Effective content distribution is essential to the success of a practitioner marketing campaign. While structuring practitioner content with the right keywords and links for search engine optimization and discoverability will help, SEO alone is not sufficient. As one of our lead practitioners, Chris Tozzi, has pointed out, valuable content is worth more than keywords. Go through the exercise of identifying where you think you provide value. Then, identify topics where you can demonstrate that value. This process not only propels you to create content that gets clicks but is also an integral test of your value proposition assumptions. Out of this, believe it or not, will fall the critical keywords that accurately describe your content. This will lead to better ranking on search engines, as people are more likely to share high-quality content that is what it advertises to be.
Most of the work in selecting the right content distribution channels requires an understanding of the audience for your content. This research is part of the persona development phase. Understanding the target audience will define your practitioners and the channels on which you will find them. The practitioners’ channels, by default, coincide with your buyers’ channels. Within these channels, there are opportunities for promotion, links, and other activities that can serve to expand the reach of your practitioner-generated content.
Distribution Channel Overview
Distribution is broken down into three categories:
- Owned — The channels that you control, such as your own blogs, website, newsletter, and social media pages.
- Earned — Media channels that view your content as worthy of promotion.
- Paid — Paid promotions such as ads, Google Ads and promoted posts in social media.
Succeeding with your own channels requires discipline and regularity. Our rule of thumb for blogs is two blog posts per week. Below that frequency, it is very difficult for your content to move the needle on anything. Earned channels forget about you, and you don’t have enough content to keep your paid promotions exciting.
Newsletter frequency depends on the value of the news you bring and your business cycle. Once a month is a good starting point. If you deliver information more frequently, but with varying impact and value to your audience, it will be ignored.
Tools to help with distribution in each of the three categories abound. Tool selection depends somewhat on category, channel, and other factors such as budget. They all have potential. For our marketing-focused content, we’ve had the best luck with GrowthHackers and Quuu. For our media site, Sweetcode, which is a blogging site for developers featuring code-level blogs that are not product pitches, we’ve had the best luck with Hacker News and reddit.
Our best earned distribution mechanism for blog content about influencer marketing and share of voice has been social media, including Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. One strategy we employ is asking Fixate’s members and contributors to engage their own network. It’s a great way of keeping everyone involved. Reinforcing the idea that earned distribution is a function of relationships that each of us has and should maintain is another side benefit of pulling in your internal evangelists.
Paid promotions generally result in fewer conversions than organic sources. However, if no one knows who you are, this is a great way to get awareness of your company and brand. The effectiveness of your campaign, however, still relies on the quality and value of your content. Having many types of content to share is most helpful, so when someone sees your company repeatedly, they see it for a different piece of content. This projects an image of authority that is based on reality.
Content to Channel Mapping
It is important that you know what content goes to which channels. Map your planned content ahead of time to the channels you think will be your priorities for distribution. This ensures it is in the right format. Consider multi-channel content in one piece. For example, share an infographic relating to a blog post separate from the post itself to maximize the effectiveness of your content.
Create a Content Generation Process
It doesn’t matter what tools you use, but put a process in place that makes your content production as turn-key as possible (we use Trello). Your process should include a way to list all your content topics, categorize type, assign responsibility, and schedule each step to production and distribution. It is important that all people (particularly your influential practitioners) who are a part of this process and sit outside your organization understand the process and their responsibilities. (Keep them narrow, like “deliver my content on time.”)
Like everything else, with content distribution, planning is everything and the plan is nothing. Having a content distribution strategy with a creation process that connects to delivery is important. Formulate a planning process that identifies your buyers, the topics that matter most to them, and their channels and practitioners. If this process also defines your internal content delivery flow and calendar, then you will find you can also lean on that to capture opportunities.
This post was originally published in May 2017 and updated in June 2021.