Content marketing is one of the most popular digital marketing methods on the internet. However, a good content marketing strategy needs to be an integrated marketing strategy.
Close to 91% of business to business companies now rely upon content marketing for their lead generation. Therefore, we need to create a cohesive integrated content marketing strategy to ensure their success – enter the ‘Five Step Guide to Integrated Marketing Strategy for Content’:
Step 1: Understanding the 3 types of integrated marketing promotions
Before you start marketing your business, let’s look at three specific integrated marketing promotion opportunities that make up the core of any good integrated content marketing strategy. Understanding these promotion types influences other aspects of our strategy.
Content marketers have three specific ways of reaching their targeted audience: Earned, Owned, and Paid Media.
Earned media – Traffic and lead generation that is earned through hard work and effort.
Here are a few earned media strategies:
• Guest posting with a byline at the bottom of the article for traffic to your site
• Blogger outreach to have bloggers discuss your brand in their own posts
• Influencer outreach to industry influencers with large email and social media connections in your target market.
Owned media – For companies with an established presence, then you should leverage your current network. This way, you can minimise your reliance on third party traffic sources that are either more time intensive or costly.
Owned media is the result of previous efforts to build your brand and business.
• Social media networks (Facebook fans, Twitter followers, YouTube subscribers, etc.)
• Mobile phone lists (great for sending out targeted text messages)
• Email lists
• Blog subscribers.
Paid media – The final media includes pay for play options. This is where you directly pay a third party like Facebook or Google to put your ads on their network for additional traffic
• Sponsored articles
• Search engine ads
• Social media ads
• Sponsored Recommendations
Step 2: Research
Next, we need to start researching more about where our audience hangs out. By researching in advance, we are able to create a more focused integrated marketing campaign.
Here are some tools that can help you find your target market.
Use tools like:
• Social Crawlytics
• HubSpot’s Social Inbox.
All of these tools break down social media information and sharers of specific posts. The more information we have about the influencers and prospects in your market, the more we can utilise the correct promotions mixed in our plan of action.
Step 3: Plan of Action
When you gather all of your research together, it is time to formulate a plan of action for your integrated marketing campaign strategy.
Use the information below as guideposts to include in your plan:
Goals – What do you specifically want to achieve with your integrated content marketing campaign?
Do you want 100 new leads by the end of the year? Maybe you want to find 10 influencers who can share your products with their network?
Using the research above, determine if it is feasible through your plan.
Budget – Next determine your budget.
If you do not have a large budget, then you need to rely upon earned and owned media promotion strategies to start. The larger the budget, the more opportunity there is to include paid media.
Your budget acts as a sign post for what type of campaigns you run. This way you know exactly how much you have to spend each month to achieve your goals.
Timing – When will you launch your campaign. Does it need to start at a specific time?
For example, many ecommerce store owners make the mistake of starting to execute their Holiday season promotions in October and November.
Instead, companies need to develop their promotions by August and September. That way you can work out the kinks before launch.
A number of great calendar tools like Trello and Google Calendar can help you plan your promotions strategy ahead of time.
Integration – Finally, you cannot have an integrated content marketing strategy if you do not integrate it with other aspects of your marketing strategy.
To do this, start with your current strategy. Do you host events or attend specific conferences? Then you should coordinate the event planning of the conference with your content marketing strategy. Create a Trello board to set up a schedule in advance to coordinate your event planning and content marketing strategy together.
Step 4: Execute your Plan
Now that you have a solid plan in place, it is time to execute the plan. For example, if you are starting a new business you might not have a large owned media presence.
However, by using the plan of action you can now leverage earned and paid media sources to grow your business. Each company is different, and have different goals. The key is to execute your plan based on your strengths. No plan is perfect. That is why we discuss in the next step how to measure and improve upon your results.
Step 5: Measure
Executing a plan is great, but generally most plans need to be tweaked at some point. That is why it is so important to measure every step of your process.
Use analytics tools to track traffic and actions on your website:
• Google Analytics
Additionally, use tracking URLs to determine clicks from specific channels.
Differentiate your social media and guest post traffic with tracking URLS like Example.com/Social versus Example.com/Guest.
Finally, monitor social performance through Facebook Insights, Buzzsumo, and ShareTally.
Integrating content marketing strategy can be one of the most rewarding and challenging experiences that many companies face in today’s market. Most experienced businesses that implement content marketing need to shift their perspective on how to market their business. For new businesses, the challenge is stepping into a competitive world market. How do you create content that stands out from the crowd?
It is not easy, but with the right plan and team to execute that plan it is definitely possible. Let Shout Web be of assistance. In the comment section below, tell us your greatest challenge in executing your own integrated content marketing strategy? How can we help you?