When do you start your content distribution planning?
Don’t be ashamed to tell me.
I promise I won’t tell anyone—it can be our secret!
Many content marketers start their content distribution process sometime after creating their content and hitting publish. Some wait even longer to distribute their painstakingly crafted messages.
To boost your results in terms of reach and utilize your resources better, follow these 5 content distribution planning secrets. This way you won’t lose sleep over your next distribution effort.
Even better, once you start following this approach, it’ll become part of your overall content marketing process and require less time.
Why You Need Content Distribution Planning
Don’t take my word for the power of content distribution planning!
Instead, let’s look at an example:
BuzzSumo published their “100 Million Shared Articles’ Headline Research” on Monday, June 26, 2017, roughly a week before holidays in Canada (July 1st) and the US (July 4th.) Having worked for The Economist, I know that US audiences outnumber Canadian and UK audiences.
Therefore this was an easy mistake for a British-focused content creator to make! He was focused on the UK calendar.
With 14,000+ shares to-date, you may wonder if I’m wasting your precious time. BUT I’m not!
So don’t hit that back-button YET!
Because BuzzSumo’s results would have been significantly higher if they had planned their distribution of this guaranteed-to-be-highly-shared-content beyond their editorial calendar needs. (I say this with assurance since it’s original research about headlines, 2 key attributes of crowd pleaser content.)
All they had to do was change the publication date to mid-June before their audience was in a vacation mindset or to late August prior Content Marketing World or September. (BTW, here’s my analysis of BuzzSumo’s research.)
5 Content Distribution Planning Secrets
Content Distribution Planning Secret 1: Content Purpose
Make each piece of content you create part of your overall content marketing plan regardless of length, format or initial publication platform.
Key Content Purpose Questions To Answer:
What is the purpose of this content?
- Determine its specific job for your audience and/or business. It should relate to your organization’s content marketing mission statement and business goals.
How will you prove that the content succeeded?
- Determine what each piece of content should accomplish and how to measure it. Associate these actions with your content marketing metrics.
While continuing the content experience, landing pages provide the ability to track actions related to specific pieces of content. Even better, you can guide readers to make decisions regarding their next action. This allows you to provide experiences without personalization or appearing creepy.
Further, include tracking codes on these pages to measure results and include them in your analytics.
Content Distribution Planning Secret 2: Content Audience
Understanding your audience matters not only for your content creation, but also for your content distribution. Knowing your potential readers influences what, how, where and when to deliver your content.
Key Content Audience Questions To Answer:
Who are the target readers for this content?
- Readers, customers, prospects and fans: Have shared their email addresses to receive your information. Also, they may receive your information via feeds.
- Social media followers: Seek your content on social media platforms without necessarily sharing their contact information with you.
- Employees: Include management, sales, customer service and others. Keep them in-the-communications-loop. This is particularly important for customer-facing staff.
- Business-related readers: Include suppliers, distributors and business partners depending on the relevance to your business relationship. Also: co-creators, thought leaders, bloggers, and journalists.
Why are they seeking this information?
- Understand what caused readers to proactively seek your content. What’s changed in their lives recently that resulted in new wants and needs? Further what questions or information details are they looking for?
Content Distribution Planning Secret 3: Content Context
Content context is key for distribution since it defines when, where and what type of device and/or platform your audience is using.
Key Content Context Questions To Answer:
When does your target audience need your information?
- Be specific. Depends on the time of year, day of the week, special events, and/or time of day.
Where is your target reader when he/she wants or needs your information?
- Your reader’s physical location, the type of device used to find the information, the content channel or platform and the content format.
- How he/she will consume your content and possible next steps to take including company contact or visit.
Content Distribution Planning Secret 4: Content Resources
Is your content distribution resource allocation short-sighted?
Key Content Resource Questions To Answer:
What do you include in your content distribution resources?
Content distribution resources may include:
- Paid advertising (Budget). Includes social media, search and third party media.
- Influencer outreach (Budget). Encompasses thought leaders, journalists, and bloggers. In addition to PR and press releases, may include an influencer marketing firm or influencer compensation.
- Social media scheduling tools (Budget). While free tools are available, you may need paid options or upgrades.
- Search tools (Budget). Like social media, you may need to pay for tools and/or a specialized search agency.
- Organic social media distribution (Employee time or freelance support). Includes social media content development, social media participation, and scheduling shares.
- Content creation (Employee time or freelance support). To develop additional related content for guest blog posts, long form social media content (like LinkedIn Publishing or Medium), and/or employee columns on third party media. Also includes content updates where needed.
- Employee outreach and training (Employee time or freelance support). Encourage employees to participate on social media representing your organization by providing training. Further, formalize this work as part of their job. Also establish a set of social media guidelines. LINK
- Employees to respond in a timely manner to your content (Employee time or freelance support). Consists of participating on social media platforms, chat or messaging apps, phone (sales and customer service) and in-person visits.
Content Distribution Planning Secret 5: Success Results
While success analysis sounds like a fancy way to describe metrics, it means more than that.
Extend your content’s reach with additional distribution yields one of the biggest content marketing ROI boosts.“Extend your content’s reach with additional distribution yields one of the biggest content marketing ROI boosts.” #contentmarketingClick To Tweet
But content distribution still can fall short of expectations due non-distribution issues such as your title or timing.
Key Content Success Analysis Questions To Answer:
What succeeded or missed the mark in your content distribution?
- Use landing pages with tracking codes to ensure that you can measure more than just increased traffic. This is key since visitors must view your content at least 8 times before they act. Measure handraisers, better qualified leads and increased conversions.
- Assess the value of gating your content since it’ll decrease your results.
- Perform a content distribution post-mortem. Include detailed notes about other related information because you won’t remember it later. Regardless of your content distribution planning, stuff happens that’s beyond your control. Like BuzzSumo, outside events may hinder your success.
What tests are you running related to content creation, distribution and conversion results?
- Always test at least one element of your content distribution. Include channels, timing, and conversion processes.
Content Distribution Planning Secret Conclusion
What content marketer doesn’t want improved content distribution results as well as better resource utilization?
Can you picture your boss’s face when you show her your latest content distribution results?
Are you already planning what to do with those “freed” marketing resources that you no longer need for content distribution?
Or are you still NOT convinced?
More likely, you’re wondering, “What’s in content distribution me?”
If so, then consider these benefits:
- Following these recommendations will deepen and extend your personal relationships with your audience, peers, social media followers and influencers.
- Further you’ll build a track record for successful content distribution.
Now, how does that type of content distribution success make you feel?
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