Did you know that some of the world’s biggest companies spend millions of dollars on Content Marketing every year? It’s true. Budgets for Content Marketing alone can run north of $60,000 a month — and that’s on top of the traditional multi-million-dollar Marketing budgets.
But don’t be discouraged by these enormous numbers. Whether you’re a small business or a one-man shop, you can compete with the big boys by developing a content marketing distribution strategy.
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How do you set an effective content distribution goal?
We get it. You want to dive right in, create content, get it out there, get customers flocking to your site, and start generating impressive revenue. We wish it was that easy. But the truth is you need to establish goals before you can achieve them.
Imagine signing up to compete in your first triathlon. You know how to swim. You have a Peloton at home, so you’re a decent cyclist. And you like to run on weekends. So, the triathlon should be a piece of cake, right?
Of course not. You need a plan, a goal, and an implementation strategy to put it all together and pull it off. Otherwise, you’ll finish last — or worse, you’ll give up 10 minutes into the competition. Content Marketing is no different.
But don’t worry, you’re not alone. Here’s a plan to help you get started — and get results.
7 Steps to develop an effective content distribution strategy
1. Audit your current content
It’s tempting to want to dive right in and create a content distribution plan. Slow down. It’s a sprint, not a marathon. If you want to succeed, you need to understand where you’ve been and what your current situation looks like.
That’s where a content audit or content analysis comes in. Take a look at every bit of content you’ve created so far and analyze the results.
Social media posts. Blog posts. Advertorials. Landing pages. You name it. Then dig deep and consider if the results are helping or hindering your business.
For example, let’s say you’ve written a blog post. Your analysis reveals that it attracts a lot of eyeballs. But further analysis shows that while people are reading the post, they’re not clicking on any CTA. That’s key information.
Look at how much time they’re spending on that page too. If they’re only spending 6 seconds before closing their browser window, something could be off. Make note of the successes and failures of each piece. When you’re done, you should have a better understanding of the following:
• What your strengths are
• What your weaknesses are
• If you’re spending your time and efforts on the right things
As part of your audit, consider putting together an effort/results chart. It can help you understand where you should be spending your time to produce effective content. For example, if you’ve spent 15 hours on a blog post that had a 5% success rate and a similar email had a 4% success rate but only took up an hour of your time, you might find that it’s wiser to spend more time on email campaigns.
2. Establish goals
How do you set an effective content distribution goal? It all starts with a few key questions. What do you want to achieve? What do you want to see at the end of the finish line? These are just a handful of questions you need to ask yourself before you develop your content distribution tactics.
Your answer could be anything. Increase sales. Generate leads. Promote awareness of your business. Encourage your customers to remain loyal. Increase visibility of a rebrand or a new product offering. The possibilities are endless, and these goals are great starters.
If you need help establishing goals, or you’re wondering if a goal makes sense as part of your content marketing distribution strategy, ask yourself the following:
• Is it clear and specific?
• Can the results be measured?
• Is it realistically achievable?
• Is it relevant to my business?
• Is there an established timeframe?
If you answered “No” to any of the above, reconsider your goal. For example, a goal that says, “I want more people to see my Instagram posts” should be reframed as “I want to increase my Instagram likes by 30% in the next 60 days”.
3. Identify and understand your target
Imagine you’re selling a product that helps people discover the benefits of Intermittent Fasting. If you’re new to Content Marketing, you might define your target as follows:
People who want to lose weight
On the surface, this seems like a decent target audience. But it’s a little too broad. And casting such a wide net might not get the right eyeballs on your content. Here’s an example of a better target audience.
Working moms between the ages of 38 and 45 who don’t have time for the gym but really want to lose weight effortlessly.
More detailed, right? But how does one arrive here? By creating a persona for your target. Think of it as a CV, but personal. Give your typical target a name. Identify their age, income, education, social media comfort level, personality, hobbies, goals, pain points, and even job position.
Creating a well-rounded persona can help you create an efficient marketing content distribution plan with content that reaches the right people at the right them and in the right place.
4. Understand distribution channels
Where do you want to publish your content? It turns out, you’ve got lots of options. This includes paid advertisements, media channels that you own (like your own website or social media pages), and paid media channels (like ads on websites or sponsored social media posts).
For the benefits of each, see Understanding Content Distribution Channels below.
5. Finetune your message
The biggest mistake marketers make is talking to themselves. You have a certain way of talking about your product internally, but that’s not necessarily how your target audience talks about your product.
That’s why it’s important to establish the right message and use the right language. If your message isn’t resonating with your audience, they won’t remain your audience for very long.
