The Content Distribution Matrix Revealed

Team Pepper
Posted on 21/12/215 min read
The Content Distribution Matrix Revealed

Table of Contents

  1. Introduction
  2. What Is The Content Distribution Matrix?
  3. Why Create a Content Distribution Matrix
  4. How To Create a Content Distribution Matrix 
  5. Key Takeaways
  6. Conclusion
  7. FAQs

Remember The Matrix, starring Keanu Reeves? A key moment in the movie was a decision Reeves has to take: about swallowing either a red pill or a blue pill. The choice he makes reveals to him a new nature of reality. This brings to him tremendous power and responsibility.

Back to our world. The internet is sometimes called “the matrix”. Within it is the concept of the content distribution matrix. It is something that can bring online marketers power, enabling them to further their marketing strategy.

What is the content distribution matrix?

A content distribution matrix is a tool for online marketers, created by Smart Insights. It is an infographic that helps marketers understand where to focus their efforts. Should online marketers focus on owned media, paid media, earned media, or a combination of the three? Which channels should be part of a content distribution strategy?

A content distribution channel should generate visits, leads, and sales. And these outcomes should be related to the time and money you invest in your strategy. This brings us to another question: how much time, effort, and money should you put into individual channels?

These are some of the content creation and distribution questions answered by the content distribution matrix, which is depicted in the graphic below. The matrix contains four primary boxes, each containing elements that are mapped considering two main factors: the volume of leads or sales and the return on investment (ROI) achieved on each one. Referring to the matrix will help you determine whether your current content distribution plan—whether paid, owned, or earned—is working. 

Why create a content distribution matrix?

The content distribution matrix is created for the same reason a business is created: to increase profits. The content distribution matrix is meant to lower costs and increase the effectiveness of the distribution strategy. It does this by pinpointing the least effective media versus the most effective media. This matrix is useful in brainstorming and choosing marketing tools and techniques. It is a primer on various owned, paid, and earned media, and their value in the content distribution strategy. 

Because there are so many marketing media tools available, it is difficult to choose where to direct our efforts. Whether you are into B2B or B2C content distribution, the content distribution matrix shows the way forward. It is an easy tool for businesses to conduct a gap analysis. It helps you get the most out of your marketing efforts. It also shows how you can reach your target audiences easily and effectively.

How to use the content distribution matrix?

The content distribution matrix is a roadmap to formulating a content distribution strategy. While examining the above infographic, notice that there are four quadrants. As discussed earlier, these four quadrants are based on the volume and ROI yielded by your content distribution efforts. Mentioned below are the elements that will help you gauge what can drive the maximum profits for your brand:

  1. Low-volume, low-ROI
  • Facebook retargeting
  • Influencer PR
  • LinkedIn promoted posts
  • Google Ads 
  • Facebook promoted posts
  1. High-volume, low-ROI
  • Integrated campaigns
  • Media-related PR and influencer marketing
  1. High-volume, high-ROI
  • Organic reach
  • Google shopping
  • Long-tail SEO
  • Blog marketing
  • Google Ads Smart Bidding
  1. Low-volume, high-ROI
  • Sponsored tweets
  • Google Ads remarketing
  • Generic SEO
  • Instagram
  • Organic reach

An optimal content distribution strategy should focus on the marketing elements included in the high-volume, high-ROI quadrant. Let’s go through a three-step approach to using the content distribution matrix.

Determine your current marketing efforts

In order to effectively use the content distribution matrix, you need to measure/track the effectiveness of your content distribution strategy. Begin the journey of plotting your strategy based on your current marketing efforts concerning the four quadrants. Which marketing efforts are you engaged in currently? Where do they lie in the content distribution matrix? Plot each marketing effort on both horizontal and vertical axes. 

The left part of the content distribution matrix is low volume and the right is high volume. The bottom portion of the matrix is the lowest cost (high ROI), while the top portion is the highest cost (low ROI). Examine your current media use based on the volume/cost and how much effort you are putting in each quadrant.

Analyze competitors’ strategies

Start with a review of the range of media options available: owned, paid, and earned. In your review, emphasize the media options that are not currently part of your content distribution strategy. You must then examine your competitors and their content distribution strategy. A strong competitive analysis should include a comprehensive report of the results they are achieving and the techniques you see them use.

Use new means to distribute content

Based on the analysis of your existing content strategy and your competitors’, craft a new plan (or update the old one). This plan should strategically mention the media you will be using for promotion. Ideally, you should have a range of options to choose from. Test them to see which one works best.

Key takeaways

  1. The digital marketing world is changing rapidly.
  2. To keep up with the change, you need effective tools.
  3. The content distribution matrix is a tool that is used in content distribution strategies.
  4. Using the content distribution matrix effectively can positively enhance your brand’s bottom line. 


The digital world is ever-changing and ever-evolving. Within this world, digital marketing is seeing rapid change. And within digital marketing, content marketing maintains prominence. Effective content marketing relies on tools. One such tool is the content distribution matrix.

It should be an essential part of every content marketer’s arsenal. The content distribution matrix helps us chart a clear promotion path in new and ever-evolving territories of content distribution.


1. What is the meaning of the content distribution matrix?

The content distribution matrix is a tool to enhance the power of your content distribution. It is a method of deciding where to allocate resources in your content creation and distribution strategy. It visually shows various media options in terms of their ROI and effectiveness.

2. What are some content distribution tips?

Distribute content based on where the channels lie on the content distribution matrix.
Concentrate your content distribution strategy on channels that are high-volume, high-ROI.
Test, test, test.

3. What are the most valuable methods of promotion in the content distribution matrix?

The most valuable aspects of the content distribution matrix are:
1. Long-tail SEO
2. Blog marketing
3. Google Ads Smart Bidding 
4. Organic reach
5. Google shopping

4. What is owned media, paid media, and earned media?

1. Owned media is the content that is created and controlled by the marketer, such as their website or Facebook page.
2. Paid media is content that is paid for, such as an ad.
3. Earned media is content others create for you, such as a review or Instagram post. 

5. What is long-tail SEO?

1. It is an SEO strategy that concentrates on keywords containing three or more words. 
2. It is a high-value organic technique to generate returns. 
3. It shows higher conversion rates than strategies that target only one-word keywords.

6. How is testing connected with the content distribution matrix?

1. With so many distribution channels available to us today, it is essential to concentrate on only a few. 
2. Ideally, you should concentrate your efforts on the channels that are high-volume, high-ROI. 
3. After implementing your content marketing distribution strategy on these media, use analytics tools to test their effectiveness. 
4. Continue using media that generate the most returns. For media not generating high returns, test alternatives.