The best content strategies are those that fully utilize all available marketing channels.

Many believe that content strategy is riddled with complications, including such scary showstoppers as budget, resources, technology … and the ever-dreaded ROI. These rumored challenges often serve as a barrier to entry into the one marketing discipline everyone is talking about today: content marketing. While these barriers are indeed real, and need to be considered when planning content strategy, a crafty marketer will find a way to get around them.

Content marketing, when combined with all the channels at your fingertips, may prove to be the most powerful tool in your arsenal. After all, as per the infographic below, we are living in a world wherein “interesting content is a top reason why people follow brands,” so we simply can’t let the content opportunity pass us by!

The Great Content Divide Shines Light on Common Marketing Concerns 

Today I came across a fantastic infographic by Adam Weinroth, CMO at OneSpot on B2C (Business 2 Community) that helps prove two points: content marketing is worthwhile, and channel diversification is the best way to put any concerns you have aside. As Adam points out in the the first half of the infographic, there is a “great divide” between a marketer’s expectations, and the reality of content marketing strategy results. To boil it down, discrepancies fall into the what I consider the 4 most common categories of marketing concern:

  • Budget: While content costs 62% less than traditional marketing, 52% of marketers are challenged by budget constraints. 
  • Resources and time: While 86% are using 12 different content strategy tactics, 59% don’t think that their teams have the resources they need.
  • Technology problems: 68% of marketers want to do more blogging, but only 43% have a mobile optimized blog.
  • ROI: 92% believe that social media is important to business, but only 33% believe they can effectively measure ROI.

The Solution to Content Strategy Concerns Lies in Channel Diversification

With these concerns in mind, as Adam and OneSpot point out, we can easily close the gap. As clever marketers, all we need to do is focus on how we can use channel diversification to solve these perceived problems:

  • Budget: With 27 million pieces of content being shared every day, how can your content cut through the noise? While it is true that content should be a mix of paid, owned and earned media, it’s easy to tip the balance in the direction your budget demands. For instance, I know plenty of marketers who create amazing content with little to no dollars being spent. As an example: yes, it’s true that spend in the form of time is needed to create a blog post. But if that post is well written, with SEO optimization in mind, you can get great results sharing on free and owned channels beyond your blog. If you also share that content on social media, through customer emails or nurturing programs, with employees and – in some cases – with media through PR pitching, your results will absolutely increase. Chances are you already have an email, social media and/or PR program in place, you may as well get the most out of your content by utilizing all existing channels. 
  • Resources and time: While 57% of marketers may feel that their lack of time is their biggest struggle, most marketers can easily throw together an amazing blog article or slide share in an hour. Often times its just a matter of re-purposing content you already created for another purpose. Just like my mom taught me to turn a leftover meat loaf dinner into sandwich lunches, I have learned to make minor adjustments to my content in order to re-purpose it for different channels. We can all agree that re-purposing content is a lot more time efficient than creating brand new content.
  • Technology problems: Optimizing our websites and blogs for mobile and tablets, AKA responsive design, is important to grab today’s fast paced on-the-go reader. And, while this should be towards the top of your tech to-do list, it should in no way slow your content strategy progress. Sure, blog content is important, and having it in a form factor to read on a cell phone is a good idea, remember than many people will still consume content on a lap top/desktop, and more importantly, you can certainly make an impact without a responsive blog. If this concern has you shying away from going all out on blog content until completed, spend time focusing on other channels where this is not a problem. I recommend looking into a webinar strategy, focusing on writing and distributing e-books, or doing SlideShare presentations; all three are fantastic content channels, and none of them are widely considered to be mobile dependent.
  • ROI: It’s true, 1 in 3 marketers feel that they are not properly measuring their social media activities. This needs to change. The truth is, there are tools out there that measure social activity quite well. What I have found is that the marketers who are not feeling confident with their social ROI are not properly setting goals that measure back to a departmental business goal. For instance, if your goal is to drive sales leads, and you know that a certain % of your web traffic converts into a lead, it is safe to assume that increasing web traffic will have a positive impact on leads (as long as the traffic is qualified). In this scenario, setting referral traffic goals from social channels is a perfectly acceptable and measurable social goal, and better yet, it can be measured at no cost using Google Analytics.

And, without further ado, the infographic that got me thinking about content strategy and channel…

Further proof that content strategy works best when integrated with Social Media, PR and Advertising