If you focus all of your energy on content creation, you’re likely to be disappointed with your results. Why? Because content creation is only half the battle these days. Yes, it’s incredibly important, but if no one knows your content exists, it doesn’t matter if it’s the best blog post, video, or infographic you’ve ever created.
Instead, you need a plan for distributing your content. There are nearly 3 million blog posts published every day. Now, all of that content is not relevant to you, your brand, or your audience, but it simply puts into perspective just how much content is being created all of the time.
Standing out can be incredibly difficult, and that is why more than ever content distribution is crucial to your brand’s success and visibility on the Internet. Thankfully, there are plenty of pathways these days for distributing content. However, simply choosing all of them and throwing your content out and hoping people see it and like it is probably not your best bet.
A better option? Taking the time to research and develop a solid distribution strategy that delivers your content to the people who are most likely to find it interesting and valuable.
There is no one right solution that will work for every brand, but there are certain steps each brand should take towards creating their own, unique strategy that will result in more website visits, blog views and shares, and more.
Start with Understanding Your Audience
The first step to developing a successful content distribution plan is to understand who exactly you are distributing your content to. The goal here is not to distribute your content to anyone and everyone, but rather, to get it in the hands (or should we say, on the screens) of users who will find it relevant and interesting.
So, who is your audience? What are their demographics, their interests, how do they consume content? If your brand has been around for a while, you should have some of this data. Take a look at your Google Analytics, for example, to get a breakdown of your existing audience.
This above example from Google Analytics shows the age and gender breakdown of your audience. With this info, you can start to craft your distribution strategy. Looking again at the example, you can see the majority of this audience is males aged 25-34 years old. This is who you want to target. The more information you can gather about who your audience is, the better. More information equates to a more informed strategy.
If you are a new brand, you don’t have this data yet. That is okay. You should at least have done research on who you anticipate your target audience to be, and that is a good starting point. With time, your data might show your audience is a bit different than you expected, and you can shift your strategy accordingly.
Select the Appropriate Social Media Channels
Now that you know who your audience is, you shift your focus to where to find them. If your brand targets females aged 18-24, your distribution strategy will look very different than a brand targeting males aged 39-45.
Social media is crucial to distributing your content and furthering your overall brand identity. This doesn’t mean you should be running accounts on all major platforms. Why use a platform that isn’t relevant to your products and isn’t where your audience is?
There are distinct differences in social media usage based on things like gender and age, as you can see in the above chart. Let’s quickly break down each platform:
Facebook: Most diverse audience breakdown. Good for majority of brands.
Instagram: Best for young adults (aged 18-29) and brands with a strong visual presence.
Twitter: Good for target audience of young adults, both males and females.
Pinterest: Best for targeting females, need a strong visual presence.
LinkedIn: Best for older adults aged 30-64 who are business professionals.
Snapchat: Younger age demographic (younger than 25), leaning more towards female audience.
Share Content More than Once
Once you’ve determined which platforms you should be using, you should also consider how to get the most bang for each piece of content you create. Creating content is hard work and requires a lot of time and energy. What you create deserves more screen time than one post right when it goes live! It doesn’t only deserve it, but it will perform better.
You aren’t alone if you think posting the same piece of content multiple times is a bad idea. At first glance, it seems like a spammy method of distributing content, but in actuality it isn’t if you handle it the right way.
Most importantly, don’t overload users’ timelines. When you publish a new blog post, don’t send 15 tweets about it that very day. Instead, post once the day of, and then stagger your postings over the next coming days. A popular posting method looks something like this:
Here are some other quick tips to keep in mind regarding posting frequency:
Don’t post the same copy each time. Come up with numerous variations that are appropriate and schedule accordingly.
Vary your visuals. Your header image is great, but pull other images from the content to mix things up.
Switch up the timing. If you’ve got data on when your users engage most with your content, use it. If not, experiment with different times and see what happens. There’s tons of research on best posting times, but looking at your own stats will always be best.
Consider different post formats. If you created a blog post, consider transforming it into an infographic. You’ve now got a totally new piece of content that can be added to your distribution mix.
Email Lists Can Still Be Effective
Don’t give up on email just yet. This remains a great way to distribute content of yours directly to users who have expressed interest in your brand in the form of signing up to receive your emails. Believe it or not, an email is actually 5 times more likely to be seen than a Facebook post in terms of organic reach (we’ll discuss paid reach next).
If you don’t currently have a robust email list, that’s okay. Focus some time on building the list up and be sure to regularly send out emails to keep these users engaged. Just like with social media, don’t go overboard. Too many emails is an easy way to get a user to unsubscribe, in fact nearly 80% of consumers have said they have unsubscribed for this very reason.
Pay to Boost Your Best Content
We’ve discussed free content distribution methods so far, but now let’s discuss your options for paying to distribute and boost your content. There are two main ways to go about this:
Boosting via PPC ads either on search engines or websites
Boosting via social media
PPC ads are really effective at showing your content to new users. If you are looking to expand your audience, this is a great way to do so. You can either do PPC search ads, or you can do something called content ads.
The above image shows content advertising that shows up on CNN.com. Users submit their content to be featured places on the web using services such as Outbrain or Taboola. Just like PPC search ads, you only pay when a user clicks on your content. You determine how much you are willing to pay per click. You might not be able to afford submitting all of your content, but instead select your best content and see what submitting it to a content discovery platform does for you.
Social Media Boosted Posts
We’ve already talked a lot about social media, and with good reason. It’s a great way to distribute content, but a common problem with organic postings is that they just don’t have great visibility. There’s simply too much content and a user can’t possibly view everything. Spending some money can fix that problem. You can either run an advertisement, or pay to boost or promote a specific post/tweet/pin.
The above example shows a promoted pin on Pinterest. If you are struggling to get your content viewed by your audience organically, promoting the piece is a great and fast way to boost your numbers.
Retarget Via Web Push Notifications
And finally. A great way to distribute your content is by alerting your users about it via web push notification. Web push has great visibility, which makes it a great option to use in addition to email and social media which can struggle with that. These messages show up on both desktop and mobile devices, so you’re reaching users everywhere. And, you’ve got a lot of personalization and segmentation options to ensure the message is going to the right group of users.
Segments are a great way to boost the effectiveness of your web push campaigns. Sending broad messages to everyone can result in users perceiving your messages as spam and not relevant to their personal interests.
When it comes to content distribution, consider creating a segment of users who have viewed your blog previously. These users are more likely to be interested in future blog posts of yours as compared to other users who have never looked at your blog before. Send a quick campaign when a new post has gone live to encourage these users to head to your site and check it out.
Content distribution is crucial to the success of your content marketing efforts. Crafting a solid strategy will help boost your engagement levels for the content you’ve worked so hard to develop. Using a combination of organic and paid strategies and various platforms including social media, email, and web push, you are sure to see positive results.
Did we leave out any of your favorite content distribution strategies? Let us know by emailing us or leaving a comment below.