We’ve all been there, you’ve created the greatest piece of content you’ve ever come up with, spent hours researching and perfecting every line of copy… and finally it’s live.
With a constant eye on your analytics, you see there are a few people on your site but quite frankly it’s all a bit of an anti-climax. Often, you can trace the problem back to one reason — silos.
Oh here we go again, you’re thinking, not another article about breaking down silos! But until those iron clad walls are broken down and marketing strategies are working in harmony, it’ll remain a heart-dropping situation that will continue to generate discussion.
If there are silos in your organisation, great content won’t reach its full potential, and results won’t be where they need to be to truly make a positive difference.
5 ways to start breaking down silos in your organisation
Having moved from a large SEO team in a digital agency, to an SEO and Content Manager, flying solo in a full-service marketing and advertising agency, I’ve learnt the hard way how damaging silos can be.
I’m hoping some of my learnings will help those of you win over and encourage colleagues and clients to open up, integrate, and achieve content marketing greatness!
This is potentially quite obvious but is often one of the biggest points of failure particularly in cross-agency communications.
In-house marketers, get your different agencies and departments talking, particularly when it comes to SEO, PR, social media and digital buying. I realise it’s not necessarily realistic for everyone to know everything that’s happening all the time, but when it comes to key campaigns and big moments, all of these teams should be involved. Schedule quarterly cross-agency meetings or calls to discuss what’s been happening and what’s coming up.
Open up conversations with your clients, ask them what activity is coming up that you could potentially coordinate with your channel. Suggest cross-agency meetings to kick off new campaigns. The chances are they haven’t even thought of it and will hopefully be thankful that you’ve asked.
Research who your different audiences are, and how they are interacting across your channels, and use this to inspire your content. You may discover you’ve got a huge niche following on Twitter that you hadn’t even considered creating content on your website for.
Or, for example, that everyone looking at your website is aged 40+, yet your social media following is a lot younger. Think about how you could tap into these new audiences on your different channels to drive audiences to where you want them to be.
One of the biggest challenges in breaking down barriers between marketing strands is education. People have a tendency to get stuck in a rut of focusing on the topic they know best without breaking the mould.
So whilst for years the marketing world has existed in silo, with an ever-changing digital landscape, strategy and thinking inevitably needs to change too if a marketing strategy is going to succeed.
Organise joint learning sessions where everyone gives a snapshot of their channel; what it is, why it’s important and bringing their ideas of how their channel could be working with others more effectively. Keep it relaxed and discussion-based so that no-one feels like they are being lectured at!
Arguably the most important takeaway from this article is the importance of collaboration. One of my biggest bugbears when it comes to content marketing is the need for someone to “own” each campaign or piece of content.
Ultimately, we’re all essentially working to the same goal across every channel (whether it be selling products/services/tickets or whatever else you may be marketing), so the whole “I did it, therefore my channel’s the best” philosophy not only wastes energy, but often hinders potential gain from other channels.
One of the best ways to get everyone onboard with sharing ideas and content is to have everyone involved from the beginning of a campaign. So have cross-agency and department brainstorms; get creative together; thinking audience and ideas first, distribution platform second.
And last but not least, having an integrated content distribution strategy is key. Do you share content everywhere at the exact time for big impact? Or would it be more effective to spread distribution out over a few days in a staggered approach?
In either case, ensuring as many channels as possible are involved in the most effective way possible is essential for reaching the biggest, most varied audience possible.
Of course, these are just the starting points to get you thinking about an integrated strategy. In practice there are a multitude of layers to contend with, it’s never going to be as simple as saying “OK, let’s all start working like this tomorrow”. But just starting those conversations and slowly breaking holes in those walls should get things going in the right direction!
Do you have any other tips for creating more integrated content strategies?