The good news is that the web gives you dozens of B2B points of contact with prospects and customers. The bad news is that you need to sync and maintain all of those properties. Pretty soon, your brand is leaking.
“I’m putting together a newsletter,” I wrote to a dozen people whose opinion I value, “and before I launch it, I’d like your take on it.”
Have you ever sent a message like that? Were you prepared for what your customers, testers and influencers found? How much of their input did you incorporate?
Bob was VP of business development at a software company when he and I worked there years ago. I showed him the newsletter. Right off the bat I knew I was in for it.
“I must say that I’m not a big fan of your banner,” he wrote. “I’m not sure where to start, other than to say it falls way flat.”
Drat. I put a fair amount of work into that when I developed my site about 18 months ago, and I thought it had visual appeal. Oh, well, let’s see what he thinks of the rest of it.
A day later, he sent me a critical analysis for which I probably would have had to pay at least $1000.
Marketing identity crisis
“In short, I sense that you are suffering from a marketing identity crisis. If you want to align your writing with marketing in your prospect’s mind, your brand has to be cohesive. I think it’s vital to you – to anybody – to present yourself as a singular, cohesive brand. Why isn’t your web presence under that single identity, with your portfolio, writing blog, Twitter profile and newsletter all under that single brand?”
Why not, indeed?
Of course, he also sent me plenty of to-the-point feedback on the newsletter itself, both positive and negative. But it all added up to the same identity crisis.
Cover the web, and fast
Whether you’re a globe-straddling enterprise, a one-person show, or something in between, the opportunities for B2B web presence and points of contact with your audiences crop up all the time. It’s a function of how fast the web moves:
- LinkedIn profile (personal and company)
- Social media
- YouTube channel
- [other stuff that hasn’t been invented yet]
It’s hard enough to keep content fresh and looking up to date on just your site, let alone propagate changes across all of these points of contact. Your content marketing is supposed to run like a train, with your brand as the locomotive. But it wants to be more like a herd of cats, covering the web quickly and gaining first-mover advantage on new portals and channels.
One of the cardinal sins of content marketing is spreading yourself too thin. You commit that sin by trying to post, comment and stay noticed in six different channels. You can also inadvertently commit it by letting the web pull you too far from where you started.
That’s how your brand starts leaking.
If your brand is leaking, plug it up
How do you fix this?
- Keep an eye on consistency in your look. Some properties like LinkedIn and blog templates don’t always make this easy. Still, it’s important for your brand to look the same everywhere, or for you to link to places that look the same everywhere. In particular, you need a main banner image that will follow you everywhere. Link to it from each channel so that you need change it in only one place.
- Enlist outside reviewers. Get feedback from somebody who will tell you if the emperor is wearing no clothes. It’s not as much fun as being slapped on the e-back by people breathing the same exhaust as you, but it’s more productive.
- Do what they tell you. Or at least do some of what they tell you. Otherwise, what’s the point?
Or, if this is too much work, just ask your mom to review your newsletter. She thinks everything you do online is perfect.
photo credit: Vijay S