I have a problem.
When I want to post something to Instagram, it’s something that could work just as well on Twitter. And when I write an article for Marketing Land, that piece could look great on the blog or on LinkedIn.
I don’t like posting the same content to so many different channels. But, at this point, what else are you supposed to do?
Your audience is spending time everywhere. A report from The Tow Center for Digital Journalism recently found that media organizations are trying to keep up by being everywhere. And apparently that means posting content to 21 different channels.
If your team isn’t the size of a newsroom, that’s unthinkable. But even the average enterprise is using eight different marketing channels.
So now what? How many channels is your team using? How are you organizing everything? And how can you plan, create, and prioritize accordingly?
Mapping the Audience Across Touchpoints
This graph from the Tow Center for Digital Journalism shows exactly how many channels that news organizations are using to stay in touch with their audiences. This is exhausting and can impact loyalty. As we’ve discussed before, the ecosystem wars between Facebook, Google, and Apple, have led to a fragmented customer journey: third parties own your relationship with your customer. So third parties own all the data about your audience.
Newsrooms may have enough people to build content for all these channels. Businesses often don’t. You might have one or two dedicated content and social specialists. But how can you possibly scale your marketing efforts to chase after nearly two dozen channels?
There’s an easy answer: make sure it’s worth it.
Infinite Analytics, Infinite Data
If your marketing strategy is to create content for third-party channels like Facebook, Instagram, or Twitter, you won’t actually own the customer interactions. Your audience might engage with your brand on the channel, but they often won’t click through to the website. Instead, they’ll be served your content on a rented platform and move onto the next thing… if they even see it at all.
If you don’t pay to promote your social content, engagement can be painfully low. On Facebook, an organic post may only reach 2% of your audience. That’s probably why almost half (42%) of marketers are still unsure about whether social media marketing is producing meaningful ROI.
This goes back to the core problem in data-driven marketing: there are too many channels, too many platforms, and too few people. If you run a campaign on Instagram, Twitter, email, Facebook, and Google Ads, that’s five different platforms to check. Once you start dividing those platforms into the appropriate teams and customer segments, things get exponentially more difficult.
So whether you’re part of a media organization on twenty channels or a five-person marketing team on eight, there are two big challenges in this landscape:
– How do you streamline data in a way that makes it useful?
– How do you create multichannel content that drives your audience to a central place?
Here’s how we did it at Bitly.
Planning Your Cornerstone Content
Last quarter, Bitly focused on building vertical-targeted content campaigns that could easily be merchandised across channels. Here’s how we planned the content campaign:
The cornerstone content was the center of the campaign. Blog posts, social media posts, and virtual events like Facebook Live and Twitter Chats all linked to the webinar form. This helped us narrow down our metric for success to webinar registrations.
As we distributed the content, we could also use Bitly OneView to see the engagement across channels in real-time:
When you use Bitlinks in all the channels you want to track, you don’t have to hop between analytics systems. You can just open up Bitly and check what’s working with a few clicks.
Making Channels Useful by Making Data Useful
The bigger your team, the harder it is to track ROI. Organizational structures get more complex and data gets more fragmented. A Conductor report found that in companies that have 10,000 employees or more, only 5.3% can track whether content marketing leads to ROI.
Getting the data isn’t the problem… making the data easy to access and easy to understand is the problem. Really, it comes down to visibility. Teams should have one streamlined metric for all channels and platforms. That way, no matter what platform is being used at the time, you have a sense of what’s working.
Without that, you’ll find yourself committing to the same tactics over and over, because you don’t know that the data is showing you something different.
At Bitly, we tried to solve that with Bitly Enterprise. With features like Brand Manager and OneView, you can customize different dashboards to track every team’s activity across every single channel. If you’re a manager, you can easily switch between teams to gauge channel and content effectiveness by each team. From there, we built out content campaigns that could easily be rolled across channels. We repurposed the stuff we already made and repackaged it.
You can take a look at our Slideshare on building a content marketing program to see the details:
Without having to jump between analytics platforms or spreadsheets, you can invest in the channels that are actually working and see the results in real-time. It won’t matter if you’re posting to twenty channels if you can track everything in one place.
This article originally appeared in The Bitly Blog.