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Start With Content To Deliver a Successful Integrated Marketing Strategy



Start With Content To Deliver a Successful Integrated Marketing Strategy

Are your content and marketing integrated?

No one can argue content marketing is an increasingly important part of marketing. Content teams routinely take more and more responsibility. You take on thought leadership and the many assets necessary to support marketing and communications. But what doesn’t come along as quickly is the integration to make a more strategic approach.

In our consulting work, I see increasing confusion across marketing teams (well, it may have been there all the time, but awareness is on the rise now). They wonder what should come first, the content or the campaign.

In other words, when defining a campaign, do you build the promotion around the content assets to be created? Or do you design the promotion and then assemble a bill of content assets to support it?

Wait a minute. Does it matter which comes first?

It does, actually, but I’ll come back to that. The more pressing challenge arises from a fundamental lack of process or definition about campaigns and content – how they are used and whether content leads or follows the strategy. Put simply: No integrated marketing communication exists.

If you don’t have an integrated #marketing strategy, it doesn’t matter whether the campaign or #content comes first, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Product marketing campaign or thought leadership content?

We work with an enterprise consulting firm where the content team struggles to keep up with the work, and measurement is almost impossible to gauge. The product managers for the various services design multichannel promotional marketing campaigns that need content assets. The challenge comes when product managers change the campaign plans – submitted at the beginning of the fiscal year – four or five times in the months before the launch. Even if the content team knew (and they don’t) on Jan. 1 all the content assets required for the year, they can’t create them until they are needed because they know the requirements will change, and much of any early efforts would be wasted.

Likewise, outside of those product promotional campaign contributions, the content team builds strategic thought leadership, such as e-books, white papers, and webinars. They work (or attempt to) with other teams to design thought leadership campaigns that give these assets proper distribution and promotion. While these campaigns change less because they only focus on one asset, they are often siloed or launched in a way that conflicts with another major promotion. Therefore, these thought leadership pieces don’t get nearly the traction or share of attention that the content team wants.

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The result: The organization sees high-quality (and expensive) e-books and white papers as distractions from product marketing campaigns. It just doesn’t see the return. And the content team often rushes through the assets to support the product team’s marketing campaigns based on thinking, “what can we do in time to meet the deadline” vs. “what should be done.” As a result, product marketing campaigns often are of lower quality but get a lot of promotion.

Nobody is happy.

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What the heck is a campaign anyway

When businesses experience this challenge, two immediate reactions happen. First, they say the product marketing teams shouldn’t change their campaigns, which would give the content team more time.

Or they want to make the content team responsible only for creating content assets that support the product marketing teams’ campaigns. Then, the separate thought leadership content campaigns wouldn’t distract them, and those great thought leadership assets could support the product campaign.

Funny how neither of those reactions ever seems to work out.

The better – and more effective – reaction redefines what campaigns are and how they are planned and prioritized.

First, you must agree on the definitions of a “campaign.” They can be unique to your organization and cover different types or classes of campaigns, but you must all use common definitions.

Your organization must have common definitions of “campaign” to better plan and prioritize the integrated #marketing strategy, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Is a campaign a series of messages distributed over time that share a single idea and theme which make up your integrated marketing? In other words, is a campaign like when you have a new product launch, construct multiple ads, events, content assets, and a media plan, and distribute them on multiple channels over two quarters? Or is a campaign when you have a white paper and do a series of email blasts and promotions on social media for a month? Or is it something in between? You can see how one definition can differ significantly from another.

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Most likely, you will account for different classes of campaigns. This is good. Do that. Do you have a tiered system of campaigns (gold, silver, bronze)? Or is it just more descriptive (fully integrated campaign vs. thought leadership campaign vs. brand campaign)? The key is to determine the clear – and company-wide understood – definitions of these things.

Integrated communication starts with content

More importantly, if you have this challenge, you need to change how the content and campaign planning process starts. It should begin at one shared point rather than in service to one team or the other.

In other words, as product marketers or demand generation teams plot the themes and campaigns for the next quarter or fiscal year, the content team should participate in the discussion and planning process – and vice versa.

Put simply: You need to relearn the lessons of integrated marketing communications.

We lost a great thinker in 2020. Don E. Schultz, professor emeritus of service at Northwestern University’s Medill School of Journalism, was considered the father of the practice of integrated marketing communications (IMC). I was proud to get to know him a little when he spoke at Content Marketing World in 2013.

He spoke about IMC in a way you won’t find today. If you search for integrated marketing communications, you’re likely to find most definitions speak to the process of getting a unified message across multiple channels – “unifying brand messages.”

