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How to build a content distribution strategy that works

Marco Belmondo

A good content distribution strategy is an essential part of a company’s success.

A content distribution strategy is a plan that helps organizations to make their content (of any kind: books, articles, reports,pieces of advice, etc) where it needs to be in order to be seen and to be profitable.

Having a strategy is even more crucial because billions of pieces of content are being produced every day, every second, and so it’s becoming increasingly difficult to stand out. Of course if you have great quality content the job is simpler, but it’s not easy nonetheless. You could have the best possible content but be a total disaster in distributing it, and fail. Be warned that having a content distribution strategy doesn’t mean just to have ideas or to plan ahead; you should formalize your ideas into a written document that can be shared and guide marketing decisions.

Since having a content distribution strategy basically means deciding how to promote your content, first of all you should decide which channels are more suitable for it. Of course, this depends much on the kind of content you are working with: a distribution channel for video or podcast cannot be the same as the one you are going to use for text only or for infographics. Also, the strategy you are going to use is strictly connected to the target you want to reach. You should beforehand do some research to understand thoroughly the kind of people you have to deal with and the kind of content they want, when they want it and where you can find them (which implicitly answers your main question: where should I distribute my content more?)

Given al this, we can split the main phases of a good content strategy into three main points:

1. Understand what are your content distribution options

Often even outstanding quality contents perform poorly when it comes to assessing the KPIs. The reason for this “debacle” often is that companies think first of the content and only after at the distribution issue, assuming that if the content is good then also the distribution will be. But this is simply wrong! As we mentioned before, not every kind of content performs equally well on any type of media or for any audience.

When you have a topic in mind you should first determine its potential audience and then understand which are the preferred channels and mediums of this audience. Only after you’ve done this kind of research you can decide which medium and which channel mix could be apt for your content and for your strategy and what kind of content you should preferably use. In this way you’ll avoid wasting time and efforts into a useless content distribution quest on a useless channel.

Once you’ve done this, you can focus on your channel mix. You usually are faced with three content distribution options: owned media, social media and paid media and you should choose a mix that is fitted to your content. Here again stands out the importance of knowing your audience, because you have to first understand if your potential community matches with the marketing “personas” you have outlined and then if its tone of voice and the rules of engagement can match with yours.

2. Have always clear your KPIs

This point is essential not only for planning a content distribution strategy but also for evaluating it. How do you understand if your content distribution strategy has been effective? The only way to be sure to be able to assess effectively your campaign is to be extremely clear about what you want to measure! For example, if you want to increase your brand visibility you should measure (between other things) brand mentions or followers increase, while if your objective is lead generation you should pay attention to metrics like forms completed or webinar/podcasts sign up. If you engage in a campaign and are not able to decode the data and the results you get you are wasting time and resources instead of getting results.

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3. Choose the medium and channel are most suitable to your objectives

Once you have identified clearly your audience and KPIs you should decide what is the format that is most suited to your content, to your brand voice and to your audience (video? text? podcast?) and where you can find your audience members. Following, you can choose where to distribute your content and which distribution platform is most suited to your objectives, the main ones being:

  • Video platforms, like YouTube
  • Newsletters or other email marketing tools
  • Blogs and websites
  • Digital publishing platforms like Issuu or MobiLit
  • Online presentation platforms (e.g., SlideShare)
  • Webinars or podcasts
  • Voice apps
  • Print publications

Very important: you should always create a copy that is tailored to the platform you use to distribute it, otherwise it risks to be ineffective. You should understand the voice and the rules of engagement (if there is some sort of interaction) of each platform and align your content to it.

Halas, producing great quality content is not enough: you should also focus on SEO optimization (for example with a wise usage of metadata and keywords) and – given the increasing difficulty in reaching results through organic search alone – you should consider exploiting the most advanced AI based content marketing tools, which are capable of optimizing your content distribution strategy and your efforts.

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