How to approach a multi-channel marketing campaign

Nels Urtel February 24, 2017

If you’re toying with the idea of creating a multi-channel strategy, think of it like pizza: there’s no one way to do it right.

There are several ways to chart multi-channel success. Some organizations like to have multiple multi-channel campaigns going at the same time (a multi-multi-channel campaign, if you will). Others focus on just one at a time. Some organizations will meticulously craft every detail from the very beginning. Others will stumble into it, almost by accident. No matter your method, multi-channel marketing is a great way to reach a wide audience on a number of different levels, all with the same message.

There’s no wrong way to do it, as long as it works. We have, however, identified three questions to ask yourself that might be an early indicator if you’re on the track to multi-channel success.

Do you have the right marketing channels?

Is a tomato a fruit? Technically, yes. But referring to a tomato as a fruit is a little misleading, isn’t it?

Putting a blog post on Twitter does not a multi-channel campaign make. Are you technically using multiple channels to convey the message? Sure. But multi-channel can be so much bigger.

One thing to keep in mind is that this is not something that comes easy to many brands. “51 percent of marketers can’t react to new channels, devices, trends or competitors using their current tech,” according to the Multichannel Digital Marketing Report.

Address these needs right away.

Social media and blog content are two easier channels to conquer. But to really capture the benefits of multi-channel, it’s best to think outside the box – and how you can make it happen. Long-form content pieces like e-books or infographics or webinars are tremendous avenues for your campaign to take. You might even experiment with traditional media like a radio commercial or a billboard advertisement. But these all require different resources than typical blog content. Do you have access to a graphic designer? Is a webinar hosting platform within the budget? Does anyone in the organization have the connections to organize a successful event?

The answers to these questions will give you a good idea if you’re ready to dive into a multi-channel effort. For more ideas, WordStream put together a huge list of great ways to repurpose your content.

Is your topic interesting?

Although Dumb and Dumber was one of my favorite movies as a kid, the fact that someone decided to make a prequel, Dumb and Dumberer, baffled me. As an armchair movie critic, I knew one was perhaps more than enough. The world did not need a second.

An uninteresting topic doesn’t even belong in a tweet, let alone the core of a multi-channel marketing effort.

Make sure you first identify your audience and figure out just how relevant your idea is to them. While it can be tied to a product or service, it can’t be only about the product or service. In our current campaign, we’re talking about paid media. Once we really tuned into that topic, we quickly realized that many of our PR clients are navigating a rapidly changing industry where the strategy model is shifting.

We knew that this topic had legs.

How well do you know the topic?

If you’re embarking on a true multi-channel marketing effort, the content of the topic you’re covering will come in many, many forms.

The content might start as a blog and finish as a boosted Facebook post. But in the middle, it could be an extended webinar, a panel discussion at an event, a Twitter Q&A or a branded video.

Each of these formats speaks to a different segment of your audience at a different stage in their customer journey. This means you must know your chosen topic backwards and forwards. This is important for a couple reasons.

First, you’ll likely be required to both write AND speak intelligently about this topic. You might find yourself in a 30-minute webinar or leading a panel discussion and having to answer a wide range of questions about it.

Second, you need an opinion. If you want to be a thought leader, you need some thoughts, preferably ones unique to your experience and your organization. By choosing a topic you know a lot about, you’ll be able to speak more authoritatively to your audience, no matter the channel.

Don’t worry! You don’t have to do this alone. For every thought leader you see on LinkedIn, there are at least two more people helping with the legwork. As much as you can, employ support from anywhere you can in your organization. Talk to your IT people to get their perspective. Chat with your Sales and Ops crew to get some client anecdotes. Talk to the upper management to get some industry context. Take advantage of whatever internal resources you have to put your perspective together.

Make multi-channel marketing work for you

The perfect opportunity to launch a multi-channel campaign could be both manufactured or a complete accident. We’re currently in the midst of a multi-channel marketing effort we came upon purely by chance.

The fine folks at PR Consultants Group reached out to Scott Severson, Brandpoint’s president, to join a panel discussion for an annual conference in Houston. The panel featured Scott along with Steve Barrett, Editor-in-Chief of PR Week US, talking about the increasing importance of paid media and the PESO model in the world of PR. And, like all great ideas (or hair-brained schemes), the pieces kept falling into place.

As we began to do some research in preparation, Scott figured a blog would be a great place to organize his thoughts. As we got a little further down the road, we realized that, as we work with a TON of PR agencies, this topic would be a great subject for our first webinar, focusing on paid media and its growing role in PR. Pretty soon the blog turned into a script which turned into a set of slides which will because another piece of collateral to round out the event.

Your opportunity could look completely different. Maybe you have a new service or product you want to weave into a new, broad campaign. Perhaps you’ve got a big event you’d like to generate some buzz around.

Take a look at the three criteria outlined above and make multi-channel work for you.

Nels Urtel February 24, 2017

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