How to destroy silos and create an integrated content strategy

As mar­keters, it’s not uncom­mon for our con­tent not to do as well as expect­ed. Often you can trace the prob­lem back to organ­i­sa­tion­al silos. How do you break down silos and ensure more inte­grat­ed con­tent strate­gies?

Hannah Jelliman By Hannah Jelliman from AKA UK. Join the discussion » 0 comments

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!

1. Communication

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.

Agency side

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.

2. Research

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.

3. Teaching

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!

4. Collaboration

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.

5. Distribution

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?

Hannah Jelliman

Written by Hannah Jelliman

Content and SEO Manager, AKA UK

Hannah leads the digital content and SEO strategy in the London office of global advertising and marketing agency AKA UK, creating website content whilst developing integrated multi-channel content strategies.

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