By now, you’ve invested a lot of time and energy into building a content marketing strategy, creating some killer content, and preparing your brand to be in front of a discerning audience. Up to this point, you’ve mostly been concerned about what you’re creating. Now, it’s time to shift the focus to where all that content will end up.
We’re talking about content distribution, and honestly, where you push out your content is every bit as important as what content you’ve actually created. Because it doesn’t really matter how fantastic the content is if it never gets seen, heard, read, or noticed.
But have no fear — FPS is here to help. We’ve got all the details you need to know to nail your content marketing distribution strategy.
What Is Content Distribution?
Content distribution is, as mentioned above, the where of your content marketing strategy. It involves all the places your content lives, whether it’s on your website, social media, in an ad, etc.
When you plan your content distribution, you’ll be considering all the media opportunities that are available to you, including owned media, earned media, and paid media.
Content distribution is a two-fold process: First, you determine where and how you’ll publish your content, and second, you decide how you want to promote it.
Here, we’ll explain how you can do both. But first, you might be wondering…
Why Is Content Distribution Important?
You already did the hard stuff, right? So now it’s all downhill from here? We wish. Yes, coming up with a content marketing plan, creating a library of awesome content, then implementing tactics to make sure it’s going to drive growth is a ton of work. But it’s not over yet.
Consider this: most marketers create at least one piece of content for their brand each day. That’s a lot of competition for an audience with a seriously dwindling attention span. And Google is answering nearly 4 million search queries every single minute.
So how do you ensure your content gets where it needs to go? By choosing the right content distribution channels.
Statistically speaking (check out all our top content statistics here), most content gets zero traffic from Google searches. Social media algorithms keep your posts from getting in front of your intended audience. And with all the increased competition, there’s always another brand (or another thousand brands) vying for your audience’s attention.
So, do you just roll over and give up? Or do you roll up your sleeves and go to work on a content distribution strategy that beats the odds?
We’ve got a good feeling you’ll choose the latter option. And we’re going to tell you how to do it. But first, let’s check out the many options available for content distribution.
Content Distribution Channels
As mentioned above, content distribution happens over various types of media. There are three types your brand needs to leverage for a successful outcome:
- Owned media
- Earned media
- Paid media
Let’s take a closer look at each.
Owned Content Distribution
Owned content includes anything over which your brand has control. These are the platforms and places you have the most flexibility because they’re yours to do with as you please. Owned media is probably the first stop on your content distribution strategy, but to get the most out of it, you need to make sure you have the right audience and enough traffic to see results.
Here are more specific examples of owned content:
Ebooks are a great way to get information from your audience. Make sure to request their contact details in exchange for a download.
Podcasts and Interviews
Podcasts are rising in popularity, and there’s a growing number of platforms for distribution. Choose between Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcasts. Better yet, make sure all listeners have a chance to access your content by distributing on all platforms.
Video content is the future of content marketing, and the future is already here. So make sure you’re pushing out video content via YouTube, but don’t forget about other options like TikTok or Reels.
Make sure to post all infographics on appropriate blog posts, but also get them on Pinterest ASAP. That’s one of the things the platform is most known for, and your infographics are most likely to be seen and shared across a wide audience there.
Make sure you create a dedicated page on your website where you can compile your customer success stories.
As with success stories above, design a page exclusively for case studies, so you know your visitors will be able to find what they need in one location.
You’ll probably also want to have a page devoted to your webinars as well, so visitors can always find the most up-to-date information. Be sure to also leverage your email list to invite subscribers to attend.
It’s the Old Faithful of content marketing. Post regularly and consistently on your blog, but make sure to share on other owned platforms, like social media and email. Consider sending out a digest regularly so subscribers never miss a post.
Maximize the impact of your content by sharing with your followers on all your social platforms. Pay attention to high-performing posts so you can re-share periodically.
Paid Content Distribution
Your owned media is great because it’s basically free. Paid, on the other hand…well, isn’t. What it is, is highly effective — at least as long as you have the budget for it. Paid media is a perfect path for distributing content to gain quick wins. When paired with your owned media channels, it’s a great way to target a new, wider audience and make irresistible offers to ramp up conversion.
Here’s a selection of types of paid media content:
Nearly any type of content can be sponsored. In this case, your brand would pay for the content, while another content creator would produce and distribute it. If done well, this gets your brand name in front of a much larger audience that will potentially be interested in your product or service.
Paid Social Media
You can pay for ads on pretty much any social media platform. One of the best things about this is that it allows you to do in-depth, granular targeting so you get straight to your buyer persona.
Pay Per Click
PPC is sort of an umbrella term for many types of paid ads, including paid search and paid social. PPC is cost-effective because you only pay when someone clicks your ad. However, like all paid advertising, the results evaporate when your budget dries up.
