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How Distribution Reigns Over the Kingdom of Content

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January 19,2017

By Katie Hall, SPROUT Content

 

By now, you’ve most certainly been the target of someone’s marketing efforts. It’s impossible to avoid; as we become increasingly interconnected, we get bombarded with content, the widely proclaimed “king” of marketing strategies. However, in a world saturated with information from every outlet, content alone no longer reigns supreme. Content without distribution doesn’t wield much power at all.

Since the advent of content marketing, businesses have obsessed over delivering high quality content—advice, think pieces, ebooks, white papers and more. Many believe building content and launching it into the Internet galaxy is a job well done, but that’s like mailing a letter without a stamp. Good marketers know that content creation is only step one; an effective distribution strategy helps you reach your audience and goals.

Preparing for Liftoff

If you don’t have a distribution strategy, you run the risk of your piece getting lost in the content clutter. Walk through these prep steps before publishing your piece to ensure it has maximum impact on your potential readers.
 

  • Identify an audience. Decide who you’re trying to reach with your content. Is it geared towards potential customers or seasoned industry professionals? What demographic groups can benefit from this piece? Considering these factors will prepare you to curate the messaging around the post and select an appropriate distribution channel to reach your target audience.
  • Set goals. All content must have a purpose. Some posts are intended to educate people or give advice; others aim to raise awareness about a product or service, or motivate people to take action. Give your content a mission and then break it down into metrics: how many leads do you want to produce? Social shares? Downloads of your e-book or webinar? Make sure your goals are SMART: specific, measureable, attainable, relevant and timely.
  • Utilize hashtags. In a busy, loud social landscape, change is rapid and content can get buried under opinions, news and spam. Hashtags are essential to organize content and guarantee your posts are found by those interested in that topic. Depending on your campaign goals, you can personalize these tags to cast a wide net or attract a specific niche.


Distributing Your Piece

The methods you use to push your content out to your selected audience determine how broad your influence will be.
 

  • Social media. Increasingly, social media is considered a legitimate resource for gathering high quality information - that is, if you’re looking in the right place. To promote your piece, make sure you’re queueing up posts on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter to benefit from social media’s unique characteristics. 
    • It’s easily monitored. By measuring the number of shares, likes and reposts of your content - or using a third-party tool to monitor engagement with a specific link - you can get a good idea of how many people interacted with a post. Plus, social media makes it easy to reshare. Having others in your industry repost your content to their accounts can increase your potential audience exponentially.
    • It’s recyclable. Chances are, there’s more than one valuable takeaway in your post; by changing the messaging to reflect a new point, you give your content an updated, refreshing angle, allowing you to share the same post with a different sentiment.
  • Email marketing. Despite thoughts to the contrary, email marketing is still an effective tool for content circulation.
    • It’s deliberate. Whether your email contacts were collected from website CTAs or voluntary newsletter subscriptions, your subscribers have chosen to interact with your content. Connecting with a group of people who have already shown interest in your company or industry increases the likelihood of engagement.
    • It’s mobile. Social media was raised on mobile devices but email is becoming increasingly optimized for mobile accessibility. In fact, 87 percent of professionals say they primarily read email on their mobile devices.
  • Guest blogging. Create content on a platform with a broader audience to become an influencer in your industry. When you share a post that resonates with an audience on an influential site, you simultaneously increase your audience reach and establish yourself as an industry authority.
  • Press releases. The traditional method for circulating key information to your industry members isn’t dead. A well-written press release that meets the modern standards for social publishing is the tried-and-true method for having journalists and other authorities publish your company’s news. Using a publishing service to disseminate your announcement reaches a broad audience and maintains a consistent message across sources.

 

Analyzing the Results

Determine what methods and channels were most effective for spreading your content by analyzing metrics like: social shares, likes, number of site visits, page views, generated leads, and content downloads. Ask yourself: did we meet the goals we set in the preparation stage?

Over time, you’ll be able to break it down further and see what kind of content - videos, infographics, articles, webinars - is most popular with your audience. Build off your takeaways to modify your strategy. The world of content is constantly evolving; staying up to speed with your audience, industry trends and distribution methods is essential for determining best practice for reaching your goals.

 

Finally, repeat the process. Content marketing is cyclic; as long as your company is churning out new insights, preparing, distributing and analyzing your content is essential to perpetuating your online success.
 


 

Katie Hall is the Social Media and Influencer Marketing Specialist at SPROUT Content.

 

 

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