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You may have the greatest content marketing strategy out there, ready to blow your audience’s socks off and boost conversions, but what purpose does it serve if you don’t also craft a detailed content distribution strategy to let it actually reach your targets?
Well, you won’t have to worry about that because I’m here to help! In this piece, I’ll go over what this type of strategy entails, along with an explanation of different content distribution channels to aid you in this task. Additionally, I’m including a step-by-step guide to create your own strategy, so you can get started ASAP!
Let’s dive right in, shall we?
In simple terms, this type of strategy is a plan to effectively circulate and promote your content so it reaches as many people of your target audience as possible, increasing engagement with your brand and ultimately converting them into followers and customers.
If you’ve ever posted on your business’s social media profiles or set up a newsletter, then you’ve distributed content. Even this very blog post is an example of distribution! However, to accomplish your business goals and be as efficient as possible, you need to develop a well-thought-out strategy instead of just throwing content at the wind and hoping it catches on.
Among other things, you’ll need to identify your target audience, plan out your content, and set up a schedule. Don’t panic just yet; I’ll go over these steps in detail later on 😉! For now, let’s focus on the benefits of having a content distribution strategy:
There are many platforms you can leverage for your content distribution strategy, but each of them is different. If you didn’t already know, they’re typically divided into owned, earned, and paid channels. Let’s break them down so we can understand them better:
These channels belong to your business, and you can use them as much or as little as you like (of course, I’d recommend the former!). For example, your social media profiles, your website, any gated content like eBooks and whitepapers, or your newsletters are all owned channels.
What’s great about them is that you decide exactly what you want to share with your audience, and when and how to do it. Moreover, it’s completely free, so you don’t have to spend a dime to get results and an organic flow of visitors and followers.
Owned content distribution channels work great to build legitimacy and brand trust since the proprietary content you publish can give your business a favorable reputation and establish you as an expert voice in the field, sharing your knowledge and insights with the world.
Earned content distribution refers to third-party channels that promote your content for free, such as guest blog posts, mentions and shares on social media, or unpaid user-generated content, like product reviews.
One of the most important earned channels is backlinks to your site because they’re a key pillar of positive SEO results. You can get backlinks by writing on another business’s blog (you usually get two or three links back from your own website), or by posting authoritative content, which will organically get people to cite your pages as a trusted source of information.
The last category of content distribution channels is paid media. This can take many forms: Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads on SERPs, native ads on social media platforms, or sponsored content made and shared by influencers or another brand.
While paid channels can certainly boost your strategy when done right, I recommend you primarily focus on owned and earned distribution to organically and sustainably expand your reach. Ads are only beneficial as long as you keep investing in them; what’s more, people are swamped with ads all day, every day —so, there’s a higher chance of getting ignored by your targets if you’re part of that nuisance, too.
I’m sure you’ve been waiting for this section, so let’s jump right in! Here are the 6 steps to develop a winning strategy:
The very first step in any marketing strategy is thoroughly researching your target audience. Otherwise, you’ll just be making guesses about the actual needs and pain points that your clients, both current and potential, want your content to solve.
The easiest —and most effective— way to tackle this step is by creating a few different buyer personas. While these personas are fictional, they’re based on deep research about the audience you cater to, their problems, the channels they’re most likely to be found in, buying patterns, and any other trait that might help you distribute your content to them.
You can gather this information by checking the data metrics of your social media pages, your website, email subscribers, and real flesh-and-bone customers.
Once you know where your target audience is more likely to hang out, you can plan your content distribution strategy around those platforms to ensure you’ll be reaching them.
Determining the channels you’ll be focusing on also lets you know which existing content pieces can be repurposed and posted elsewhere, breathing new life into them and increasing their value. For example, you might find out that you’ve got a considerable number of potential targets on Twitter, so you can easily trim and edit a published blog post to adapt it into a thread!
In order to choose your distribution channels, you’ll need to assess your existing content regarding its historical performance metrics on different platforms, as well as take your previous audience research into account.
Before deciding on the types of content you’ll be publishing, you need a clear picture of the business goals you’re trying to achieve. I recommend you associate each goal with a number of KPIs that align with it, so you’ll be able to measure your results later on.
For example, if you’re looking to boost your social media presence, then you’ll want to keep track of follower growth, impressions, and shares. On the other hand, if you’re focused on improving brand awareness, you’ll focus on increasing website traffic, number of backlinks, keyword rankings, and shares.
Finally, the content part of a content distribution strategy! Now that you know where your audience is more likely to find your business, you can create content that best adapts to those channels.
Here are some examples of what you can share on which platforms:
A crucial element of your content distribution strategy lies in keeping a consistent, sustainable schedule. With the number of tasks already on your plate, it’s easy to forget what was already posted and what is pending for the next weeks.
Maintaining a detailed schedule will avoid issues like sharing several pieces one week and almost none the next, or having virtually no content on a certain topic but an overwhelming amount on another.
Finally, no content distribution strategy is complete without measuring its performance. All your hard work will go to waste if you don’t check its effectiveness, and determine what pieces and channels were the most successful and what goals you accomplished.
There’s no correct answer as to how often you should check your analytics —every business works differently, so you might have to experiment a bit. As a rule of thumb, I suggest you start with weekly or biweekly check-ins, and move up to monthly once you’re confident about your development and success.
Remember, the more data you collect at this stage, the better you can adapt your efforts to reach the widest possible audience and delight them with your content.
There are many different marketing tools out there that can help take a weight off your shoulders. Here’s my top 3, in no particular order:
Google has a wide array of handy digital tools to make marketers’ lives easier. Analytics, in particular, allows you to carry out an in-depth exploration of your website, tracking your audience demographics, pageviews, conversions, bounce rates, and providing many other interesting data.
It has a bit of a learning curve, but it’s not an impossible task to overcome. Additionally, it’s free! So, I strongly suggest you use it to measure your website content’s impact and overall performance, so you can make any necessary tweaks and adjustments to your content distribution strategy as you go.
This toolkit is the ultimate social media tracker. You can keep tabs on new and total page likes, schedule posts on several platforms at the same time, streamline communication with your followers, and even analyze your competitors’ accounts.
It’s not a free tool, but given how complete and intuitive it is, it can be worth the monthly investment if you can fit it within your budget.
This content calendar tool is perfect for planning, creating, and monitoring your content efforts. You can schedule and automate posts across social media pages as well as your blog and website, work collaboratively with your team, and even analyze the success of your strategy.
Once more, this tool isn’t free, but it offers different packages depending on your needs and team size.
Well, that’s all for now! As you’ve seen, having a content distribution strategy set in place is fundamental to reaching the right kind of audience and keeping them engaged and satisfied with what your business has to offer. There are several different channels and content types you can choose from, so it’s time to experiment and find out what works best for your brand!
Now that you know what steps to follow in order to create your own strategy, it’s time to start your engines and brainstorm your next pieces of content. I’m sure they’ll be awesome 😉.