Cooked to Strategic Perfection: The Layers of a Deliciously Integrated Content Marketing Lasagna

Few things in this world are as delicious as a corner piece of lasagna. For starters, the top layer of cheese is both gooey and crispy. The tomato sauce is sweet yet peppery. The meat? It’s flavorful and hearty. And don’t get me started on the ricotta and mozzarella layers—my favorite by far.

via GIPHY

Lasagna is the perfect dish. And its perfection is not just defined by quality ingredients, but how each ingredient is artfully layered together to bring satisfaction with each and every bite. That’s where the magic happens.

Cooking a delectable lasagna to perfection is not unlike crafting an integrated approach to content marketing. On their own, your tactics may whet your audience’s appetite, but don’t pack the tasty punch of working together to make a lasting impact or drive savory results. Paid, SEO, content, social, influencer, design—all need to work in tandem to ensure your marketing objectives are met.

What are the essential layers for a scrumptiously integrated content marketing lasagna? Here’s a little cooking demonstration.

The Layers of a Deliciously Integrated Content Marketing Lasagna

Layer No. 1: Structural SEO Noodles

Noodles are to lasagna as SEO is to content marketing. These are the support layers, helping bind the rest of tactical ingredients together while baking. They provide the structural integrity of the marketing dish—and add some much-loved, comforting carbohydrates. 

From providing insights about the competitive landscape or revealing content or optimization opportunities based on your current search positioning, SEO tactics help provide context and actionable next steps for developing (and optimizing) your best-answer content marketing strategy. And without multiple layers of topical focus or the right contextual firmness, it all falls apart.

[bctt tweet=”Noodles are to lasagna as SEO is to content marketing. These are the support layers, helping bind the rest of tactical ingredients together while baking.” username=”toprank”]

Layer No. 2: Meaty and Savory Content

Most of the nutritional value of lasagna is rooted in the meat—or vegetables if that’s your thing. (Yes, I choose to believe lasagna is very nutritious and essential for a healthy body.) When it comes to content marketing, the content you create is what brings value to your audience. It’s what gives them delectable insights, solutions, and answers to their burning questions as they make their journey.

However, to really succeed here, your content layer needs to be flavorful, well-seasoned, and fresh. It needs to be the best answer with a great user experience, impressive visuals, incredible storytelling, and valuable information.

This means the flavor profile of your content needs to be multidimensional, including different content types (e.g. text, video, and/or audio, or interactive) and fit with your audience’s unique tastes.

Layer No. 3: Saucy and Seasoned Influencers

While well-seasoned meat and perfectly cooked pasta noodles can satisfy hunger in some cases, it does not yet make for a flavorful lasagna dish. This is where the tomato sauce comes in. 

via GIPHY

Tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and garlic come together to make a delectable tomato sauce to mix with the meat and coat the noodles. But there’s one key ingredient content marketers can add to make an especially spicy sauce: Influencers.

Influencers add authority, credibility, flavorful insight, and even more meat to your content. Their seasoned advice also helps bring new, untapped audiences to the dinner table. But the key here is to season with care. It’s important to select, qualify, and recruit the right influencers depending on your goals, target audience, topic, and so on. Take their reach and follower size out of the equation—focus on the unique and relevant flavor they can bring to your content and audience.

[bctt tweet=”Identify the topics that are most important to your audience and how they align with the topics you want to be known for. Then identify the right types of relevant influencers. @azeckman” username=”toprank”]

Lay No. 4: Cheesy Brand Goodness

As I mentioned, the ricotta cheese mixture is my absolute favorite lasagna layer. This creamy goodness envelops the meat sauce, adding a subtle flavors and elevating the dish as a whole.

Your brand voice and personality is this cheesy, creamy goodness. Your audience needs to get a taste of who you are and how you can help, without having their senses overpowered with product messaging and misplaced calls to action.

While under most circumstances I’d argue the more the merrier when it comes to cheese helpings, when it comes to crafting an integrated content marketing strategy that helps your brand shine, balance is the name of the game.

