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This article was first published in the July 2018 issue of British Dealer News.

To get as many bites as you can from the cherry of audience attention, you need to co-ordinate content marketing across multiple channels.

I’ve talked a few times in previous columns about the advantages of engaging your audience with a multi-channel approach to marketing. Such an important topic merits further illumination.

By ‘channel’ I mean a route to communicating with your audience (or a part of it). Facebook is a channel. Twitter and Instagram are channels. Crucially, your website and GDPR-compliant email campaigns are channels as well, and, among others things, so are all the elements of your offline marketing. Each channel is like an instrument in an orchestra, and it’s up to you as the conductor to bring them together in harmony.

The first question to consider is whether your orchestra is complete. Given that 90% of motorcycle dealers aren’t using the trio of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, and only about half use the Facebook and Twitter duo, the chances are that it’s not. That’s something you can easily change, and doing so will enable you to reach more of your audience in the way they want to be reached.

Some of them may only be connected through a single channel – Facebook perhaps. Others will be (or could be) following you in more than one place. A proportion of all of them will be receiving your email campaigns. And then there’s how they interact with your website, in-store promotions and point-of-sale material.

To stick with the musical simile, if your marketing messages are like your symphony then all the instruments in your orchestra need to be playing the same score. Their roles and emphasis will vary through the piece of course, in the same way that individual marketing channels can sometimes lead and sometimes follow. It’s all in the timing – and in knowing what you’re trying to achieve.

I’ve been long-term testing the Benelli TRK 502 on behalf of Overland Magazine for a while, and back in May I took it on an 11-day, 2,000 mile ride around France. Let me use that example to illustrate how a multi-channel approach can work to engage as broad an audience as possible.

The test ride served a variety of objectives, but from the magazine’s point of view the key thing was getting people to visit the website (where they can then learn more about subscribing and the event that it runs, for example.) Achieving that involved creating content and coordinating how and where that content was made available to the magazine’s audience.

Just as I was arriving in France, the first bite at the cherry of grabbing the audience’s attention was a short article on the website, which was shared on the magazine’s social channels. It announced the ride and prompted folk to keep an eye on social media for progress reports. Photo updates were posted to Facebook, Twitter and Instagram on a daily basis during the trip. Then, once I was home again, I created two versions of a Benelli-focused video. A six-minute one was published on Facebook (the lead channel in this case), with a one-minute version going on Twitter and Instagram, which invited people to see the full version on Facebook. Both used the first 10 seconds to spark interest and show branding.

All of that was followed-up with a review article on the website, featuring photos not previously posted to social media and the full video embedded from Facebook. It provided another solid piece of content to share on Facebook and Twitter, in which Benelli, MotoGB and others could be tagged to encourage re-sharing.

So over the course of about three weeks, sometimes the emphasis was on the website, sometimes on Facebook, and sometimes equally across all three social channels, but they were all working together to communicate the same thing and with the same goal in mind. The result was significant engagement across the board, social media audience growth, and great brand and product exposure for the magazine and Benelli.