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Most savvy marketers have heard the phrase “content is king.” It’s a concept that emphasizes the importance of compelling content when approaching an online marketing strategy.

Yet, great content can only take you so far. And this is due to the seemingly endless amount of noise your content is competing with from the get-go. This is where paid strategy comes into play. Strategic advertising is now essential for modern digital communications, and is making its way into the standard toolkit of many online marketers and PR professionals.

I recently connected with Weber Shandwick Executive Vice President, Digital Program Innovation Chris Vary to discuss the importance of integrating paid and marketing strategy. As the lead of some of Weber Shandwick’s most digitally integrated clients, Chris contains a wealth of knowledge related to the significance, execution and future of digital advertising.

Check out our full Q&A below:

1. Why is a paid strategy important to the success of integrated marketing campaigns?

Brands today need to maximize their message reach inside channels they own and in paid. Paid content today assists with the velocity of content consumption by placing relevant content in areas that can be discovered.  This approach is widely adapted now by marketers and communicators.

2. What steps should you take to best integrate paid elements into a marketing strategy?

First off, examine the content.  We need to make sure the content is good before we spend budget on paid distribution. Brands need to avoid spamming people with bad content fueled by paid support. This is a bad combination and will have a negative effect on the overall brand initiative if we do not pay attention to our audience.

3. How should you measure ROI when it comes to paid?

Simple. Clicks to the company website or sales channels. The ultimate ROI is conversion of sale from a social media initiative or paid campaign. Since social media is highly-trackable online, companies today need to make the integration into their Omniture or Google Analytics platforms on their .com sites. Social and Paid are designed to drive traffic. ROI is imperative.

4. What are some of the most effective paid integrations you’ve seen recently?

The big players I have seen so far are the Adrenalist.com campaign, RadioShack and Dell.

5. How do you see paid evolving in the next decade?

Paid will just be integrated naturally into programs. Today it’s an extension, tomorrow it will be a practice.

Disclosure:  Unilever and RadioShack are Weber Shandwick clients.

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