You’ve heard that “content is king” again and again, but if your audience isn’t actually seeing the content you produce, then it’s a waste.
How you distribute and share your content is equally as important as the content itself, if not more important. With nearly 4.5 million blog posts being published each day, you’re competing with many other content sources to grab your readers’ attention.
Ever heard of the 80/20 rule? It’s the concept that marketers should only spend 20 percent of their time creating content and dedicate the other 80 percent to promoting and sharing the content. That’s how important content marketing and effective distribution is in the eyes of expert marketers.
What is Content Distribution?
Although the phrase might sound intimidating, at its core, content distribution is the method in which you get your content out to the public.
Which channels will you use to share your blogs, infographics, and other creations? Will you pay others to distribute your posts? Which social media platforms and websites should you establish a presence with?
There are many different channels in which you can distribute your content. All of them can be categorized into one of three groups: Owned, Paid, or Earned.
We’ll dive into these categories later in the article, but first, let’s cover the basics of promoting your content to readers.
Promoting Your Content
When most people think of “promoting” their content, they think of sharing things on social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter. Although these apps can certainly help you reach a large audience, they don’t make up the entirety of content distribution channels.
In order to succeed in today’s context-inundated world, you need to strategically share your content in a way that maximizes traffic, builds backlinks effectively, and encourages social shares outside of your own company. That means expanding beyond your usual social media platforms and utilizing content distribution tools you might not have tried before.
New to content distribution? Let’s break down the top types of content and the different types of distribution channels in marketing.
Before you can truly understand the content distribution and how it works, you need to understand the various methods of content. Here are the top kinds of content you can create and share.
Types of Content
Although most of us instantly think of blog posts and articles as the predominant types of content, there are other kinds of creative outlets that can bring in new viewers. Let’s talk about the other kinds of content your brand can (and should) explore.
1. Blog Posts/Articles
As one of the most dominant forms of content on the web, blog posts and articles have a great deal to offer your audience. Detailed written content can drive lots of organic traffic to your site, while also informing consumers about your products, brand, and expertise in the field.
2. White Papers, eBooks, and Reports
A Recent study on content shows that Long-form content has proven to be abundantly valuable to businesses across the board. Ultimately, the goal of this type of content is to promote an in-depth level of expertise and industry knowledge. If written properly, white papers and in-depth reports can be incredibly effective at garnering the attention of leads in the (crucial) research stage in any content marketing distribution strategy.
Podcasts weren’t a big deal a decade ago, but now, there are more than 29 million podcast episodes on the airwaves. This form of audio has grown rapidly over the past several years, and it’s a smart idea for businesses to jump on the bandwagon now – if they haven’t already. Fortunately, there are plenty of content marketing distribution software solutions and platforms available to promote your podcast.
Here at E2M, we have our own podcast called “The Marketing Microscope.” We use it to reach communities that are more interested in auditory learning than in reading blogs or watching videos. Additionally, our podcast gives us unique opportunities to interview experts such as Neil Patel and Rand Fishkin in a personal, engaging format.
4. Email Newsletter/Nurturing Campaigns
If your business consistently has new products, updates, or information to share with readers, a regular email newsletter is a “bread and butter” form of digital content delivery. Just make sure that you give your emails meaningful headlines so they don’t end up in the spam or trash folder!
Did you know that 75 million people in the United States watch an online video every day? The ease of use and accessibility of video over the past several years has made it a must-use form of content for businesses of all shapes and sizes.
6. Thought Leadership or POVs
People love hearing from experts. It gives them a source of information they can trust, no matter what subject or industry they’re researching. These interactions can be done in the form of a blog, podcast interview, video, or even a webinar, then shared through a variety of content distribution sites.
These guys are great because they’re easily shareable and easy to consume. Compile the data you want to include, arrange it in an artful yet readable manner, then slap it on your blog and/or social media profiles! Readers love infographics because they’re easy to digest and understand – and are packed with valuable information.
8. How-To Guides
As soon as you type the phrase “how to” into Google’s search box, the engine gives you countless suggestions. Whether people are attempting to learn how to boil eggs for the first time or download a YouTube video, a comprehensive guide can be extremely helpful. Think about what people need to learn in your field and what kind of informative directions you can provide.
