If you’re looking for a way to get more eyes on your content – and more traffic to your small business website – look no further than an effective content distribution strategy. While content creation is an important first step, it’s nothing without its complementary counterpart: distribution.
If you’re asking yourself what exactly content distribution is, you’ve come to the right place. In this article, we’ll discuss the what, why, and how that will put you on the path to an effective strategy for making content an indispensible part of your marketing plan.
Content Distribution – THE WHAT:
Let’s start with the easy part: what do you want to distribute to your audience? If you’re just starting out, then you have a clean slate and you can decide what types of content and what topics you want to focus on from the get-go.
Based on what you know about your target audience, you can choose to create blog articles, videos, white papers, or ebooks – whatever your think will best combine your audience’s interest with your skillset and available resources.
If you’ve been creating content for a while now and you’re looking to get a better return on all that hard work, you may want to choose those articles that have the best chance of taking off if you put a little wind beneath their wings.
One way to do this is to look at your blog metrics with Google Analytics, which can show you which topics and types of content have received the most traffic in the past.
Specifically, you’ll want to look at your organic traffic, as this will give you the best sense of what your audience is actively looking for on their own.
Here’s how to do this in Google Analytics:
- Click Acquisition in the left hand navigation bar
- Click All Traffic
- Select Channels from the dropdown list
- Click Organic Search in the pane that appears to the right
- Change to Landing Page in the “Primary Dimension” area above the pane
- Sort by sessions (should default here) to note which posts and topics have received the most traffic
Content Distribution – THE WHY:
Once you have a list of the content you want to focus your distribution efforts on, the next step is to set some goals for yourself. These will help you determine the rest of your strategy.
The first question to ask yourself is why you’re doing this in the first place. Are you looking to boost awareness (get new leads), acquisition (drive sales), or retention (keep current customers)?
If your goal is awareness, you might want to cast a wide net and try to get the broadest distribution possible, and maybe shoot for the stars with some high-profile distribution outlets.
If you want to drive sales directly from your content, you’ll want to narrow your focus and maybe seek distribution only on channels that have converted well for you in the past, or in some more niche locations where there are fewer viewers, but they have a better chance of taking your offer.
Retention is a bit of a longer game.
Content’s role in retention is really to create a relationship by always providing helpful insights and advice that your customer base finds genuinely helpful.
This not only helps them take better advantage of your products and services, it also builds loyalty through repeated positive experiences with your brand.
Content Distribution – THE HOW:
Once you’ve determined the content you want to promote, and you’ve chosen the target audience and purpose of your distribution efforts, it’s time to get down to brass tacks and figure out how you’re going to accomplish your goals.
Let’s take a look at each option for getting more eyeballs on your content:
Diligent search optimization:
It might sound remedial, but the first thing you should do (because it requires the least resource investment) is to do an honest accounting of how well you’ve optimized your content for search.
Before you look into off-blog distribution options, let’s make sure your own house is in order. Here are some SEO best practices to increase content performance on your own blog:
- Use effective title tags and meta descriptions for each content page. You should be able to do this within your blog content management system.
- Link between your own content pages with meaningful anchor text (instead of ‘click here’ try ‘get seo tips’).
- Do your keyword research and make sure you’re peppering in words and phrases that people are actually looking for throughout your content
- Use alt tags and image descriptions on all of the images in your blog posts – Google looks at this too!
- Make sure your blog or content site is easy to navigate so that the bounce rate stays low. Improve your UX to keep people from moving on too soon.
If you seek to broaden your audience, consider starting with paid social media ads. While you’ve probably been pushing your content our to your social followers all along, you’d be surprised how much you can increase your exposure by putting a few dollars behind your posts.
As you no doubt know by now, broad organic exposure on Facebook is nearly impossible these days.
Twitter and Instagram are better, but they’re also getting increasingly crowded with competition from other brands.
If you can find a popular blog or website whose audience matches yours that also offers a content syndication option, this is a no-brainer.
Content syndicators allow you to plug in your blog’s RSS feed, from which they will pull your content and approve the pieces they thing are a good fit.
Sometimes this happens on a larger scale, through a vendor, which requires more evalution than the 1-to-1 option above. Here’s a graphic from SharedVue that explains how it works:
If you choose to work with a content syndicator, make sure to carefully vet the partner website they will push content to in order to make sure that they are a good fit for your audience, and that the expected conversion rates are a good fit for your budget.
The final option we’ll discuss today is one of the best. Think about the difference between content syndication services and blogger relationshps as being analagous to the difference between paid media and earned media.
Any PR professional can tell you that earning media is 10 times (at least) more valuable than paying for it. Getting a single positive article written about your business in a magazine is far more valuable than the full page page ad you could buy on the next page.
Why? Because people trust reviews. According to Nielsen, 92% of people worldwide people trust earned media (personal recommendations) more than all other forms of advertising.
But how can you get your blog shared through personal recommendations?
By getting trusted influencers to share your content!
Start by applying the Golden Rule. Once you find bloggers and influencers on social media whose audience overlaps with your own, follow them and share their content consistently.
Don’t become a stalker – just share and compliment their content on social media and in blog comments on a regular (but not creepy) basis.
Once you have a little rapport going, send a short, friendly email that gets right to ‘the ask’ and suggests that you’d love to create some content for their blog, or have them link to your work in a future article as it fits into their planned content.
These relationships take time to cultivate, but they are incredibly rewarding once you do.
A template example of a great pitch email from DoctorSpin.me:
Are you ready to take your content marketing strategy to the next level?
Follow these content distribution tips to make the most of the content you create and drive more awareness, more sales, and more loyalty for your business.