I got to know Liz when we ran a joint webinar with Hubspot a few months ago. Unlike some other efforts we'd made to do joint marketing with different companies, this one went super well. With this in mind, we thought we'd ask her to share some secrets to successful co-marketing with you all. Over to Liz:
Let’s face it, with so much content floating around the Internet, you might be feeling the pressure when it comes to creating brilliant new ideas to get people’s attention. That’s why I’ve got this little secret I want to share with you...it’s called co-marketing. Now, it may sound a little daunting at first, but it’s actually pretty simple (and pretty darn exciting). Think about it as networking for your business. Co-marketing is all about forming relationships with other companies and working together to create new opportunities. By finding and collaborating with businesses that complement your own expertise, you can open up your company to a world of opportunities that otherwise wouldn’t exist.
There’s more to it than just slapping two companies’ names on something and sharing it with the world though. Co-marketing is about jointly creating and promoting a piece of content or a product and sharing the success of your efforts. Now don’t think you can’t do co-marketing just because you’re not buddy-buddy with the execs at some big-shot companies. Starting small is just fine, and remember, your network is bigger than you think!
Why is Co-marketing Important?
1. Give your audience a new perspective
Chances are you’re an expert on certain topics within your field, but maybe there are a few subjects that you don’t quite know as much about. Don’t limit what your audience can learn from you just because of what you know. Co-marketing is a great way to introduce your audience to a wider range of topics, opinions, and ideas. Help them (and you!) see things from a different angle and explore new concepts. Keep this in mind when you’re picking a topic to cover in your co-marketing partnership. Play to both companies' strengths, but make sure you’re creating something you wouldn’t normally do on your own.
2. Reach a new audience
Eventually it’s going to get difficult to keep expanding your reach if you’re not expanding your content as well. By branching out and covering a new topic, you’re going to attract a wider range of visitors. Plus, by working with a company that has an established audience that’s different from your own, your content is being shared with a whole new set of eyes. A major benefit of co-marketing is the sharing of results of your marketing efforts. Make sure to set up clear guidelines from the start as to how each company will be handling promotion and what information you’ll be sharing.
*Warning: If you’re sharing leads with a company, make sure you’re letting your audience know. Be up front and clear if you’ll be sharing personal information, so nobody is surprised later on.
3. Publish guest content
You may have a brilliant blogging team made up of top-notch writers and content creators, but there are so many people out there who have different ideas and perspectives they want to share (no matter what field you’re in). Use co-marketing as a way to have other industry leaders share their knowledge. Having people from other respectable companies post to your blog will provide a wider range of opinions and concepts. As a bonus, your guest author is likely to share the post with their own network, further expanding your reach and bringing in new readers.
4. Generate links back to your website
Need a quick SEO boost too? Co-marketing has you covered. Both the content you’re creating and the landing pages that are hosting it can serve as a platform for other links to your website. For example, you can include links to related content or more in-depth material that would be of interest to your reader -- an easy solution if you just don’t have enough space to talk about everything! Having more quality links back to your website will help increase your search engine results so people are coming to you. .
Getting started with Co-marketing
1. Find the right partner
You don’t need to know leading industry experts to do co-marketing. Use both your personal network as well as introductions from colleagues to get in touch with companies that may be a good fit. While you probably shouldn’t be partnering up with a direct competitor, you should look for a business with ideas and goals that will complement your own. Get the conversation started by explaining why you think it’s a worthwhile partnership and start pitching some ideas of what you could co-promote. Even starting with something small such as writing a guest blog post can turn into a larger working relationship later on.
2. Pick a topic
Nail down a topic and type of content that works for both parties. Whether it be a webinar, ebook, video, or infographic, make sure both parties are on board and have the capabilities to produce it. Focus on picking something that will be of interest and value to both of your audiences. Use your goals, whether it be to increase volume, quality, or a specific segment to determine what you are going to create and how you’re going to deliver it.
3. Put a plan and timeline into place
You’re probably used to setting a timeline and deadlines for your own schedule, but this is extra important when working with another company. Working externally, there are a lot of extra factors you must consider, so make sure you set a timeline that includes some extra buffer time. There are twice as many brand guidelines, writing styles, and approval processes you must go through, so you’ll want to allow yourself enough time to make sure everything is top notch and not rushed. In addition to just deciding what you’re going to promote, set up guidelines and expectations as to how each company will handle promotions. No one likes when they’re left hanging to do all the work on their own, so establishing a quantifiable promotional goal for each partner will help keep everyone on track. Pick reasonable deadlines and goals that both parties are accountable for to help ensure a smooth working relationship. Setting standards from the start (followed by open communication throughout the process) is the strongest foundation for a successful co-marketing relationship.
So, go ahead and reach out to someone and see what the possibilities are. You might even find that co-marketing is a great way to take a little bit of the burden off yourself and see things in a new light!
[Note from the editor: Want to know more on the subject of outreach and how to network opportunities for your business? We've just launched the new Expert Outreach module in DistilledU to help you communicate effectively and get your brand featured on site. Take a look over in the Further SEO section now.]