Content by itself tends to just sit there. If the goal is to have your content seen (and linked back to) by as many people as possible, a solid content distribution strategy is a must.
Keep reading to see how it's done.
Your content distribution is how you get your website’s interesting and helpful information in front of your target audience. Content distribution, in addition to being a necessary part of your general digital marketing efforts, is also one of the best ways to do white hat link building.
From a link building perspective, it can be one of the best ways to build backlinks because you’re not engaging in any practices that Google might consider manipulative–i.e. Trying to buy links or engaging in potentially risky link exchanges.
Instead, you’re putting your content out there and letting people decide for themselves whether it’s interesting or valuable enough to a) read and b), if they are a website owner, hopefully, include a link to one of their articles.
One of the most important things to understand about content and content distribution is the following statistic: the vast majority (we’re talking over 96% of all content online gets no traffic).
If that’s not a sobering statistic, then we don’t know what is.
Think about it a bit, however, and it makes perfect sense. According to career experts, Zippia, there are roughly 6 million blog posts published every day from all over the world.
How much of that is completely unreadable nonsense? How much of that has had no on-page search engine optimization done to it? How many of those millions of pages (competing with the tens to hundreds of billions that have already been indexed by Google) would you imagine are going to end up on the first page (or even the 2nd, 3rd, 4th, 5th, etc.), where search engine users actually look and click?
A very small percentage.
This is why content distribution is so vitally important.
In the below article we’re going to take you through the content distribution process, including useful information along the way that will allow you to develop and put into practice your own content distribution strategy, including the key content distribution channels and how to leverage them.
What, exactly, is content distribution?
In a nutshell, content distribution is the process by which websites share and promote their content, including things like videos, blog posts, and social media updates so that they can reach a wider audience.
The difference between content distribution and content marketing is the objective: content marketers try to take an idea (a piece of content) and spread it as far as they possibly can. Content distribution involves building a channel that you own which is then used to connect people and things in a more targeted way.
There are basically three primary content distribution channels: owned, earned and paid content distribution. All three have a role to play in any online business model.
Let’s delve deeper into each one.
Your 3 main content distribution channels
As we said, the three main channels are:
Owned content distribution
Your owned channels are the ones that your brand has total control over. If you own a channel, you are the one who decides what you publish and how you share it with the world.
Common owned channels that you may already have set up include:
- A website or a blog.
- Social media channels.
- Email marketing channels.
- Educational content.
Our company's LinkedIn, for example, is one of our owned channels that we use on a regular basis to post interesting articles, job openings etc.
Website and blog
This is the owned content distribution network that pretty much any company with a presence online already has. This would include things like your web copy, your home, about and service/product pages, as well as blog posts, white papers, case studies and other resource or informational content you might publish.
Social media channels
Again, something that pretty much any established business/brand online already has (optimized to varying degrees, of course). This would be places like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Linkedin etc.
Social media channels are one of the most basic and most important parts of a multi-channel content distribution and promotion network.
Another very common and easy-to-implement owned content distribution tool is your email list. You might utilize an exit intent popup that gets visitors to subscribe to a mailing list in exchange for 15% off their purchase, for example.
A visitor gets something of value, and you get an email address that you can then include in your content distribution email list.
This would include things like white papers, ebooks, case studies, webinars and any other content that educates. Most of this stuff probably exists on your website, but you might also have a YouTube channel where you host recorded or live webinars, or perhaps use something like Zoom.
Podcasts are typically hosted by third party apps like Spotify, Apple, or Google, but there are still a lot of brands out there who host their podcasts on their websites. You can also distribute links to recorded podcasts through your email list.
Earned content distribution
The earned channels in your earned content distribution strategy are the opposite of your owned ones. You don’t control your earned content distribution channels.
You have to rely on third parties here.
Some examples of this kind of content distribution include:
- Mentions, shares and UGC.
- Featured articles in blogs and other media coverage.
