Planning, implementing, and publishing content is only half the battle. Straight away, you need to start looking at ways to distribute your content. After all, what good is your insightful blog post, audio blog, great infographic, or helpful YouTube video unless it reaches people?
Content distribution is often neglected and is a far more complex topic than it seems at first glance. Especially if you want to get the most out of your content. This article provides some important tips to make your content marketing even more successful.
Content marketing: the basics
The basics of content distribution
Working on the foundations of your content isn't always exciting. And that's probably why it gets forgotten so often. But like the foundations of a house, this groundwork is extremely important even if you don't see the fruits of your labor right away.
Content strategy and planning
The foundations include an analysis of your target group and any plans you make based on these results. For more information, read my detailed Tutorial on Content Strategy. In summary, a content strategy helps you with the following points:
- You choose exactly the topics and questions that really interest your intended readership.
- It will guide you through the process. Should you rather approach a topic with an extensive article, a YouTube video, or a downloadable PDF white paper? It all depends on who you want to reach.
- The strategic approach is important to ensure that you choose the right channels and platforms for the subsequent steps to reach your target groups.
Search engine optimization for the content hub
A content hub is the effective center for all your content, regardless of whether you're a freelancer, agency, or run any other website. This still even applies today when music is often on third-party platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Instagram, or LinkedIn. In fact, this is even more true than ever. With a content hub, you have a space for your content that only belongs to you and which you can organize as you like.
Without a content hub, you leave yourself completely dependent on other platforms. And that's not a good idea in the long run. A content hub could come in the form of a corporate magazine and should then be optimized for search engines like Google.
SEO and WordPress: step-by-step optimization
An important point here is to select the right keywords. Ideally, you should choose the keywords before you even decide on a specific topic. This way you can immediately align your content with the terms that are relevant for your target group.
The Loading time of your website and how well it works on mobile devices are very important factors for SEO today. Google emphasizes these points so much because they affect the "user experience". Google only wants to recommend sites that inspire users. That's why search engine optimization is becoming more and more the general optimization of your website. It's not an additional, separate task and it deserves a permanent place in your toolbox.
Optimize the "shareability" of your content
If you want your content to be well received and recommended, you have to pay attention to its so-called shareability. In other words, you want to maximize the probability that your content (almost) spreads by itself.
First of all, your content has to really inspire people. If you have a well-formulated content strategy and you align your content with the wishes and needs of your target group, this should happen almost by itself (see above).
Your content must be worth recommending. As I explained in my article content marketing for agencies and freelancers already, mass-produced goods just don't attract the crowds anymore. You have to stand out positively. And it doesn't even need to take much effort. Sometimes just knowing, understanding, and speaking the language of your target group can help. Creating one excellent detailed article can bring a lot more success than producing five boring ones.
Ensuring your content is oriented to the specifics of the respective platform and channel is also part of the recipe for success. Your approach will be different, for example, depending on whether you're creating a video for Facebook, Instagram, or YouTube.
You've completed the first step already? Then make sure your audience feels inspired to redistribute your content. On YouTube, for example, it's common practice to actively encourage viewers to comment, like, and subscribe. These activities stand out positively in YouTube's algorithm and so your video will be suggested to other users.
For articles on your website, make sure the preview on Facebook & Co. looks good. And that it's stimulating. You only have the article image, headline, and a few words of text at your disposal. The content and keywords should be as exciting as the article itself! Ask yourself why you click on posts on Facebook, Twitter, and other social networks? What does that content need to "have" to grab your attention? You can then imitate this effect for your own content.
Distribute your content for free
You probably want your content to be a viral hit, i.e. you publish it, sit back comfortably, and watch it spread at lightning speed. But this rarely happens - and practically never without the right preparation.
There's really no way around actively distributing your content. There are some good methods that take time and effort but are ultimately free.
Use your own platforms
Start with the things you yourself have sovereignty over. In professional circles, this is called owned media. Make sure, for example, that your content is placed prominently on your own website and can be found easily. You may have followed the advice of many experts and created a newsletter distribution list. This is, of course, also something you can use to distribute your content.
If you're realizing now that you have few or no channels and platforms of your own, remember it's never too late to start building them. Do make sure first, however, that you and your team have the necessary resources available. You can find tips on working with specific platforms in our section on Online Marketing.
Content distribution via social media
For many companies, social media channels will be another important tool. Here you should make sure your content is known and shared - and not just once. Don't forget that on platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, algorithms always stand between you and your audience. That's why it's important to make people aware of your content multiple times.
This doesn't mean you should post the same thing over and over again like a robot. Ideally, each reposting should have a new perspective, a new piece of information, or a new approach. Experiment with the content of the posts and also with the times and days of the week you publish them. But don't overdo it, for example, and post your content more than once on the same day. Some platforms like Facebook will penalize you if you try to push the same link over and over again. Both patience and creativity are called for here.
