Tuesday, 12 November 2019

10 content distribution strategies explained and ranked

Updated September 30, 2019
“This infographic looks great! But what should we do with it?
How many times have you uttered these words? How many times have your clients uttered these words?
Probably too many.
The sad fact is that if you have ever had that conversation, it came waaay too late.
Most content does not perform, and you can blame poor distribution.
To prove that point, Brian Dean recently found that 94% of all content generates zero backlinks. And just 1.3% of articles gobble up 75% of all social shares.
And that is a crazy thing to have to report in today’s day and age, considering the increasing amount of resources that need to go into creating each piece of quality content.
how long does it take to write a blog post
We are talking thousands of dollars flushed down the toilet with every poorly distributed blog post.
You wouldn’t paint a masterpiece and lock it away in a storage shed, would you?

Excuse me while I shoot myself in the foot, please.

A “content distribution strategy” is often discussed after the content comes out of the oven, rather than being the critical ingredient it ought to be.
This is a huge mistake.
But why does this happen?
This is mostly due to the fact that marketers assume topic ideation and content distribution are unrelated activities.
Marketers put a disproportionate amount of resources into ideation while assuming a uniform distribution strategy will be equally effective for every topic and type of content.
A content distribution strategy is as unique as the topic itself, and oftentimes should be used to determine if a topic should even be written.
But that begs the question: Which content distribution strategy should you use? Which platforms are the “best”? Which type of media perform best on each type of platform? How does each distribution plan fit into the overall marketing strategy you have set into action?
I have outlined 10 content distribution techniques, which are rated on a relative scale of 1-10 based on their long-term impact, short-term impact and how difficult it will be to implement each. I’ve also outlined every major content distribution network, and explained how they fit into your overall content strategy.
But first, here are a few quick definitions:
  • Long-term exposure impact: Expected long-term (over 7 days) increase in article exposure.
  • Short-term exposure impact: Expected short-term (fewer than 7 days) sustained article exposure.
  • Ease: Relative ease of implementing solution.
With that, let’s crack into the list.

10 effective content distribution strategies:

  1. Making distribution part of the ideation process.
  2. Proper indexing.
  3. Email.
  4. Influencer contributions.
  5. Paid distribution.
  6. Podcasting.
  7. Browser notifications.
  8. Email signatures.
  9. Guest blogging.
  10. Webinars.

1. Making distribution part of the ideation process

content distribution strategy
Consider this the foundation for every piece of content created.
It seems like a no-brainer, but it is constantly overlooked. And frankly, it’s probably because it’s damned hard work. It requires fastidious planning, creativity and timing. Hence the low short-term return and ease of implementation scores.

Why it’s important

Your topics need to be accompanied by an intelligent distribution strategy that will reach the right audience, in the right way, at the right time. You need to have a conversation that looks like this:
Me: “ ‘How to get 1,000 Instagram followers,’ what a great topic to write a blog about!”Her: “The numbers look good, but it seems like these people are all looking for videos rather than articles for that topic. And they are all aspiring influencers rather than content marketers”Me: “Oh, good point. We dodged a bullet there.”
But we didn’t, we wrote the article, and it drives tons of the wrong types of visitors. Ouch.
Assume every topic you write about has a unique audience who have a preferred set of channels through which they consume content.

Actionable strategy

Once you choose a topic for which you want to create content, do a quick Google Search to see which types of mediums show up in the top results and explore the related topics the community is discussing. You may notice the community prefers video over blogs, or infographics over video.
Let’s get really niche. What if we wanted to target the phrase “whittling wood”? Which types of content and channels are most relevant to that audience?
Whittling wood SERP
In this simple exercise, we now know that the audience (your searchers) have a high interest in how-to learning material, books for purchase, how-to videos and lots of imagery of techniques and finished products.
If I were to create and distribute content on this topic, I would incorporate each of these aspects within the post and for distribution among the strongest channels for each type of content.
The content could look like this:
Whittling wood 101
I would write a blog that includes as many of the mediums that show up in SERPs as possible. This opens the door for distribution across each of those mediums:
  • Images uploaded to Pinterest.
  • Short videos uploaded to YouTube and embedded within the article.
  • Links to a few top-rated products.
  • Proper indexing for long-term organic presence.
This exercise will help you get an understanding of the audience’s preferred mediums, channels and things they talk about. Always consider these three questions when choosing a topic:
  1. Which medium does the audience prefer for this type of content? (Video, infographic, blog, audio, etc.).
  2. Which channels should we distribute this type of content on? (YouTube, Pinterest, email, podcast, etc.).
  3. Which day of the week is the best time to distribute content on that channel?
Tool to use: Google Search (free).

2. Proper indexing

Yeah, organic search is a distribution strategy, and it’s potentially your most sustained and impactful one, at that.
Proper indexing of a strong content marketing plan results in brand awareness, period. Brand awareness results in opportunities to nurture top-of-funnel prospects into customers.
It’s on this list because indexing issues plague even the most astute of content marketers. And indexing issues are like Easter eggs; they can pop up just about anywhere, and for completely unforeseen reasons.

Why it’s important

If the pages on your site don’t index properly, your brand will be invisible online. You will not show up in searches for the products and services you offer, meaning your potential customers will find your competitors, instead of you.
This is bad.
You need to ensure two things are working properly:
  1. Your new content is indexing properly.
  2. Your old content is indexed and regularly crawled.