9. Social Media Posts
Using your social media platforms as content distribution networks isn’t enough; you should also be creating content that’s specific to your various social media channels. For instance, on Instagram, you can create stories or share live chats with your viewers.
10. Case Studies and Client Profiles
Case studies and client profiles are more difficult to find on most business websites. These take a great deal of time and energy to create – you need to have proven success to write about. These forms of content hold a substantial amount of weight with readers – they’re essentially success stories that show the power of your company and its services.
What Are the Different Types of Content Distribution Channels?
We’ve been using the phrase “content distribution channels” quite a bit in this article.
What we’re really referencing are the many different platforms, websites, and apps that allow us to effectively share content.
Not only are there several different kinds of content you can create, but there are also a plethora of different ways in which you can distribute it. Depending on how much control you have over the content distribution, the form likely falls into one of the following categories of the content distribution system.
These categories will also help you understand the question, “Why is distribution important in marketing?”
1. Owned Content Distribution
As the name indicates, this form of digital content distribution is under your jurisdiction and ownership. If you post an article on your business website, this would be considered “owned” media that is shared on a site you can control.
You have complete say in how the content appears and when it is shared. In a nutshell, it’s a digital content distribution platform that’s yours and yours alone.
Common “owned content” distribution channels include:
- Your blog section
- Your email newsletters
- Your video channels
- Your PDFs and eBooks
- Your apps
- Your social media profiles
2. Earned Content Distribution
When you earn content distribution, it is given to you by others.
This is when other people, such as social media influencers or bloggers, share your content with their own followers. Tweets, mentions, reposts, recommendations, product reviews, and even rankings on search engines all count as earned content distribution.
3. Paid Content Distribution
There are ways to boost your content distribution by spending money with content distribution companies. For example, if you pay to promote a post on Facebook or Instagram, that counts as paid content distribution. It’s still the content you own and post, but you rely on other distribution channels that you pay to share it with others.
Any type of advertising, sponsored content, paid search, or deals with influencers are typically considered to be paid content. You get to decide how much money you spend and where the content goes, but you aren’t sharing the content on your own platforms.
What are distribution strategies in content marketing?
In short, content distribution is all about the ways in which you plan to promote your content to online audiences. You can do this through various channels, and it’s important to plan your actions in advance to achieve the best results.
Effective Ways to Distribute Content
In today’s business world, there are countless types of distribution strategies. How you share your content with viewers depends on what digital distribution channels you use, how you market to your audience, and what you’re willing to spend.
Let’s take a look at some of the most popular content distribution strategies used today and examine some good distribution channel examples.
Because you own your website or blog, it’s one of your cheapest, easiest content distribution platforms to use. You have complete control over when you post the content, what the keyword focus is, who sees it, how it is shared, and what it looks like. You can also share content posted on your site to other platforms.
Creating and posting in-house content is generally a great place to start, especially if you’re low on funds.
Additionally, posting consistent, high-quality content in-house can boost your SEO rankings dramatically. You can use tools like Ubersuggest and Keywords Everywhere to conduct research on the trending keywords of your topic, as well as gain some inspiration for what you can (and should) write about.
For instance, if you run a travel website, you could find trending topics like “Costco travel” or “top ten places to visit in the world” – of which you can then tackle in your website content.
As a top content marketing distribution strategy, email marketing has proven it’s worth time and time again. Whether you send out your emails manually or use one of the many digital content distribution companies, an email is a direct way to share your information and updates with people who already know about your business.
However, don’t just send out your new blog post with nothing extra added. Make sure your emails spark interest with engaging headlines and introductions.
3. Social Media – LinkedIn for B2B
When it comes to social media content distribution, there are dozens of apps and platforms to choose from. Most of us immediately think about Facebook and Instagram, but Twitter, LinkedIn, and Pinterest all get their fair share of traction, especially in certain industries.
LinkedIn is an especially powerful social platform that is sometimes overlooked. This platform can be a great way to brand yourself as a leader and communicate the goals of your company.
By writing content on LinkedIn (and sharing other people’s content), you can establish a firm place of respect for yourself (and your brand) in your field.
You may want to do some research to figure out what channel of content delivery works best for your business. Additionally, you might consider using social media distribution tools that make sharing your content easier than ever, like Hootsuite and HubSpot.