In general, content distribution is a long-term activity. Assume that you'll be promoting your content for weeks and months on end. If your topic isn't current for very long, you must either update your content regularly and then re-promote it or make sure it gets the full attention on the very first day.
Another tip is to plan your content distribution right from the start. You can then consider, for example, what aspects of your content you can adapt for other channels and distribute them separately. Here are some examples:
- If Pinterest is important to you, your blog post should contain a graphic that can be easily distributed there.
- For Instagram, you produce a short video teaser to your much longer video, which is optimized for YouTube.
- For LinkedIn, you pick out an essential statement from your content and write an article on it.
This list could be extended indefinitely. The earlier you think of these accompanying and complementary media and formats, the easier it will be to implement them. Today, content is no longer a monolithic "piece of content". In an ideal world, your content would be modular from the outset so that it can be easily distributed through different channels. This is also part of the strategic approach.
Find and address multipliers
Practically all social networks want to connect people with people. Even when it comes to business offerings like LinkedIn, companies find it extremely difficult to gain attention and reach through their own corporate sites. There's a simple reason for this: people generally prefer to interact with people rather than with a company or a brand.
That's why it's so important to motivate other people to recommend your content. You can start with yourself, your friends, colleagues, and partners. Don't forget those customers who are especially enthusiastic about you and your work. Hopefully, you can motivate them all to recommend your (fantastic, great, unique, wonderful) content on their personal profiles. In professional circles, these are often called brand ambassadors. Corporate influencers are, in turn, your employees who use their own name to promote their employer's cause.
In addition, there'll be various multipliers in your subject area and your industry, also known as influencers. In contrast to the "professional influencers", however, they've built up their influence because they have the appropriate professional competence and are respected experts. These people don't necessarily have a large overall reach but they do reach exactly the right people.
Have a think about who you could approach. But keep in mind, however, that these people may be asked frequently. You need to treat them with respect, get to the point quickly, and make it clear what makes your content so special. If you're really good, you'll already have contact with these people before you ask them for such favors. At this point, you're engaging in typical influencer relations.
Distribute your content for a fee
As mentioned above, companies can find it difficult to reach people with their messages. Target groups encounter a never-ending flood of content but their attention spans and time are limited.
For this reason, you'll often have to pay to distribute your content. In fact, it's considered an integral part of content distribution in many places, especially at the very beginning. The first wave of attention is purchased. After that, it will hopefully run largely by itself.
Examples of paid content distribution include placing an ad on Facebook, LinkedIn, or Google or paying for a sponsored post on a suitable site. Pay close attention to how you measure the success of your paid efforts, however, so you don't end up wasting your budget. See my tutorial on Content KPIs. Unfortunately, you won't be able to gain many valuable insights from the easily available statistics like page views or likes.
Tip: Place ads successfully
Many freelancers and agencies find it difficult to turn content into paid ads. But these can be highly target-oriented, for example, in conversion. We show you how to successfully set up an advertising campaign using the example of Facebook ads.
Which way is worthwhile for your content always depends on the individual case. Maybe you're hoping for new business. In that case, you'll have a greater incentive and more financial leeway because your expenses will be directly offset by your income. It's more difficult if your content is limited to the beginning of the customer journey as is the case with classic content marketing. You'll not always be able to make a direct connection between expenses and income here.
How to decide on the right measures
This brings us to an important point. Which measure is actually appropriate and when? The answer to this question depends very much on what your goal is, who you want to reach, and in what situation.
Here's another example: Google Ads are ideal for reaching people who have a specific question. With these ads, you'll rather be addressing people who are already looking for something. Not every product or offer can be advertised well with this channel though. This insight is just as important when you take care of your SEO. It doesn't help much if you're "No. 1 on Google" for terms or expressions that hardly anyone ever searches for. Unless the sum of such rankings helps you and is profitable with the necessary content.
Facebook Ads, on the other hand, are good for reaching people who have specific interests or who match demographic data. This is much more general than Google Ads but can work well if you can't get anywhere on Google - and vice versa.
This question about the objective also has a major influence on what content you want to tackle at all. Do you want to reach people who are still at the very beginning and still have many questions? Or do you want to reach people who are already researching concrete solutions to a clearly defined problem?
This article has hopefully given you an idea of the considerations that go into content distribution. It's important that these considerations are made at the beginning of your planning. If you start thinking about distribution after you've already published your content, it's usually too late already.
Ultimately, how well your content spreads has a lot to do with how clearly you have your goal in mind. But it also has to do with how well you understand your target group and how focused you are on the distribution.
Picture: Robin Worrall