Most marketers take content marketing as a means to promote their content for the sole purpose of increasing the sales or revenue of their website. Well, that shouldn’t always be the case.

There’s this thing we call Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). CSR jolts us into the realization of doing something for the community. So, why not do something that is not only related to your industry but also valuable to your society?

That was the core purpose that we at PureVPN had when we came up with the idea of a campaign directed at the sensitive issue of cyber stalking. As one of the leading VPN providers in the online security industry, we felt that it is our responsibility to spread awareness of the most talked about but also the most ignored problem in our society.

Since our objective was to spread awareness, we built our overall marketing strategy around the New Visitors metrics. Our campaign not only made headlines but also helped us boost New Visitor traffic significantly.

How HubSpot’s “Storytelling” Lesson Helped us Achieve our Goal

Before we were introduced to HubSpot Academy’s storytelling class in the Content Marketing Certification course, the methods we used relied  on traditional SEO practices, using highly searched keywords in our blogs and sharing it on social media networks. That’s all.

Our campaign wouldn’t have been as successful if we had run it traditionally. The campaign was something new to us, and we knew from the beginning that we needed a tried-and-tested strategy. Storytelling, as explained in the HubSpot Content Marketing Certification course, was the strategy we chose for our campaign.

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Sign up for a free learner account and watch The Power of Storytelling class now.

HubSpot Academy’s Lindsay Thibeault taught us that to “make a human connection,” our message needed to resonate with the right people and their needs. That is why stories are the best to way to make that “human connection.”

But the question remained: How do we tell a story? Or, how do we integrate it into the content? After a lot of brainstorming and of course a lot of caffeine, we concluded that we should build the content around real stories of the victims. 

Stories from the actual victims have a Character, Conflict, and Resolution (a concept explained in this class).

We used storytelling through generated content to increase the efficiency of the campaign, which helped us produce more content with less resources.

In fact, 70% of our content was user-generated.

Here’s how the journey began.

Stage 1: Designing the Buyer’s Journey

To start the campaign, we first needed to design the buyer’s journey around which we would later develop the content and promotion strategies.

After a few brainstorming sessions, we settled on the decision that the buyer's journey should be kept simple:

  • Awareness: The awareness stage was, of course, the attraction stage where we needed to produce content that would familiarize visitors with cyberstalking and how it is a plague to our society.
  • Consideration: The consideration stage involved interviews with victims or influencers on the topic.
  • Decision: The goal of our decision stage was to convince users to either share their experience or, if they are an influencer, share the platform, tools, or resources to fight cyberstalking.

Stage 2: Campaign Strategy

Once the buyer’s journey was set, we moved on to the campaign design phase that involved:

  • Content strategy
  • Content ideation
  • Influencer outreach
  • Content promotion

Let's review each.

Content strategy

To build the right content marketing plan and drive the right kind of results, it is essential to have an organized, documented content strategy. Again, we turned to HubSpot's Content Marketing Certification course to formulate an effective content strategy for the campaign.

The content strategy involved identifying a buyer persona (our personas were victims and influencers), types of content, channels where the content will be pushed, etc.

Content ideation

For content ideation, we followed the same strategy as explained in the course:

  • We researched the reading habits of the buyer persona through searching for topics on a search engine or with tools like Buzzsumo.
  • We searched topics on Quora since it is a great place to find questions that real people are asking.
  • We used keyword research tools for idea generation.

Identify influencers

Before starting the campaign, we first performed in-depth research on the topic. For instance, we amassed statistical data of past and recent cyberstalking incidents. We then moved on to identifying the victims or people who have become influencers in this area.

We used the Buzzsumo Influencer tool to find people who are associated with the cyberstalking awareness campaigns. We also used social media channels like Twitter for identifying influencers via relevant hashtags. Another great resource to find the right people is HARO. Leave a query, and you get tons of genuine responses.

Influencer outreach

Since we listed every influencer in the cyberstalking realm, we then trimmed down the list to people who either were working for the cause for years or who were previously a victim. We targeted this audience because we wanted to keep the content genuine. Moreover, people would feel more attracted to the story because of the mutual experiences.

We contacted each influencer on our trimmed-down list with personalized emails. Eventually, we got a few responses from people who wanted to share their experience to spread awareness.

Content promotion

By doing interviews with the influencers and adding them to our blog, we experienced a significant spike in website traffic. The spike was the result of the influencers sharing our content. After all, when you interview someone, they would naturally be inclined to promote their interview on their social channels or inner circle.

Stage 3: The Results

The results were simply amazing. It was something that went beyond our expectations. See the graph below:

We experienced a 289% increase in New Visitors on our website year over year.

When compared month over month, the New Visitor traffic on our website jumped to 73.53% in a month. Moreover, the traffic kept rising gradually due to further social media sharing.

Traffic wasn’t the only positive result of this campaign. Below is a list of other notable mentions:

  • We attracted others who wanted to add to the conversation by speaking up about their story.
  • Some of the most dedicated activists fighting against cyberstalking also praised our efforts and gave interviews on our platform.
  • The campaign got mentioned by Leslie Carruthers (founder and president of The Search Guru) in Content Marketing World USA 2017.
  • The campaign was also covered by Forbes.

Final Thoughts

Our campaign was a big success, and we have HubSpot’s Content Marketing Certification course to thank.

The course has widened our perspective of the content marketing field and taught us how different practices (storytelling, user-generated content, influencer marketing, etc.) can lead to successful outcomes.

We recommend that as an online marketer, you should give this course a try and see how many useful content marketing practices you can learn and implement, like we did. 

Start the free Content Marketing Certification course from HubSpot Academy.

Originally published Feb 7, 2018 10:00:00 AM, updated February 12 2018