Currently, content creation makes up 32% of content marketing spending and content distribution makes up only 18%.
Imagine if the focus were to shift from content production to content distribution. How would optimizing distribution improve your ROI? Focusing on the content promotion can actually drive better results than stepping up content production.
Content promotion through some distribution platforms will create considerably lower traffic cost than advertising programs. It’s no wonder that content distribution networks are growing more and more popular among inbound marketers interested in better audience targeting and publishers wanting to increase pageviews.
Content distribution is nearly as important as the content itself. People are more empowered than ever before to simply ignore content they have no interest in. You can’t buy their attention anymore, you have to earn it.
Content quality is, of course, essential to earning people’s attention. But even if you’ve created the Mona Lisa of blog posts, if you don’t know how to distribute your content it’s not going to be seen, clicked, read or shared. This is what makes intelligent content distribution so vital.
There is an absolute encyclopedia of content distribution tools and channels that you can use to promote your work. The tools that you choose should ultimately reflect your audience, providing content to them in a format they enjoy through a network or medium that they frequent.
To help you reach your audience and boost traffic, we’ve gathered 25 great content distribution tools—for owned, earned and paid media strategies—that might be a good fit for your business.
Owned content distribution tools
Owned media refers to the content and networks that your brand controls, and generally involves targeting your existing communities and followers. Your social media profiles, your blog and your website, all owned channels, should be a total given when it comes to content distribution.
If you’re not already sharing your content on those networks, start doing that before moving onto more complex distribution strategies. If you’re already there, the following tools should help you extend your reach even further through your owned channels.
Earned content distribution tools
Earned media refers to content that comes as the result of your efforts to create awareness, most often on channels, you don’t own. This includes public relations, events, word-of-mouth promotion and reviews, social mentions from third parties and contributions to external communities or forums.
Earned media is more important than ever before since people increasingly trust their friends and family on social media more than any brand—a reality known as social proof. The following content distribution tools should help you tap into social proof and increase the effectiveness of your earned media strategy.
Paid content distribution tools
Paid media might just be the most traditional form of marketing. You’re paying money in exchange for content distribution in various forms. In today’s online marketing world, paid media refers to tactics like online and social media advertising, paid content syndication, and influencer marketing.
If you’re willing to pay for content distribution, you can easily extend your reach to prospects and readers well outside of your existing network. Depending on your budget, the following content distribution tools might be a good fit for your marketing efforts.
Things to Consider
Before developing a content distribution strategy, consider the following:
Content distribution should just be one section in your overarching content strategy. And there is no one size fits all option to content distribution. Your strategy should be unique to your company.
Consider the goal of your content. Are you hoping your audience will buy your product, interact with more content, or sign up for your newsletter? This will dictate the way you’re sharing, where you’re sharing, and the frequency.
Who’s your audience? Determine your target audience and figure out where they are and at what time to optimize your online promotion strategy.
The digital and content marketing landscape is constantly evolving. Best practices for sharing on Facebook are nothing like what they were five years ago. Be aware of promotional tactics that are no longer effective.
After defining your content audience and goals, examine content distribution methods to determine which ones are ideal for your organization. Here are the most common content distribution methods in marketing today, and how they can be used in a distribution strategy.
Paid is a four letter word to a lot of content marketers. If my content is good enough, why do I have to pay people to read it? The simple answer is, you’re not paying people to read it. You’re paying people to see your content, the same way magazines pay for prime placement on newsstands.
Paid content can help:
Pre-existing content work harder
Get a solid base of eyes on your content
Jump-start sharing of your content
When paying for eyeballs, metrics other than pageviews become more salient. While you can count on those numbers, you’re paying for them. “Paid” is an umbrella term that can include anything from paid social to banner ads to pay per click (PPC).
Email should be the foundation of any content strategy. While not as glamorous as social, email remains the most effective marketing channel there is. Email allows you to send content to people who already have a relationship with your brand. You have more information about them, and more control over how your content is packaged when they first see it.
For this reason, email should be a primary method of content distribution. Segment lists to prevent your audience from fatiguing with emails, and to ensure you only deliver content each audience member finds interesting.
