There’s no doubt content marketing is a vital part of any digital marketer’s toolkit. The problem marketers are finding in 2017 is, with so many brands pumping out quality content, the competition has become incredibly fierce. According to Mark Schaefer, “The amount of available web-based content is doubling every 9 months.” By that math, over 347 blog posts get published every minute of every day. (Mashable) Naturally, this means getting your content in front of your audience is becoming more and more of a challenge.
Content marketing has changed. As Joe Pulizzi, from Content Marketing Institute, said “Five years ago, enterprises were spending 80% on content creation and 20% on content promotion. I believe this ratio has switched, with successful enterprises creating differentiated content and putting some advertising and promotion muscle behind it.” Or as Chad Pollitt said, “Content may be king, but distribution is queen, and she wears the pants.”
Caution: Please Read Before Going Any Further
I can’t stress enough, the first thing that needs to be done, even before creating the content, is to create a REAL content strategy. This may seem obvious and basic, but we find that most companies are not creating a solid version of their strategy, if they’re creating a strategy at all. Statistics show businesses who create a physical content strategy are far more successful. Read the first part of this series to learn more about planning and content strategies.
Another often overlooked part of the content strategy, even from more experienced brands, is the basic research needed to be done to know who your audience is and the media you plan to use. This data is necessary to create an effective tone and voice. Again, most companies say they know who their audience is and the platforms they want to use, but realistically, the research isn’t being done, and the information being used is more of an assumption than hard data. For more on how to create meaningful and engaging content, read the second part of this series.
Create Content in Various Forms for Maximum Distribution
The best way to get your content out in front of your audience is to create it in various ways. This will give you the opportunity to distribute your content on different sites in different forms thus making sure your content is viewed by the maximum amount of people who will find your content valuable.
Some common forms of media to repurpose your content:
- Video (live and pre-produced)
As mentioned above, content distribution is the most important part of any content strategy. By distributing your content on as many channels as possible, it will not only get your content seen by as many people, but it also gives you the opportunity to drive traffic back to your site and create valuable backlinks for SEO.
Email is the last frontier for authentically free content distribution. After Facebook changed its algorithms at the end of last year, email is the only media where it’s guaranteed your audience will have a chance to see your content without having to pay to promote it or boost it. In fact, according to a report done by The Content Marketing Institute, 93% of B2B businesses use email as their go-to source for content distribution.
The next major distribution outlet for B2B marketers is social. In fact, 71% of B2B marketers surveyed by The Content Marketing Institute says it’s vital to their content’s success. Social is a great resource for content distribution; however, it’s changed over the last year or so.
LinkedIn is the go-to for most B2B business, but with all the competition, having your content seen can be tricky. The problem with LinkedIn’s algorithm is that it’s still chronological. This means that your content is posted at the time you post it and can’t be promoted by engagement like Facebook. It can work to your advantage, but with 89% of B2B businesses using LinkedIn as a distribution site, getting your content seen can be tricky. You can use LinkedIn paid posts, but it’s expensive and not very user-friendly.
Twitter is another great resource, but again, the competition is high, and the Twitter feed moves quickly. If you really want your content to be seen, paying for Twitter Cards is a great option.
The next best social option is Facebook, but you’ll have to pay for it. Since the end of 2016, Facebook is a pay-to-play platform. The good news is the CTR reasonable, and once you start paying, your organic content will gain more traction as well. To learn more about Facebook as a distribution channel, read our blog, Is Facebook Dead?
There are other social platforms that may be viable. Pinterest is a great platform with less competition and content has a much longer shelf life compared to the other popular sites. Also, getting employees to distribute content is another great way to get your content out further and in front of more people.
Depending on your budget, paid online advertising, such as paid social ads and search ads, is the best and most viable option to promote your online content. Depending on the relevancy of your ads, the CTR is very reasonable, especially compared to traditional advertising. According to the CMI report, 84% of B2B marketers use paid social ads as part of their content marketing strategy, and 67% of those same marketers use search ads.
The best part of using paid, whether it’s through social or search, is the ability to really hone in your audience and tailor your message accordingly. This will help attract those who are genially interested in what you have to offer. Read more about how PPC campaigns can be used to promote your content
A tradition marketing tactic still used is to distribute content off-line in print advertising. According to the same CMI report, 58% of B2B marketers are distributing their content through off-line channels such as print magazines and sales promotion material.
Over the past few months, we have talked a lot about influencer marketing and how it’s the best way to reach the audience who genuinely cares about what you have to offer. If you’re not caught up on influencer marketing, read The Evolution of Influencer Marketing – Trends & Developments for 2017 or You Don’t Need Celebrities for Successful Influencer Marketing. These blogs will help get up-to-date on influencer marketing for 2017 and explain how the tactic can be used as a viable distribution channel.
Even though content marketing has changed the principles are still the same: create meaningful, relevant, and engaging content that will educate, entertain and enrich your audience’s life. By doing this you will become the dominate voice they hear in your industry, which helps them through the customer journey to buy your services or products. Coupled with a strong distribution strategy, you’ll find content marketing is still a valuable part of the digital marketer’s toolkit.
Have any other content distribution ideas that our audience will find useful? Please leave them in the comments below.