Those results aren’t wrong, but they miss the most critical components of how Professor Schultz defined it:

Integrated marketing communication is a strategic business process used to plan, develop, execute, and evaluate coordinated, measurable, persuasive brand communication programs over time.

In other words, it’s easy enough to align your messages so that everybody says the same thing. Simply dig through that shared folder on the server for the “brand messaging” presentation. It’s quite another to create a process where you can develop, execute, and coordinate your messaging in the same way.

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It’s easy to align your brand message so that everybody says the same thing. It’s harder – and necessary – to develop, execute, and coordinate your messaging, says @Robert_Rose via @CMIContent. Click To Tweet

Planning starts with content. The story. The message. To realize an integrated communications strategy, pull everyone forward to plan and align on the content to create. Then, you can coordinate that content into well-coordinated packages. You may call them campaigns, content efforts, or initiatives, but as long as you agree, you can align them.

If you do that well, campaigns can change at the 11th hour. It’s not that there won’t be implications to that change. But they will be for all of you, not just the teams downstream of the change. The alignment allows for agreement and designates the relative importance of a simple effort to distribute a white paper well (It might be the keystone to the entire integrated campaign) and the expensive, integrated product marketing campaign that follows it.

In IMC, The Next Generation: Five Steps for Delivering Value and Measuring Returns Using Marketing Communications, Professor Shultz begins the last chapter by talking about the future of IMC and the barriers to advancing it. In order, they include resistance to change, organizational structures, capabilities and control, and marketing planning systems.

He knew for integration to happen, the planning needed to come from one common place – a place where content and marketing integrate into one communications strategy.

Get Robert’s take on content marketing industry news in just five minutes:

Watch previous episodes or read the lightly edited transcripts.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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How To Master Your Hashtags on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram



How To Master Your Hashtags on LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram

Remember in The Little Mermaid when Ariel sits in the grotto pulling petals off her underwater flower, wondering if Prince Eric loves her or loves her not?

That about sums up my relationship with hashtags.

I love them for their contribution to social posts’ organic reach and visibility. I do not love seeing brands use them willy-nilly, stuffing them like King Triton’s magic trident into their captions to fix a failing social profile.

Hashtag success doesn’t come from hoping you land on “they love me.” It depends 100% on your hashtag strategy.

Let’s break it down by platform so you can go from #TheyLoveMeNot to #TheyLoveMe hashtags in 2023.

Hashtag success doesn’t come from hoping you land on the “they-love-me” petal, says @coastlinemktg via @CMIContent. #SocialMedia Click To Tweet


Hashtags on Twitter can be a powerful tool for boosting your brand’s visibility, encouraging engagement, and expanding your network with like-minded individuals.

According to Twitter Business, tweets with relevant top hashtags can generate a significant lift across the marketing funnel, such as +18% message association, +8% brand awareness, and +3% purchase intent. These tips based on Twitter’s best practices and my experiences can help you get started:

Quantity matters

One or two relevant hashtags in your tweets are the sweet spot. Could you add more? Sure. Should you? Probably not.

Consider relevancy

Look for frequently used hashtags and engage with those posts to increase visibility. Don’t shy away from hashtags specific to Twitter chats (like #CMWorld). These forums are great opportunities to meet potential clients, make connections, and grow your knowledge base.

Go niche

Think beyond the broad hashtags and get granular. Often, you’ll find some of those RAQs (rarely asked questions) Andrew Davis talked about during his 2022 Content Marketing World keynote to position yourself as a thought leader on the platform.

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Follow @DrewDavisHere rarely-asked-question advice and get granular with hashtags to position your brand as a thought leader, says @coastlinemktg via @CMIContent. #SocialMedia Click To Tweet

Test everything

Don’t base your hashtag success on like counts. Use Twitter Analytics to track tweet performance and look for correlations and patterns to see which hashtags get the most engagement so you can replicate that process.


LinkedIn is all about connection, whether you’re building a personal brand or marketing a brand. And much like Twitter, if you want your content to stand out among LinkedIn’s 500-plus million members, an appropriate hashtag strategy is key.

When used correctly, adding relevant hashtags to your posts and articles will help you connect with new audiences, establish credibility, expand your reach, build a community around your organization, and promote your brand and its products.

Here’s what I recommend:

Count the quantity

LinkedIn suggests including no more than three hashtags per post and using broad and niche hashtags for increased exposure (e.g., #marketing vs. #contentmarketing).

Three hashtags are sufficient if you target them appropriately for the target audience.

Consider hashtag placement

When possible, insert your hashtags organically into the post caption so they become a natural part of your story. Clumping them at the bottom not only looks clunky but distracts from the purpose of the post.