Email is best for: Acquiring customers. Email is 40 times more effective than Facebook and Twitter combined.
Email is worst for: Growing your email lists. Because, well, you already have their emails.
Over 80 percent of the US population has a social network profile. And 94 percent of B2B marketers distribute content on LinkedIn. Social is necessary for content marketing to succeed, and marketers know it.
Social distribution works best when shared both organically and via paid options. There are plenty of tools like digitalBE [Digital Business Engine Complete Content Marketing Solution] that can determine the best time to share content, where to share, and what kind of message is most effective.
Social is best for Increasing engagement, buzz, and brand awareness.
Social is worst for: Bottom of the funnel content meant to sell.
Tips: Social distribution can be overwhelming. Not only are there several big players to advertise on, but the pay to play options are extensive. Don’t advertise on social sites your audience isn’t on.
Make sure the content you’re sharing matches the preferences of the audience on the platform. Advertising on Instagram or Pinterest requires sharing visual content rather than text-heavy content.
PPC (Pay Per Click)
There are two types of pay per click: search engine PPC and content PPC. Search PPC involves paying to rank for keywords on Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs) like Google. Content PPC operates similarly. You pay for your content to show up in the recommended or related articles section of content discovery networks.
PPC is best for: Serving content to a new audience and helping your company be found.
PPC is worst for Sustained, high-value traffic unless you want to continue paying for it.
Tips: Strong copy and calls to action are vital. Your content will be served up against similar competitor content.
Is SEO a distribution method? Not really. But ensuring people can organically find your content is. This is about as close as we can get to the idea of someone asking for your cake without finding it from the front glass case. Good SEO means anyone who asks for a chocolate cake is offered a slice of yours. While SEO is a ‘free’ way to get eyes on your content, it’s difficult to do effectively. To start, focus on key phrase research, go in depth in your articles, and create high-quality content.
In addition to the company blog, publish your content on sites such as Buzzfeed, Medium, Slideshare, Reddit, and other third-party websites. (Make sure to link back to your website on these other platforms.) This helps your content gain more visibility, and to drive more traffic to your website.
While influencer marketing needs its own strategy, your influencer connections can aid in distributing your content. Tactics such as including influencer quotes in your content incentivize influencers to distribute your content to their followers, increasing your content’s reach.
Another way to distribute your content is via paid posts on other media sites. This is a good option for outlets you haven’t been able to get published in.
Many brands ask customers for case studies and testimonials. If you’re creating a tiered customer advocacy program, try social sharing and interaction as one of the tiers with low incentives. Or ask customer success to encourage your clientele to share your content.
Tips for Optimizing Distribution
Repurpose content so it’s in different forms for different distribution channels.
Keep testing; there are no “best practices” for content distribution.
Company employees are an asset. Your email lists and social accounts aren’t the only ways to share content with your audience. Ask employees to participate in your content distribution strategy to grow your audience and social engagement for free.
Create a community engagement strategy that aligns with your distribution strategy. By consistently interacting with your audience to form deeper connections with them, you increase the likelihood they’ll interact with and share your content.
Tools for Content Distribution
As with anything in the marketing sphere, there are many tools and platforms to optimize a content distribution strategy. Here are some of the essentials:
Medium: All brands should have a Medium account. It allows you to republish existing posts to reach a new audience.
WiseStamp: Automatically share your latest piece of content in your email signature.
ClicktoTweet: Help your audience evangelize your content. Share tweetable quotes at the click of a button.
GaggleAmp: Create messages for your company’s employees that are sent out automatically on social channels.
Hootsuite: One of many social scheduling tools that helps you optimize the time and frequency that you publish.
Quora: According to Quora’s website, “Quora is a question-and-answer website where questions are created, answered, edited and organized by its community of users.” Quora enables you to establish your company as an expert in your field and lets you link back to your content from a high domain authority site.
Slideshare: This presentation sharing platform gives you another opportunity to distribute eBooks, webinars, and event presentations. With 80 percent of traffic coming from search, over 160 million monthly page views, and less than one in five B2B marketers using it, it’s without a doubt a platform you should be on.
PR Newswire: Having a platform that reaches journalists and other news outlets are important for sharing company updates and company news.