In just 20 years, the landscape of marketing has changed completely. Brands and content used to be strangers But now, brand and content integration is the start for a winning strategy.

Brand integration into editorial content is not as new of a concept as you might think. Content marketing strategies have been popular since the late 1990s, around the time I began my career. I started at a media-buying agency, where I could see first-hand the undeniable effectiveness of an integration strategy, despite the difficulties of having to convince other parties of its benefits – at first.

The reason it’s lasted – flourished even – is because, simply put, brand integration into editorial, works. It always has and likely always will, but how it works has evolved. In the past, where I used to have a tough negotiation process with publishers, editorial and sales, there now exists a unified team, working in tandem to create a program that works for everyone: our editorial brands, our readers, and our bottom-line. So, where everything began as a separate cog in the wheel, each team is now a working and crucial component of a necessary strategy creation.

Today, as Media Director at Spafax, integration programs are always at the core of my content strategies. My job is to design programs that marry content and media into a cohesive story for our audience to enjoy across multiple channels.

Here are my six super-quick steps to creating an integrated content program:

1. Think of the reader first. Make sure your story is good and unique – and a genuinely good story.
2. Think of the benefit to the advertiser. Inspire them with your audience data (infographics or Data Stories are your best bet).
3. Think of the advertiser again. How does the program benefit their brand?
4. Uncover the marketing objectives your program delivers, and then ask yourself which brands would have those objectives.
5. Communicate the program in a marketable manner. Make your sales presentation simple and easy to understand.
6. Have fun. Integrated content programs are creative! Enjoy the process.

Data Stories are a great way to convert complex information into simple, easily shareable content to captivate your target audience.

Learn more about Data Stories