Christopher Whitbeck

Marketing is like taking a road trip. You have a destination in mind, but you don’t always know which route will get you there in a safe and timely manner. And, if you take a wrong turn, you may find yourself scrambling to get back on track.

Fortunately, marketing isn’t exactly like taking a road trip. If you miss your exit, there’s almost always a chance to steer your campaign in the right direction. With a multichannel content marketing strategy, you don’t have to pick one marketing channel over another. You can reach your target audience across multiple platforms simultaneously.

Not sure where to start your journey? No worries: In this blog, we’ll cover the ins and outs of multichannel content marketing.

What is Multichannel Content Marketing?

As a marketer, it’s your responsibility to reach your target audience as effectively and efficiently as possible.

Here’s the problem: People are consuming content across an ever-growing number of platforms, which means your job is getting a whole lot harder.

The good news? That’s where a multichannel marketing strategy comes into play.

Multichannel content marketing is an integrated marketing strategy designed to reach your target audience at various touchpoints rather than just a single marketing channel. The idea is to plan and produce content that an existing or potential customer might encounter on one or more of the channels they use.

In short, a multichannel strategy is about casting a wider net. Instead of relying on one medium to bear the weight of your marketing effort, you spread the load across multiple channels. If one performs better than another, you can adjust the balance and focus on what works best. This way, you always stay in front of your target audience.

What’s important to remember is that you still need to create a cohesive customer experience. The more channels you cater to, the more complicated it becomes to unify them all under one consistent brand identity. If you’re not careful, you risk delivering mixed messages, which can confuse and even lose a potential customer.

Omnichannel vs. Multichannel vs. Cross-Channel Marketing

Let’s pause for a moment to acknowledge a common point of confusion. You might be wondering, “What’s the difference between multichannel, cross-channel and omnichannel marketing?”

Although each of these terms is related, they’re not interchangeable. Let’s break them down:

  • Multichannel marketing: You’re producing content for multiple channels under one unifying marketing strategy. Think of it like spreading the word in as many different ways as possible.
  • Cross-channel marketing: In this case, the marketing team focuses on a select group of channels that share customer data. This connection allows you to better manage interactions across each channel simultaneously.
  • Omnichannel marketing: This one is the most complicated. The goal of omnichannel marketing is to remove all potential barriers between each individual marketing channel, thus enabling a unified and consistent customer experience across all touchpoints. 

Types of Marketing Channels

Before you can craft a successful multichannel marketing strategy, you need to understand the different channels at your disposal. Every marketing channel is a different path to your target audience, but not every avenue makes for smooth driving. Deciding which ones are right for your campaign is as important as any other choice a marketing team can make. 

Generally, we can box them into two categories:

  1. Traditional marketing channels (i.e., offline channels).
  2. Digital marketing channels (i.e., online channels).

Whether you practice B2C or B2B marketing, both online and offline channels can be effective. Let’s take a look at each one in more detail:

Traditional Marketing Channels

Yes, traditional marketing tactics still have a valuable place in your multichannel strategy. Digital may be king, but there’s no denying the power of offline marketing. Here are some of the most significant offline channels you can choose from:

  • Direct Mail: According to a 2023 report, direct mail is one of the most effective marketing channels. In fact, 74% of surveyed marketers said it delivers the best return on investment of any channel used.
  • Broadcast: Television and radio ads are great ways to reach a significant amount of people in a short amount of time. After all, who hasn’t ever gotten a radio jingle stuck in their head?
  • OOH Marketing: Out-of-home marketing refers to any content that’s delivered outside your target audience’s home or business. Typically, it includes visual content, like a billboard, bench or some type of signage.

Digital Marketing Channels

Let’s face it: Digital marketing is no longer the future — it’s the here and now. All of the biggest trends in marketing are happening on the internet. Why? Because that’s where the audience is. At the end of the day, that’s where your business needs to be.

Here’s a glimpse at three important digital marketing channels you should include in your multichannel strategy:

  • Email Marketing: Just about everyone has an email address these days, which makes this marketing channel a great way to stay in contact with your audience. Plus, it’s extremely cost-effective. In fact, Litmus estimates that every dollar spent on email marketing produces $36 in return. Not too shabby!
  • Search Engine Marketing (SEM): SEM boils down to getting the attention of the world’s largest search engines, such as Google or Bing. You can do this organically (through search engine optimization) or by paying to place ads at the top of the response page (i.e., paid SEM).
  • Social Media: Ah, social media. It’s no surprise that this marketing channel is among the world’s most popular. After all, the average person spends 2 hours and 26 minutes on social media every day, according to GWI. Between Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn and countless others, this channel is a must-have for any marketer.

Why Use a Multichannel Content Strategy?

At least 90% of marketing professionals say their multichannel strategy is at least somewhat successful at helping them achieve their strategic objectives. Better yet, 86% of marketers believe that multichannel marketing is becoming more effective over time.

