You have probably heard about content marketing. Since you are reading this, my guess is that you are engaging in content marketing or at least creating content for your target group. If you need some reasons to start with content marketing, here is a list of benefits you can get for your business when you engage in content marketing.
But many entrepreneurs and small businesses do not see the content marketing success they are looking for because their content distribution sucks.
Even if you already have an audience and one or two channels that give you some traffic to your content, there will always be another distribution channel you could use.
Far too many people or businesses that engage in content marketing focus on one channel alone – most of the time that seems to be SEO. But no ONE distribution channel can be the SOLE answer to your distribution strategy. Most channels influence each other. If you manage to succeed in several distribution channels, the results in each one of the channels will be better than with only one channel.
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For instance, your search traffic will get a positive impact from social media success. Your social media audience will grow if people can find you via search. One of the best ways to grow traffic and audience when you are new to the market is guest posting. And some forums and group discussions can easily boost social followers.
To help you get a head start with your content distribution here is a list of channels you can try. Always keep in mind that some channels need to be built over time while others can give you an audience quickly, but this audience is often not the best converting. The difference lies in the type of audience you reach:
- External or lose audience: This type of audience is not connected to you. Who you reach is up to a lot of chance.
- Own audience: Your subscribers, your social media followers or members of forums and groups where you are really active and connect
The goals with content distribution will shift slightly while your content marketing matures. Simplified you want to go through the following stps on your content marketing journey:
- Start out with getting an audience
- Make people come back for more content and build relationships and trust
- Convert your content audience to the next step: subscribers, leads and eventually customers.
When you are starting out with your content distribution, your own audience is often very small: a couple of followers, a handful of subscribers – that’s it. That is why at this point you need to look at the external or rather lose audience. The goal is always to build up your own audience and then use this for the main content distribution.
Content Distribution Channels:
Let’s start with external audiences. Each of these channels has their own set of rules. Not folowing them can easily result in no success or even worse getting your account banned.
Did you ever think of the question-and-answer site Quora as a distribution channel? You should. For some niches, this can work well. The way to go is:
- Find questions from your niche as closely related to your content as possible
- give thorough answers with a ton of value
- link to your content for more information
This only works if the question is of interest to a larger group of people and your answer really provides value so that it gets upvoted. An boring answer to a uninteresting question will not get you far.
StumbleUpon is not dead at all. But the traffic from StumbleUpon is not highly converting traffic. However in order to build brand awareness StumbleUpon can help you get your content in front of many people by simply sharing it.
In simple words StumbleUpon works like this: You share a link, get a couple of views. If some of the viewer like the content, you get more views on your content. The better liked your content is the more views you get.
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Reddit is a fickle friend. To find success with Reddit you need to engage with the users. You are not even allowed to simply share content without engaging on Reddit.
You need to find subreddits that fit your niche. Engage with the people there. Once you can share your content and still engage with the audience.
Reddit has a lot of power to drive traffic, but it is definitely not an easy network to master if you are not willing to
A great way to distribute content can be forums whose discussions are based on shared links to content. Examples are Inbound.org or Hackernews.com. These forums usually do not like people who simply share their content without taking part in the discussions.
For real content distribution success with these forums, you need to be willing to actively engage in the discussions.
Large social media groups promise a huge audience. However, reaching this audience is not as easy as it sounds. These groups basically fall into two categories: Groups where everyone tries to share their content and no one listens. Or groups that have very strickt rules considering the sharing of content.
While sharing in the spammy groups is easier, the results usually tend to zero. These shout-out groups for a large part consist of people sharing content but not many people listen or click.
The well moderated groups often do not allow the sharing of content for the sole purpose of sharing content. You have to find the right discussion that really matches your content – only then can you try to include the link to your content into your answer and the answer should be more than just a shared link.
6. Blog comments or comments on news sites
A large part of blog comments are simple spam. If you try to get a link to your content into as many comments on various blogs as you can, your results will be meager.
For success with blog commenting, you need to find the right content to comment and then write a thoughtful and helpful comment. Adding a link to your answer can then give you the exposure for your content that you are looking for.
7. Guest posting
Guest posting is not a quick solution to your content distribution problem. But it is one of the most sustainable and effective methods.
The reason why I did not start this list with guest posting is this: It is not a straightforward distribution strategy. In reality, you create more content – the distribution effect for your own content is more or less a side effect.
You are getting yourself in front of an existing audience: The audience of the hosting blog. You can link to your own content, either in the post itself or at least in your author bio. This will have a positive effect on your SEO efforts. You can also use the author bio to build your social media following and to build your subscriber list for your own blog.
Now we are getting closer to the owned channels, but there are some channels that can already work before you have a larger audience on these platforms:
Of course, Slideshare is a social network where you can build an audience. But Slideshare has more ways of getting an audience to your content:
- Slideshare is strongly interconnected with LinkedIn
- Slideshare has a strong Google ranking, your content on Slideshare can find an audience through Google
- Slideshare has a built-in search engine and many people look for information on Slideshare.
Thus by simply optimizing your content on Slideshare (description, title, tags) your content on Slideshare can find an audience and help you get an audience back to your other content.
Again you have to create content in form of presentations for Slideshare, but you can integrate the slides on your own website and link from within the slides to content.
Content discovery on Pinterest is no longer based on who people follow. Pinterest has a smart feed that is based on interests, actions and connections, people not only discover content from people they follow but also content that Pinterest identifies as interesting to them via keywords and interests.
If you master SEO and keywords for your Pinterest posts you can distribute your content on Pinterest without having to build a huge audience first.
Channels where you need to build an audience first:
10. Social media like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn
Sharing your content on social media should be a must, but the huge impact of this content sharing will always depend on your followers. You have to build a trusting and attentive audience first before a social share can have the power to reach far. Once you have an audience on social media it will constantly crave for more good content.
Other distribution methods like guest blogging or blog commenting can help you build this audience. But you cannot expect the huge impact of social media to set in instantly after joining a social network.
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My impression is that many newbie content marketers forget about this distribution method – or try to find the easy way out. Neither buying a list nor searching the web for email addresses will do the trick.
What you are looking for is people who want to listen to you and know why they recieve your newsletter. You can push the signups by offering something in exchange for the email address.
Your subscribers cannot only become one of your best content distribution channels, they can easily also turn into the best converting sales channel.
Is Search traffic an owned audience? Not really. While you can build your visibility in search results, you always are at Google’s mercy. From one day to another, things can change and Google may not send you any more traffic after an update.
While you have to build your SEO rankings as you have to build your social audience, you do not really own this audience. Still, SEO traffic is valuable traffic if you rank for the right keywords.
There are endless distribution channels that may be valuable for you. Some will only be relevant for certain niches, others are open to all topics. This list can only provide you with a small glimpse at the different options. It is meant to point out that you cannot simply sit back after creating your great content but have to take action and make sure to distribute your content to an audience.
The cases where content just magically turned viral without being distributed to as large an audience as possible are rare.