Mentions, shares and UGC
Mentions, shares and UGC are a great way to show your followers and your social communities that people are interested in your content and what you have to say as an industry/thought leader. This is a great type of content to repurpose for your social channels.
Backlinks are the currency of the internet and incredibly important. As a link building agency, backlinks are what we do best and we build some stellar ones, we’re not afraid to brag.
Google sees backlinks as essentially votes for your page/website. When high quality, high authority, relevant sites in your niche link back to you, Google interprets that as trust and authority signals from the web.
Featured articles in blogs and other media coverage.
Featured articles and other media coverage are similar to backlinks in that other websites online may decide to mention your brand.
Sometimes you can arrange paid opportunities with sites where they agree to either write or write and distribute content about your brand or a particular service you offer to their followers, email list, or simply publish it on their blog. We will get into that more below in the paid content section below.
Paid content distribution
This is a content distribution strategy where you pay someone to distribute your content. Some of these channels could be native to the ad platforms you are using–Google Display Ads, Instagram Ads, Facebook, Twitter, etc.
You can also, however, run paid media campaigns on a number of different platforms or use influencers to promote your content across their own channels,
Depending on your niche, budget and target market, paid advertising can be a foundational component of your overall inbound marketing strategy. Done well, it can generate ton of leads and a lot of revenue.
Below are some of the most common types of paid channels:
- Influencers marketing.
- Boosted social media posts.
- Sponsored content or user generated content.
When most people refer to paid digital ads, what they’re referring to are pay per click or pay per impression ads. You either pay every time someone clicks on one of your ads (PPC) or you pay every time someone sees your ad (pay per impression).
Google ads is definitely the most popular paid content distribution channel.
Influencer marketing can happen on basically any content distribution channel–social media, a blog post on their website, etc. You locate influencers who you think would be good ambassadors for your brand, who have a sizable, active following they can promote to, and then arrange relationships whereby you pay (or perhaps pay in goods and services) to have your brand and business promoted.
Boosted social media posts.
If you’ve spent any time on social media platforms like Facebook and Instagram, you know that you can pay to have your posts “boosted.”
What this means is that for any content you post, the algorithm will make sure it is put in front of more people than it likely otherwise would be if you were just posting and doing your own SEO.
It is pay for reach.
Sponsored content or user generated content.
User generated content or sponsored content is all the rage right now. It is similar to influencer marketing, with the main difference being, instead of paying for access to a person’s network, you’re resharing branded content that has been made by other people.
You might incentivize them to create this content with free products or services, or simply agree on a price.
Crafting your content distribution strategy
Now that you know more about the various content distribution channels out there and how they work, let’s delve deeper into how you can actually put your own content distribution strategy into practice.
Start by understanding and knowing your audience
Knowing who your target audience is is the first stage in any marketing campaign–content marketing or otherwise. There are plenty of great free templates out there you can use to help you hone your persona.
Always start with an audience persona (who is the hypothetical person that will be seeing and buying your goods/services)?
Follow that up with customer journey maps.
A customer journey map plans out the path that a customer will likely take as they go from general awareness of your brand to prospective customer and, ideally, a brand loyalist.
A good way to help conceptualize this part of the process is to imagine a recent purchase you made and try to trace your own journey.
Where and when did you have your first point of contact with the product or service? How many different channels did you use while progressing through the journey? What kind of contact did you have with the company and did you like it? Where were the pain points and how were they solved (or how did the brand fail to solve them)?
This part of the process is where you will decide on which content distribution strategies and content distribution tools make the most sense for your ideal customers.
If your target market is mainly on Instagram and Facebook, then paid social media ads are going to be a major part of your content distribution. You might want to look into various social media analytics tools to help you manage your campaigns.
If PPC via Google Ads seems to be the winning content distribution strategy for most successful brands in your industry or niche, then learning to use Google Analytics will be paramount.
Establish clean-cut goals and key performance indicators (KPIs)
Before you even begin to create content, you want to spend some time deciding on what business purpose the content serves.
