Updated: May 27
When coming up with your multichannel approach, one of the first questions that you should ask yourself is what do you hope to achieve? You need to set yourself clear goals and consider what it is that you want to achieve by using this approach. These goals should follow the SMART acronym and that is that they should be Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant and Time-based.
Specific, Measurable, Attainable, Relevant, Time-based
Specific: Broad targets provide big picture indications of the direction of travel and could be something like “Increase engagements on social media”. However, more defined targets are much more useful in that you can measure a much smaller part of your business and get specific feedback in your area of focus. An example of a more narrow target could be that you are looking to “increase interactions on Facebook by 15% over 3 months”. The more narrowly defined your target is, the easier it is to see if you have achieved it.
Measurable: Simply put, there’s no use in having targets if you don’t know if you’ve achieved them. “Improve the quality of our content output” is a great goal in principal but how do you measure that. When you review your goals, it should be simple to see if you reached them or not (and preferably by exactly how much).
Attainable: Being bold and setting difficult targets can be a galvanising experience that pushes you to do more than you otherwise would have. However, regularly setting targets that are unrealistic and that you keep falling short of can be bad for morale. Instead of setting one big ambitious target, why not try setting a few smaller targets that are more realistic and achievable. These targets give a sense of achievement and you can feel as though you’re making progress.
Relevant: Ensuring that your goals are relevant is not necessarily just about checking that they are related to your content but rather means that they align with your other goals that you have and should take into consideration your broader business goals. If your goals are only centered around the production of content, you run the risk of creating great content and then missing the opportunity to capitalise on that generated traffic. Relevant goals also means that they are time are suitable for the current situation. Whether it be the time of year, the state of the economy or other broader societal factors, relevant goals take into account those factors.
Time-based: Time based goals set the parameters for re-evaluating your success. In a similar way that setting specific goals gives you a way to check whether you have achieved your goals, setting time based goals adds a layer of specificity. This fact is also useful because they give you another way to check your success; If you’re reaching your goals much earlier than expected, that tells you something about your performance too.
Plan and Customize Your Content for Each Channel
One of the potential difficulties of a multichannel approach is the extra level of planning required in order to be successful. You need an overarching and cohesive strategy so that your messaging stays consistent and one channel is not overshadowing or contradicting another channel.
Check out our previous post to see how a better understanding of the platforms that you’re posting on can help you create more compelling content for those platforms. But in summary of that post, each platform has different strengths, audiences and features and so understanding those differences will inform the type of content that you place there.
Creating buyer personas, taking these facts into account can help you in coming up with a meaningful content strategy where each piece complements the other. The next step you should take in planning your content strategy is using a content calendar. One of the metrics you should look for when building your buyer persona and choosing your channels is when your audience is likely to use specific channels.
Once you have that information you can plan ahead using a content calendar. This minimises the chances of content clashes and maximises the effectiveness of each post. As we said above, each platforms unique qualities mean that different platforms have optimal times for posting and a content calendar can allow you to take those into account and schedule your posts for the best possible time.
Consistency can also be an element in certain site’s algorithm and so having a schedule for when you post can keep you regular. Once you buildup an audience with your high quality content, people may even begin to look forward to the release of your next post and they can know when to expect it and you can have your audience waiting for you.
Review the success of the content against your goals
A complex media strategy such as this requires regular revaluation. You will want to regularly check in on your progress compared to the goals you set yourself and evaluate your performance. By regularly checking progress against your goals you’re getting up to date information about what strategies are working and what isn’t working. Checking regularly also allows you to catch possible mistakes early while recognising and capitalising on successes.
As the SMART acronym tells us, your goals should be time sensitive so they will naturally have a review time in them but to make sure of this, during the planning process be sure to set times for revaluation. It can be very easy to spend lots of time setting goals and considering where you want your project to end up and then forget to come back and evaluate your success. Make sure that setting aside time to check your progress is central to the target setting process and that you stick to it.
After you have evaluated your performance, what can you take from those insights to modify your content strategy and further drive success. Is one channel not giving you the level of engagement you hoped it would? Perhaps you need a slight change in the content or perhaps you will decide that that platform isn’t worth the investment for you. Even if you reach your goals, there is always something that you will learn during the review process and your main goal is how you can take those points and implement them to further improve your content.
Try to keep these evaluations in perspective though. Successful multichannel strategies can take a long time to build up and start seeing real success, so one bad review doesn’t mean you have to change anything but regular reviews allow you to get an idea of what optimisations work and which don’t.
Multichannel content strategy can be a difficult thing to manage but hopefully when you start to implement your own then these steps will make it at least a little easier. Be sure to define your goals for the project, research and plan your strategy and then regularly review your progress.
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