[bctt tweet=”Your audience needs to get a taste of who you are and how you can help, without having their senses overpowered with product messaging and misplaced calls to action. @annieleuman” username=”toprank”]

Layer No. 5: The Promotional Parmesan

You know when you’re eating at your favorite Italian restaurant and you’re asked if you’d like some fresh parmesan to top off your meal? Of course, you reply in the affirmative and wait until there’s a lovely dusting (or a solid coating if you’re like me) of freshly grated cheese for you to enjoy. 

That final, top layer of cheese is key for any good lasagna or any integrated digital marketing strategy. But just because it’s the last layer added, doesn’t mean it’s an afterthought. Your promotional parm has been planned all along. 

Organic social media. Email marketing. Paid social, search, or display ads. Third-party editorial. Influencer activation. Cross-site promotion. As you pull your freshly baked content marketing lasagna out of the oven, the tantalizing top layer is the first thing your audience will see. How will you attract your audience? How will you entice them to take a bite? How will you ensure they’re satisfied and asking for more?

[bctt tweet=”Content promotion can’t be effective if it’s an afterthought. Your best practice would be to make promotion part of content planning. @leeodden” username=”toprank”]

Read: 50 Content Promotion Tactics to Help Your Content Get Amazing Exposure

Cook Your Integrated Marketing Lasagna to Perfection

A well-crafted and delicious lasagna has expert layers, with each layer’s flavors and textures coming together to deliver perfection in every bite. A great content marketing strategy does, too. 

Leverage SEO tactics to provide foundational insights that can be built upon with meaty content. In addition, perfect your secret influencer sauce to coat your content and SEO noodles in flavor and insight. Finally, ensure your top layer of ooey gooey cheese is part of your cooking strategy from the beginning.

Looking for more tasty content marketing recipes? Learn how to whip up a strategic and mouthwatering Repurposed Content Cobbler.

The post Cooked to Strategic Perfection: The Layers of a Deliciously Integrated Content Marketing Lasagna appeared first on Online Marketing Blog – TopRank®.


Source: SEO blog

Cooked to Strategic Perfection: The Layers of a Deliciously Integrated Content Marketing Lasagna

Few things in this world are as delicious as a corner piece of lasagna. For starters, the top layer of cheese is both gooey and crispy. The tomato sauce is sweet yet peppery. The meat? It’s flavorful and hearty. And don’t get me started on the ricotta and mozzarella layers—my favorite by far.

via GIPHY

Lasagna is the perfect dish. And its perfection is not just defined by quality ingredients, but how each ingredient is artfully layered together to bring satisfaction with each and every bite. That’s where the magic happens.

Cooking a delectable lasagna to perfection is not unlike crafting an integrated approach to content marketing. On their own, your tactics may whet your audience’s appetite, but don’t pack the tasty punch of working together to make a lasting impact or drive savory results. Paid, SEO, content, social, influencer, design—all need to work in tandem to ensure your marketing objectives are met.

What are the essential layers for a scrumptiously integrated content marketing lasagna? Here’s a little cooking demonstration.

The Layers of a Deliciously Integrated Content Marketing Lasagna

Layer No. 1: Structural SEO Noodles

Noodles are to lasagna as SEO is to content marketing. These are the support layers, helping bind the rest of tactical ingredients together while baking. They provide the structural integrity of the marketing dish—and add some much-loved, comforting carbohydrates. 

From providing insights about the competitive landscape or revealing content or optimization opportunities based on your current search positioning, SEO tactics help provide context and actionable next steps for developing (and optimizing) your best-answer content marketing strategy. And without multiple layers of topical focus or the right contextual firmness, it all falls apart.