Don’t clump hashtags at the bottom of a @LinkedIn post. Insert them organically into the #content, says @coastlinemktg via @CMIContent. #SocialMedia Click To Tweet

Optimize your pages

Choose up to 20 specialties to add to your company page that represents what you do and what you post about. Think of these as “hashtaggable” keywords to help your page be found more easily on the platform.

1685657511 210 How To Master Your Hashtags on LinkedIn Twitter Facebook and

Use hashtags in comments

You can add hashtags when you comment on a post or article. This good community management tactic can help increase your personal and brand searchability.

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Test everything.

Keep a record of the hashtags you use and look for correlations with your overarching goal (i.e., engagement, post clicks, reach, etc.).


Because many users’ profiles are set to private and an abundance of topical groups exists, getting audience members to engage and interact with hashtags on Facebook can be more challenging.

I don’t recommend spending time on Facebook hashtags, but before you opt out, monitor relevant and branded hashtags to make sure your audience isn’t the exception to the rule.

You can do this search by adding the keyword or hashtag at the end of the URL

If no one has used the hashtag in years, don’t invest time in creating a Facebook hashtag strategy. However, if you find the hashtag does engage an audience, use no more than two to three hashtags per post to see if they perform for your brand.


Do hashtags help you improve your brand’s reach on Instagram in 2023? This is the current question circling the social sphere. According to Instagram’s head Adam Mosseri, hashtags aren’t as effective on Instagram as they once were.


So, what now?

Social media search engine optimization enters the hashtag conversation.

Hootsuite experimented to see if posts with hashtags performed worse than those that prioritized relevant keywords.

The results? Keyword-focused captions saw 30% more reach and increased engagement over those with hashtags.

That’s not to say that hashtags don’t still have their place. They’re just not the priority on Instagram that they once were.

Armed with this data, here are my Instagram recommendations:

Minimize hashtag usage

A few months ago, I would have recommended a max of 12 hashtags. My current recommendation is no more than four targeted hashtags on any post.

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Don’t use more than four targeted hashtags on @Instagram posts, says @coastlinemktg via @CMIContent. #SocialMedia Click To Tweet

Use relevant and descriptive keywords

Think of caption writing as just another form of content writing. Incorporate relevant and descriptive keywords. Keep it short and sweet when possible. People scroll so quickly that crafting clear, concise captions makes sense to get the maximum impact.

Tag topics

As the Topics icon indicates, topics are the next iteration of Instagram’s hashtags. They help you reach people who share an interest. You can add up to three topics to your post right before you publish it if you have the feature in the share menu.

Check out the competition

You probably have competitor accounts you emulate for their content. Do a deep dive into what’s working for them on the platform and use what you learn to inform your strategy.

Maybe they use some targeted keywords you hadn’t considered to reach your audience or maybe you walk away with a renewed sense of creative vision. Either way, it’s a win.

Keep it fun

Social media is supposed to be fun. It’s where you get the chance to show a brand’s personality and give audience members a look behind the curtain. Don’t take a hashtag strategy to the extreme, and stop interjecting humor and personality into your posts.

So when it comes to a hashtag strategy for social media, keep it specific, concise, and fun. Happy hashtagging.

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Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

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How Social Media Can Supercharge Your SEO



How Social Media Can Supercharge Your SEO

When working in social media, it can feel like you exist worlds away from SEO. And as an SEO, social media may feel like something that isn’t quite relevant in your day to day. But as with all things marketing, both of these digital marketing tactics have the potential to boost collective success. As a Social Media Manager, I’m here to tell you how you as an SEO can collaborate with your social media team in order to help supercharge your SEO efforts.

What is a social media strategy?

A social media strategy is a document that outlines your organization’s social media goals, along with how you will achieve them, both through top-level strategy and on-the-ground tactics (i.e., what you actually do). A strategy is the foundation of how your organization approaches being on social media.

Social media vs. search engine optimization

Social media involves owning accounts and having an active presence on social media channels like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, LinkedIn, TikTok, and YouTube, with the goal of driving brand awareness and engagement, or increasing traffic and conversions. On the other hand, search engine optimization (SEO) is a set of practices designed to improve the appearance and positioning of web pages in organic search results, resulting in increased website traffic and exposure to your brand.

Do links from social media improve your SEO?

Links from popular social media platforms such as Facebook are “no-follow” links, meaning they do not send link authority directly to your site. PageRank is Google’s algorithm that ranks web pages based on the quantity and quality of external backlinks. However, gaining no-follow links from high-quality domains is still extremely important.

In the past, marketers ignored “no-follow” links, as they did not have any impact on organic ranking, but the “no-follow” attribute isn’t completely useless. A well-balanced backlink profile consisting of both followed, and no-followed links will appear more natural to Google and other search engines.

