Would you spend hours getting all gussied up for a night out only to go sit in a dark alley behind a building where no one could see you? Well, no. That would be silly. But that’s exactly what you’re doing with your content if you don’t have a solid content distribution plan.
Also referred to as content promotion, content distribution refers to the method you use to get the right content in front of the right audience at the right time. And if you put little thought or effort into where and how you promote your content after you create it, you might as well be throwing it in a dark alley.
In fact, even if you use the tried-and-true promotion methods that worked in the past, it could be akin to throwing your content in a very dim alley. That’s because many traditional methods no longer cut it.
As the digital landscape keeps changing, your content distribution plan needs to change with it. To ensure your content gets the visibility it deserves, here are four things to consider before promoting your content – along with solutions for making your distribution plan more likely to work.
1. Social Media is on Overload
If you feel like you’re drowning in content every time you head over to a social platform, it’s because you are. Social media by the numbers:
- 95 million: Number of photos and videos shared on Instagram every day
- 293,000: Number of Facebook status updates posted every minute
- 456,000: Number of tweets sent on Twitter every second
How are you supposed to even have a chance of standing out in all that?
2. Social Media May Suppress Content
Remember when you could publish a Facebook post on your company’s page and it would engage dozens of followers? Now you’re lucky if even 6% of your page followers even see it.
That’s right. Facebook has become a big fan of suppressing content, and free posts – even on your own company page – are one of the targets. Twitter has also seen a decrease in the organic reach of certain posts.
That’s because the platforms make no money on the freebies. They want you to advertise instead. Their tactics seem to be working, with social media advertising hitting $154 billion in 2021. That’s 33% of the world’s entire digital advertising spend. It’s also 17% higher than it was the previous year, or an increase of $23 billion.
3. Spam Killed Off Cold Email Effectiveness
Once upon a time you could send cold emails to fellow marketers, writers, content creators or other business owners to promote your content. You might get a quick conversation, a compliment, or even a backlink and an ongoing networking connection. Now all you get is shoved in the spam folder.
It’s not without reason. The formerly effective strategy of cold emails has become overused, abused and riddled bad templates. Then came the “Dear Sir/Madam” phase and loads of emails from senders like “DateMeNow,” “RenewalbyAnderson” and “TastyCatLitter.”
Cold emails are no longer trusted. If the email filter doesn’t send them into the junk folder, chances are high the email recipient will.
4. SEO is More Competitive than the Rodeo
Do yourself a favor. When you’re searching for keywords and key phrases to use, don’t obsess over the SERP analysis that tells you how many results pop up. It could be enough to dissuade you from even attempting to compete.
Sure, you’d expect general phrases like “content distribution” and “content distribution plan” to have a lot of results. In the billions and millions, respectively. But even when you drill down to the more specific phrases like “content distribution in Boise,” you’re still competing against 2 million others that already rank for that same phrase.
Here’s an example, showing the number of search results for select keywords:
- 6 billion: Content distribution
- 1 billion: Content promotion
- 731 million: Content distribution plan
- 2 million: Content distribution in Boise
High-quality content doesn’t automatically shoot you to the top of the heap, either. Google ranking systems are made up of a whole series of algorithms that take tons of factors into account. These range from search intent to the usability of pages, from the expertise of sources to your settings and location.
Overcoming Content Distribution Obstacles
Now that you’re aware of four factors working against effective content promotion, you’re in good shape. And no, not because you get to give up on content promotion altogether and go to the beach. But because you can use social media, email and SEO in a way that overcomes the obstacles standing between your content and your audience.
Savvy Tips for Social Media Content Promotion
There are a few things you can do to increase your exposure and engagement levels on social media to make it an effective part of your plan.
The Ad Route
While it may be tempting to tell the social media platforms to go fly a kite with their advertising, ads can get you in front of a lot more eyeballs than posting for free. Don’t pay to promote every single blog post. Stick with high-ticket items like e-books, white papers and must-see videos.
Also keep sharp eye on what you’re spending. Analyze your ad performance to ensure you’re getting the results you want. And if you’re not, tweak the ad or pull the plug, trying again with something else.
The Tagging Route
Tagging individuals and brands in your posts is another way to get your content in front of more people. If you quote, mention or use info from someone, tag them in your post by using the @ symbol in front of their name.
This hyperlinks to their profile and lets them know they’re mentioned. When they repost your post, which many will, you can gain additional attention from their audience.
The Multi-Channel Route
Don’t put all your social media eggs in one basket. Instead, try a variety of platforms to find out where your content resonates best. Then focus on the platforms on which you get the greatest results.
The Tailored Route
You’ve probably heard it before, but we’ll mention it again. Every social media platform has a different type of audience, format and vibe. Instead of posting the exact same content across all your social channels, tailor each piece for its intended platform.
Gary Vaynerchuk provides a succinct rundown (which doubles as the table of contents in his “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” social media guide):
- Storytell on Facebook
- Listen well on Twitter
- Glam it up on Pinterest
- Create art on Instagram
- Get animated on Tumblr
Making Your Email Effective
Rather than wasting time on cold emails, deliver valuable content to those who want to hear from you. Your subscribers have already signed up to be in the loop, so use that to your advantage. Give them a heads-up on your latest blog posts, downloads and other content they would find entertaining, useful, or both.
Make email even more effective by:
- Personalizing greeting and subject line
- Optimizing your email preview text
- Segmenting your list so recipients receive only relevant content
- Keeping your main info and CTA above the fold
Scoring with SEO
Despite the billions of pieces of content competing for search results, you can still gain traction from SEO if you do it right. Don’t focus on how many results come up for a certain keyword, but rather on a keyword’s popularity and difficulty. Unless you’re a giant firm, go for search terms with medium levels of popularity and lower levels of difficulty.
You don’t have to be at the top of the heap to see results from a solid SEO strategy, either. As long as you’re connecting with people who are looking for what you offer, you’re in good shape. Really good shape.
Quick tips for scoring with SEO include:
- Using keyword clusters
- Considering user intent
- Optimizing all elements on a post or page, not just the text
- Producing high-quality, easy-to-skim content
- Including both internal and external links
- Making sure your site is mobile-friendly
Summing It Up
One final tip is to make sure you spend as much time promoting your content as you do creating it. Or perhaps even more time promoting it than you do creating it. A lot of marketers fall short with their content distribution plan, channeling all their excitement into the next shiny new piece of content instead of ensuring the existing, took-forever-to-create piece of content gets a solid chance at success.
If needed, slow down your content creation to spend more energy on content promotion. Content marketing only works if people actually see your content – and the only way they’ll see it is if you have a strategic content distribution plan that ensures they know it exists.
If you need help crafting a distribution plan, consider hiring a freelance content strategist on WriterAccess. Or hire one of our freelance writers or designers for help creating content. Get instant access to our talent, tools and training with a free trial.