As you're diving into 2019 and figuring out your marketing strategy, you may find yourself expanding your marketing budget (which is a good thing).
At Influence & Co., we're all about making room for content marketing. But that doesn't mean we believe your marketing budget and your content marketing budget should be two separate columns on your budget spreadsheet. In fact, we believe the opposite.
Yes, it is important to allocate resources and money toward content, but your content marketing effort should not be cast aside and viewed as a separate undertaking. Rather, it should be part of your overall marketing. In fact, it is your marketing.
This approach is called "integrated content marketing." Ever heard of it? Organizations that practice it "prioritize personalization and the customer experience above internal competition and one-way, one-size-fits-all customer communication," according to NewsCred. And they do that by creating a culture of collaboration.
Marketing departments have looked the same for a pretty long time, but all of that is changing. It didn't happen overnight. It's been gradual, but one thing is for certain: If you're not integrating, you're stagnating.
In fact, a lot of teams are already integrating (and some don't even fully realize it yet). If you want to know how content marketing stacks up against other, more traditional tactics, or how content is actually playing a larger role in your marketing strategy, just look at the numbers:
The future of content marketing is here. Are you ready to be a part of it?
When you make any changes to a particular strategy, it can mean other initiatives will be threatened. There may be competition for budgets and recognition or just a general lack of desire to join efforts.
It shouldn't be this way.
Instead of creating any sort of intra-departmental competition, focus on the fact that everyone on the team has the same goal, and achieving it together is the biggest concern.
In an article she wrote for HubSpot, our CEO, Kelsey Meyer (now Raymond), said:Most marketing teams can agree that their main goal is to create leads for their company. As Kelsey noted, content marketing is effective in doing so, but it's crucial that it be integrated throughout your marketing department seamlessly, and therefore used in various ways and in other departments as well. You need content to attract, engage, and convert leads. You need to harness content through various means of outreach (social media, email marketing, content distribution). Tapping into the full power of content marketing is a team effort.
It's important to understand that content is a tool, but it cannot be as effective as its potential suggests if forced to stand alone. This is what makes integrating it with various efforts such a no-brainer. But how do you do so?
It's true. Sometimes in order to make money, you have to spend it. Take the time to analyze and discern the best way to create content that is suited for your company's specific needs and goals, whether you do that in-house or through an agency. See what you have budget for and go from there. If you can't hire an in-house team, many agencies, like Influence & Co., can create a customizable plan that will help you reach your goals and stay on budget.
Content should not begin and end with the marketing team. Other departments, especially the sales team, will have valuable firsthand insights on ways to best appeal to and serve leads. Make sure you collaborate and include other teams in your marketing brainstorms so you can come away with the best topic ideas to center content on. This will also make it easy for your sales team — and other departments within your company — to use the content you create.
Actually do it! Take the initiative by being open-minded and willing to try something new. Once you've completed steps one and two, viewing content marketing and marketing as one effort will soon be second nature. Then you'll start to see how content can positively impact your entire company.
Integrated content marketing isn't a new theory; rather it is how content marketing was always meant to naturally progress. Sometimes, you just have to make an effort to embrace the momentary pain in order to get things aligned and in the best possible shape to move forward.
I have a weakness for binge-watching shows and taking naps in hammocks. My other hobbies include showing too many pictures of my niece and eating more than the recommended serving amount of pasta.