These numbers speak volumes. But what they don’t tell you is that there are also a swarm of other advantages when it comes to multichannel marketing campaigns. These benefits include:

  • Boosted brand awareness: The truth is your target audience doesn’t sit still in one place waiting for you to reach out and talk to them. They use multiple platforms and channels, each of which is an opportunity for you to generate brand awareness and educate your customer.
  • Increased conversions: When you’re always in front of your customer, you’re able to nurture them through their buyer’s journey at every step in the process.
  • Stronger customer relationships: The more channels you use, the more customer data you can collect. This can be a valuable marketing tool, as it helps you gather insights and make smarter marketing decisions. This, in turn, makes it easier to manage the customer relationship.
  • Better ROI: Multichannel customers spend up to 400% more than single-channel customers do. If you focus on just one marketing channel, or even only a handful, you risk missing out on important revenue opportunities.

How to Plan a Multichannel Campaign

By now, you may have realized that multichannel content marketing isn’t a walk in the park. With so many moving parts, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. Fortunately, we’re here to make sure your marketing effort kicks off without a hitch.

When it comes to planning a multichannel campaign, there are 6 basic steps you need to take:

1. Understanding Your Target Audience

It’s important to set your campaign up for success. And the best way to do that? Knowing who you’re targeting in the first place.

Start by analyzing your target audience’s behavior. Reference your customer data and marketing analytics to learn what types of content your audience consumes and where they consume it. This should tell you which marketing channels are likely to be the most effective.

Next, create buyer personas. In simple terms, these are fictional characterizations of people in your target market. Think of them as an archetype for the types of customers your business attracts. The more you know about who they are and what they want, the more you can tailor your content to suit their needs.

Finally, map out the customer journey. Determine which channels your audience uses at each stage of the buying process. This helps you decide where and when you should distribute content during the cycle.

2. Defining Goals

Every marketing campaign needs a goal. Without a set objective, you’re basically pulling at straws. Establishing a goal gives your multichannel content strategy direction, which is important for maximizing your chances of success.

In all likelihood, your campaign will have multiple goals, maybe even dozens spread out across your various channels. These might include:

  • Lead generation.
  • Lead nurturing.
  • Thought leadership.
  • Conversions.
  • Website traffic.
  • Brand engagement.

Once your goals are set, now they need to be measured with corresponding metrics. Identify the key performance indicators (KPIs) you’ll use to track your progress during the campaign. Keeping an eye on these metrics will let you know if you’re headed in the right direction. If need be, you can correct your course and make adjustments down the road.

3. Crafting Your Message

Now that you’ve chosen your marketing channels and have goals in mind, it’s time to start crafting your message. 

Broadly speaking, the point of your messaging should be directed at your buyer persona. In other words, how will your content help them fulfill their wants and needs? How will it help them overcome a common pain point? Shaping your messaging around questions like these is a good way to make the content relevant for your audience. 

Also, be sure to tailor your content to each individual marketing channel. Maintain a consistent presence across each one, but don’t just copy and paste your messaging. Ensure it makes sense for the platform or channel you’re using.

For instance, a visual medium like Instagram is better suited for imagery than long-form text. A blog, on the other hand, is a great place to distribute heavier, lengthy reading material.

Bottom line: Lean into the strengths of each channel to communicate your message most effectively.

4. Creating Content

Remember the road trip analogy? Well, consider content the fuel of your marketing strategy. If you run out, sooner or later your campaign will come to a stop.

So, what do you do? The easy answer is to make content — and lots of it. Start by establishing a workflow you can optimize over time through repetition. Ideally, you’ll have an entire marketing team to help produce deliverables in a consistent manner. If that’s outside the realm of possibility for your business, consider outsourcing the work to freelancers or even a content marketing agency.

Pro tip: Repurpose your existing content. Don’t just copy and paste it into a different marketing channel, but reformat it to fit its new destination. This is a great way to get more bang for your buck and keep audiences engaged across multiple channels.

Let’s say you’ve produced a report highlighting trends in your industry. Here are a few ways to repurpose that content:

  • Infographics: Pull out the key insights from the report and create a visually engaging all-new piece of content.
  • Newsletters: Have a monthly email newsletter? Showcase your white paper to your audience in case they missed it the first time around.
  • Video: Put together a “sizzle reel” of statistics pulled from your research.
  • Podcast: Translate your visual content into audio format by discussing your findings during an episode.

5. Staying on Schedule

Consistency is key when it comes to multichannel content marketing. That’s why it’s best practice to create an editorial calendar that documents exactly when certain deadlines need to be met.

First, align project dates with your campaign timelines. This ensures key deliverables are produced in a timely manner. Then, determine which team members should take ownership of certain aspects of each project. This will hold everyone accountable for their respective role in the campaign and keep up the momentum moving forward.

6. Monitoring Performance

According to Ascend2’s 2022 State of Multichannel Marketing report, accurate performance measurement is the most essential element of a successful multichannel marketing strategy. In other words, you need to be keenly aware of exactly how your content is performing at each and every stage of the campaign. 

Ideally, you should make a habit of referencing your marketing analytics and KPIs. Not only does this let you know if you’re on track to meet your goals, but it’s also evidence that your marketing efforts are worthwhile. 

Step Into the Driver’s Seat

So, there you have it: A roadmap to multichannel content marketing success. Hopefully, you’ll have everything you need to charge full speed ahead into the world of multichannel marketing. 

Editor’s note: Updated September 2023.