The Ultimate Guide to Content Distribution

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The Ultimate Guide to Content Distribution



No matter how good your content is, it won’t make a difference if it doesn’t reach your audience. To achieve your marketing goals, you need an effective distribution strategy to guarantee that ...

No matter how good your content is, it won’t make a difference if it doesn’t reach your audience. To achieve your marketing goals, you need an effective distribution strategy to guarantee that every piece of content you create gets the attention it deserves. In this e-book, you’ll learn everything you need to know about content promotion, including:

· How to craft a killer content strategy
· What types of content help achieve brand goals
· The best distribution channels for your content
· How to optimize each channel for maximum results
· How to get media placement
· How to measure your ROI and other metrics

No matter how good your content is, it won’t make a difference if it doesn’t reach your audience. To achieve your marketing goals, you need an effective distribution strategy to guarantee that every piece of content you create gets the attention it deserves. In this e-book, you’ll learn everything you need to know about content promotion, including:

· How to craft a killer content strategy
· What types of content help achieve brand goals
· The best distribution channels for your content
· How to optimize each channel for maximum results
· How to get media placement
· How to measure your ROI and other metrics

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The Ultimate Guide to Content Distribution Presentation Transcript

  • 2. As technology and media evolve, brands must reach consumers in new ways. Content marketing is the best way to connect with consumers and nurture a relationship, but without a distribution strategy, your content won’t reach your audience. So, where do you start? What platforms should you use? And how can you make sure your efforts are working? In this guide, we’ll give you all the tips, tricks and info you need to make sure your content is successful. INTRO TABLE OF CONTENTS I. CREATING CONTENT a. Content Strategy b. Content Types c. Content Formats d. Content Optimization II. DISTRIBUTING CONTENT a. Owned b. Earned c. Paid II. MEASURING RESULTS a. Metrics b. Refining 1
  • 3. CREATING CONTENT Content distribution starts with the content itself. The goal of good content is to attract and acquire a target audience that eventually converts to customers or brand advocates. To make this happen, you need to think strategically and create a content strategy. 2
  • 4. 3) CREATE A DISTRIBUTION STRATEGY Where does your audience spend time online? Which publications or paid strategies can amplify your reach? With your audience and engagement objective in mind, determine the best channels for content distribution. 4) PRODUCE CREATIVE Once you understand how to engage and reach your audience, develop captivating content that addresses both your audience’s needs and your own goals. 1) IDENTIFY YOUR AUDIENCE Who are you trying to reach? What type of content do they consume? When you understand who your audience is, you can create content they’ll be interested in. 2) IDENTIFY YOUR ENGAGEMENT OBJECTIVE What do you want your audience to do once they’ve interacted with your content? Whether it’s social shares, page views or demo downloads, decide what action you want your audience to take. TIP: Use an editorial calendar to help schedule publication and guide strategic distribution. 3
  • 5. Of course, just because you make something doesn’t mean your audience will be interested in it. Different types of content serve different purposes. Your content strategy will inform which approach to take, based on your audience and goals. Consider the following when brainstorming for your content. CONTENT TYPES EVERGREEN The quantity of content that’s being produced online has far outpaced our capacity to consume it. Well-crafted evergreen content provides value long after it is created. Neil Patel advocates for more long-form, in-depth evergreen pieces (1,500–3,000 words) to give your audience more meaty material. Also consider including experts and data to increase credibility—something both consumers and social influencers are more likely to gravitate toward. NEWSWORTHY Consumers and publishers are always looking for news-related content; if you can tie your content to a trending topic, it’s more likely to get attention. Check Google Trends and the digital publications that you know your audience frequents to stay on top of current events and inspire ideas. 4
  • 6. BRAND-CENTRIC Brand-centric content tends to be more sales-oriented and less personal. While this isn’t necessarily captivating to a general audience, it can be useful to hone in on target consumers who are further down the sales funnel. This can include content such as product demos, tutorials and explainer videos. EDITORIAL An editorial approach lets you create content that is more accessible, shareable and interesting to a general audience. This can include content meant for thought leadership, entertainment or general education. TIP: Writing for publications such as Forbes, Entrepreneur and Inc. is a great way to build thought leadership and gain industry-specific recognition. TIP: Make sure you have a good mix of content that engages your audience in different ways, enabling you to satisfy multiple objectives. 5
  • 7. There are many ways to tell your story; however, some formats are better for delivering certain types of information. The best approach is to create a healthy mix of content. From short popcorn posts (Seth Godin) and essay-style posts (KISSmetrics) to SlideShares and visual content, providing different content experiences will help attract and keep more fans engaged. 2000 12 seconds 8 seconds CONTENT FORMATS The average consumer attention span has significantly decreased. Choosing the right format to deliver your message is vital. (Source: 6 2013