4. Forums and Communities
Although you might not initially think about sharing your content on forums or online communities, these are actually powerful types of distribution channels in 2019. This is especially true if you’re trying to form relationships with communities that can support your company.
Like a Q&A site, forums allow you to interact with users and answer their questions in a direct manner. Plus, sharing your content in a community increases the chances of seeing it shared by other users. The more minds you can reach, the better.
Additionally, you’ll form more meaningful connections that boost your company’s standing immensely.
To choose a forum, do some research on where the industry gurus gather. For instance, if you’re involved in marketing, you likely know that Warrior Forum is a great place to start. Here, all sorts of marketing-related articles are shared between colleagues.
Pro Tip: If you’re creating lots of visual content, like infographics, look into Visual.ly. This platform allows people to share and embed their own visual content for others to see.
5. Social Bookmarking
Ever heard of social bookmarking?
Many people haven’t (at least under that name). Essentially, it’s a way in which people can store and mark web pages they find useful. It’s common on sites like Reddit, and these platforms can potentially drive a massive amount of traffic to your page.
You might not think of sites like these as valid content marketing distribution channels, but they’re actually quite effective in sharing your written and non-written content.
6. Press Release
If your business has a little extra money to spend, you may want to look into hiring a public relations firm that has access to a variety of content distribution services. From newspapers to partner websites, PR agencies have a far reach when it comes to content marketing channels. You can tap into those abilities to get the ball rolling and gain a larger audience.
You don’t necessarily have to go hire a PR firm to take care of your needs. Look into services like PRLog where you can announce your news without paying experts. It’s totally free and provides a wide range of news distribution.
Some good examples of instances in which you could work with a PR firm or post press releases on relevant channels include:
- When you announce new products or services.
- When your brand is hosting a big event/gathering.
- When there’s a big brand change (new website, name, logo, etc.)
- When you give to charity or support a larger cause.
- When you publish an eBook or host a webinar.
- When you launch a new campaign or slogan.
Wondering how to distribute video content?
When most people think about sharing/marketing videos, they immediately jump to YouTube. However, that’s not the only video content distribution method you should look into.
People love viewing videos on other forms of social media, like Instagram and Facebook. There’s even an entire section of Facebook now called “Watch” – that features viral videos and media from the pages you like.
Sharing your videos on social media is a smart way to encourage sharing and customer engagement. Additionally, you may want to look into a video content distribution network to help spread your content further than your own video channel ever could.
8. QA Platforms – Quora
When people usually search for content, they’re searching for an answer. What better way to give it to them than by including your content in a Q&A platform?
Find a content distribution platform like Quora, that allows you to answer questions and interact with users while providing valuable information.
Not only will you answer relevant questions, but you’ll establish yourself as an expert in front of people who actually care about your products and knowledge. It’s not just about providing an answer – it’s about expanding on your own abilities and giving your target audience reasons to trust your brand.
Bonus: answering questions in a straightforward manner increases your chance of snagging the featured snippet on Google and can, therefore, improve your rankings online.
9. Native Ads
One of the biggest things people hate about traditional advertisements is how disruptive they are. That’s the benefit of native ads – they fit seamlessly into the content the person is already viewing.
Think subtle product placements, like when an Instagram superstar is using a specific product without overtly advertising it or a certain brand of car is driven in a movie’s big chase scene.
Another great example is when you see “Sponsored” or “Presented By” at the top of a blog post or next to a video. This usually means the brand has paid for that post (and therefore advertising), but it’s not an “overt” advertisement.
This is one of the most powerful forms of content marketing distribution, and the best part is, it doesn’t disrupt the user’s experience (ideally).
As technology grows and changes, our concept of content distribution services will, too. Who knows how we’ll be sharing our videos, blogs, infographics, and case studies years from now?
We’re always keeping an eye on what methods digital content distribution companies are using, and so should you!
In 2019 (and beyond), focus on creating a variety of content that sparks interest in your readers and increases engagement. You want people to rely on you as a source of authoritative, trustworthy information. Then, take that content and market it to your target audience through several methods.
Don’t be afraid to expand and use a platform you’ve never tried before. Content marketing isn’t a one-size-fits-all technique, so experiment to find the strategy that works best for your business.