Just as no man is an island, no aspect of a brand’s communications should stand alone. Once you have your content audit done and you know which assets you have to work with, you’ll need to align any new content to your overall strategy.
As content strategy whiz (and our new Head of Strategy) Todd Wheatland says, all marketing is more effective when it’s integrated across the company. It does your brand no favours if your blog posts are in one voice while your media releases and above-the-line campaigns tell a completely different story. As you develop your content marketing strategy, it’s important to work with all members of your marketing team – internal and external – to ensure all of the pieces are moving in one direction.
In this week’s content strategy guide we will give you tips on how you can effectively integrate content within the marketing mix.
Create a cohesive tone and style
Regardless of the media platform, your brand’s tone and style can never be false, since the audience will match it against their preconceptions of the brand in real life. The audience will expect the same level of personality from company representatives, blogs, Facebook posts, TV advertisements, billboards and brochures. If your representatives are warm and friendly, using stilted professional language in your blog posts will not work.
Don’t mix your messages
Along with a cohesive style and tone, a consistent message across all materials is critical to an integrated marketing approach. If your above-the-line messaging is all about your brand’s end-to-end approach to solve customers’ problems, it makes sense to keep your content marketing focused along the same lines. Tell stories about problem solving (without mentioning your brand’s services, of course – that’s the job of your marketing collateral). Give tips and advice for making your customers’ lives easier. Your audience will slowly but surely start to associate your brand with solving all their problems.
If your PR team is coming out with a press release about a new product or initiative, could you generate a blog post that talks about similar themes? What about a SlideShare or an infographic? If you can get multiple pieces of content to play in the same sandbox, your messaging will come across as streamlined and strategic.
Communicate, communicate, communicate
So what’s the key to ensuring everyone who works with your brand – internal marketing personnel, agencies and consultants – speak the same language in your marketing efforts? Communication. Have a weekly or monthly catch-up with all stakeholders to keep each member informed of what the other is doing. Wherever possible, break down silos between roles so that the lines of communication can flow freely. If outsourcing is your MO and you have one agency for your content, another for your social and still another for your SEO, consider consolidating as many functions as possible under one roof while keeping the quality levels high.
Keeping all elements of your overall marketing plan working together will allow each aspect to perform better than it would as a standalone piece. The whole really does end up being more than the sum of its parts.
Lucy Sutton and Leigh Credlin