5 Min Read
Content distribution or syndication – call it what you will - is a vital part of any content marketing campaign. Actually, scratch that, it's the most vital part of any content marketing campaign.
After spending hours and hours researching and creating your content, it's time to get it out into the world and make sure people watch/read/listen to it.
But so often this is the bit that trips people up. Or the bit that's forgotten about.
It's the part many don't realise they need to spend plenty of time on. And it's the part that can make your content a success, or simply a frustrating, fruitless endeavour.
As one of our favourite content marketers, Andy Crestodina (featured later in this article), states;
“It’s not the best content that wins. It’s the best-promoted content that wins.”
So true, Andy. So true. And Neil Patel thinks so too - “Write less…promote more.”
But what's the ratio? How long should you spend promoting rather than creating? Well, that's hard to say as it'll depend on what you've created, how evergreen the content is, and what sector you operate in, but we find ourselves spending considerably more time promoting than we do creating. So start thinking like that and you'll be on the right lines.
It's definitely more of a job than simply a tweet here, and a LinkedIn update there. There's a lot to think about, and plenty to plan.
To help you out, and ensure your content distribution strategy is on point, we brought together a number of content marketing experts to give their best content distribution tips.
The fight to promote content is really fought in the inbox and the social stream. And there it always down to one, key element: the headline.
When your potential visitor sees your headline (or any headline), they do a split second ROI calculation. Is the benefit of clicking this greater than two seconds of my time? So what you write in those 10 words is your one chance to indicate a strong benefit.
The key is to be very specific and descriptive. Take the best part of the article, the biggest a-ha moment, the most compelling statistic or the "what's in it for me" and make it the headline.
That is the key to winning attention. The key to keeping their attention is the next battle. For this, you need to make the article the best article they’ve seen on the topic. That means…
I don’t think there is a silver bullet when it comes to promoting your content. Getting the right formula can be tricky, and it’s disheartening if your content doesn’t get much engagement straight away.
So, do your research and be persistent. Find out where your audience is first. Once you know what channels they’re on, you can adapt and hone the message for each. Social media will get you quicker results but also think about SEO for long-term promotion.
Don’t be afraid to engage with people, and be authentic to yourself and your business. Share and promote content from other sources, as well as your own. Often this is repaid in kind.
Having great content is no guarantee of success. If time or resources are limited, focus on fewer channels and doing them well. Test different approaches, and when you find out what works, do more of the same!
I suggest businesses engage with their customers before they promote their content. This yields two benefits. For one, you learn about your customers' problems, therefore, you can create content that solves their concerns. Secondly, you develop a relationship with your audience, which gets your content greater traction as compared to sharing without connecting with your audience first.
As a freelance writer, I use Twitter as the platform helps develop good connections and allows me to engage with my audience. But for your business, you’ll need to test which channels work well and stick with them. Don’t work to establish your social presence merely. Strive to develop an ‘engaged’ presence.
Lastly, to get your content the attention it deserves, know your audience well. A good way to dig deeper into your audience is to practice social listening. You can also head over to platforms such as Quora to learn about the pain points that plague their daily life.
Content syndication really comes down to playing in the moment. The channels that work well and how they work changes constantly. The best content syndication strategy really is to use the latest channel well and keep using it until it stops working. That, of course, can include:
It has to be by engaging your audience in a conversation. Don’t be a Dull Darren in the corner, broadcasting to the world about the things that float your boat, without letting anyone else get a word in.
Head over to the platform of your choice, post a link and ask people their thoughts and opinions. This is doubly good, as it ensures what you’re publishing is worth putting out to the world to be judged and the responses you get can help shape your next piece of content. And, to quote Joanne from Dolezal Consulting, remember to use the whole pig.
One blog post equals a wealth of Tweets, LinkedIn status updates, and Facebook posts. Recycle, reuse and repurpose. And don’t forget to think about what you want your audience’s response to be – then craft an appropriate call to action. See? Conversation.
