The power of content marketing is that if you create good content - relevant and valuable content - in other words, content that your audience needs and wants, then you can drive traffic to your website.
The problem is that, while it's true that creating good content is absolutely essential for content marketing, content creation is only the first part of the process. According to experts such as the folks at HubSpot, having a planned promotion, or distribution, effort makes a huge difference.
HubSpot has created over 2,000 downloadable offers in its lifetime. Through years of experimentation with promoting these offers, we discovered that offers with well-coordinated campaigns help us generate 72% more leads than offers with no coordinated campaigns tied to them.
If all you do is write a blog post, for example, and then wait on the organic traffic generated by your blog post to drive results, you will probably be waiting for a long time. In addition, if you fail to promote your content with multi-channel distribution efforts you will be missing out on a much larger scope of reach (and response) for your content.
Distribution is the real key to driving traffic with your content. By generating social shares, prompting website visits, and expanding the reach of your content by showing up in numerous places, a multi-channel promotion and distribution strategy is the only way to go.
This can be achieved through social media channels, email marketing, guest blogging, being re-published on industry blogs or websites, and even paid distribution services. Ultimately, the goal is for your content to show up in front of as many interested prospects as possible.
Content Distribution Drives Content Exposure
For most businesses, there needs to be a reason for prospects to come to your website. While, it would be nice for readers to visit your site simply because what they read by you was so great, this doesn't happen often enough to be a strategy.
A good content distribution strategy not only uses a multi-channel approach incorporating a variety of media to promote and distribute content, it capitalizes on the power of an offer. A relevant and value-based call-to-action will vastly increase the response to your content.
For most businesses, the goal is to increase the overall reach of the company's content while also bringing visitors/prospects through their online sales funnel. A call-to-action with some kind of offer that brings visitors to your site via a targeted landing page is a powerful and tried-and-true tactic.
And the more channels you leverage the greater the response.
For example, one company found that 50% of their traffic over six months came from a number of sources in addition to their blog, social media channels and email. These other sources included paid search platforms such as pay-per-click (PPC), display ads, and referrals.
Here's a simple illustration of the distribution effect: If your brand depends solely on an “organic only” approach to content marketing, the results will be significantly less than with a multi-channel distribution.
This is why promoting your content with distribution is such a critical element for a successful content marketing strategy. While no one channel may be sufficient to drive the traffic you need, a multiple number of various channels will accomplish so much more.
The Essential Content Distribution Types
Content distribution is how you can promote and share your content using different formats and various online channels. With a few exceptions, content channel options can be broken up into three categories:
- Owned Content Distribution: Owned means channels and formats that belong to you. This typically includes your blog, any email newsletters your publish, and your social media platforms, etc.
- Earned Content Distribution: This refers to third-party channels and platforms that can distribute your content on their own sites or publications. It also includes guest posts from you, social media retweets or shares, and even media mentions or reviews.
- Paid Content Distribution: Paid simply means you pay for your content to be distributed. This can be through content distribution services, or in the form of pay-per-click services such as Google AdWords or Bing Ads.
Keep in mind that paid, owned, and earned media can all be leveraged to work together as one strategy. There needs to be a planned co-ordination and consistency across the platform types. They are not to be approached as separate tactics or stand-alone activities. Keep in mind, too, that a multi-channel content distribution approach is not a "one time" activity.
While the jury is still out on this, most experts still feel that brands should not opt to create less content just because their distribution "net" has been cast farther and wider. On the other hand, you don't need to create new or unique content for each and every channel being used. Simply re-working, re-formatting or re-purposing existing content will work well.
And, most importantly, you must realize that all of this does take time and effort to see results.
The Best Channels for Content Distribution
Remember that, just like most other aspects of online marketing, tools, technology and even the platforms will change and evolve over time. For example, even channels that were big just five years ago may not even exist tomorrow. And others that didn't exist a few years back are becoming significant players in the social media universe.
Recently, the folks over at HubSpot determined that there are currently certain approaches that work best to help you achieve greater brand awareness, influencer relationships, industry leadership, audience engagement, and more:
Make sure the publication not only helps you achieve your own reach goals, but also, has something to gain by sharing your insights, from your particular brand.
Personalized emails have shown a 6.2% higher open rate than those that aren’t.
Reach out to relevant influencers in your industry for quotes to include in your content, and send them the piece once it's published for them to share with their networks.
Part of your strategy needs to be staying abreast of the experience and insights of marketers and business owners you know, as well as checking out the most recent studies and surveys to maintain a good sense of what is working best going forward.
Content Distribution Channel Selection
Keep in mind that not every distribution channel works equally well for every business, or for every type of content. Regardless of which channels you end up using, however, the upside is that almost every one of them is free. Sort of.
Remember that, when it comes to marketing, "free" still means time and effort is required.
So, while actual results may vary, there are seven top distribution channels that have been proven in overall effectiveness:
Email, for example, is still one of the most effective means for getting your content beyond your website.
Video can involve some investment on your part, but it still provides some of the highest ROI for marketers and brands. Whether the video is your original content, or a repurposing of some original written content, video is still one of the most powerful means of getting content seen and can provide you with the biggest "bang for your buck."
Social media channels rock whether you like them or not, and the big three platforms (for now anyway!) are still Facebook, Youtube, and Twitter with Instragram climbing in popularity. Leveraging and maximizing these channels is a huge key to effective content distribution.
The last three channels are influencer marketing, guest blogging, and paid distribution. These, too, can be quite effective, but they are somewhat more involved and complex. This is especially true for influencer marketing and guest blogging.
And paid distribution is exactly what the name implies: content distribution services that you pay for. These can be incredibly effective, but there are also many not-so-reputable or quality sites out there to avoid.
Getting Help With Your Content Marketing Strategy
You probably already know that implementing content marketing can boost traffic for your business. But achieving your marketing objectives with a content marketing strategy takes time. It won't happen with a few blog posts or some other great content.
People will need to consume your content for a while before they contact you. Yet, without your content compelling them to contact you, your goals may never be met.
The good news is that you don't have to figure out alone. In fact, one of the best investments you can make with your marketing budget is to partner with a solid firm like BroadVision marketing. Click this link to get your free Complimentary Inbound Marketing Session so you can make an informed decision, or call BroadVision Marketing at 707-799-1238.