  • 9. No matter what type of content you create, consider ways to break it apart and repurpose into other formats. This is an efficient and economical way to produce a bulk of content with minimal effort. A white paper could become a series of blog posts and an infographic. A single data visualization from that infographic could be an Instagram post. DIVISIBLE CONTENT CORE ASSET DIVISIBLES MICRO- CONTENT INFOGRAPHIC BLOG POST BLOG CONTENT SLIDESHOW INFOGRAPHIC BLOG POST 8
  • 10. Every piece of content you create should include certain elements to help increase its appeal and effectiveness. Whether it’s a blog post, e-book or infographic, make sure you are optimizing all content. CONTENT OPTIMIZATION of people will read a title and share a post before even reading the body text. (Source: Brian Clark, founder of Copyblogger Media) 80% 9
  • 11. ENGAGING CALL TO ACTION At the end of your post, direct your audience to take the next action, whether that’s subscribing, liking or sharing. SHAREABLE HEADLINE An eye-catching headline is the best way to pique the interest of both publishers and your audience. (Use verbs, keep between 60–100 characters and experiment with different headlines.) INTEGRATED SOCIAL SHARING Tools like ClickToTweet make it easy for readers to share interesting information within your content. 10
  • 12. DISTRIBUTING CONTENT The most successful distribution plan integrates a healthy mix of owned, earned and paid strategies, each of which serve a specific purpose. As you prepare to distribute your content, assess your goals and budget to decide which channels will have the most impact. Consider the audience each reaches, as well as the content formats each supports. 11
  • 13. OWNED Blog, website, social accounts, newsletter, etc. Free; guaranteed placement; messaging control EARNED Social influencers, media pickup Credibility with publication audiences; expanded reach; targeted thought leadership PAID Sponsored content, social ads, content discovery/traffic builders Highly targeted; elevated exposure; guaranteed placement MEDIA TYPE BENEFITS 12
  • 14. CONTENT DISTRIBUTION OWNED EARNED PAID Sponsored content, social ads, content discovery/traffic builders Social influencers, media pickup Blog, social, newsletter PUBLISHING ORDER Distribution should always point back to one central publishing platform (most commonly a blog) in order to capture traffic, leads and conversions. Publish content to this central platform first, then direct paid and earned efforts back to the original post to drive traffic and engagement. 13
  • 15. OWNED MEDIA Your content will likely be published on your blog, through your newsletter or somewhere within your company site. Wherever content is published, make sure to include the following: SOCIAL BUTTONS Place the social share buttons at the beginning and end of each post, unless you use an active scroll. Only give the option to share from a few social networks that are most relevant to your audience. (TechCrunch does a good job of this.) CALLS TO ACTION Whether it’s a link to the next article or an e-book download, provide something to entice readers to click through. Owned media channels are in your control because, well, you own them. This means you can own the messaging and user experience, making it a more cost-efficient and flexible channel to serve your needs. To make your content successful on owned channels, make sure each is optimized. BLOG/NEWSLETTER OPTIMIZATION 14
  • 16. LIST OPTIMIZATION Make sure your list is clean. High bounce rates mean low deliverability. There is no point in having a long list if most people delete, bounce or leave most emails unopened. EMAIL SUBSCRIBE BUTTON Encourage your audience to subscribe by making your email/newsletter button highly visible. SUBJECT LINES Keep them punchy but concise, and avoid symbols. Send emails to your subscribers from an actual person ( instead of a generic company email to keep it more personal. AUDIENCE SEGMENTATION Send targeted emails to subscribers based on past actions. If you personalize their experience, they’re more likely to convert and share. TIP: Try to find ways to promote older materials within newer posts. It’s great SEO practice to link internally to all of your materials. 15
  • 17. EMAIL SUBSCRIBERS Notify subscribers once by email, a day after the piece has gone live. This gives some lead time to get the social share numbers up, which increases the chances that others will share. FACEBOOK & GOOGLE PLUS Post to these channels once on the first day of distribution. BLOG According to the Science of Social Timing and our own data, the optimal times to publish posts are Monday and Thursday at 9:30 a.m. EST, with most blogs being read at around 11 a.m EST. If you’re able to produce high-quality content more frequently, experiment with different posting times. TWITTER Tweet your core piece of content 3–4 times the first day. Try creating divisible content pieces from a larger piece, and tweet it out over a week’s time. Whether these are juicy stats from an article or mini graphics from a larger infographic, this micro-content will act as a teaser to keep your larger story front and center. Month, day, hour, minute and device—all these factors come into play when publishing and promoting your work. Track your audience to learn their most active time periods. TIMING YOUR PUBLISHING 16