Co-create content with influencers and experts. I’ve written a lot of content that’s “me focused” -- the insights and advice in the article comes from my mind only. What’s a missing piece? Related thoughts, ideas and even counterpoints from the community. If I state that being authentic on social media is important, I could feature colleagues or partners to share personal examples to reinforce that point.
Guess what? By involving others -- essentially, co-creating content with peers -- the quality of your content rises. Your points are reinforced. They’re backed by industry experts and help validate your theses. Also, collaboration is fun! You get to connect with new people and re-connect with others with whom you’ve lost touch.
And here’s where it all comes together: the people you collaborate with become natural promoters of your content. As Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media says, “An ally in creation is an ally in promotion.” Why will experts share your content? Because they’re IN the content! When experts share it, your content gets seen by a whole new audience: the followers and social graphs of the experts.
Consider it a magic wand you can wave.
Follow Lisa on Twitter: @LisaMLoeffler
Stop Tweeting Headlines: Invest in the time to develop social media promotional content that speaks to your audience in a personal, helpful way and leads to building relationships. I write what I call “teachable tweets.” Even if you don’t have time to click through to read my post, I always ask myself how can I provide you the highest value [within the platform constraints] that demonstrates my experience or position around a subject. This, in turn, may cause casual passers-by to return to my profile or for them to actively follow me, engage and share. Right now, I’m really digging Lately’s marketing dashboard to help craft teachable content.
Start with Research Before Publishing: Blogs mainly fall into the awareness stage in the buyer's journey and are typically sought for instruction or to learn more about a topic. When you optimize your content or blog, find keywords that are in demand in your industry - try Google Keyword Planner - and select keywords or keyword phrases that have a healthy monthly search volume. If you're after a keyword with only 90 monthly search volume, you'll likely not benefit with much potential traffic to your website. Lastly, focus on keywords you have a chance to rank for - this is called Google’s Page Rank. I use SEMRush to sort keyword difficulty and you can check your page rank for free at CheckPageRank.net.
First and foremost, effective content distribution is about delivering quality content that your audience value. That might sound counter-intuitive, but it's because of how human beings are wired. Part of the enjoyment of any experience is sharing it, just as part of our enjoyment is showing our enjoyment. That's why we light up when we can describe an exciting moment to a friend - and why we post snapshots to Instagram. When you deliver content that is transformative for someone, they will want to share and pass it on.
Second, you need to decide what the objective of your content is, and then to place yourself in the position of your audience. It might sound like a truism, but you need to imagine where your content needs to be to achieve its purpose. If you're looking for deep engagement, you need to target people when they are ready to engage - not when they're in consumer-mode, swiping through lots of options. And your customer profile makes a huge difference! An always-on entrepreneur might be just as accessible out of work hours, but someone who appreciates the 9-5 rhythm of life might not respond to your content on their private social media.
Focus. Once you’ve found your best channels (using the relevant tips from everyone else, and your own research), focus on them.
Just because there is a proliferation of channels out there, doesn’t mean you have to be active on all of them. Find the ones that work best for you and double down on them. You'll find you get much better engagement, and start building what we're all after – an engaged audience.
And don’t be afraid to pay to enhance your distribution too. This is a pretty effective way to get your content the reach it needs to achieve its goals. In fact, according to the CMI, “71% of the most successful B2B content marketers out there used paid methods to distribute content in the last 12 months.”
There's some top advice in this article, we're sure you'll agree. So, let's put a few of our favourite points together in a short and sweet summary for you, 'cos we're helpful like that.
Now there's no excuse for you to spend hours producing amazing content only to leave it collecting dust on the shelf! Use the tip above to ensure your content gets the engagement it deserves.
And make sure you let us know what your top tip is too. Write it in the comments section below and start the discussion.
Of course, content distribution is just one piece of the content marketing pie (a big piece, admittedly), so make sure you download our Content Marketing Guide to get more advice on the other slices. Yum.