You can hire the best content writers who are the most well-suited to your niche, but the results that you expect from creating content can end up falling flat if it’s not distributed properly.
Finding the right distribution channels can be challenging in the ever-changing digital marketing landscape. There’s a seemingly infinite number of places to try distributing your content but not all brands are going to have the same success rates using them. Because it can take a while to find the right groove, brands often take a “spray and pray” approach where they’ll try anything from social media presence to building up their own channels just so long as it gets into as many different places as possible.
But it turns out this approach is actually not going to bode well in 2020 and beyond as readers and search engines alike are getting smarter and more selective. It turns out that just like how people like curating their feeds on sites like Twitter and Medium, brands actually need to take the same approach. Think about it: would a high-end skincare brand want to advertise with Phil’s Doomsday Prepper Hut and BBQ? It’s not that dissimilar when it comes to content, despite content playing a longer game than advertising. Here’s what you need to think about with putting a content distribution plan in plan for 2020 and beyond.
What Are the Attributes of the Channels You Have in Mind?
High traffic and large pools of followers are often the first things that marketing managers may think of when deciding how to prioritize resources on specific channels. But high traffic alone might not cut it.
When deciding how you’re going to get your desired audience to view and interact with your content, it’s pretty similar to creating buyer personas. What kind of careers, interests, and values does your target audience have? What about more easily defined parameters like demographics and location?
Using this information, you can determine the best channels to pursue in your distribution strategy, and where your personas would be likely to spend their time if they were actual people. Your persona for selling HR software could be a professional woman in her mid-forties who reads Harvard Business Review at work then likes to look at Pinterest on her lunch break, so if you’ve only been focusing your social muscle on Twitter and LinkedIn then it can’t hurt to give Pinterest a try as well if you can create compelling images that stand out from the millions of business stock photos with phrases superimposed on them in Canva or meme-making apps.
Traffic itself may not be a be-all end-all if your channel is already saturated with similar content posted by users with larger followings. What are you doing differently?
What other attributes, like sharing and how public that sharing aspect is, would work for or even against your brand? Think of that time when the Internet totally halted because Ted Cruz hit the “like” button on a pornographic tweet. Responsibly using a brand account social media is a whole other topic, but people will see which tweets the account likes and this could be a good or bad thing depending on how your particular audience reacts.
Coming Up with a Channel Plan
There’s essentially three types of platforms that form the basis of how you’ll distribute content:
- Owned Media
- Shared Media
- Paid Media
There’s a few prongs to acing content distribution and sometimes promotion is part of a content distribution plan, but remains an entirely separate concept. Paying to promote your content can be part of your strategy. Like more organic methods, paid placement can have mixed results. Regardless, it’s not the same as actual distribution and ensuring that eyeballs are being drawn to those pages.
Still, paid promotion and things like sponsored parts are considered paid media while owned media refers to channels that you own, such as your own app or website, and shared media largely refers to social content but can also refer to content that you encourage your target audience to share. For instance, an e-book or whitepaper could be available for download on your website but you have a CTA on the same page that encourages the reader to share it with colleagues or friends.
Your channel plan should clearly outline how much potential reach each type of media has, and what you expect the impact to be. Need help crafting a channel plan? Hit up my profile or one of the many other fine content strategists here on WriterAccess!
Rachel P. has written content for gaming industry rags, user acquisition firms, companies trying to do business with game developers, tax offices, lifestyle blogs, and much more. In addition to her work teaching at and writing content for Playcrafting as well as her own blog and newsletter plus private clients, she has the distinction of making the front page of noted industry rag Gamasutra virtually every time she submitted content.