This will help you define the targets you want to hit and the important metrics to monitor. It might not be explicitly financial right off the bat. Perhaps the purpose of a content marketing campaign is to have people sign up for a free trial of your service.
That was the case for one of our clients who was looking to increase the number of demos booked for their HR software.
You can read the full case study here.
Your content marketing strategy should be dependent on your business aims.
Develop a social media calendar
This is particularly important for anyone relying on social media marketing as the bedrock of their content distribution strategy. Creating social media ad hoc and posting it as you create it is not a winning strategy.
In order to appeal to the algorithm and achieve real reach, you need to develop a posting schedule (i.e., consistency).
A social media content calendar is a good way to create content and schedule it for future publication, making the process relatively automated. Of course, you need to do the initial leg work, but once you’ve gotten the hang of something like Sprout Social or Hootsuite, the social side of your content distribution starts to run itself.
Make your content shareable
If you really want your content distributed far and wide, it has to be shareable.
People like to share things that look good, help and inform or entertain people in their professional and social networks.
Things like downloadable templates, helpful guides, novel data and statistics or free tools are all good ways to get people sharing and reposting. Make your content easy to consume (accounting for the super short attention spans online), visually appealing and well-branded.
Make use of calls to action that encourage people to share the content across their various social networks.
Optimizing Content Across Platforms
Crafting content that resonates across various platforms is essential for a successful online presence.
Each platform has its unique audience and nuances, demanding tailored content strategies. Whether it's a blog, social media, or video-sharing platform, understanding the specific preferences and behaviour of the target audience is what will increase shareability.
When creating content, it's crucial to consider the format, tone, and style that align with the platform's dynamics. For instance, concise and visually appealing content often thrives on social media, while in-depth articles are better suited to your website’s blog.
Adapting your content to suit the platform's strengths ensures maximum engagement and reach.
Measuring Results and Iterating Content
After deploying content across platforms, you don’t just post it and leave it. The next step is careful, data-driven analysis. Utilize analytics tools to measure the performance of your content.
Key performance indicators (KPIs) such as engagement, click-through rates, and conversion metrics provide valuable insights into what resonates with your audience.
Should the data reveal areas for improvement, be agile in tweaking your content strategy. Perhaps adjusting the posting schedule, refining the messaging, or incorporating more visual elements could enhance your content's impact. Regularly monitoring results and iteratively refining your approach ensures a dynamic and responsive content strategy.
Repurposing and Recycling Content
Sustainable content strategies leverage the value of repurposing and recycling. A blog post can evolve into a series of social media updates, a podcast episode, or even a video. By repurposing content across different formats, you not only maximize its longevity but also cater to diverse audience preferences.
Recycling successful content involves revisiting and updating evergreen pieces to maintain relevance. This not only breathes new life into valuable information but also contributes to your brand's credibility
Content creation can be time-consuming as well as expensive (depending on what you’re creating) and a well-executed repurposing and recycling strategy is a sustainable way to extend the lifespan and impact of your content across multiple channels.
Content distribution combines with link building efforts to make sure your brand and your website are shared and known far and wide.
When they work hand in hand, they are one of the absolute best ways to increase brand recognition, rank higher on the search engine results page, build organic traffic and convert leads into customers.
Get in touch with dofollow today and find out more about how our contract-free, transparent, user-centric link building can ensure your content becomes part of the small, successful, profitable percentage that people actually see and click on.
Why Trust Us On SEO
Eric Carrell & Sebastian Schaffer have been working in SEO for over a decade, building their own projects - understanding and testing SEO strategy, along with building hundreds of white hat links per month for our projects. They take their learnings and experience and apply them to the strategy that drives our link building strategy for our clients.
Eric & Seb have always believed in quality over quantity, doing things the right way so we future proof our client’s websites against future Google updates and the evolving industry of search.
While Seb handles the company strategy around culture, processes and structure, Eric is constantly working to improve our service offering, customer experience, and following the industry in parallel with Google’s Quality Guidelines so that we are always one step ahead of our competition and aligned with what Google wants to see for your site to rank higher.