How To Improve Your Winning B2B Content Marketing Distribution [Case Study]

5 B2B Content Marketing Distribution Tactics You Can Use

B2B Content Marketing Distribution Case StudyNeed to improve your stellar B2B content marketing distribution?  

Of course you do! 

Before you pull out your spreadsheet to show me that your content yielded above average results for your business, consider how you’d feel if the opposite were true.

Even worse if your content’s lack of performance were due to an outside force beyond your control.

I know that marketing pain because it’s happened to me.

More than once.

What did I learn from these less-than-winning marketing campaigns?

You have to put everything you’ve got into every campaign because there are things beyond your control and you don’t know what’s going to happen . 

Alison Levine who led the first US Women’s Expedition to climb Mount Everest says, “Your plan is out-of-date once you start executing it.” Click To Tweet


Therefore, as a marketer you must plan for unforeseen problems.

To this end, we’ll examine the highly successful, B2B content marketing distribution case study, BuzzSumo’s Analysis of 100 Million Headlines Analysis.

Without taking away from this B2B content distribution case study’s achievement, you’ll learn 5 content marketing distribution tactics to help avoid potential real life issues.

B2B Content Marketing Distribution Case Study: BuzzSumo’s 100 Million Headline Analysis

BuzzSumo’s 100 Million Headline Analysis wasn’t break-the-internet content at BuzzFeed levels.

Rather this Crowd Pleaser article was a B2B level success (which is way easier to attain!) Even better, its lessons can be applied to B2C content.

BuzzSumo’s B2B content marketing distribution success:

  • Was the most shared “content marketing” article for 6+ months.
  • Accrued 10,000+ shares. Social shares don’t yield take-it-to-the-bank worthy results. Rather they give visitors confidence they’ll look good by sharing the content (which is really what’s at the heart of social sharing.)
  • Yielded 100,000 views. For media entities, views are important. They’re even better if combined with above average time-on-site. As a marketer, you must take advantage of visitors while they’re on your site!
  • Accumulated 30,000+ unique backlinks from over  350+domains including high authority sites. (BTW—Over 75% of  content gets zero backlinks!) Backlinks are search-cred.
  • Produced 90+ comments. This shows readers’ interest in the topic.

These results are important since this was a piece of cornerstone content for which BuzzSumo wanted to be known in a crowded field of quality content including:


How To Extend Your B2B Content Marketing Distribution Success (case study)

After a month’s worth of results, BuzzSumo transparently revealed their insights as a B2B content marketing distribution case study in a second blog article.

This created a second piece of  “Crowd Pleaser Content” that is a reader magnet. The rationale: Content marketers always want to know “Why was your content marketing successful?”

They want to copy your content marketing distribution strategy. Don’t worry about about sharing your details. Being generous will help you because this “Document Your Success” article is highly shared.

Another example of this type of Crowd Pleaser content is Aaron Orendorff’s How To Attend A Conference And Take It Over (even if you’re not a speaker). It tapped into content marketing curiosity in the same way.

Like BuzzSumo’s analysis, Orendorff’s article generated  1,000+ social shares. Orendorff co-created 4 pieces of conference content marketing with Nadya Khoja.

Examination of BuzzSumo’s results revealed the content amplification and distribution plan behind the highly shared and consumed blog post.

  • Emailed their housefile of 200,000+ yielding a 14% open rate and 2% click-through (CTR).
  • Personal email outreach to about 20 thought leaders and journalists. This email correspondence provided input for their article. The use of journalists was important to helping get articles placed.
  • Invested in social media advertising to amplify and extend their reach. Specifically, BuzzSumo spent $648 on Faccebook ads and $151 on Twitter ads.

BuzzSumo’s 100 Million Headline Analysis is a B2B content marketing distribution case study

3 Key content marketing amplification and distribution success findings:

  1. Social media was the second biggest traffic source for the first week. Despite being a B2B article, Facebook accounted for the lion’s share of social media engagement. (BTW: At MarketingProfs B2B Forum, a senior media executive confided their biggest social media traffic source was Twitter.)
  2. Amplification sites (Hacker News and Reddit) yielded less stellar results. Build your presence on these sites before using them for your content.  As a result, Orendorff got Khoja’s article 26 Headliners on How To Connect With Influencers at a Conference to reach number 1 on Growth Hacker.
  3. Facebook advertising was important for testing, amplification and remarketing. While Facebook is considered a consumer site, don’t myopically overlook the size of its userbase and its related data. Translation: You can target you advertising investment.
Laser-focus content amplification in the first 3 days post-publication to maximize results.Click To Tweet



5 B2B Content Marketing Distribution Tactics

While BuzzSumo’s 100 Million Headline Analysis performed very well (and many B2B marketers would have been thrilled with this level of results), these 5 easy-to-implement tactics would have fanned the article’s performance flames into a bonfire.

1. Develop related offers for your visitors and readers

Use your Foundational and Crowd Pleaser Content as an entryway to your other content. I call this connected content.

Determine the next step you want your visitors to take and integrate these steps into your content. Include:

  • Email registration
  • Free product trial
  • Sales options

Improve email conversions with tools such as: OptinMonster (affiliate), Sumo and HelloBar. These tools work based on time and page scrolling to capture email addresses.

Whether you’re a B2B or B2C marketer romance visitors onto your email list. It’s a corporate asset.

Further research shows 50% of B2B visitors aren’t ready to make a purchase. So why force them into your marketing funnel when you might piss them off? (BTW, this is the big to gate or not to gate question.)

