Like most marketing initiatives, content marketing isn’t a one-and-done deal. And when you take an integrated approach—collaborating with other departments and teams to plan and distribute content across channels—this long-term strategy can set your marketing foundation for the next few years.
But taking the leap too quickly could cause your company to overlook existing assets and do more work for only a fraction of the benefit.
Before you rush into an integrated content marketing strategy, here are five critical mistakes many companies make (and how you can avoid them):
1. They Don’t Get the Necessary Buy-In
Before you invest in resources for your integrated content strategy, you need to get internal buy-in, or it won’t be successful for the long term. An integrated content strategy involves more than just the marketing department; educate upper levels on what an integrated content approach means and why it’s crucial to the company.
“An integrated content strategy involves more than just the marketing department.”
2. They Don’t Devise a Distribution Strategy First
Many companies create content and place it on a blog or in an external publication. But they don’t think through other potential distribution channels they can capitalize on to attract new customers and build better relationships with existing ones.
Companies should think about content distribution up front. Instead of putting all your focus on creating an engaging piece of content, start the process with distribution in mind—it will help you craft more compelling and engaging content.
“Think about content distribution up front.”
3. Measurements Aren’t Consistent
It’s common for large companies to be extremely compartmentalized, having multiple managers measuring a variety of verticals and key performance indicators. But when these departments fail to communicate, it’s impossible to determine your content’s success.
Standardizing measurement among departments is key to perfecting your content creation and distribution plan. But don’t get caught up in page views or leads just yet. See whether readers share your articles, and hone in on what they really want. When it comes down to it, you need to determine whether your company can effectively execute this type of strategy and properly distribute your content.
“Standardizing measurement is key to perfecting your content creation and distribution plan.”
4. There’s a Wide Skills Gap
Just because you want to create an integrated content marketing plan doesn’t mean you have the resources to achieve it. Some companies develop this strategy without the necessary writers, copy editors, and publication connections to execute a strategic plan.
Bring in outside experts to guide your integrated content marketing strategy. Use their advice to build the right processes and team structure. Then set up a cross-functional team, and pull in the right people, including writers proficient in social media, digital media, and traditional PR. This cross-functional team can inform your content creation and guide its distribution.
“Bring in outside experts to guide your integrated content marketing strategy.”
5. They Try to Sell
Integrated content marketing is about developing a trusting relationship with prospects and customers. You want to educate them on your industry so they can make more informed decisions. But far too often, companies view this as an opportunity to tout their own services. If you take this approach, you’ll end up creating clickbait that prospects write off as spam.
Shift from constantly trying to sell to actually educating your audience. Don’t sacrifice long-term relationships for short-term measurement gains.
“Don’t sacrifice long-term relationships for short-term measurement gains.”
6. Each Department Is Compartmentalized
Larger companies often don’t involve employees on the front lines of customer support and sales in the content creation process. But team members working in the trenches have their own unique perspectives that you should be harnessing.
Your social media team goes back and forth with customers on a real-time basis. Have them report on what content your audience wants to see. Customer service knows what clients call and complain about. Sales teams know what problems are keeping them from getting clients in the door or closing deals. Use this information to craft articles that put these pain points to rest.
At Influence & Co., we develop personas. Most companies have some sort of persona they’ve looked to for years. But involving other departments in persona development will help you pinpoint your target customers, so you can use personas as a guide instead of playing an endless guessing game.
“Involving other departments in persona development will help you pinpoint your target customers.”
If you approach your content strategy with integration in mind, you can capitalize on all the resources and channels you’ve already invested in. Developing a long-term strategy comes with risks, but if you have the right processes and team in place, the reward is well worth it.