Actionable strategy

Fortunately, you can use Google Search and Google Search Console to help with this housekeeping.
Old content: Start with large blocks of content by searching how many pages are indexed in a subfolder.
1. Use the search operator: []
If I wanted to see how many pages are indexed on Brafton’s blog, I would search []
2. View the result number: I can see that there are 1,630 pages indexed on our blog. This seems about right. You will want to cross-reference against the number in your CMS.
3. Check last indexed: Open the indexed version of a few blogs to see how long ago they were last crawled. Long gaps in indexing mark a crawling problem, which can be caused by a number of issues. Click on the green arrow, then click “cached.”
What is predictive marketing?
4. Check the date: If the last crawl was more than 30 days ago, you may have indexing issues.
Google's cache
New or Old Content: Google Search Console will help you check the status, troubleshoot and force-index individual URLs on your domain.
1. Google Search Console: Use Google Search Console to inspect your indexing status.
2. Inspect Page: Use the “Inspect Page” tool (previously Fetch as Google) to ensure your page has been indexed.
Google Search Console
3. Double-check in Google: Just to be sure, Google the exact title of the page and see if the page is indeed indexed.
keyword optimization techniques for 2019
4. Request Indexing: If your page is not indexed, click “Request Indexing” in GSC. Perform a Google Search a few minutes later and see if the latest version of your page is indexed. If that doesn’t work, you may have crawl issues and will need to troubleshoot.
Tools to use: Google Search Console, Google Search.

3. Email

content distribution strategy
Email marketing is just now starting to get a fraction of the love it deserves in the content marketing community.
What other channel  gives you the ability to control exactly when content is sent, its messaging and its custom marketing triggers?
It’s no surprise that email marketing generates the bulk of our inbound leads:
Pie chart
It’s likely that email marketing isn’t fully appreciated for a couple reasons. First, it’s very complicated to do properly, both from a technical and content creation standpoint. Second, marketers don’t know how to build lists of subscribers.

Actionable strategy

Build a newsletter list: The best time to start collecting email addresses is yesterday. If you haven’t built out a list of email subscribers, you need to start now.
1. Create a newsletter: It doesn’t even need to be formatted. Just make sure you have content ready to send at the same time every week. Here is what our newsletter looks like:

2. Collect email addresses: I know you hate popups, but popup newsletter subscriptions will increase your subscription rate by 300-500%. For us, it was 532%. I recommend ensuring that they only pop up when visitors land on the blog, and only show up a minimum of 10seconds after the visitor lands on the page.
Tools for popups: SumoSubscribersHubspot.
3. Send at the same time every week: B2B prospects will likely be most engaged between Tuesday and Thursday. Try to send at the very beginning of the workday, while they are enjoying coffee, or at the very end. You don’t want to send a newsletter in the middle of the day when people are busy. For us, our peak traffic is on Wednesdays:
One of two
second img
Nurture Prospects: Mountains of content have been written on email nurture strategies. For the sake of brevity, I will limit my recommendations to a few simple strategies that you can research further.
1. Mid-funnel distribution: Send your subscribers your latest mid-funnel assets, including eBooks, guides, white papers, infographics and video. This will ensure that you are feeding your audience the latest high-quality content they are hungry for, and will keep you top of mind when they are ready to make a purchase.
Kim ultimate list of marketing spend stats
2. Market yourself: Keep your audience up to date on your latest product offerings. Take caution to never take advantage of your email list. They agreed to receive emails from you; never compromise their trust by spamming products more often than sending useful content. Make it useful, and keep it to a minimum.
3. Segment your lists: The more you segment your lists, the more you can personalize your messaging. Segment your lists by important dimensions, such as: industry, activity level and/or company size.
You may be wondering why I marked such high scores for “short-term return” when it clearly takes time and patience to build out a substantial email list. This is true, so I must qualify myself. If you have an email list already built out, you can generate inbound leads in as much time as it takes to write copy for your email.
To kim from karin
And as your list grows, your potential for generating leads grows with it.
Tools to use: Email Service Provider (MarketoHubspotMailChimpPardotVertical Response).

4. Influencer Contributions

content distribution strategy
No, I’m not talking Instagram influencers … no Fyre Festival strategies here.
What’s the most likely way you can get someone influential in your space to notice and share your content?
Include them in it.
Influential people are more likely to share content with their audience when they contributed to it in some way. And once you become someone they like to work with, the likelihood they will work with you in the future, or even share content they did not contribute to, is much higher.

Why it’s important

“Brand recognition” feels like an annoying vanity metric, doesn’t it? When represented as ROI, metrics like impressions, clicks and engagement are pure vanity. So don’t do that.
But … jumping forward waaaay downstream of a long-term friend-making, influence-building strategy, you will reap the benefits of brand affinity. Your brand name will come up in important industry circles. That means your content will get shared. It will get links. Your Domain Authority will rise. Your site will outrank your competitors for commercial keywords.
It sounds like a stretch, but it’s really not. Being popular turns into a virtuous circle of exposure and recognition. Just ask Kim Kardashian.

Actionable strategy

1. Use BuzzSumo: Use BuzzSumo to identify the highest shared authors for your topic. Looking through the top-shared results for “Keyword optimization,” we see a high-profile influencer named Ann Smarty who published a highly shared article just last year.
2. Get contact details: Most articles will have bylines or author links that provide contact details (email, Twitter handle, LinkedIn, etc.).
Ann Smarty
3. Break the ice: Send a note, complimenting them on the article, and ask them to contribute to your next article in some way. Below are a few templates you can steal.
  1. Get a quote or a few bullets (easiest): “Hi [name], we were a big fan of your article [title] and are writing something similar to our own. Would you be willing to provide a quote or a couple bullet points on key takeaways for this topic?”
  2. Ask for feedback (medium likelihood): “…Would you be willing to provide feedback on the finished piece before it goes live?”
  3. Get an interview for the writer (low likelihood): “…Would you be willing to spend 10 minutes on the phone discussing some of the major points you would want expressed in this piece?”
You would be surprised how quickly you can make friends and get your content in front of more eyeballs.

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