Instead limit your information request to name and email address. Use your Thank You Page and Welcome Email to better qualify your email list. (Yes—your sales team is screaming for leads but qualified leads save them time!) Instead ask email registrants what their top business problem is.

Tag the page to retarget visitors who don’t sign up for your email list with advertising.

2. Maximize housefile email content marketing distribution results with segmented lists and targeted content

BuzzSumo sent a short-to-the-point new post notice to their entire list of 200,000+ users and non-actives.

Tailor your emailing and content based on recipients’ product usage and interests where possible (AKA: Segment your lists.)

For example, BuzzSumo could have segmented their email list as follows:

  • Customers. Provide additional content that shows them how to expand their use of BuzzSumo.
  • Free users. Make them an offer they can’t refuse to nudge them to convert to paying customers.
  • Email subscribers without a free account. Upsell them to sign up for other free or premium services.
  • Non-actives. Try to get non-actives to engage again. Show how to improve their BuzzSumo experience. If that doesn’t work, cut them. At a minimum, it’ll improve your emailing results and reduce your email list costs.

Additional email tips for improved content distribution include:

  1. Maximize your sender and subject lines. It’s the only content real estate in your recipient’s inbox. Make it work!
  2. Test using text-only emails. They get through all types of devices. Drift does this according to David Gerhardt. At a minimum, ensure your emails are mobile-friendly.
  3. Re-mail non-opens a few days later with a different headline to improve response. I borrowed this hack from Sumo’s Noah Kagan.


3. Increase personal outreach to influencers and journalists to support content marketing distribution

BuzzSumo executives reached out to 20 journalists and thought leaders. This helped them improve their article. This was pure Andy Crestodina advice:

Partners in content creation are partners in content distribution.Click To Tweet


When the average social media user has 150 connections based on Dunbar numbers, why not increase your outreach since your team probably has more contacts?

Even if you have a small team, each member probably has 30+ contacts that would be interested in your content. At a minimum, it’s a warm opening.

Here’s an example from Lisa Dougherty of Content Marketing Institute. She’s a pro at inviting contributors to roundup posts to share the content post-publication. Send your email a week in advance and on the day of publication.

To expand your circle of influencers and journalists, follow them on various social media platforms, share and comment on their content, and introduce yourself at live events. It’s a matter of paying-it-forward to get on their radar. 

4. Create related content at same time to extend content marketing distribution over time

Minimize content creation costs by developing all related content at the same time. At least create related short social media shares and other medium and long content to share on owned, social and third party sites.

To keep your stellar content efforts top-of-mind, it’s key that you continue to publish related articles and content on a consistent schedule.

Therefore, I recommend creating related content using the same resources. This enables you to quickly publish and promote new content that keeps your major content efforts visible. (BTW—it also makes your financial team happy since it minimizes creation costs.)

Related content transformation options include:

  1. Create a PDF download of the findings to include in the article to capture email addresses and extend your readership.
  2. Use a press release spotlighting your analysis findings to reach a broader journalist and blogger audience.
  3. Batch responses to blog, podcast and video interview requests to appear the week following your analysis’s publication.
    Develop a webinar on your own or with a peer. Webinars are a great way to build your email housefile.
  4. Create a few “evil” twin articles. (Hat tip: Andy Crestodina) When you’ve got big findings, you can use them to reach out for a variety of guest blog posts or articles. Don’t forget about LinkedIn Publishing and Medium.
  5. Add a Slideshare, even if you don’t create a webinar. Your objective is to add other traffic sources. Include ways to sign up for your newsletter.

5. Leverage social engagement to increase visibility during your content amplification period

Maximize your content’s visibility on social media the first 3 days. At a minimum, have an employee spend time engaging to amplify the discussion.

Mike Alton of The Social Media Hat does this for his mega-crowd pleasers and manages to get more visible content. As a result, he transforms a small post into a larger social media conversation since the influencers add credibility to the mix.

Tap into amplification platforms. While you can’t just show up to the amplification party when you need help, you can pay-it-forward by participating before you need it. Aaron Orendorff is a pro at this tactic.

Partner with peers. Build a community of your peeps. Help each other by sharing related content. It’s great for building conversations on social media. Understand that this is a longer-term option. 

BONUS Tip: Plan publication timing to maximize content marketing distribution results

Don’t let your content publication be driven by the need to publish or perish! Your content will enjoy a fuller life if it’s timed for maximum amplification and distribution.

BuzzSumo published this Foundational Content the week before July 4th in the US, a time when marketers and others are away for long weekends and vacations. As a result, it was difficult to keep the content distribution momentum going.

Plan your content publication backwards from the ideal dates for content amplification and distribution. Include holidays, product events and conferences and internal promotions in your content planning calendar.


The B2B Content Marketing Distribution Case Study Conclusion

Content marketing distribution doesn’t happen by magic (although that would be nice!)

Instead  build content distribution into your content when you develop it. Start with research to ensure that your new content is shareworthy. This means that your readers want and need to know all about the topic.

Next go beyond incorporating social shares, Include TweetThis and PinThis elements into your content. Also, get influencers involved in the creation. As a result, they’ll be willing to promote your content.

Then fan the content promotion flames early with additional Facebook ads and personal outreach.

B2B Content Marketing Distribution Case Study Bottom Line: Use every piece of content as an opportunity to improve your content distribution while building partners in creation.

While you’re at it, help your peers by sharing their content.

Go on and maximize your content distribution reach.

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen

Heidi CohenHeidi Cohen is the President of Riverside Marketing Strategies.
You can find Heidi on FacebookTwitter and LinkedIn.


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