Although 95% of marketers say they know how vital multi-channel marketing is for targeting potential customers, only 14% say they run coordinated marketing campaigns across all channels, according to CMO.com. That disconnect wastes marketers' two most valuable resources: time and money.
How do you unify efforts with different team members, initiatives, and strategies for your blog, email, and social media marketing? You need to come up with a content marketing strategy that accounts for each channel.
The following five steps will lead to the creation of a cohesive cross-functional marketing plan.
Step 1: Define your goals
Successful content marketers document their content marketing strategy; yet, only 32% of B2B marketers do so, according to the 2016 Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report from MarketingProfs and Content Marketing Institute.
First, define your goals at the top level and then down to individual channels as part of your overall content marketing strategy. Among those high-level goals might be the following:
- To generate leads
- To build brand awareness
- To increase engagement
- To boost followers
Both defining and documenting goals are crucial for enterprise organizations, where distributing projects among several teams often ends with the creation of silos. A documented bird's-eye view keeps everyone's eye on the bigger picture.
When defining the goals for your blog content, email marketing, and social media marketing, take into consideration how each channel will support, promote and work with the others. Define how the team will promote your social campaigns via email, for example, and how you'll use your social channels to distribute a new blog post.
Step 2: Set brand and editorial guidelines
Establish the guidelines and processes that will enable your team to produce consistent content. All your messaging should look and sound as if it's from the same brand—because it is—regardless of which channel it's pushed through or which marketing specialist wrote it.
Though tone, mood, and topic may somewhat vary for each channel (for example, social media might be more lighthearted than other marketing channels, and email might be more sales-oriented than your blog), your brand voice should stay consistent. After all, it's been carefully crafted to appeal to your customers and evoke certain feelings.
Develop guidelines for brand content and establish editorial standards. Guidelines should dictate things like tone, style, and format, so anyone at your organization can create on-brand content. Include do's and don'ts and examples of on-brand writing.
Brand and editorial guidelines help your brand voice to become recognizable to your audience and ensure consistency across campaigns and channels.
Step 3: Tailor distribution for individual channels
The days of individual start-and-stop campaigns are long gone. An integrated, holistic approach requires that your campaigns work in harmony.
Let's say you create an e-book. Document how each channel will distribute and promote that asset:
- Blog. Carve up your e-book and post each chapter as a blog post. Include a CTA that asks readers to perform the desired action: You could ask readers to sign up for an email list or to download the full e-book, for example.
- Social. Promote those chapters/blog posts on your social pages. You likely have a presence on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and YouTube, which are the top four social media platforms used by marketers, according to the 2016 Content Marketing Benchmarks, Budgets, and Trends report. Create campaigns tailored to those channels, as well as any other social networks your brand deems beneficial. If, for example, your goal is to build community on Facebook, plan a Facebook contest around the e-book.
- Email. Again using content from various chapters, send out teasers for your e-book via a drip campaign to nurture potential customers through your sales cycle. Make sure you're segmenting your list, because not every potential or existing customer will want every email you send, depending on what their needs are at the time. Include a CTA to the desired action—for example, "get a demo" or "hear from a salesperson."
Plot all your campaigns and marketing channels on the same calendar, and look for ways they can support each other. Having everything in one place makes it easier to ensure timelines sync up and every team is providing consistent information.
Step 4: Have the team(s) sync regularly
When you've integrated the plans for all your marketing channels, you also need to make sure your team is just as unified. Doing so is vital if you want to avoid the silo effect.
Marketing messages are fragmented across channels and therefore out of context when they reach the consumer, a study commissioned by Responsys and conducted by Forrester found. To overcome this problem, marketers should embrace "marketing orchestration," defined by the report as "an approach to marketing that focuses not on delivering standalone campaigns but instead on optimizing a set of related cross-channel interactions, that when added together make up an individualized customer experience."
Having your teams sync regularly creates opportunities to update each other, share insights, and bounce ideas off one another. Stakeholders get a full view of the campaigns and goals they're contributing to, and how they can support each other and not duplicate efforts.
Involve everyone in initial content planning and creation as well, as each specialist can bring insight regarding the channels they know best. Moreover, different channels might have standalone projects in the works that need to be factored into campaign planning.
Step 5: Measure
The final step: Have your marketing team look at specific metrics and KPIs, such as...
- Unique visitors
- Newsletter subscribers
- Conversation rate
- Bounce rate
- Time spent on page
- Average order value
To keep each channel focused on the same business results, each specialized goal or key metric should work toward or support overall initiatives.
To make it easier to see how different channels' results contribute to overall marketing goals, take advantage of marketing tools and data that bring everything together. Boost your Google Analytics configuration, for example, to customize how Google Analytics classifies your traffic, such as organic search, social, email, etc. Attributing results to specific channels, once again, helps with the overall strategy. Look at both long-term and short-term progress toward your goals on both a high level and channel-specific basis, and work with your team to adjust the tactics as needed.
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These steps guarantee your teams will better understand each marketing channel and how they can work together to contribute to the overall content marketing strategy.
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