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How To Blend Your Online And Offline Content Strategy

Cat Fyson

by Cat Fyson on 4th November 2013

Marketing MixWhen you hear the term ‘content marketing’, you might just think it’s a web-based strategy, needed for SEO and not a lot else. You’d be wrong. Content marketing, for me at least, can and most certainly does exist beyond the keyboard. I’d tie it in with print, and to some degree offline advertising too. Your leaflets, posters, as well as print, radio and TV ads are all forms of content.

At the very least, we can all agree that they are all part of the ‘mix’ – and for a strong campaign you need all of your channels to work together. It gives strength to them individually, and avoids any issues of confusion amongst your existing or target audience.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways that you can marry together the two in marketing matrimony.

The Brand At The Centre

It goes without saying that your brand needs to be at the centre of any form of marketing you carry out. Any business should have a set of guidelines that are followed across your organisation, and these should extend to all forms of communications.

If you work with an agency that manages your content or social media, one of the most valuable things you can do for them is provide them with your branding documents and any details on current marketing and PR campaigns you are carrying out so that you can work as a team to add strength to the messages you are conveying. If it is all dealt with in-house, circulate these documents to all your staff and ensure they understand and agree with the principles.

With your employees on board with the messaging, extending your brand awareness via social media is a great way of humanising your company and blurring that divide between online entity and offline identity. Here at Koozai, each member of staff has their own branded Twitter account where we share information we find interesting, general thoughts about the industry in addition to insights into our lives outside of work.

These accounts also act as a port of call for anyone who might have questions or comments to make about our business. On top of this, they are a great avenue for communicating with those that we meet at an event, helping us build up valuable contacts within the industry along with potential clients.

User-Generated Engagement Meets PR

User-generated content is a brilliant way of encouraging your customers to be brand advocates. I’ve previously blogged about how to make the most of UGC, and there is plenty of potential to tie this content tactic to both strategies – from very direct engagement through PR events, to a more subtle blend by using online UGC in ‘real world’ spaces.

PR and content are now becoming more linked in terms of increasing brand awareness and engaging with key influencers and customers. PR events can really elevate an outreach campaign and are utilised very well by many businesses looking to engage with influential bloggers.

If your business sells a product which bloggers can review, instead of sending it in the post you can arrange a blogger’s party to meet them face to face, let them network and take home your product to write about on their blog. They will be likely to talk about the experience they had too, which brings things back to the brand.

B2B businesses that appear at tradeshows can get in on the action too. Running a competition, or giving away items at your trade stand can encourage people to take photos or share tweets. But as well as this, you can use the opportunity to gain valuable data via sign up forms.

So how can you flip this round and use online UGC offline? Car company Kia hooked up with online reviewing platform reevoo to encourage their customers to not only comment on their cars, but their dealerships too. By doing this, they show themselves to be a very open brand, willing to hear their customers thoughts. Taking this a step further, they collated the average star rating, and displayed this information alongside the relevant model of car.

The Exclusivity Factor

People like feeling special. Incentivising your customers will make them much more likely to return to you for your products or services. To do this using your offline strategy, you can always put out a print advert or leaflet with an exclusive offer via direct mail. Online, the options stretch much further.

For example, you could offer prizes or discounts for those that check in to your shop/building using Facebook or Foursquare. Alternatively, you could send out an email campaign with a deal exclusively for your subscribers. The list goes on, so why not use your offline campaigns to point people towards exclusive online offers?

What To Take Away

It’s time to get creative with your campaigns, and hopefully these ideas have given you some inspiration as to how you can combine your online and offline marketing efforts. By working together, the two avenues can add strength to each other and reach out to previously undiscovered audiences.

Have I missed out any tips or examples? Let me know in the comments below.

Cat Fyson

Cat Fyson

Cat works as a Content Marketing Executive at Koozai. Having studied an NCTJ accredited course at University, she has gained valuable skills in creative copywriting, press communications and research. She is an avid blogger and has a keen interest in popular culture and technologies.

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14 Comments

  • Alec Sharratt 4th November 2013

    Great post Cat. Having worked in a media company that does TV, radio, magazine, poster advertising as well as SEO and PPC, there are some significant benefits to having a coordinated approach. For example using unique URL’s in TV adverts or posters that lead to either a dedicated landing page or a redirect to the home page meant that we could track a reasonable amount of offline to online traffic.

    Analytical reporting can also provide some great insights, by measuring the difference in user behavior and traffic following a TV advert or other offline bumph can demonstrate more value to the client.

    Additionally measuring footfall into a store and correlating that data with website traffic data can reveal trends that would otherwise be hidden to both the SEO team and the business analysts.

