A Brief Guide to Integrated Content Marketing

A good content marketing strategy is stronger than the sum of its parts, and by integrating several different content streams, businesses can leverage the benefits of each medium or publishing channel. Integrated content marketing is the key to maximising the effectiveness of your content marketing strategy, and with clever positioning it’s something that any business can take advantage of.

What is Integrated Content Marketing?

Content marketing is the art of engaging your audience by producing interesting material to draw them in. Each article you write or blog you post should attract interest from casual browsers, but if it’s left to stand alone it will only have a limited impact. An integrated content marketing strategy helps you make the most out of every piece of content by linking them all together both thematically, one piece of content relating closely to another or expanding on a specific point, and with hyperlinks. Not only does this help to drive readers from one article to the next, links are an important factor in how your site performs on Google.

Blog posts are an essential part of integrated content marketing because they’re easy for you to control. By choosing the topic, content, internal links and publishing date you can create blogs that serve a specific purpose. But blogging is only one strand of content marketing. There are dozens of different types of content that can be interlinked to create a web of potential engagements, sharing SEO value and traffic with each other. Brands can mesh visual content like videos and infographics with social media updates and LinkedIn publishing, connected together to draw traffic across multiple pieces of related content. More in-depth content could be produced in the form of a white paper, which is then followed up with a series of on-site and offsite blogs that link together. By combining several different strands of content it’s possible to create a content marketing mix which is much more powerful than the sum of its parts.

One of the most important aspects of integrated content marketing is creating outreach content for external publishers; writing content for other sites provides you with many more opportunities to build brand identity, gather traffic and improve your own site’s SEO performance. The biggest opportunity when writing for other sites is the chance to create backlinks to your own webpages. Links from high quality sites to yours will help to build authority in Google’s eyes, but material that’s obviously self-promotional is unlikely to be published.

Third-parties are much more likely to allow links to your own blog content when it clearly adds value to the wider conversation. For example, since we’re discussing outreach marketing here, we could embed a link to our guide to content marketing outreach; it’s useful, it’s relevant and it doesn’t disrupt the reader’s experience. Linking to our home or services page, though, wouldn’t add value, and it’s hard to casually drop in.

Picture the article as a conversation; we can bring up a relevant topic, but if we go off on a self-promotional tangent it’ll likely stop the discussion dead.

What can you do to integrate your content marketing?

Creating an integrated content marketing strategy requires planning and forethought. Rather than trying to implement links opportunistically, you should have an idea of how all the pieces will work together, and create content accordingly.

As an example, let’s look at how a specialist marketing agency that works with law firms might set up their strategy. First, they should identify opportunities which will help them reach their target audience in the legal sector. Perhaps they’ll produce an article reviewing great examples of legal content marketing - relevant material that will intrigue their audience and frame them as a voice of authority on the subject matter.

So far, so good - they should see some engagement with the article, provided it’s amplified and promoted across their social channels. Next, they should pitch relevant article ideas to a a highly-authoritative legal news site, along the theme of “Content Marketing Strategies for Legal Practices”. Within this article they’ll able to open a dialogue with potential clients, while linking back to their onsite blog, which will drive traffic and boost SEO.

Due to the value of the content, plus the additional benefits of acquiring a links from such an authoritative source, the original blog post should naturally begin to rise in Google’s rankings, bringing in yet more visitors. Because the blog post and the article itself are both relevant to the target audience, the agency will put themselves in a great position to convert these visitors into customers, achieving the ultimate goal of content marketing; winning custom by proving your worth.

Benefiting from Integrated Content

In comparison to many other marketing strategies, integrated content marketing isn’t hugely expensive or difficult to achieve. All that’s required is quality content, good planning and effective research. By simply structuring the content you produce so that it works together, you can improve the effectiveness of your entire digital marketing strategy, a quick and easy win that most businesses don’t even consider.

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