Noodles are to lasagna as SEO is to content marketing. These are the support layers, helping bind the rest of tactical ingredients together while baking. Click To Tweet

Layer No. 2: Meaty and Savory Content

Most of the nutritional value of lasagna is rooted in the meat—or vegetables if that’s your thing. (Yes, I choose to believe lasagna is very nutritious and essential for a healthy body.) When it comes to content marketing, the content you create is what brings value to your audience. It’s what gives them delectable insights, solutions, and answers to their burning questions as they make their journey.

However, to really succeed here, your content layer needs to be flavorful, well-seasoned, and fresh. It needs to be the best answer with a great user experience, impressive visuals, incredible storytelling, and valuable information.

This means the flavor profile of your content needs to be multidimensional, including different content types (e.g. text, video, and/or audio, or interactive) and fit with your audience’s unique tastes.

Layer No. 3: Saucy and Seasoned Influencers

While well-seasoned meat and perfectly cooked pasta noodles can satisfy hunger in some cases, it does not yet make for a flavorful lasagna dish. This is where the tomato sauce comes in. 

via GIPHY

Tomatoes, basil, oregano, salt, pepper, and garlic come together to make a delectable tomato sauce to mix with the meat and coat the noodles. But there’s one key ingredient content marketers can add to make an especially spicy sauce: Influencers.

Influencers add authority, credibility, flavorful insight, and even more meat to your content. Their seasoned advice also helps bring new, untapped audiences to the dinner table. But the key here is to season with care. It’s important to select, qualify, and recruit the right influencers depending on your goals, target audience, topic, and so on. Take their reach and follower size out of the equation—focus on the unique and relevant flavor they can bring to your content and audience.

Identify the topics that are most important to your audience and how they align with the topics you want to be known for. Then identify the right types of relevant influencers. @azeckman Click To Tweet

Lay No. 4: Cheesy Brand Goodness

As I mentioned, the ricotta cheese mixture is my absolute favorite lasagna layer. This creamy goodness envelops the meat sauce, adding a subtle flavors and elevating the dish as a whole.

Your brand voice and personality is this cheesy, creamy goodness. Your audience needs to get a taste of who you are and how you can help, without having their senses overpowered with product messaging and misplaced calls to action.

While under most circumstances I’d argue the more the merrier when it comes to cheese helpings, when it comes to crafting an integrated content marketing strategy that helps your brand shine, balance is the name of the game.

Your audience needs to get a taste of who you are and how you can help, without having their senses overpowered with product messaging and misplaced calls to action. @annieleuman Click To Tweet

Layer No. 5: The Promotional Parmesan

You know when you’re eating at your favorite Italian restaurant and you’re asked if you’d like some fresh parmesan to top off your meal? Of course, you reply in the affirmative and wait until there’s a lovely dusting (or a solid coating if you’re like me) of freshly grated cheese for you to enjoy. 

That final, top layer of cheese is key for any good lasagna or any integrated digital marketing strategy. But just because it’s the last layer added, doesn’t mean it’s an afterthought. Your promotional parm has been planned all along. 

Organic social media. Email marketing. Paid social, search, or display ads. Third-party editorial. Influencer activation. Cross-site promotion. As you pull your freshly baked content marketing lasagna out of the oven, the tantalizing top layer is the first thing your audience will see. How will you attract your audience? How will you entice them to take a bite? How will you ensure they’re satisfied and asking for more?

Content promotion can’t be effective if it’s an afterthought. Your best practice would be to make promotion part of content planning. @leeodden Click To Tweet

Read: 50 Content Promotion Tactics to Help Your Content Get Amazing Exposure

Cook Your Integrated Marketing Lasagna to Perfection

A well-crafted and delicious lasagna has expert layers, with each layer’s flavors and textures coming together to deliver perfection in every bite. A great content marketing strategy does, too. 

Leverage SEO tactics to provide foundational insights that can be built upon with meaty content. In addition, perfect your secret influencer sauce to coat your content and SEO noodles in flavor and insight. Finally, ensure your top layer of ooey gooey cheese is part of your cooking strategy from the beginning.

Looking for more tasty content marketing recipes? Learn how to whip up a strategic and mouthwatering Repurposed Content Cobbler.

