Content distribution is a little like your cardiovascular system. No matter how much jogging and aerobic exercise you do, if you’re not eating right, you’re not going to get the results that you’re after. Great distribution doesn’t work without great content, and the foundation of great content is that somebody, somewhere, cares about what you’re publishing.
In other words, the next time you troubleshoot your content distribution plan, make sure that you don’t overlook the content itself as a potential stumbling block. Content needs proper distribution if it’s going to reach the spreaders who will make it go viral, but it needs to be good before those spreaders will bother. There’s no point worrying about how many fish there are in the sea if you’re not using an enticing lure, so make sure that your distribution is built on a foundation of solid content.
Making sure that people care when your content reaches them has to do entirely with relevance. It’s better to hire skilled article writers than unskilled writers, but the truth is that people will read a poorly written review of the new Star Wars before they’ll read a well-written review of your daughter’s performance in the third grade stage production of Cinderella. Distribution means nothing without relevance, and quality content means nothing without relevance.
To put it one way, distribution begins with a series of questions:
- Who am I trying to reach?
- What do they find relevant?
- How do I reach them?
This third question is where most people start to think of distribution, but it’s worth bearing in mind that all of these questions are tied together. If you’re trying to reach a younger demographic, for instance, “relevant” content might mean something that you can comfortably read on your phone, so you need to be thinking about relevance in the third stage of the process as well as the second. Likewise, the “who” is probably be a group that has proven capable of spreading content and making it go viral. In other words, you’re probably looking for connected people, not hermits in the woods.
Therein lies the foundation to all distribution: Your biggest fans are your biggest distributors, and this is why relevance is the lifeblood of distribution. Produce content that these distributors will want to share, and you won’t have to spend too much time worrying about whether or not Facebook or Twitter was the right place to focus your social media campaign, because you’ll have chosen the right people and sent them the right message.
Gilbert S is a writer and artist who lives in rural New Mexico with his dog, Sir Kay, and his wife.