Choosing the Right Distribution Channels
13 September 2016 • 6 min.
Distributing your content across the right channels is paramount; even the best content is worthless if it’s invisible. However, the seemingly infinite number of communication channels available on the internet make it difficult to determine what the right channels are.
Know Where Your Audience Is
In order to reach your audience, you have to know where to find them. Understanding where your audience spends their time online will allow you to better target and reach them with your content. It is not realistic to be everywhere all the time, so narrowing your scope to the most important channels allows your resources to be used more efficiently.
Using your existing customer base is a simple way to gather this data. By having your sales team ask the right questions or by requesting that your customers fill out a survey you can gather useful insights into where you are most likely to find your audience.
Of course, an indispensable tool for distributing your content is your existing customer and subscriber base. These are the people that already know you, already trust you, and have already taken an interest in your content. You undoubtedly want to grow your audience and these people can play a big role by sharing it with their audience!
It is not unreasonable to assume that your audience will at the least be active on one or more of these well known social networks. Regardless of if your company is in B2B or B2C, these communities have already proven to be effective distribution channels.According to a report from the Content Marketing Institute, nearly every company in B2B uses LinkedIn and Twitter to distribute content. Of these, 66% ranked LinkedIn as being an effective distribution channel and 55% ranked twitter as being effective. In the B2C world, it is unsurprising that Facebook replaces LinkedIn as the most used and most effective social network for content distribution.
It is important to understand that success in distributing content on platforms like these hinges on integrating it into a broader social media strategy. The more established your presence, the more your content can be amplified to your audience.
These social networks are not as widely used or regarded as the others mentioned before, but they are perfect for reaching a niche audience.
Quora is question-and-answer platform that can be an excellent platform to demonstrate your company's expertise. However, in order to drive traffic to your blog or content successfully, you will need to take the time to actually answer questions thoroughly on the platform itself.
Reddit is a thread based network that can also help drive traffic and viewership if it is used properly. Spammy posts will likely get you deleted and possibly banned by moderators, so you have to ensure that you are making a meaningful contribution to the community.
While earned media like the examples given above are the most important and effective way to distribute content, it can also be supplemented with paid media.
One avenue to paid media distribution is through some of the channels we already mentioned above. Facebook allows posts to be promoted with incredible precision. Facebook is a data powerhouse. This gives you the possibility to target your audience not just based on age, gender, or location but even specific interests and behaviors.
Twitter, too, allows you to promote Tweets. You can customize your audience like on Facebook (although without the same surgical precision) or you can use quick promote that only requires you to choose a geographic area.
In addition to these options, you also have companies like Outbrain, Taboola, and Revcontent who specialize in promoting and distributing content. These can serve as great tools to help overcome the initial challenges of growing your audience. However, no paid distribution should replace your organic efforts because they are by far the most rewarding.
Always Track Results
Content distribution is a dynamic part of the content marketing process and getting it right will take time. Measuring your success is an essential part of this iterative process.
Social networks like Facebook and Twitter come with built in analytics that allow you to measure the engagement with your posts. These features are great for measuring the performance of both individual posts and your performance over time on and particular social network. Some applications, like Sellsy, will also give you a global view of where your traffic coming from in order to see what your most successful distribution channels are.
Using key performance indicators, setting goals, and measuring your success will help you tweak and adjust your distribution strategy over time to ensure the best results. Tell us what in the comments what channels work best for your company and why!