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What Is Topical Marketing and How can It Drive Engagement?

February 21st, 2019 Andrew Warren-Payne

Our upcoming Insight50 session will be exploring the issue of topical marketing – and in particular, using Brexit as a case study for how to tie your message to key events. Sign up for the session to get your questions answered, with expert speakers including Leanne Chescoe of Demandbase, Joel Harrison of B2B Marketing, and Matt Heinz of Heinz Marketing.

Great marketing is delivered to the right person, at the right place, at the right time. That’s something all marketers learn early in their career. But capturing attention is never easy.

However, when a theme is on your buyer’s mind, you can get them to listen by aligning your message with their thought process. And while customer journey maps help map out the questions they will likely be asking, that’s not everything that they will be thinking of on a given day.

Topical marketing is one way of getting that alignment between what’s on their mind and what you can offer.

So what is topical marketing?

We’ll discuss more of this in the session, but essentially it’s talking about a particular theme happening at a particular point in time.

While news cycles provide a steady feed of hooks on which to hang your message, topical marketing doesn’t have to be limited to that. Some topical marketing examples include:

  • Particular events, such as trade conferences and summits
  • Holidays
  • Deadlines for regulatory change or compliance
  • Major market events, such as M&A, IPOs or updates from central banks and finance bodies
  • For sectors with a fixed season (such as higher-education or even sports and fashion), key calendar dates
  • Even editorial calendars for major publications within your industry

How can topical marketing drive engagement?

If a particular theme will be on the minds of your target audience, creating content and campaigns based on this theme can help satisfy their need for information when it’s top of mind.

Another benefit of topical marketing is how it can potentially fit into a variety of time scales. Some events will be planned or known about for years in advance, allowing you to establish a share of voice in that space.

For topics that emerge rapidly, a fast approach to getting a message out can help you cut above the slower-moving competition when it’s otherwise hard to stand out.

How can webinars help with topical marketing?

A key benefit of webinars versus other content is that they allow you to have two-way communication with your audience. As such, they can be used at any stage of your topical marketing campaigns.

For early-stage topical marketing campaigns, webinars can help you test the water and understand what questions matter to your prospects. Panels and Q&A sessions can elicit this feedback. Determining what assets get the most engagement can also help you figure out what’s working.

Later on, webinars centered around taking direct action can bring your prospects closer to conversion. For example, if one of your topics involves an upcoming regulatory change, an engaging session that answers questions from specific customers can be converted into sales conversations and follow-ups. Demo sessions can lead to calls-to-action to take out a trial, while those aimed at existing customers can look to increase retention or upsell activity.

As you can see, webinars are useful as part of executing a topical marketing campaign.