In the digital world, multi-channel publishing has changed. For most marketers and bloggers, the challenge isn't spreading the same message into both digital and physical platforms. Today the challenge is "being everywhere at once," or keeping up with your social media presence across all platforms, your Medium blog, your company blog, etc. etc.
The list goes on!
So, we're breaking down multi-channel publishing for you. What it is, why you need to do it, and how to do it right. "Right" is code for saving time. Because wasting time is just the worst.
Table of contents:
- What is multi-channel publishing?
- The benefits of multi-channel publishing
- Challenges faced with multi-channel publishing
- Best practices when publishing content in multiple channels
- Create a framework for distributing each piece of content
- Collaborate with your team in one tool
- Publish to multiple channels all from the same tool
- Centrally edit and update content (whenever possible)
What is multi-channel publishing?
Multi-channel publishing is the practice of publishing your content in multiple places.
So simple right? 🤷♀️
Here at StoryChief, we like to work with examples, so rather than spout jargon, here is a concrete (and totally modern) example of multi-channel publishing.
Here's the Medium version of Cayla Vidmar's content on manifesting what you want in your life.
At the end of the article, it leads with a call to action to read the rest of the post over on Cayla Vidmar's blog.
Next up, here's what the full post looks like on her site.
And finally, we see the Instagram post that promotes it.
As you can see, multi-channel publishing is when you publish similar content in different channels. It can be the exact same content that is being distributed, a snippet of the content, or a slightly modified version.
You might choose to share your content in multiple places...
- Your blog
- An external blog
- Your email newsletter
- Your active social media channels
- Your brand ambassadors' social media channels
- Share via email with your coworkers and colleagues
- Send to the press
The benefits of multi-channel publishing
There are a ton of reasons why multi-channel publishing is a must for content creators:
- Great content takes anywhere from 6 hours to 12 days to create. Wouldn't it be totally bananas to let it go to waste? 🍌🍌 Multi-channel publishing allows you to maximize the ROI of your content creation. The more places you publish, the more eyeballs. The more eyeballs, the more potential leads.
- 78% of consumers prefer to get to know a company through articles over ads. What this means is that the content you create should reach more people, so you have a better chance of driving inbound leads.
- 55 percent of website visitors spend less than 15 seconds on your website. You can't publish content in one place (your website's blog) and expect it to nurture leads for you. You need to re-purpose that content so it can work harder for you.
Challenges faced with multi-channel publishing
Even though distributing your content in multiple places is brilliant, it's not without its challenges. Here are some of the struggles that digital publishers and content creators face:
When content teams don't make efficient use of their existing content, they reduce the ROI of their efforts and lose out on SEO opportunities and brand-building opportunities. And yet, this happens often, simply because publishing in multiple channels is so time-consuming. Too often, content creators are saddled with the manual tasks of copying, pasting, editing, publishing. Rinse and repeat.
Flaws in collaboration
Another HUGE challenge is collaborating with other team members. A content manager needs to work with writers, graphic designers, web designers and potentially audio and video editors depending on the form of the content. When collaboration is inefficient and manual (done over email or even Slack), then a few mistakes can happen:
- Publishing channels get missed
- The message across channels is inconsistent
- Overlap in publishing, or unintended duplicates
Maintaining version control is definitely related to the challenge of collaboration. But wait? Isn't multi-channel publishing all about creating different versions?
Sure, you want to have variants of your content, but you don't want these to be unintentional. When distributing content in multiple channels, you might update a quote attribution in one channel, for example, and then forget to properly attribute the quote in another channel.
Essentially, when content is spread out all over the place, which is a good thing, you can start to lose control over which versions are accurate and up-to-date, which is definitely bad.
But not to worry! We have solutions for all of these core challenges.
Best practices for multi-channel publishing
Pushing content to multiple channels doesn't have to be a mess of 15 Google Docs, 22 Asana tasks, and 17 Slack threads with 3 other people. It really doesn't.
We can't guarantee that all your publishing woes will magically disappear when you follow these best practices, but we can promise that things are going to get a whole lot smoother.
These tips for multi-channel publishing can be summed up in one word: centralizing.
When you centralize your activity as much as possible, you have the chance to wrangle the insanity. Let's do it!
Create a framework for distributing each piece of content
You want to create a clear process to follow every time you need to distribute content. Once you have that process in place, you can modify it for certain pieces, but you don't have to have to reinvent the wheel every week.
- Consider your top channels for promotion and publication.
- List out the channels that you want to publish for every piece of content, no matter what. These might be your blog or your LinkedIn page, for example.
- List out special channels that you may publish on. These might be syndication opportunities or guest posts that introduce your original content with a modified version.
- Create an order of operations to follow for your large pieces of content. For example, with blogs, you may have one process, and with videos, you might have another.
- Write up your new process in an internal wiki that's easily accessible to everyone on your team. Include the core steps that will be followed every time, and the modifications that may arise (for example, following the publication of a report or a thought-leadership analysis of a large set of company data may require additional steps beyond standard blog posts).
With your core process easily documented in one place, you don't have to feel quite so lost anymore.
Collaborate with your team in one tool
Let's talk about tool use. If everyone on your content team is using different tools, you're in trouble. Maybe you're using Google Docs, but some of your writers are using Word. Your assistant or intern uses one tool to publish content to your blog and a different tool to post snippets of the blog on social media. Messy messy!😱
As much as possible, collaborate in one single tool to do the following:
- Write content
- Invite content collaborators or guest writers
- Review content
- Approve content
- Add images
- Make final edits
- Create versions for other channels
Here's an example of how this works inside of StoryChief, where you can invite collaborators to work together on content pieces, publish them and then update them as needed.
Publish to multiple channels all from the same tool
In addition to getting your people in the same place, guess what else will make life easier?
Bringing all your versions in one place too!
Just because you need to publish content to multiple channels, does NOT mean that you need to log in to all of those channels, copy and paste content, shorten it and edit it and pray that you don't later have to log back in and re-edit it. Nope!
Multi-channel publishing is faster, more accurate, and easier to manage when you do it from one central location. StoryChief works with as many channels as is technologically possible:
- Your CMS
- Your favorite social media channels
- Your email newsletter
- Your content hubs or external blogs
- Press & influencers (making it easy for you to reach out to your press list)
- Co-workers, friends & fans (making it easy for them to share)
- Even export to print!
Centrally update and edit content (whenever possible)
After you've collaborated in one place and published from one place, there's still another activity that needs to be centralized, and that's editing and updating.
Granted, if something has been published with the press, you'll have to email your editor with fixes, but for the most part, when publishing from one central place like StoryChief, you're able to edit and update it from one place too.
Modern tools can make it happen!
Multi-channel publishing isn't the nightmare it used to be. In fact, it's quite fun to powerfully send content across the web with a few simple clicks (dare we say, addicting?). What you'll do with all that extra time is completely up to you.
We recommend pouring that extra time into creating super high-quality content. See our checklist for content writing steps to follow every time.