A Guide to Creating the Best Content Distribution Strategy
Table of contents
- What is content distribution?
- How to build a content distribution framework?
- 5 essential content distribution tactics
- Key takeaways
The content might be king, but it is pretty much powerless without its army of distribution channels. If you don’t have the best content distribution strategy and an excellent marketing plan in place, you cannot conquer the domain of today’s digital experiences with just content. Content marketing distribution is what elevates your well-structured and engaging content, leveraging its full potential at each stage of the marketing funnel. Before you add content distribution as a line item to your budget, it is crucial that you understand the specifics of the term.
Crafting impeccable copy is important. But with the introduction of new and exciting elements to the world of digital marketing, even high-quality content is at the risk of going unidentified. In order to build a robust content distribution framework, you first need to understand what content distribution is.
What is content distribution?
Content distribution is the act of promoting content to online audiences across multiple media formats. It is the combination of three activities: sharing, publishing, and promoting the content that you have created. It is how the content reaches the audience for consumption.
Nowadays, social media has become a crucial element of content distribution. With the availability of so many social media platforms, a major chunk of content is reformatted, refurbished, and is even specially created for social media channels. No matter what type of content you are working on, eventually the aim is to distribute it.
However, it is extremely important to have some sort of insight about where and how you intend to publish the content you are creating. A good content distribution plan relies on advanced knowledge about distribution channels. In case you have crafted excellent copy but it turns out to be unsuitable for the platform you decide to publish it on, your resources and your time would go to waste. As per research, 7.5 million blog posts are published each day, and anywhere from 6000 to 9000 Tweets are posted to Twitter every second. With this rapid influx of content in today’s internet age, a vast chunk of it goes unconsumed. Therefore, it is highly imperative that you have prior knowledge about the platforms or channels you will be used for distribution.
There are primarily three types of content distribution strategies:
1. Owned content distribution
Before diving headfirst into a content promotion strategy, you need to be well-versed with the three networks of content distribution. The first is owned media. This stands for distributing content to web properties that belong to or are owned by you. It could include your blog, social media accounts of your business, email newsletters, or a microsite. Your brand has complete control of your owned media channels for distribution.
Owned content distribution allows for maximum control over your content. You can promote your content as and when you like. You can even repurpose it if required. It can also be done at no additional cost. However, initially, it can be massively challenging to direct viewers to your media channels through this strategy.
2. Paid content distribution
Paid content distribution refers to the networks for which you pay explicitly, in order to distribute your content. Although there are different forms of payment for this network, it is most commonly done through a cost-per-click (CPC) model. CPC refers to a system in which you pay every time a viewer clicks through to view your content.
The third-party channels that you pay to may include social media ads and search ads. This network also includes influencer marketing, remarketing, sponsored content, retargeting social ads, display ads, native ads, etc. The amount you pay and the distribution that takes place thereafter largely depend on your budget and the channel chosen by you.
A huge benefit of choosing paid media is that it helps you target a highly specific audience. It also helps you organically increase your search engine rankings. When you choose a paid content distribution platform, you get the choice of picking a new audience with whom you can share your content.
3. Earned content distribution
When third parties distribute your content through press coverage, guest blogs, and articles, retweets and shares, or reviews, it is called earned content distribution. Such organic social shares are a great way to amplify the reach of your content.
This strategy significantly improves your brand image; it also increases exposure to your branded content. Earned content distribution costs you nothing. Hence, your return on investment (ROI) will always be higher than in the case of choosing other distribution networks. It is also more reliable from the buyers’ point of view, as it is organic. It brings your website immense credibility.
How to build a content distribution framework
In order to nail your content distribution strategy, you have to figure out a process that works like a template. This will enable you to use it repeatedly with the surety of it generating the desired output. Sharing content on either paid, owned, or earned distribution channels without having a format in place might yield good results once or twice. But you cannot be sure whether this tactic will work in the future. Also, you are putting in a great number of resources, efforts, and time to get results, which you can achieve by creating an effective content distribution strategy. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
1. Conduct audience research
You cannot start a content distribution framework without finding out who your target audience is. You must also take the time to know about their consumption patterns and choices. The primary aim of distributing your content is to put it in front of the right target audience. A few checkpoints to consider: who your audience is, what content types do they prefer, and on what platforms do they spend most of their time online.
Creating buyer personas is a brilliant way to get started. A buyer persona (also known as a user persona/marketing persona/audience persona) is a framework that represents your ideal consumer. It is a combination of market research, data you have collected about your target audience, and a few assumptions based on that data. You can also create buyer personas by conducting interviews and surveys with your existing customers. Another great way to find out more about your audience’s behavior and consumption patterns is to create a customer experience journey. Mapping a customer experience journey will give you an insight into the shifts in consumption at different stages of the marketing funnel. You can also answer the following questions to know more about your audience:
· Do they visit your website?
· Do they subscribe to your newsletter?
· Do they follow you on social media? If yes, on what platforms?
