Like a fine automobile or your coworkers doing group karaoke of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” a great content marketing strategy is greater than the sum of its parts — but only if those parts are all working together. (Seriously, guys, we can’t all try for that falsetto. I’m looking at you, Paul.) By playing to the strengths of each channel in your content ecosystem and weaving them together seamlessly, you’ll increase your returns exponentially.
The Key Players in the Ecosystem
There are gobs of methods and means for getting your content out there; your budget and personnel power are the real constraints you’ll have to deal with. Yes, million-dollar campaigns can be done, but that’s not always an option nor is it always the best strategy. The major channels generally fall into digital marketing, include myriad executions, and can be divided up into some basic brackets.
Social: For business purposes, Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are the top dogs, while Google+, YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram occupy the second tier. Smaller platforms like Vine, Foursquare, and Snapchat can provide some unique marketing opportunities if done right.
Blogging: A must for every content marketing program. Regularly updated (at least once every one to two days) blogs create 1,200 new leads per month on average, according to HubSpot.
Direct marketing: This includes opt-in channels like email, text/SMS, and in-person events. Along this route, texting might be the most effective: People love receiving them, which is probably why we send 8 trillion a year. Marketing emails can be effective, but they can also be easily filtered and ignored if you’re not constantly providing compelling content.
How to Cross-Promote
Cross-promoting is all about capitalizing on the times you have your customers’ attention, even if it’s only in subtle ways. From adding a link to your blog on your email signature to including your Twitter handle on the photo backdrop at your next event, opportunities abound to expose your audience to multiple channels simultaneously.
While it may be tempting to use software that lets you blast your content across all your social networks at once, remember that your best customers probably follow you on multiple channels. Make the effort to craft unique posts for each share of the same content. You should be doing that anyway to take advantage of each channel’s unique strengths: Twitter for starting conversations, LinkedIn for demonstrating expertise, Facebook for creating a fun virtual place to hang out.
Speaking of playing to channel strengths, keep up with the changing demographics of each channel and be flexible enough to pivot to a new platform when necessary. Case in point: Facebook lost 6 percent of its teen users in 2014. You may think you’re reaching youngsters when in reality you’re getting likes from everybody’s grandma.
Be mindful of the different photo and video format requirements for your channels.
Use original photography when you can.
Be relevant. Participate in a conversation in real time; offer content that addresses a need your customers are expressing when and where they are.
Content doesn’t have to be new to be cross-promoted. Revive old posts by tying them to relevant topics trending on Twitter or getting a lot of likes on Tumblr.
Don’t forget to connect the virtual world to the real world, and vice versa. In-store rewards for signing up for the e-newsletter and email blasts with coupons that can only be used in-store are simple ways to entice customers into different channels.