How do we align content with channels? - 4 Ideas to Maximise Impact

“How do we align the correct content with the correct channels?”

How do we align content with channels? – 4 Ideas to Maximize Impact

This question comes from a marketer at Be the Match, a Minneapolis nonprofit that finds organ donors. It’s one of the Top 100 Questions on content marketing.

The 4 keys to aligning content with channels are:

  1. Know your audience.
  2. Deliver content that’s on mission, on strategy and on message.
  3. Deliver content at the right time.
  4. Use the right media mix.

Know your audience

“To ensure that your content resonates within a specific channel, start by knowing your audience,” says marketing guru Heidi Cohen. “This means actually talking to your existing customers” and customer-facing team such as Sales, Customer Service and Onboarding.

Heidi Cohen
Content marketing guru Heidi Cohen

Ask questions like these, Cohen recommends:

  • What types of content do customers actively seek?
  • Which media sources do they regularly consume, in what format, on what device(s)?
  • Where are they physically when they seek additional information?
  • What gets them to look for content?
  • How do they use social media? Is it only for personal interactions or communications or do they use it for business as well?
  • How do they consume regular doses of information? Via print, email, social media or other options?
  • What gets them to share or act on the information?

Make sure the answers to these questions align with your content measurements. For instance, it only makes sense to measure social media if your prospects and customers actually use it for business purposes.

Use the answers to test new content, distribution formats and different media channels.

One of the best ways to get insights into your audience is to perform buyer persona research. It enables you to see what buyers do when they’re offstage, out of sight of Marketing and Sales people.

Another way to gain insights into customers is by gathering, analyzing and answering your customers’ top 100 questions. Here’s a process to convert customer questions into compelling content.

Deliver the right content

The right content for your buyers aligns with your company’s content marketing mission, strategy and message. Yet many marketers lack a written mission, strategy and message.

In fact, fewer than 1 in 4 marketers have a written content marketing mission, the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) found. A written mission does 3 key jobs for you:

  • Shows what to put into your content marketing and what to leave out.
  • Gives you license to conduct all kinds of content experiments.
  • Helps you keep content true to your audience and your content mission.

If your company lacks a written content marketing mission, create one with our step-by-step process and template.

Content Mission Template - How do we align content with channels? - 4 Ideas to Maximise Impact
Use this free template to create your content marketing mission statement.

Once you have a mission in writing, build a 1-page content marketing strategy. Use our template to co-create a 1-page content marketing strategy, which:

  • Aligns content marketing with the needs of the business.
  • Spells out what’s in it for customers.
  • Shows how to measure success for the company and for Marketing.
  • Focuses on calls to action so content leads to conversions.

Now your content is on mission and on strategy. It’s time to make sure it’s on message by creating a Message Map.

With a Message Map, you can hook your audience in 7 seconds. Do so by answering their question, What’s In It for Me? and giving them 3 reasons to believe. Here’s how to create a Message Map.

When you co-create a mission, strategy and message with internal clients and peers, you gain buy-in. With a written mission, strategy and message, it’s much easier for marketers, freelancers, agencies and others to deliver on-target content and prove that it’s working.

If you want help or coaching to create your mission, strategy and message, email or call us.

Deliver content at the right time

How long it takes to convert people to customers with content marketing
Content delivered at the right time improves conversions.

When is the right time to deliver your content? The key is, buyers are seeking different types of content as they progress along the buyers’ journey.

That’s why it’s smart to map your content to the buyers’ journey. In fact, 74% of the most successful B2B marketers do this, says the Content Marketing Institute (CMI) 2020 research.

map content to the buyers' journey - How do we align content with channels? - 4 Ideas to Maximise Impact
You get more bang for the buck when you map content to the buyers’ journey.

Map your content to buyers’ journey. Why? Because a buyers’ journey map shows how the buying process looks through the eyes of customers.

On carefully considered purchases, buyers take 4 distinct steps:

  1. Recognize needs.
  2. Evaluate options.
  3. Resolve concerns with social proof.
  4. Make a purchase.

Different types of content are needed to move buyers through the journey, since buyers ask different questions and prefer different media at each step. Generally, they seek short-form content early in the process, longer forms later on.

CMI research shows that marketers offer different forms of content in different media for each stage in the journey:

Use content marketing all through the sales funnel
Buyers need different types of content at each step in the buyers’ journey. Use content marketing all through the sales funnel.

Which content do marketers find most successful through the sales funnel? Here’s what CMI found in its 2020 B2B survey:

Here are the types of content that best help B2B marketers to get key jobs done.

How do we align content with channels? Choose the right media mix  

The right media mix involves 3 forms of media: owned, earned and paid. This infographic shows how each type fits into your mix.

To build your audience, all the company’s paid and earned media should point to your owned media.

Right now, most marketers face resource restraints – budget and staff cuts – that may last throughout the coronavirus crisis. To stretch your budget farther, invest first in owned, then earned, and finally paid media.

Be picky about where and when you use paid media. Here are the paid channels B2B marketers are likeliest to use:

Here are the paid media channels that B2B marketers use most.

More than one-third of B2B marketers are shifting from paid media to owned or earned content, CMI found.

How do we align content with channels? - 4 Ideas to Maximise Impact
More than one-third of B2B marketers are shifting from paid ads to owned and earned content.

Here are the paid channels B2C marketers use most:

How do we align content with channels? - 4 Ideas to Maximise Impact
Here are the paid channels that consumer marketers use most, CMI found.

If you use paid social media or other advertising channels that are seen as outlets for fake news, customers frown on it.

What’s more, they hold advertisers responsible, the Edelman 2020 Trust Barometer found:

  • More than half of people say the media they use is contaminated with misinformation.
  • More than 3 out of 4 people worry that false information or fake news is being used as a weapon.
  • About 2 out of 3 Americans say that companies should stop using any media platform that fails to prevent the spread of false information and fake news.

One of the toughest jobs marketers need to get done is to align content with channels. To do so:

  1. Know your audience.
  2. Deliver content that’s on mission, on strategy and on message.
  3. Deliver content at the right time.
  4. Use the right media mix.
This is one of marketers’ Top 100 Questions about content marketing.

This is one of marketers’ Top 100 Questions on content marketing. Here are the answers.

How do we align content with channels? – 4 Ideas to Maximise Impact

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