Paid Product Review
This may be part of your influencer marketing strategy or part of a sponsorship deal. It’s basically what it sounds like — you pay, and the reviewer gives your product/service a thorough overview (usually positive, though most reviewers will indicate they were compensated for their honest opinion).
Look for opportunities to appear as a sponsored guest on a podcast or YouTube channel, and take advantage of a whole new audience.
Influencer marketing is so effective because it relies on the tried-and-true word-of-mouth methodology. Influencers have the audience you need, and that audience trusts what the influencer recommends.
Earned Content Distribution
Finally, we have earned content. It’s usually considered the hardest type of distribution to acquire because, as the name suggests, it has to be earned. Still, it’s a powerful way to get your content seen via unbiased channels and can build unparalleled trust with your audience and build your reputation.
Check out some of these earned media content types:
Digital PR is like traditional PR, but it’s much more effective in this digital age. It involves creating news releases and requesting mentions from media outlets.
Brand mentions can happen almost anywhere. You may find them on a forum or on a third-party blog. There are content tools that can help you catch brand mentions so you can respond accordingly.
Guest posting is one of the most effective ways to get earned media distribution, and it also builds your backlink profile, which is great for your brand.
This refers to the traditional PR approach, as opposed to digital PR. Basically, it’s the old-school way of getting media mentions by sending out press releases to media outlets and following up to get interviews or other media placement.
Check out blogs in your industry and see what types of roundup posts they’re publishing. It’s likely you’ve written something that could fit into one of them, so track down their content manager or editor and request a spot in a relevant post. Be sure to include the exact post and why your blog is such a great choice (even better than the others included).
Other brands, organizations, or individuals may tag your brand in their own social media posts, and if they have something good to say about you, you’ll get the benefits of being seen by their entire community. Make sure to enable your tagging settings, so they’ll be able to loop you into their posts.
Review sites are extremely important, as most consumers read reviews before making a purchase decision. When you find your brand mentioned on a review site, take any insights you can from the content there. If possible, respond to both positive and negative reviews.
Forums and Review Sites
Reddit and Quora are a bit like social media, but they’re also considered earned media. You’re free to comment and engage on these sites, so once you get a mention, it’s a great opportunity to raise awareness and build trust.
How to Create a Highly Successful Content Distribution Strategy
Ready to start building a strategy for content distribution that will drive long-term growth for your brand? We’ve got all the tips you need.
Research Your Target Audience
The first step, as seen above, is figure out the audience you’re trying to reach. You’ve probably got a buyer persona in mind now, but if you’re going for brand awareness, you want a larger, broader audience. When it comes to distribution, the audience varies by every channel and industry, like whether your a SaaS company or a startup, so it’s critically important you get it right. For instance, you wouldn’t try to hit an older, professional audience by distributing exclusively on Instagram — you’d probably want to try LinkedIn and other professional networks instead.
Establish Goals and KPIs for Content Distribution
You saw the goals and metrics broken down in the tables above, but it bears repeating — you can’t reach your goals if you use the wrong distribution channels. At the same time, you should choose your distribution channels based on the goals you want to achieve.
Make sure your goals and KPIs are always in alignment before you begin content distribution.
Interview Your Customers
There’s no reason to guess where your audience is and what they want to see there. So instead of casting a wide net and hoping for the best, go straight to the source where the most fish are (your customers). Send out surveys and polls to find out which social platforms are their favorites, where they go to find content like yours, and when and where they want to hear from you.
Perform a Content Audit
If you’ve already got a good amount of content out there, you don’t want to launch your distribution strategy without a content audit. Divide it into two parts: a content inventory and the content audit itself. Remember that you also have two goals: the content inventory determines the quantity of content you have, while the content audit determines the quality.
This will help you determine if you need more content or if the content you have is good enough to continue distributing. Then you can add content and make updates from there.
Determine Your Marketing Message
Remember that even if you’re making the same offer and distributing the same piece of content across various channels, you’ll want to adjust your messaging for each one. That’s because audiences aren’t the same for all distribution channels, nor is the type of messaging, tone, and voice they’re prepared to hear. So, you wouldn’t want to use the same messaging for a TikTok audience as a retargeted ad audience. Consider the platform and the audience every single time, so you ensure you’re always getting the voice right.
Prioritize Which Content to Distribute
Got a ton of great content? It’s a good problem to have. But it also means you need to step back and set some priorities. It’s not wise to push out all your content at once. All that will do is set you up to create competition for your own content, and it will be hard for audiences to cut through the clutter. Plus, you’ll use up your content and then need to create new or revamp what you’ve got so it doesn’t feel tired or repetitive.
Instead, pick your best-performing content, and start there. Make a plan for your remaining content pieces, use a content matrix or content funnel to plot it out, and look to your audit to decide next steps — whether you can simply give it a quick refresh or turn it into an entirely new format and push it out on a different distribution channel.