    Another synergy that can be leveraged between on/offline is if an offline event is coming up; targeting your promotional efforts towards demographics that might be interested by utilizing niche bloggers e.g. mummy bloggers or travel bloggers (whatever the niche) can help to reach new audiences and amplify the reach of the offline campaign.

    Also when big brands reduce offline spend you can often see this within trend data, which is another clue as to how offline effects online activity.

    Reply to this comment

    • Cat Fyson

      Cat Fyson 6th November 2013

      Hi Alec,

      Many thanks for the comment. You include some great examples – the footfall vs. site visitors must bring up some interesting data.

      Reply to this comment

  • Montse Cano 9th November 2013

    Good topic. I have recently started to see that brands are integrating more channels into their campaigns, using each one for a different purpose. For example, Sky and other brands are now reminding users how they can access their content as part of TV ads, ie, via mobile devices.

    B2B companies attending an event can have their website url written on their stand in bold letters, and then entice visitors to visit the site to get some insights into a specific topic, an e-book or white paper, the details of a specific promotion, etc. Of course, the info advertised needs to be available online before the event and be easily found there.

    On the other hand, the data gathered through analysis now plays a bigger role than ever before. It has become essential to see how each channel has performed.

    Reply to this comment

    • Cat Fyson

      Cat Fyson 11th November 2013

      Hi Montse,

      Thank you for the comment, and lovely to see you Friday (albeit briefly!).

      It is exciting to see that brands are no longer treating online as a separate entity, especially as more and more people are connecting and engaging on the web whilst on the go.

      I think data collection and analysis has always been crucial, but it certainly has recently been highlighted more within our industry.

      Reply to this comment

  • Rhonda 13th November 2013

    Your post is a good reminder to marketers to think about how to integrate online and offline …

    sometimes we simply forget to ask ourselves the question “is there something we can do to leverage one channel with the other”? …

    we love your phrase “marketing matrimony”. To take that a step further, just as it’s never a good thing when couples start to sleep in separate bedrooms …

    we need to make sure that doesn’t happen with online and offline!

    Reply to this comment

    • Cat Fyson

      Cat Fyson 13th November 2013

      Hi Rhonda,

      Many thanks for your comment – online and offline marketing certainly shouldn’t sleep in separate bedrooms!

      They need to work together to add strength and leverage brand awareness.

      Reply to this comment

  • Andrew 18th November 2013

    Nice post, Cat. It’s easy to see online marketing as the “be all and end all.” However, let’s not forget that content marketing started well before the Internet with the likes of John Deere’s Furrow magazine.

    Reply to this comment

    • Cat Fyson

      Cat Fyson 19th November 2013

      Hi Andrew, many thanks for the comment.

      I absolutely agree. There is a common misconception that online marketing is the ‘free’ alternative to print and other offline means, but really the two should both be utilised for the maximum results.

      Reply to this comment

  • Karen 22nd November 2013

    Hey Cat, I like this post – as you know, I also believe marketers shouldn’t limit themselves to one channel/content type. If we put the audience at the centre of strategies and constantly measure, tweak and evolve based on what we learn, we can’t go too far wrong. If the audience wants to consume content offline, who are we to dictate that it’s online or nothing?

    Reply to this comment

    • Cat Fyson

      Cat Fyson 22nd November 2013

      Hi Karen,

      Many thanks for the comment. I completely agree, as soon as marketers start limiting themselves to particular channels, there are a lot of great opportunities missed.

      Reply to this comment

  • Katherine Kotaw 24th November 2013

    Hi Cat! I agree completely that content marketing goes beyond the computer screen and it is not simply a web-based strategy linked to SEO. I would say though that while radio and TV ads are certainly content, they are not content marketing, unless they involve native ads, which aren’t directly selling products.

    You gave a lot of diverse information companies might use to market themselves in a content marketing age, both online and off.

    Reply to this comment

    • Cat Fyson

      Cat Fyson 25th November 2013

      Hi Katherine, many thanks for the comment!

      I think more brands are beginning to produce content marketing style TV ads through storytelling, look at the Sainsbury’s Xmas ad http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QM21fiPaeYY and of course the John Lewis ad with the Bear and the Hare – not only are they tied into their online content (especially John Lewis), but they also do not actively plug the brand in the way more traditional ads would.

      Reply to this comment

  • Nabeel 25th November 2013

    A quick question: If everyone of us is going to get into offline marketing as well then what is going to differentiate us from simple marketers? Just a thought!

    Reply to this comment

    • Cat Fyson

      Cat Fyson 26th November 2013

      Hi Nabeel,

      Thanks for the comment.

      I think it is more about a collaboration with offline marketers as opposed to managing both, as there is much to cover by blending both. It’s about utilising not just the strengths of the tactics, but the strengths of the teams implementing them.

      Reply to this comment

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