Crafting a Content Marketing Plan? Don’t Forget Your Distribution Strategy.

So you’ve created amazing, brand-building content. Alright! Congrats. Time to call it a day, right?

I’m sure many of us have fallen into this trap: We spend so much time creating crisp, beautiful content but little to no time thinking about how to get it into the hands of the right people. This is when content efforts fail, and it helps explain why 65% of B2B content goes unused, and why only 36% of companies indicate their content marketing strategy is “very effective” or “extremely effective.”

How you distribute content is just as important as the content itself.

It’s easier and cheaper than ever to blast your content into the world via social media, but this also means that every channel is highly competitive. In order to rise above the rest, consider these three content distribution strategies.

1) Choose channels that fit your brand and your goals.

Assuming you already know the right message to deliver, picking the right channel is one of the important choices you can make.

Brands no longer have to pitch every great idea to the New York Times in order to reach the masses. At our disposal, we have blogs, newsletters, social media posts, YouTube videos, Podcasts, Webinars—the list goes on.

To pick the best channels, you have to answer these questions:

  • Which social media channels is your target audience using and what is your ability to reach that audience in that given channel?
  • What are your goals (building awareness, engaging your customers, website conversions) and which channels will support those goals?
  • Will people in that distribution channel care about your message?
  • Does it make sense for your brand to be on that channel?

Say you’re a hardware store and you know that your audience of new homeowners is using Instagram. But do these young DIYers really care enough about your business to follow your account? Maybe instead of a “Mike’s Hardware” account, you create a “Fixer Upper” page, and add a line in the description that says “Brought to you by Mike’s Hardware.” Buzzfeed, the king of listicles, has proven this approach - of the brand name taking a passenger seat - with both Tasty and Nifty.

2) Involve customers, partners, and influencers.

Content marketing magic happens when someone shares the content you’ve created, then that person’s friends share it, and it snowballs into an avalanche of clicks, likes, impressions, and – ultimately – sales.

But that avalanche doesn’t have to happen by chance. If you engage your direct contacts – think business partners, your most loyal customers, local influencers – in the content creation process, sharing becomes more of a strategic plan and less of a publish-and-hope-for-the-best game.

Some ideas and examples:

  1. Quote a business partner or a local influencer in your next blog post, and be sure they get the link once it’s published so they can share with their networks.
  2. Create videos or photos that showcase your customers, and encourage them to tag and share on social media.
  3. Co-host an event with a local charity. Create a Facebook event together, and coordinate your promotion efforts.
  4. Pitch your most recent white paper or infographic to a non-competitive business whose email subscribers could benefit from the content

If sharing isn’t simple to do, no one is going to take the time to do it.

It’s crucial to make sharing as easy as possible.

Give them simple share buttons, call out important text they can copy and paste, or create a Click to Tweet link. These thoughtful tactics save precious web surfing time for your audience, so they’ll be quicker – and more likely – to fulfill your sharing request.

3) Extend the life of your content.

Those new to social media marketing often falsely assume that once you post something, you can’t ever share it again lest your audience gets annoyed with you spamming them and then unfollows you. However, there are a number of reasons to squash this line of thinking.

You’re only going to reach a small segment of your audience whenever you post so, if you only share each piece of content once, you spent a lot of time creating it for very little return. For example, re-shared Tweets get 86% as much performance as the initial Tweet. Plus, people usually need to see a message more than once before they actually act on it (you have to reach an effective frequency).

Here are a couple of tips:

  1. Create a basic posting calendar for yourself so you remember to re-share your content in the weeks and months after you first publish it. If you use Buffer for scheduling your content, they have a great way to see popular posts and drag/drop them to go out again. Stats show that this approach will help you increase clicks—just be sure to change up your post description and the type of posts. When you share a new blog post on Facebook, for example, you can share link posts, photo posts, carousel posts, and videos with a link to your content.
  2. Extend the life of your evergreen content by remixing it into new versions of itself. Your blog posts can become infographics or Slideshare presentations. Your coolest event photos can become a video slideshow. Your last article could be the basis for a podcast or even a keynote at an industry event. So next time you’re back to the drawing board looking for something to write about, think about the content you’ve already created. There's no need to reinvent the wheel every time. If you regularly revisit and repurpose your best content, you’ll save yourself valuable time and energy.

Have more ideas for getting the good stuff out there? Please comment below!