Empathetic Consulting: 3 Things to Remember When Working With Other Teams

Whether you consult with teams within your company or with outside clients, the chances are fairly high that at least once, you’ve left a meeting frustrated by the actions of others, even asking yourself: “why would they do that?”

It’s easy to walk into a project thinking of it as a simple matter of “they brought me in to fix a problem.” But the reality is rarely so simple. Consulting with other teams always entails organizational and emotional nuance that you may not be privy to.

Every interpersonal relationship is unique, and hopefully the circumstances I’m discussing won’t apply to many engagements or projects you take part in. However, when you do end up in a difficult consulting situation, it’s helpful to have a bit of empathy for those you’re working with.

I’ve found that remembering these 3 points can help me put myself in the shoes of my point of contact and interact with them in a way that is sensitive to what they may be dealing within their environment.

1. Your point of contact may not have asked for your help

It is entirely possible that the person you are trying to help may not want to be helped.

Management has its own ideas sometimes and internal communication isn’t always perfect at any company. This can lead to situations where your point of contact may feel defensive, especially if their job functions seem like they might cover what you are consulting on. The best intentions of a manager who wants to help by bringing in more resources may look like distrust or undermining to the employee who didn’t get a say.

At one point during my stint as an in-house SEO, I actually found myself in this exact position. Leadership brought in an outside agency to help with SEO during a domain migration, and while their intentions may have been to provide more help, they didn’t effectively communicate that to me.

As a result, since I was the one who was responsible for that area, it made me feel insecure about how management viewed me and my skills. I was lucky enough to work with a great consultant who was able to support me and help move forward the many projects that were already in-flight. But because I initially felt like they were undermining my credibility by being involved in the first place, it took a while to build that trust and be able to get things done effectively.

The best way to deal with this potential issue is to ensure that you respect the context and institutional knowledge that the team you are helping possesses. Work to have a collaborative relationship instead of an authoritative one. The more context and communication you have, the better the recommendations you can contribute.

2. If they did ask for help, they may be feeling vulnerable or insecure

Step back for a second and think about why a team might bring in an outside consultant, to begin with. There are tons of specific issues they could need assistance with, but all of this boils down to a problem that they presumably want or need help to solve — a problem that they couldn’t solve on their own. Regardless of whether they couldn’t solve it because of knowledge, resources, or even office politics, your contributions add something that they couldn’t contribute themselves — and that can be hard to deal with.

This isn’t something that needs to be discussed with the client or another team, but it is something that you should acknowledge and keep front-of-mind when you communicate with them. Respect the vulnerability of seeking out help, and appreciate the trust that they have placed in you.

3. Your client is accountable for the results of their project

When planning a long-term strategy, making tactical recommendations, or accessing the results of a marketing campaign that you helped execute, it’s easy to feel invested or accountable for the results of a project. However, it’s important to remember that your point of contact is usually far more accountable for results than you are. Their job, success, and emotions are all on the line much more than yours.

As an outside subject matter expert, your job is to give them all the information and resources to make the best decision. At the end of the day, the choice is theirs. I know how hard it can be to see your recommendations or projects rejected, but it’s important to try not to take it personally if they, having all the facts, make what they believe to be the best decision.

If they seem like they are questioning everything you say, maybe it’s because they want to be 100 percent sure it’s the best approach. Perhaps their micromanaging comes from a place of good intentions — just wanting to follow through and get the best outcome with every aspect of a project. Even what can come off as argumentative or difficult could be them playing devils advocate to ensure that everything has been considered.

Wrapping up

All this being said, perhaps none of these circumstances apply to the client that you are finding it hard to work with. People can have bad days, hard years, or even just generally prickly dispositions. But more empathy and compassion in the world is never a bad thing. So, I would encourage anyone who works with other teams to avoid the impulse to judge a harsh response, and instead, consider what may be behind it.

Have you ever been faced with a complicated consulting situation? Share what helped you navigate it in the comments below!