step.
Focus on the FELT NEEDS you found in #1 above. Then sketch out a natural progression that gets the right people’s attention, keeps them engaged across the bridge, and invites them to take a logical next step.
#3: Is it CLEAR?
Effective campaigns and content rely on momentum. Get the ideal customer’s attention. Get them moving in our direction. But nothing kills momentum faster than making things complicated.
How can you say things CLEARLY and SUCCINCTLY?
It takes extra work to say more with less. But nailing this will separate your brand from the pack, and make your marketing more effective.
When planning content, we use 27/9/3 as a framework to say things more clearly. How can you communicate:
- 3 big ideas
- In 9 seconds
- With 27 words or less?
Start by figuring out the three key talking points you want to communicate, then obsess over every word. When you’re done, you’ll have a focused message that works well when communicating in presentations, social posts, media interviews, press releases, and more.
Need to say more? You can expand one of your three big ideas into a separate 27/9/3, and repeat the process to create longer-form content that’s just as focused.
#4: Is it ENGAGING?
There’s no better way to keep someone engaged than with a great story. But why do some stories fall flat, while others have the power to move people in powerful ways?
I created a 5-minute whiteboard video that explains two story formulas we use at Spire to help our clients tell more effective stories. Check it out here:
Ask yourself how you can use stories to keep your ideal customers engaged.
Campaigns and content are imperative parts of marketing, but they only work when they are integrated, seamlessly.
- Make it relevant by finding the felt needs of your ideal customers.
- Make it aligned by planning how campaigns, content, and CTA will work together
- Make it clear, using the 27/9/3 formula to share complex information succinctly.
- Make it engaging, by telling the right kind of stories.
We are here to help.
Two Options to Plan Seamless Campaigns & Content
Download our Campaign & Content Planning 4-part checklist.
Based on our RACE Formula, use it to plan more effective campaigns and content.
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You don’t need to do all this on your own! We’d love to chat about your content and campaign strategy.
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