· At what time period are the most active on a specific platform?
2. Analyze existing content
Another important—and oft-skipped—step in the creation of a distribution framework is the analysis of existing content. It is important that you analyze all the existing content that you have published in the past. Find out what distribution channels or tactics worked out with that content. If the content performed exceptionally well in the past, study the channels you chose for it. Was there a specific topic that your audience paid more attention to or was there a social media post that got the maximum shares and likes? By analyzing how the existing content has performed, you can understand your audience’s behavior and find out what issues they care about or are concerned with.
3. Don’t ignore competitors’ distribution tactics
While you can’t excel at content marketing by imitating your competitors’ strategies, it is equally important that you don’t underestimate or completely ignore what your competitor brands are doing. Do some competitive research. Observe what type of content they are sharing, what social media platforms they are optimizing the most, whether they have a visible distribution format or template, etc.
Since you share the same target audience, their research can, in a manner, aid you in your audience research. Use whatever information you can extract by observing the content and sharing patterns of your competitors. They might not have the best content distribution strategy, but they surely will have either tactics or mistakes, both of which you can learn something from.
4. Know your KPIs
Before you actually start distributing, it is good to be sure about the focus of your distribution. In other words, determine what your goal is. Brands share content for different reasons, some of which include getting website traffic, generating leads, selling leads, creating conversions, etc. Once you have determined your goal, the next step is to figure out the key performance indicators (KPI) that will define it and help you assess your performance. Depending on your goal, your KPIs could be brand awareness, marketing, leads, etc. Outlining your business goals will make your framework for distribution specific and accurate.
5. Prepare a content calendar
Not having a content calendar while working on a content distribution strategy is like attending school without knowing the day’s timetable. A content calendar is an indispensable part of your distribution as well as a marketing strategy. It helps you have up-to-date information on all the content you have, which content pieces you want to publish, the date and time of publication, the distribution channels where they will be published, and more. Add in columns for departments and individuals dedicated to specific tasks related to distribution on your content calendar. A content calendar ensures that your work runs smoothly without confusion, chaos, or overlaps.
6. Devise a system to measure results
Your task does not end with the content getting published successfully. There is more that goes into the making of the best content distribution strategy. Once the content has been published, you need to measure its performance. Measuring the performance of published content will help you create a suitable framework for future content.
Your assessment will be based on the KPIs that you would have determined at an earlier stage. With this, you can choose the metrics for measuring your performance and then optimize it for the future. If your assessment reveals that your strategy has underperformed, you can modify either your goals, content, or framework accordingly.
5 essential content distribution tactics
Here are a few key content distribution tips that you can make use of:
- Using a social media scheduler is a smart tactic to schedule slots for your content promotion strategy. There are a lot of schedulers available with functions like- social listening, audience insights, etc. You can manually devise one if you prefer.
- Promote your content as much as possible. Make suggested copies for your sales team, which they can share with their respective networks. If you have freelancers or contributors on your panel, request them to share your published content.
- Collaboration is always helpful. Co-branding campaigns entail content co-creation, wherein two or more brands with the same target audience come together. This results in a direct increase in traffic for all the brands involved in the collaborative project.
- Backlink your content. This tactic comes in handy when your goal is to increase brand awareness and get more traffic to your website.
- Repurpose and refurbish your existing and unused content. This also depends on the requirement of the distribution network you have chosen.
- Content distribution is an act by which you promote content to an online audience through multiple media and distribution channels.
- In order to have a good content distribution strategy, advanced knowledge of distribution channels is necessary.
- There are three networks for distributing content: paid, owned, and earned channels.
- Before beginning the process of distributing content over various networks, it is important to create a framework. The first step in your framework building is analysing the content that you already have.
- While planning a content distribution strategy, you need to clearly determine your goals and KPIs.
- Competitive research is a useful tool in creating a distribution strategy.
With a good framework customized according to the goals and requirements of your brand, you can build the best content distribution strategy. This will help you generate leads and get sufficient traffic to your website. When your content type is matched to the distribution channel, and when it aligns with the needs of your target audience, your distribution framework is bound to generate results and can be used as a consistent template.
There are several ways to bring attention to your content. You can get your content seen by creating social banners, pinning your content to your Twitter feed, personally reaching out to people who might find the content relevant, etc.
Although it largely depends on the type of content you are sharing and the KPIs you have chosen, generally, LinkedIn Ads, Meta Ads, and Quora Ads are good advertising platforms for delivering content.
Content distribution platforms are channels or outlets through which you circulate and distribute your content to a target audience.
Some ways through which you can effectively distribute B2B content are email outreach via industry lists, paid and organic social media posts, earned traffic and PR, and live streaming on social media.
Consistency in sharing quality content on the platforms your target audience uses most. This is one of the best tips that you can use for effectively distributing your content.
A key performance indicator is a type of performance measurement. It evaluates the success of a brand or of a particular activity it carries out.