The only expression more irritating than "we need it yesterday" is "ready, fire—aim!"

In my experience, nothing good ever came from rushing. In content marketing, if you pull the trigger before you've taken aim at your target, you'll most likely shoot yourself in the foot.

As content marketing's share of budget increases, so does the importance of having a sound strategy for how to employ it. That's especially true because of the large variety of content and the wide range of communication channels: newsletters, blogs, direct mail, whitepapers, social media, video, websites, and emails, to name a few.

Having a solid content strategy is the key to helping brands achieve their business goals and accurately measure performance. Companies can further avoid "ready-fire" accidents by combining their PR, marketing, and digital strategy.

Such an integrated approach helps ensure a consistent message—one of the keys to generating and enhancing brand awareness, thought leadership, and demand generation. Your message can reinforce your value proposition, highlight the company's strengths, or tie back to an overarching campaign theme.

And what's most important is that you must deliver the right message to the right audience, at the right time, and develop a consistent voice across all of your content.

Thus, an integrated approach encompasses the four "R's" of effective messaging (notice they are all plural):

  1. Right messages
  2. Right channels
  3. Right times
  4. Right audiences

With an integrated content strategy, marketers can provide a more consistent message, expand a company's network of potential customers, and better connect with prospective buyers—all while driving greater returns.

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image of Brad Dodge

Brad Dodge is the president of Dodge Communications, a full-service integrated public relations and marketing agency helping healthcare and technology companies build strong brands, demonstrate thought leadership, and drive sales.

Twitter: @BradDodge