  • 18. 1) MAKE FRIENDS BEFORE YOU NEED THEM The day or week before you want media coverage is not the time to accost journalists or influencers. That approach will often backfire. Build your network before you need it, and engage in a sincere way to show you care about the quality content they are creating. 2) DO YOUR HOMEWORK Not every story will resonate with every journalist. Before pitching, read a dozen articles written by the journalist to make sure your story is the right fit. This will save you—and your contact—valuable time and energy. Third-party content validation can significantly increase your content’s reach—and give you more credibility. Whether it’s a tweet from a popular influencer or full editorial coverage on a major publication such as Mashable, this type of exposure is incredibly valuable. But creating these mutually beneficial relationships takes some work. EARNED MEDIA 5 RULES FOR MEDIA OUTREACH TIP: Set yourself active reminders to engage with 10–20 influencers weekly, and regularly read journalists’ content. 17
  • 19. 4) OFFER AN EXCLUSIVE Publishers want content their competitors don’t have. Offering an exclusive will give them the freshest angle and data, while increasing the likelihood that they will want to use your content in a story. 5) CONSIDER CUSTOM CONTENT Tailoring a specific piece of content for a specific audience greatly increases your chance of placement. Reach out to publishers in advance to pitch a unique topic or visual content idea. This shows you care about what they want (because you should) and helps nurture your relationship. 3) SELL A STORY, NOT YOUR BRAND Journalists and influencers don’t care about your product or service; they care about educating and engaging their readers. Learn how to communicate why the visual content you are sharing with them is relevant or ties into an existing story. For influencers, try a soft pitch; send a few bullet points and ask if they’d like to hear more. TIP: A 24-hour exclusive can help secure placement with your preferred publisher and give you an opportunity to share with additional publications after. 18
  • 20. PAID MEDIA Paid media ensures placement across a number of platforms, and there are many options to choose from. Consider which paid media is most likely to attract your specific audience and serve your goals and budget. SOCIAL ADS As social sites continue to figure out how to monetize their business, your company posts are getting seen by fewer and fewer people. Boosting a post on Facebook can greatly increase your chances of visibility, and almost all social sites now have paid amplification options (think sponsored tweets, promoted pins, etc.). TIP: If you already have a solid social following (1,000+ followers), try promoted content (sponsored tweets, Facebook post boosts, etc.). If you still need to grow your following, start by sponsoring your page to get more visibility. 19
  • 21. CONTENT DISCOVERY AND TRAFFIC BUILDERS In the past five years, companies such as Outbrain, Taboola, and StumbleUpon have gained popularity due to their ability to help you recommend your own content on top sites. They’re similar to suggested posts but apply specifically to your content on more established sites or networks. NATIVE ADS AND SPONSORED POSTS Native ads can connect with a built-in audience by providing quality content that would naturally fit on a particular site, making it feel like a “native” or natural experience. Most large publications have some level of sponsored post or native ad offerings. (Vox Media and Forbes do these well.) TIP: There are also some great platforms, such as Nativo and Sharethrough, that can help automate and scale these efforts, as well as report on results. Experiment both with platforms and single-publisher media buys to determine what works best for your audience. 20
  • 22. MEASURING RESULTS Content marketing has grown exponentially over the past few years, but it still has a reputation for being “intangible.” Fortunately, you can track and measure your efforts through core metrics, each of which track success at a different stage of the sales funnel. 21
  • 23. AWARENESS METRICS TO MEASURE CONSIDERATION CONVERSION PURCHASE Number of unique visitors Number of page views Percentage of new visitors Acquisition sources (where your traffic is coming from, which referring sources are performing the best, etc.) Bounce rate Time on site Number of pages/session Number of social shares Conversion rate based on goals (newsletter/blog sign-up, request a demo, contact sales, e-book download) Acquiring new visitors is important, but your most valuable customer will come back time and time again. This category of metrics is most important to your content marketing strategy. Email open rate Email clickthrough rate Number of repeat visitors (3+ visits in 30 days) Conversion to sale/revenue Number of repeat purchases Measuring traffic is a great way to gauge how much interest your content has generated. Content that gets visitors to your site is great, but it’s important to encourage and measure how well that content engages them. 22
  • 24. REFINE YOUR APPROACH Each brand has unique content marketing needs. Throughout your process, continue to tweak, test and refine your strategy to determine what’s right for your brand. CHOOSE METRICS WISELY It’s easy to get overwhelmed when tracking metrics. Choose a maximum of three metrics per category to measure, report on and judge success by. Every step of the funnel is important, but if you try to measure and improve too many metrics, you’ll invariably get overwhelmed. 23
  • 25. 949.614.0759 @columnfive Column Five is an industry-leading visual content agency, specializing in infographic design and data visualization. Learn more about creating and distributing visual content at Onboardly is a Demand Marketing agency. We help small and medium-sized companies fast-track visibility, brand awareness and lead generation. We work at the intersection where public relations, content marketing and social media meet, to deliver marketing that gets results. @onboardly