Choose Distribution Channels
Speaking of channels, now is when you have to decide. Of course, some of your content assets will go out on various channels, but some are more suited to one over the others. And while there are trends, as outlined below, the most effective channels will vary from brand to brand.
Choose Content Types That Fit Each Platform
Once you’ve selected your platform, narrow down the best content types. Infographics are perfect on Pinterest but don’t do as well on other social platforms. Podcasts need to be hosted on a specific platform but should be promoted far and wide. Consider first the audience of each platform and the content types they’re most interested in seeing. Remember that content is extremely flexible and can be easily repurposed — so if you’ve got a piece of killer content, it doesn’t have to be one-and-done. Turn it into different content formats so it can be used across platforms.
Create a Distribution Plan
Now comes the fun part. Combine all the information you’ve gathered so far, and build your content distribution plan. Lay out the priority content you found in your audit, then map it to your chosen platforms and goals. Other considerations you’ll need to make when creating your plan include the following:
- The audience you’re trying to reach
- When to post or share your content (what time of day your audience is most active/most likely to see it)
- Tone and voice you’ll use with the messaging
- Which calls to action (CTAs) you want to include
- Which metrics you’ll track to make sure you’re on the right path
Create an Editorial Calendar
Once you’ve got your plan together, you can get down to the nitty-gritty — creating your editorial calendar. With all content, it’s most effective if you post consistently, around the same day and time, according to the platform. It’s not as much about quantity as it is quality and not as much about frequency as it is about regularity. Make sure your editorial calendar covers all your distribution channels, so you can identify any gaps in coverage and be certain you’re posting where you need to when you need to.
Measure, Analyze, Rinse, and Repeat
Be sure you’re staying on top of the analytics outlined previously in this article. Content can take a while to deliver results, so you won’t see much forward momentum immediately. Just know that it’s coming. In the meantime, measure what you can, and make slight adjustments when needed. A/B testing is extremely helpful in determining the most effective messaging when distributing your content. Make one change, test, see what’s most effective, then change another element. Keep that testing cycle going until you see the results you want.
Content Distribution Tools
There are dozens of tools that can help you get your content distributed for the best outcome. The tools you use depend on which media you’re focusing your efforts on.
Earned Media Tools
Use these tools to help with earned media distribution:
Sign up for Google Alerts to get a notification whenever your brand is mentioned.
HARO (Help a Reporter Out) can be used to build backlinks and get your content out to a wide audience when you volunteer as an “expert” and respond to requests.
Search your brand on Quora to find and engage in organic discussions that can build trust and reputation.
Use Reddit the same as Quora — look for brand mentions, and jump into the conversation.
GaggleAMP helps you get your employees involved in distributing content and leveraging their own social media networks.
Like other forums and communities, use Medium to look for and respond to brand mentions.
Paid Media Tools
Here are some of the top tools for paid distribution:
Outbrain is a native advertising platform that connects you with your audience as they browse the web.
Google Ads is the gold standard in both display advertising and paid search.
Social Media Ads on Twitter, Facebook, and LinkedIn
Be sure to check out each platform’s ad manager — all of them have numerous tools you can use to create, distribute, and track your ads.
Taboola is another native advertising platform designed with content discovery in mind.
Used for both earned and paid media distribution, you can work on your digital PR plan with PR Newswire. Distribute news releases and also look for opportunities for sponsored/paid placement.
Owned Media Tools
Check out these top-owned media distribution tools:
Social Media Scheduling Tools
There are plenty of options for social media management, like Buffer or Sprout. Most have a free trial, so you can test them out and find what works best for you.
Email Management Tools
There are about as many email platforms as there are social platforms. Some of the top include MailChimp, Zendesk, and Campaign Monitor. As with your social management, test out a few options to find the one that best fits your needs.
Wherever you decide to distribute your video content, you want to make sure it’s the highest quality. Find a platform that will help you edit and create your content, then host it so you can distribute wherever you like. Vimeo, Brightcove, and Wistia are among the top picks.
Like video platforms, a podcast platform is different from a podcast listening platform. Your podcast might appear on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, or Google Podcast, but first, you need to host it somewhere. Buzzsprout, Captivate, and Transistor are the most popular hosting options.
Create Once, Distribute Forever
Ready to get started with your content distribution plan? What’s so great about content is that once it’s created, you can refresh, repurpose and redistribute…basically for eternity. But you’ll still need a strategy in place to drive the best results.
That’s where FPS comes in. We’ve got content experts who understand all of the distribution channels we’ve discussed today, and they also know which audiences like to hang out where and which types of content they most want to see. So if you need a little help rolling out your content distribution strategy, see what our content marketing experts can do.
In the meantime, if you liked what you saw here, share our content distribution infographic with your network: