If you’re wondering how to distribute content, you’re not alone.
Let me set the scene.
You’ve written a stand-out piece of content that beats anything else out there on the topic. It’s got quotes, stats, branded visuals, and all that good stuff enveloped between really great writing, and you can’t wait for it to take off.
You hit publish. And… crickets.
Surely a stand-out piece of content like this should attract readers like moths to a flame? Why isn’t it getting the traction you anticipated?
It’s probably because writing decent content is only half the battle. In fact, it’s not even half the battle. It’s more like one-third of the battle. The work really starts when you’ve published your content. Getting eyeballs on your posts – or, more importantly, getting the right eyeballs on them – is the key to success.
Why Content Distribution is Important
Content distribution is one of the most important pieces of the content marketing puzzle. Skip it, and your content won’t get the traffic or conversions you hoped for.
Here’s why content distribution is key:
- Increases brand awareness
- Attracts new readers and potential customers
- Makes creating awesome content worth it
- Keeps your brand front-of-mind
Learning how to distribute content can feel overwhelming and a little bit daunting. To help you out, here are some content distribution tips from some of the best content marketing experts in the industry.
How to Distribute Content: The Experts’ Advice
1. Create a Content Distribution Calendar
There’s a good chance you already have some kind of content creation calendar in place that tells you when you’ll create, edit, and publish key pieces of content.
But what about a content distribution calendar? Knowing what content distribution platforms you’re going to share your stuff on and when you’re going to share it is critical for maintaining consistency and measuring the results of your distribution efforts.
As Jason Bradwell, Senior Director of Marketing at Deltatre says:
I’m the same. I had a strict publishing schedule, but no real method for distributing that content when it was live.
I’d throw out a few Tweets, post a link in a couple of Facebook groups, and send an email to my list. If I remembered, I’d schedule a Tweet for a week later, but that was the extent of my distribution efforts.
It wasn’t until I started mapping out which content distribution platforms I was going to use and really got a grasp on how to distribute content that I started to see some real traction.
2. Use Your Content to Answer Questions
It might seem like a small chunk of searches, but if you’re able to provide satisfactory answers to common questions in your industry, there’s a good chance your content will get more traffic.
I’m not just talking about answering questions for Google, though.
There are plenty of forums and niche communities where questions are the main source of information. Sharing relevant pieces or snippets of your pieces with a link to the main piece of content can establish your expertise and drive highly-qualified traffic.
This is exactly what content marketing agency Be Omniscient does.
“At Omniscient, we’ve found success by sharing content in our newsletter, with our personal networks, and by answering questions on Quora,” says Allie Decker, Head of Content.
When pressed on their use of Quora, she added: “this strategy is new for us, so we’re still measuring results. I enjoy it because it feels like a genuine way to help and engage with people while naturally sharing a solution or answer on our blog – a passive promotion of sorts.”
3. Promote Content Through Chat
There are the obvious places to distribute your content: social media, your email list, and with interested industry influencers. But there are multiple other touch points throughout the sales cycle that present an opportunity for content distribution.
B2B copywriter Lakshmi explains that sharing content through chat messages with existing and potential customers has been fruitful for one of her clients:
To get this strategy right, start from the bottom up.
Write a list of the common questions you get via chat or that your support team regularly sees, and create content that answers it. Then, when a customer reaches out with a question, you have content fired off and ready to go.
If the customer finds it useful, they’re likely to share it with their peers or recommend it in future if they see another user with the same question.
Not only does this content distribution method get more qualified eyeballs on your content, but it improves the customer experience by providing users with the right information at the right time.
Intercom has a library of useful content they can share with their users via chat or other support channels.
4. Add Value When You Share
We’ve all been guilty of firing off a Tweet or a Facebook post that simply links to our content without providing any extra context.
The thing is, it’s hard to get social media users to navigate away from their beloved feed (after all, they’ve got all the cute cat pics they need right in front of them). To actively encourage your followers to click-through from social media, you have to add value to your posts.
Christina Pashialis, founder of ContentUK, puts it succinctly:
“When sharing a link to your content on social media, add value, value, value within the social post itself. Don’t just Tweet ‘read this post to learn five tips to improve your SEO!’. Can you instead summarise five of the tips in a Twitter thread? This will increase the chances of engagement and, therefore, reach.”
Encourage users to click through from social media by:
- Hinting at the value they’ll get on the other side
- Leaving out a part of your post that incites curiosity
- Summarising your content and providing a strong call-to-action (CTA)
5. Personalise Content to the Distribution Channel
No two distribution channels are the same. What works on Twitter won’t necessarily work on Facebook or LinkedIn and vice versa. The key is to personalise the content you’re sharing to the channel you’re sharing it on.
Emma Westley, Founder or content strategy agency Immerj, says: “always personalise the content to the channel, don’t just copy and paste across all. And also minimise people being taken away from the channel they are already on, try and summarise the content right there.”
Check out how HelpScout’s content distribution differs depending on the platform they’re sharing on. Here’s a Twitter link:
Here’s the same post shared on Facebook:
Notice the difference in how they summarise the article, tag industry leaders, and invite follower engagement.
Spend time creating personalised descriptions for each of the content distribution platforms you plan on using.
6. Get Industry Influencers Involved
This piece is an example of this in action.
I put a call out on Twitter for brands and content marketers to share their best content distribution ideas. I got a lot of amazing responses to some awesome influencers.
Not only does it make this piece different to other content distribution posts out there because it has a personal insight into real life experiences, but it will help me when it comes to content distribution.
When this post is published, I’ll reach out to everyone who’s chimed in and share the piece with them. More often than not, they’ll go on to share it with their followers, too, which instantly spreads the organic reach of a piece (especially if you can get some big names to contribute!).
Tom Bangay, the Director of Content at Juro, does a similar thing:
“Ghost the content from prominent influencers in your industry, then tag them all and ask them to share it – we drove about 700 downloads in a few hours on LinkedIn that way.”
Tom does things slightly differently in that he uses pre-created content from influencers and shares that.
Both ways can work well, but this one can be particularly fruitful if you don’t have a very large network to draw from.
7. Get Involved in Your Content Distribution Platforms
We’ve seen it before: the person who does a drive-by content dump.
They only show up on Twitter or Facebook or in your inbox when they’ve got a post to share. And when I say “share”, I mean it in the most basic sense. They often just post a link without adding any context.
The key to successful content distribution is to not make it self-promotional.
Consumers today are skeptical of self-promotion and will usually lean away from it even if it’s something they might be interested in.
Harry Dry, Founder of Marketing Examples, puts it well:
“The best self promoters aren’t self promoters. They take the time to become genuine members of each platform. Give more than you take. It’s a positive sum game.”
You can see Harry’s tactic in action:
Check out the engagement on that.
Harry’s honed the content distribution process to a fine art. His community on Twitter eagerly anticipate his insightful posts that include a graphic and a breakdown of the post in a detailed Twitter thread. And, at the end of each thread, he shares a link to the original piece of content to drive click-throughs.
Learning How to Distribute Content Doesn’t Have to Be Hard
Distributing content is one of the most critical parts of a content marketing strategy. Without it, your amazing pieces run the risk of sitting and gathering dust in a dark corner of the internet.
Avoid this by using the tips the experts share here: get involved on your chosen content distribution platforms, include industry influencers, personalise content, distribute content at various touch points, and create a content distribution calendar to help you out.