The wheels that take your content out of the driveway and onto the open road.
WHAT IS CONTENT DISTRIBUTION?
Content distribution is a method of using various tools to promote all kinds of content across all kinds of outlets. Though its definition is broad, think of it as the wheels that take your content where it needs to go — without the wheels, that nice, new car isn't much use.
With so much noise and clutter competing for potential clicks, content distribution is absolutely essential to any good marketing strategy.
Different types of content distribution
Content distribution can be broken down into three distinct types, based on how your media or content gets in front of audiences and what channels you use to achieve that result:
Paid Content Distribution
This is when you pay for your content to be exposed to audiences. With this type, you're paying someone else with a platform to give your content a ride to their audiences.
While systems like this aren't free and typically run on cost-per-click (CPC) or some other billing convention, this can certainly be worth it if you know that the audience has a high chance of becoming customers.
Owned Content Distribution
With this method, you're marketing your content in digital spaces that you own and control like your blog, website, social media, etc. This is the bedrock of content distribution. While another method may get you more exposure, the synergy of using existing content to promote new content is essential to marketing in a digital era.
For the vast majority of content creators, owned content channels will likely be the foundation of their content distribution strategy and an essential tool in building a coherent brand.
Earned Content Distribution
For a lot of creators, this can feel like the sweet spot of content distribution. This is when your content is promoted by third parties. Press coverage, retweets, shares, and guest articles are all examples of this type of content distribution.
Think of earned content channels as "word of mouth" advertising in a digital space. People love your content enough that they'll promote and distribute it for you.
Different vehicles for different destinations
The different types of content distribution are a bit like trains, planes, and cars. They all have different methods of achieving the same goal.
While some are objectively more efficient than others, you probably wouldn't take a plane from Harlem to Manhattan — you'd dodge some traffic, but spend a few hours in security checks. Each type of content distribution has its own strength, depending on what type and scale of results you're looking for.
Know your audience to know your returns
In today's world, you can easily know enough about your potential audience to make Don Draper blush. Gone are assumptions in advertising and marketing when modern tools like Google Analytics can give you the data to target content toward very specific audiences.
Knowing which audience is likely to respond to your content can get you the highest possible ROI from your investment. In a non-digital world, your car will probably be more likely to sell once you've taken your newfound knowledge of how to build those wheels and get it on the road. With a comprehensive content distribution strategy, you can drive down a specific road with your new wheels where you know a good chunk of people who see it will want to buy that car.
Content distribution strategy
While a solid content distribution strategy may seem complex, you're probably doing many parts of the process already. Here's a basic framework:
- Research, research, and more research. Know who your target audience is, where they are, and what interests they share.
- Decide which content is right for which channels. Customizing content is easy once you understand your audience. You're usually seeking audiences based on shared interests, so choose content that matches what your audiences expects (and hopes) to see in a given channel.
- Set goals. Set goals and key performance indicators (KPIs) for the response you hope to achieve.
- Measure results. Measure the ROI from your content and contrast that against your goals. Hypothesize how you might do better in the future.
- Rinse and repeat. Take that knowledge and repeat the process. Each time you do, you will learn a little more about your audience and your content and be able to leverage that knowledge for better results.
With a little knowledge of how content distribution works, you can drive your content right to where your audience lives. All that's left is for them to look out the window, coffee cup in hand, and see it.
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