Another benefit of “no-follow” links is the referral traffic that they can provide. Although search engines will not follow links with the attached HTML “no-follow” attribute, users can click them to reach your site, giving you more traffic!

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While no-follow links do not provide the same boost to your site’s backlink profile as followed links, Google still likes to see them as a part of your site’s backlink profile, and they offer a valuable source of referral traffic.

The SEO benefits of increased brand awareness

The primary SEO benefit of brand awareness that your social media strategy can drive is the boost you can see in “branded” organic search volume and clicks.

Not every user encountering your brand on their Instagram or TikTok feed will click through to your site — in fact, most won’t. Most people will mentally file away your brand name and products only to perform a Google search for your company name or products after the fact, i.e. a branded search. This is especially true if your social messaging is solid and memorable.

For many sites, especially newer ones, a branded search can represent a large portion of your organic traffic.

5 ways social media can improve your SEO

There are five ways that a robust social media presence can help improve your SEO:

Amplify website content through social channels to reach new audiences

Your website content may be great, but you need to drive eyes to it somehow! Sharing your content, like blogs or guides, on social media is a win-win-win:

  • You’re building positive brand sentiment by providing content that answers people’s questions.

  • You’re driving more users to your website.

  • The positive response toward your content on social media sends signals to the social algorithms and therefore often shows it to new people.

One way we do this at Moz is with this very blog! Anything the Moz Blog publishes is promoted on our social media channels, which not only drives traffic but puts valuable content right in front of our audience for them to get immediate insights from.

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Create and share infographics in social posts and blog articles

In my experience, people love nothing more on social media than a classic infographic. Sharing information in bite-sized, colorful, and visually appealing ways will result in shares, engagement, and traffic to your website. Plus, they’re versatile — include them in your blogs, and you can use them on your social media posts! Every Whiteboard Friday episode that we publish here at Moz gets its own accompanying infographic. This is a great way to resurface a well-loved episode, and give people more value up front.

1685632260 394 How Social Media Can Supercharge Your SEO

Build relationships with customers

One of the core tenets of social media is that it’s a two-way street. As you get started, you as a brand need to provide valuable content to your audience without asking them for anything in return. Once you’ve cultivated goodwill with your audience, you now have a relationship in which you provide value, build that favorable currency, and then you’re able to cash in on it in exchange for traffic or follow-throughs on your CTAs.

While our social media philosophy is that everything we put on social media has some form of value to our audience, we also make it a point to create content that doesn’t explicitly ask for anything, like clicking links or purchasing our product. Sometimes that’s providing them with information, and sometimes that can look like making them laugh.

1685632260 773 How Social Media Can Supercharge Your SEO

Optimize your profiles on social channels and lead audiences toward your website

A simple but effective way to lead audiences to your website is to make it easy to get to! Ensure you optimize your social channels and keep a link to your website in each profile. If you need to house multiple links, use a “link in bio” service, but always make sure a quick shortcut to your website stays front and center.

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This strategy is something we use on our Instagram. Instead of constantly changing the link based on what we’re promoting that day or just wasting the opportunity the link in bio provides, we have a link in bio tool through Sprout Social that lets us showcase all the links that are tied to each of our posts.

1685632260 410 How Social Media Can Supercharge Your SEO

Target users who are more likely to convert to your site. Conversion and engagement metrics are great for SEO!

With social media, you should always know who you’re trying to reach and how you’re going to do so. One audience you should target on social media is people you know are ready to convert. Have different posts for different audiences as a part of your content mix, and include more mature leads further down the funnel. These become easy wins because they convert and engage once they hit the website, which is helpful for SEO metrics.

We know that the majority of people are coming to Moz for beginner SEO education, so we make it a point to really highlight those resources, such as our Beginner’s Guide to SEO or our How to Rank Checklist, knowing they will always see a lot of traffic and engagement.

1685632261 762 How Social Media Can Supercharge Your SEO

Build relationships between your social media and SEO teams

A strong relationship between your social media and SEO teams is crucial. You can trade information about high-performing topics that can inform strategy on both sides or allow you to make reactive changes to your tactics based on opportunities. Schedule a monthly one-on-one with your respective counterpart in your organization to connect and fill each other in on pertinent information.

With this information, you’re now armed to go out and make this happen for yourself! Take this as an opportunity to connect with your social media team and find new and innovative ways to collaborate and drive results for both social media and SEO.

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The Ultimate Guide to Hiring a PR Agency in 2023



The Ultimate Guide to Hiring a PR Agency in 2023

Vanessa Carlton said it best: Your company is making its way downtown, faces pass, and you’re “success” bound. See what I did there? Anywho, your company is on its way. But how do you communicate that with your stakeholders and the public?


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