Lee Odden

What You Need to Know About Content & Influencer Marketing. BONUS: Case Study

influencer co-created content

Influencer Marketing was a hot topic in 2014 and will continue to gain momentum in 2015 for both B2C and B2B marketers, especially when it comes to content co-creation.

Why the warm and fuzzy for influencer content you ask? According to CMI and MarketingProfs, over 90% of B2B marketers are investing in content marketing. Yet, in an age of information overload where 74GB of data are delivered per person, per day (USC), standing out to business buyers can require unreasonable budgets and resources.

Inspired by the need to scale content marketing performance, a growing number of B2B marketers are creating better quality content that gets shared more often, reaches more prospects and grows their influencer network – all at the same time. How so? Through influencer content programs.

Influencer Content Marketing Case Study:

Content Marketing Wonderland eBooks

In 2014 TopRank Online Marketing worked with Content Marketing Institute to create an influencer content program to promote the Content Marketing World conference. The campaign theme of “Alice in Wonderland” aka “Content Marketing Wonderland” borrowed from the conference theme of “Beyond Storytelling”.

The program involved 40+ marketing industry influencers from major brands including: Altimeter Group, Caterpillar, Indium Corporation, charity: water, Bittorrent, Bed, Bath & Beyond, SAP, John Deere, Lattice Engines, Kapost, Progressive Insurance, Boeing, MarketingProfs, ExactTarget, Copyblogger, Red Hat, Facebook, EMC Corporation, Cisco Systems, Tumblr, Microsoft, LinkedIn, Dell, Content Marketing Institute, NewsCred, Kraft Foods and more.

Develop an opportunity for influential speakers to participate in content creation that would promote their presentations, the CMWorld conference and create a useful and infotaining resource for all marketers interested in content marketing.  The underwriting sponsor for the program was Curata.

Influencers were drawn from the roster of nearly 200 speakers for the event. Based on identified criteria and data collected through a mix of tools including Traackr and Buzzsumo (both provided to TopRank), influencers were identified, qualified, recruited and engaged to provide advice according to one of 4 themes (Content Marketing Strategy, Audience Development, Visual Content, Content ROI) that coincided with the programming of the event.

Insights provided by the influencers were compiled according to theme into 4 Visual eBooks. Each eBook was complemented by a long form interview with select influencers and posted here on TopRank’s Online Marketing Blog. Each Visual eBook was also supported with an infographic (4 in all) featuring Tweetable quotes from each influencer.

Content Assets Included: 

influencer content marketing assets

All assets were supported with social shares on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ from participating influencers, CMI, Curata and TopRank Marketing.

Primary objectives for the program were conference awareness and speaker/influencer exposure measured by page views, and leads for the underwriting sponsor.  Leading up to the conference (mid Sept), the eBooks earned thousands of social shares, over 145,000 views on SlideShare and 20,000 page views on TopRankBlog.  By the time the conference was held, there were 2,000+ PDF downloads, 800 leads and 200+ event referrals.

All campaign assets remained live for several months after the campaign and the total views, downloads and leads as of Dec 30, 2014 were:

  • 218,971 Total eBook Views:
  • 4,023 Total eBook PDF Downloads:
  • 1,040 Total Leads Captured

The net result of the program was substantial and sustained exposure for the conference, speakers and sponsor leading up to and after the event. Of course TopRank Online Marketing benefitted from exposure through virtually every single content asset, social share and download resulting in numerous inquiries and several ongoing consulting engagements and projects. Overall it was a successful campaign and is the reason we’re producing another conference eBook program for CMI in 2015 – the 5th year in a row.

Along with this case study, I’ve realized that we’ve literally written an eBook-worth of content on the topic of influencer and content marketing.

If you’d like to make working with influencers and co-created content a more productive part of your digital marketing mix in 2015, here are 18 posts to get you up to speed from strategy and planning to winning a budget to tools to performance measurement and optimization.


Image: Shutterstock

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About Lee Odden

@LeeOdden is the CEO of TopRank Marketing and editor of Online Marketing Blog. Cited for his expertise by The Economist, Forbes and the Wall Street Journal, he's the author of the book Optimize and presents internationally on integrated content, search, social media and influencer marketing. When not at conferences, consulting, or working with his talented team, he's likely on a beach somewhere doing absolutely nothing.