Updated March 2022
Are you making the most of your B2B content marketing budget? If you aren’t integrating your content plan with online campaigns, you may be wasting resources on content that doesn’t deliver ROI.
As a content marketer, it’s easy to get pulled in multiple directions. While connecting to current trends and adjusting to changing buyer demands is part of the job, a reactionary approach should not define your content strategy.
Rather, a strong content marketing campaign should take an integrated approach. This helps your organization create a clear, consistent message across all platforms and connect with other social, PR, sales, and PPC campaigns to drive ROI.
So how do you build a content campaign that leverages and supports all your other efforts? Below, we’ll share the steps to creating an integrated content marketing strategy.
Step 1: Identify Which Campaign Your Content Will Support and Its KPIs
The first step of building an integrated content marketing strategy is to identify the campaign you want to support. This is where marketing and sales alignment comes in. Get together with the sales team for a brainstorming session and whiteboard all the questions and pain points the sales team is hearing out in the field. Use that information to better understand your buyer’s journey.
Consider questions your prospects ask, as well as what pain points your current customers are suffering from. Remember, an integrated content marketing strategy means supporting the full lifecycle of a campaign, so dig deep to find what questions customers ask at each stage of the marketing funnel.
By pinpointing customer needs, you can develop a campaign that sticks. During the brainstorming process, it’s also important to think about seasonality. Are certain questions or concerns more common during one time of the year vs. another? If so, be sure to map your ideas so you have associated campaigns running at these times.
During this phase, you’ll also want to outline the campaign’s KPIs. Are you targeting new leads? Returning customers? Driving brand awareness? Equipped with this information, you’ll be ready to take the next step.
Step 2: Perform Keyword Research for Your Integrated Content Strategy
After you’ve outlined which campaign your content will support, it’s time to start thinking about how you’ll draw users in. Identify a core keyword term or phrase that will be the center of your efforts. This should be a term or phrase that’s relevant to all aspects of your campaign – don’t be afraid to keep it broad.
From there, dig deeper and identify longer-tail (more specific) terms that users search for. This process is called the “hub and spoke model.” Each supporting keyword is connected to the core theme (or keyword) but addresses a more detailed topic.
For example, your core keyword might be “invoicing tools,” while your supporting keyword phrases might be “what is an invoice,” “how to create an invoice,” and “invoicing template.” Each hub may also have its own supporting keyword phrases.
Start by searching for the main keyword in a keyword research tool, Google Trends, or Answer the Public, which analyzes which questions people are asking online. Ideally, you want a search term with high monthly search volume and low competition, but that isn’t always possible. Sometimes lower search volume terms can be easier to rank for, so don’t rule them out.
A few of my colleagues at KoMarketing have put together helpful resources around this process. Take a look at their posts to sharpen your keyword research skills:
- How to Generate New Keyword Lists and Ideas
- Using Top-of-Funnel Content to Drive SEO Results
- How to Uncover Actionable SEO Opportunities with a B2B Content Audit
Step 3: Build Out Topics for Pillar and Supporting Content
With your primary and secondary keyword terms in hand, it’s time to think about the content marketing assets that will drive the campaign forward. A great way to keep everything organized is by creating an editorial calendar that includes all the initiatives used to power the campaign.
Start by identifying a pillar page that will be the center of all the efforts.
For example, you might work with the sales team to create a helpful whitepaper or video on the topic. Or, you may take an existing customer example to create a case study that speaks directly to the campaign you are promoting.
This asset should go out at the start of the campaign, and all other efforts should be driving visitors back to it throughout the process (CTAs from blog posts, links, and graphics from social media, etc.). After you’ve determined what asset will serve as the pillar and its launch date, it’s time to start thinking about supporting content.
Within your editorial calendar, start mapping out what content you’ll create and who will be responsible for each asset. Keep resources in mind – you do not want to overcommit yourself (or your team) to the point where quality goes down.
With your pillar content at the top of the list, the rest of the calendar might look like this:
- Blog Post #1 – sub-topic 1
- Blog Post #2 – sub-topic 2
- Guest Post for Third Party Website – core keyword
- Email Campaign #1 – core keyword
- Email Campaign #2 – subtopic 1
- Twitter Updates
- X per week on core keyword
- X per week on sub-topic 2
- X per week on sub-topic 1
- Facebook Updates
- Post for each new content asset
- X posts for core key topic
- X post for sub-topic 1
- X post for sub-topic 2
- PPC Campaign
- X ads for core keyword
- X ads for sub-topic 1
- X ads for sub-topic 2
As you build out the supporting content materials, be sure to use the keyword research you performed to create relevant assets that will stick beyond the initial promotion. If you are running a year-long campaign, make sure you’ve targeted a keyword phrase you can rank for and continue to draw in clicks without effort from your team.
Step 4: Execute Your Integrated Content Marketing Campaign
Once you have a plan, it is time to execute it. Use the marketing calendar you outlined in previous steps to guide your campaign. Make sure to maintain a consistent voice and keep your end goal in mind.
Use each effort as a step toward the end goal – this means outlining the focus of each piece of content within your editorial calendar. For example, you may execute a paid search campaign that targets the keywords of the main theme, or you might create a social media update that calls out a quote from your pillar content.
At the end of the day, you want all of your efforts around the campaign to be related and on target. Integrating your content marketing strategy within marketing campaigns will drive growth, establish a cohesive brand story, and help your brand reach your marketing goals.
Feel free to drop a comment below or connect with me on Twitter to keep this conversation going!