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Integrating content sounds like either a given or a relic from the past (remember when integrated marketing communications was a buzzword)? Yet integrating both your content and message across channels requires more than good timing. You’ll have to atomize each piece of content (whether a whitepaper, case study, infographic, etc.) so that it’s digestible as a standalone piece but also leaves the reader wanting more. Timing is crucial, but you shouldn’t bombard readers with the same simultaneous message across platforms. How, then, do you balance all these concerns without diluting your message? Here are three ways to maximize and sustain the impact of your content over time:
Create a calendar. Want to lengthen the shelf life of your content? Make a week-by-week plan to share with your readers without overwhelming them. We find that an average report (anywhere from 5-20 pages in pdf form) can sustain a campaign for 4-6 weeks (longer if we’re placing an emphasis on media relations). A weekly calendar will not only ensure that your audience has time to take in your content, but also serves as a reminder to resurrect a given report at timely moments. For example, our Future of Retail findings were timely when they were released, but are also important for retailers approaching the holiday season.
Not only should you create a calendar by week, but consider breaking out posts into morning, noon and night. Algorithms built into your CRM or social media management suite may determine the best time to post and reach your audience, but above all consider the habits of your readers. If you find that either social or email engagement is better at night, for example, shift to follow your readers’ habits.
Create digestible messages. Digestible facts can be short, but they don’t necessarily have to be. Use images wherever possible. For instance, we often create standalone social images or infographics for our clients and our own reports, visually representing a given stat in the report. Not only is the image easy to understand, but frequent use of visuals helps to catch the reader’s eye in the first place (especially on social).
Here, planning and the aforementioned calendar also comes into play. The stats or findings you hand select for media might not be the same as for your email audience or your Instagram audience. If you’re a B2B brand with a mix of clients, it’s perfectly plausible that your fashion clients gravitate toward Instagram and tech brands to Twitter. While findings should be accessible, don’t be afraid to use your sense of intuition about your target customer and concentrate the most relevant findings on his or her preferred channel.
Be consistent with calls-to-action. In the process of atomizing content across various platforms, it’s likely that you’ll end up with several unofficial “landing pages” that you could direct readers to. Consider the customer journey. When you’re a buyer performing research, it’s unlikely that you’ll click through from an email, to a social post, to a blog post and finally to a landing page. Make it as simple as possible for your reader to convert. You should have a landing page directing readers to download the full report - use it!
Along those lines, be conscious of value. Exchanging an email address is as much of a transaction as a traditional, financial one. If you force readers to enter their email address to read a 200-word blog post, would they do so and choose to interact with your content again?
Maximizing the potential of existing content takes a bit of planning and thought about the customer journey, but following your intuition is most important. Use your knowledge about customers’ research habits to design a plan that suits their needs without overwhelming them.