You write excellent content, but you’re not getting value out of it because your target market isn’t seeing it. This is where content distribution comes in. Your content distribution strategy must be a compatible extension of your content marketing strategy in order to reach your target market and make an impact. In this blog post, we’ll explain content marketing strategies for different content types, and how these fit together.
How to Determine the Best Channels For Content Distribution: The Basics
Determine Content Marketing Goals
What is the purpose of your content? This will, in part, determine your content distribution strategy. Your content marketing goals might include lead conversion, brand awareness, website traffic, upsells, customer retention, or something else. Different content will be more effective for certain goals than others. Consider your goals, customer sales funnel stages, and content types when crafting content. Your goals should also include a way to measure your progress, ideally with a quantifiable value or metric.
- Lead conversion
- Sale conversion
- Brand awareness
- Website traffic
- Customer retention
Designate Time and Staff
Creating great content takes time, and content distribution takes time too. Do you already have a staff member, contractor, or freelancer writing your content? Or is there some uncertainty about who is in charge of that task? What about content quality? Remember that even aggressive content distribution is unlikely to be successful if the content is not helpful to the target audience.
The person creating your content may or may not be the best person for content distribution. You should also decide how much time makes sense for content distribution, and when you’ll assess this. Keep in mind that content distribution partially depends on gaining a following and developing an audience, so it may take some time for your content distribution strategy to payoff.
Create a Content Calendar
As previously mentioned, your content marketing goals, content type, and content distribution strategies are all related. Keeping this organized can be tough, but it’s critical. With a content calendar, you and everyone working on the content with you will know when each item will be published, who is responsible for it, the goals of the content, and how you will distribute it.
In the next section, we’ll discuss what these content distribution strategies look like, depending on the types of content and goals.
Content Distribution Strategies by Content Type
Attention-grabbing content is designed to grow your largest, but least-invested audience. This audience is at the top of the sales funnel; they are discovering your brand for the first time. Attention-grabbing content might include beautiful, emotional, or profound social media posts, statistics, short and exciting videos, or short, easy-to-read blog posts.
The purpose of attention-grabbing content is fairly obvious; to increase brand awareness and interest. It might be measured by low-level social media interactions, web traffic, backlinks, or conversations around your brand. With that in mind, consider these content distribution strategies.
1. Stand-Alone Social Posts
Consider the social media your top-of-the-funnel audience consumes the most, and create attention-grabbing content on this platform. The specific strategies you use will vary by platform. Use relevant hashtags or post to related groups to help your content get discovered. Connect with members of your audience by sharing, liking, commenting or following where appropriate. Join or create groups where you can share and engage.
2. Promoted Posts
Organic, unpaid methods of sharing aren’t always enough to get discovered. Most platforms offer paid promotions to put your posts at the top of your followers’ feed. If you don’t have a large following yet, use narrow ad-targeting strategies to show your content to users outside your social circle, but inside your target market.
3. Influencers and Affiliate Links
Most likely, someone else is already popular in your industry, with thousands of readers, watchers or followers. Reach out and ask about promotion and affiliate links. It won’t be free, but shares, links, and endorsements from influencers have the potential to reach large, engaged audiences.
Backlinks are primarily used to build your domain authority and boost your SEO, however this can also help with content distribution. Look for blog posts or articles explaining adjacent topics, and reach out.
5. Awareness Ads
Digital media gives advertisers advanced ad-targeting options. This makes it easier to show attention-grabbing content to those most likely to respond—your target market. Consider Facebook Ads, YouTube Ads, retargeting ads, display ads, and other brand awareness-based ads designed to reach your ideal customer segment.
Illustrative or Instructional Content
Illustrative or instructional content is meant to pull your audience down the sales funnel. This content should interest and engage the audience you first attracted with the previous content. It should help, impress, and convince, while still being short enough to keep their attention. This might include how-to blogs or videos, infographics, checklists, mini webinars (or webinines), or templates.
The success of illustrative or instructional content can be measured by increased leads. These might be email or blog subscribers, social media followers, or free trial users. In many cases, your illustrative or instructional content will include a CTA for your long-form content. Content distribution for illustrative or instructional content is heavily dependent on the relationships and awareness you’ve created with your previous content.
6. Social Posts With Links
You grew your social circle with attention-grabbing posts for a reason. Posts with your illustrative or instructional content should get clicks and shares, not necessarily likes or comments, though it may do both.
Social media groups around a topic or industry are ideal content distribution launching pads for your illustrative or instructional content. Make sure you’re not only using the group for promotion though, otherwise you’ll be banned or your own group will become defunct.
8. Join the Conversation
Some platforms are better organized around conversations and commentary rather than groups and interests. If you notice a relevant hashtag trending or discussions starting around a recent event, join in and be ready to offer illustrative or instructional content where appropriate.
9. Guest Blog Posts
Working with other bloggers and ezines is a great way to extend your reach. Find popular websites in your niche and contact editors and writers who curate them. The brand awareness you cultivated with your previous content will help to increase your authority and boost your reputation, so your article or post pitches are more likely to be accepted.
10. Q&A Forums
You may have generated blog content from Q&A forums like Quora, Reddit or Stack Exchange. Now that you’ve used your expertise to answer these questions, show off the content you made. Remember to answer the question in the answer post, while also including a link to more detailed content. If you only include a link, you’re likely to be banned.
11. Content Republishing
Some content creators host their own blog, while others use outside websites, like Medium. Some use both. Reach out to popular, relevant collections on these sites and your work can be featured in the collection. This will expand your audience to the followers of the collection, not just your own.
Long-form content can include a number of different content types, including ebooks, webinars, instructional courses, detailed product demonstrations, tours, or something else. This type of content is most effective once the recipient understands a problem and is looking for a solution. This makes it ideal for bottom-of-the-funnel marketing and lead or sale conversion.
Content distribution strategies for long-form content are focused on in-depth engagement. You want your audience to read, watch, or use your content. They should be engaged in the topic and looking for a solution. Finally, they should be purchase-minded, not looking for a solution they can do themselves, which you might have offered through your previous instructional content.
12. Search Ads
You should have a pretty good idea of what your audience is looking for and trying to solve with this content. But organic SEO isn’t always enough to put your content in front of your audience. Target keywords and queries that will logically lead to your content, and place ads on them to raise your content to the top of a search.
13. Email Announcement
You’ve built up your email list using other methods, and now you can use email marketing as content distribution for your long-form content focused on lead conversion
14. Targeted Social Media Promotion
Similar to your email list, you’ve spent time growing your social audience and authority, and now is the time to use it. Promote your post to specific audiences with narrow targeting criteria, such as a specific job title, or detailed cross-sectional interests.
15. Direct Social Media Contact
Particular followers might engage with you often, sharing, liking, and commenting on your content. Contact these users directly with a link to your long-form content.
16. Guest Articles
You’ve cultivated relationships with other publications through the previous content. Now you may be able to pitch your long-form content. Emphasize how this content solves problems and provides benefits for readers.
Connections you’ve made with other writers, influencers, or group administrators will be helpful here. Send them your long-form content, and ask them what they think. If they found it especially helpful, ask if they would publicly recommend or review your content to their audience.
Successful content distribution strategies simultaneously increase your own reach and extend your content to other content creators. As you measure these strategies, you’ll find your own email list, readership, followers, and fans growing, as well as the connections you make with other publications, bloggers, and businesses. Remember that content quality is essential to successful content distribution, but so is your perceived authority, reliability, and prestige in your field. Aim high, always conduct yourself professionally and politely, and stay focused to make your content powerful and far-reaching.