Building an Integrated Content Marketing Strategy

integrated-content
integrated-content
Britney Schroeder
By Britney Schroeder

Having a solid content marketing strategy is key to ensuring that brands meet their business goals, communicate their message in an engaging way, and accurately assess their performance. However, having an integrated content marketing strategy is what will take your content marketing strategy from good to great!

An integrated content marketing strategy helps ensure that you are broadcasting a clear, consistent message across all marketing communication channels by collaborating with other departments and digital marketing teams.

This may include working with your social media marketing team to ensure that they are sharing the right content with the right audience at the right time, huddling with your PR department to make sure that they are driving relevant links to your strongest piece of content, or checking in with your email marketing manager to confirm that your content is being distributed to an engaged audience.

Sounds pretty great right? But how do you go about making it happen? Below I’ve outlined exactly how you can build an integrated content strategy that will reinforce your brand’s core differentiators, establish your brand as a thought leader in the space, and increase brand awareness. Let’s get started!

Set Tangible Goals For Your Campaign

I’ve said it a thousand times to aspiring content marketers and I’ll say it again: Never create content just for the sake of creating content. Each piece of content that you create must have a purpose. Do you want content that will support your marketing funnel? Do you want clickable content that will engage social media users? Or do you want content that will increase your organic traffic?

Asking yourself these questions and setting measurable goals before creating any piece of content will save yourself a lot of wasted time and energy. And try to challenge yourself when it comes to setting goals for each piece of content!

Related: A Holistic Approach to Blogging – Contextual Content Clusters

Don’t go for soft metrics like engagement or views. Go above and beyond and aim for overall conversions. Each piece of content you create should be boosting your bottom line – whether that be through increased brand awareness, a rise in overall traffic to the site, more sales leads generated, or improved retention rates.

Content Cluster Webinar

So, before you launch your next content marketing campaign, make sure that you do your due diligence and set tangible, measurable goals for the campaign. And don’t forget to check in on the progress of those goals by keeping an eye on your KPIs.

For example, if the goal of your campaign is to generate more sales leads, you should be looking at the number of leads generated for each piece of content as well as landing page conversion rates.

Build Out Personas & Map Out The Buyer Journey

In addition to setting measurable goals for your content marketing campaign, you should also spend some time building out current customer and target customer personas and map out their positions in the buyer’s journey. If you don’t understand the motivations of your audience, it’s going to be pretty difficult to create content that will resonate with them.

Building Out Personas

Creating personas can be time consuming and requires a lot of critical thinking. But try not to get lazy! In order to actually get value from your personas, you have to take the time to build them with enough depth to allow for easy topic ideation.

Related: How to Use Buyer Personas in Your Content Marketing Strategy

When building out your customer personas, ask yourself the following:

  • What are my persona’s main objectives?
  • What are the main problems that my persona is currently facing?
  • Are there any burning questions that they may have? If so, what are they?
  • What tone of voice engages them?
  • Where do they go to get information?
  • What types of content do they like to consume? Long-form blog posts? Short-form blog posts? Podcasts? Quizzes? Infographics? Videos?

As I mentioned earlier, building personas can sometimes seem tedious, but if done correctly, can contribute immensely to your overall content strategy.

Mapping Out the Buyer’s Journey

Once you’ve decided on your core customer personas, you have to consider where they are in the buyer’s journey. Why? Because different types of content appeal to customers at different stages in the buyer’s journey. For example, you wouldn’t direct a first-time site visitor to your consultation page. At this point, they are still trying to figure out if they have a problem that they need assistance with in the first place! Let alone actually settling on a solution to that problem…

Related: What TOFU Means to a Digital Marketer

So, to avoid shooting yourself in the foot early on in the process, let’s review the different stages of the buyer’s journey and highlight different types of content that will appeal to them at that stage:

  • Awareness: During this stage of the buyer’s journey, the customer is trying to solve a problem. They want to be directed to high-level, educational content that will introduce them to a solution. Direct these prospects to whitepapers, e-books, checklists, how-to blog posts, or educational webinars.
  • Evaluation: In this stage, the customer knows that they have a problem that must be solved and are actively looking for the best solution. During this stage, you want to show the prospect why your solution is the best! Direct them to a product webinar, a case study, or demo sheet.
  • Purchase: This is the stage where the prospect is making an actual purchase decision. Oftentimes, they just need a little nudge in the right direction. Use compelling call-to-actions such as a free trial, live demo, a free consultation, or estimate to convince them to choose your solution.

Before you start creating any new content, I recommend going through your existing content and assigning each piece to a stage in the buyer’s journey. Most of the time, you will find that you have more awareness content than evaluation or purchase. But not to worry! This just means that you can concentrate your efforts on creating more evaluation and purchase content.

Identify Your Core Promotion Channels

At this point in the process you want to ask yourself: How will I introduce new users to my brand while also nurturing my current leads and customers? The answer lies within the promotional channels you use.

When trying to attract new customers, it is important that you are focusing your efforts on PR/outreach, SEO, social media, and paid ads. These channels will not only ensure that your brand name and content is getting in front of the right people, but by integrating them with your content strategy, you will ensure that your voice is consistent.

Related: SEO, Content, & PR – Three Peas in a Pod

However, as important as attracting new customers is, retaining your current customers is key to success. In fact, it costs 5x as much to attract a new customer than it does to retain a current customer. Therefore, nurturing your current customers with relevant content and offers is essential if you are looking to take your business to the next level.

Integrating your email and social media strategies with your content strategy allows you to provide value to current customers and nurture your existing leads. Not only will this foster customer loyalty, but it will create upsell opportunities.

Invest In The Right Resources

Just like other digital marketing channels, content marketing takes a lot of time, energy, and resources. Writing a 2,000-word blog post or designing a high-quality infographic takes time. Therefore, in order to consistently produce great content, you need a team of great writers, designers, photographers, and videographers.

Related: 4 Tips for Getting the Most Out of Your Freelance Writers

Granted, not every company has this at their disposal. This is where helpful tools come into play! Take ClickFunnels for example. ClickFunnels is a tool that allows you to create high-quality landing pages in minutes (even if you don’t consider yourself a designer)!

Or, for interactive content, try Boombox. Boombox is a platform that allows you to easily create quizzes, polls, and interactive lists to enhance any piece of content. No coding skills required!

Wrapping Up

As you can see, building an integrated content strategy is no walk in the park… especially the first time around! But, if done properly, it can yield incredible results. As long as you make sure to set tangible goals (and assess them regularly), determine your customer personas, map out the buyer’s journey, identify your core promotion channels, and are armed with the right tools, you will set yourself up for success!

 

Britney Schroeder is the Director of Content at Power Digital Marketing. She is passionate about getting stellar results for clients through highly integrated cross-channel campaigns.