Here are some effective content creation tips that you can use when crafting your content. If it checks all the boxes, you’re good to go:
- Am I using simple, positive language?
- Does my content incorporate social issues that are relevant right now?
- Is my content action-driven?
- Does my content appear credible? And if possible, does it link to other credible sources?
- Does this piece of content have the same tone and voice as my other pieces of content?
6. Create a publishing calendar
OK, so now that you understand some of the major content distribution tactics, you’re ready to put pen to paper, right? Not so fast.
Before you start writing, it’s a good idea to put together a publishing calendar (oftentimes called an editorial calendar). Doing so will help you understand what content is being produced at what time, where it’s being published, what format, and so on.
If you’re just getting started, you can put together a simple plan in Google Sheets or Microsoft Excel. If you’re more visual, you can use Microsoft Outlook or your favorite calendar app to put together your marketing content distribution calendar.
7. Measure and optimize
Now that you’ve implemented your content marketing distribution strategy and unleashed your content into the wild, it’s time to celebrate all that hard work — especially if that hard work actually paid off.
But how can you know for sure? That’s where measuring and optimizing your content comes in.
Remember those goals you set out in Step 2? Measure the results and find out if you’ve achieved them.
And if you haven’t, that’s OK too. Remember, the final step of your content distribution plan isn’t just about measuring. It’s about optimizing your content for future success. This step is all about learning and improving, so don’t be discouraged by results that aren’t what you expected.
Understanding Content Distribution Channels
• PPC Ads. You know the ads that come up when you search for something on Google? Those are PPC ads (or pay-per-click ads). They only cost you money when you someone interacts with the ad, either through impressions or clicks.
• Sponsored Content. If you see something being promoted by an influence or publisher other than the company behind the product, you’re looking at sponsored content. This type of content works well when the person promoting your product aligns with your target. The persona you created in Step #3 comes in handy here.
• Influencer Marketing. Social proof is huge. When someone you know and trust uses your product, it validates your purchase or intention to buy. That’s why so many companies build relationships with influencers. They’re modern-day celebrities, but often more trustworthy because they’re real and seem approachable.
• Paid Social. A lot like PPC Ads, these ads often appear as sponsored posts on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram. All 3 platforms make it easy to target a specific audience.
How do you develop an effective content distribution strategy if you don’t have a lot of money to spend? By making use of your own channels. Owned Media refers to the things you own and control, like your website, blog, email newsletters, and social media profiles.
You don’t need to spend a lot of money if other people are sharing your content. That’s where Earned Media comes in. This refers to people like journalists and bloggers who might share your content for free. This can also include customers who may choose to share your content with others in a variety of channels, including on social media.
Best content distribution tools
If you want to reach journalists and get your story out there, consider using PR Newswire. You can target the right journalist by industry, geography, topic, and more. And you can reach journalists on a hyper-local, regional, or even national level.
If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution for your marketing content distribution plan, consider HubSpot. It includes tools for creating content, amplifying your content on social media, sending emails, analyzing your campaign’s performance, and so much more.
If you’re big on social, you can use HubSpot to post content and even schedule it in advance. You also get simple monitoring of your social networks in a snap.
If you’ve ever browsed LinkedIn, you’ve probably seen people sharing articles they wrote on Medium. Your first thought was probably, “I didn’t know they’re a journalist!”. But the thing is, they’re probably not. With Medium, any person or business can publish content. Think of Medium as a giant blog where anyone can post content on virtually any subject.
If you want to increase the number of folks who see your content, including Medium in your content distribution tactics makes sense.
If you’re a social media power user, or you dream of becoming one, Hootsuite should be in your arsenal. It’s great for building engagement with your audience. Plus, it helps you understand what’s happening with smart analytics.
If you want to get your content in front of more eyes than you thought possible, Outbrain is worth a look. They work with several different publications, including some big names like New York Times and Mashable.
The pay-per-click service puts your content at the bottom of other articles on topics that are related to what you’re promoting. Pretty neat.
While not a distribution tool per se, Asana can help ensure your content distribution plan stays organized. You can use Asana to create your editorial calendar. Asana includes templates, but you can also customize it to your liking. There’s also little to no learning curve, so it’s incredibly easy to use.
BizzOffers can help put your plan into action
Now that you know how to develop an effective content distribution strategy, you’re ready to put it into action. If you’re looking for a partner to help you improve your strategy, BizzOffers can help. Reach out and we’ll put you in touch with an Account Manager who specializes in content distribution tactics.