Creating great content is just one piece of the puzzle of a successful content marketing strategy and even an amazing content doesn’t guarantee huge audience.
Let’s be honest.
You aren’t writing about the Oscars, Trump, or even the new season of The House of Cards. So, the chances that your article on how to improve content distribution won’t go viral are good.
Content distribution is typically an afterthought for many marketing teams. It feels like by the time teams have a solid piece of advice to share with their target audience, they’ve already forgotten about distribution.
But posting on your blog and sharing it on social media isn’t enough (even if you add to it a begging that marketing has to do for others in the company to share content).
If you are on one of those teams that only uses internal resources for content distribution, this is the post for you.
For the purpose of this discussion we won’t differentiate content based on its targeting in the conversion funnel (HubSpot is a great example of company that does it right).
Content formats include:
- text (blog posts, articles, case studies, white papers, industry reports)
- visual (infographic, presentation, graphs)
- audio (podcasts, audio recordings, webinars)
- video (video presentation, video ad, etc.).
1. Find industry newsletters
2. Recycle your content
3. Cross pollinate your content — find guest post opportunities and open resources
4. Work with your partners
5. Pitch your articles to top publications
6. Staged rollout
Find industry newsletters
Obviously, if you run a newsletter internally every content that you create should be part of it. I’m sure there are many newsletters in your industry, and it’s worth pitching your content to them.
Running a newsletter is a very consuming task; most of the time is spent on finding and curating quality content. Establish relationships with the managers who run these newsletters and ask them to showcase your content. Assuming your article is a good quality the chances are high they won’t mind sharing it.
Some of the top newsletters in the startup world:
Mattermark Daily — https://mattermark.com/category/mattermark-daily/
Hiten Shah’s SaaS Weekly -http://hiten.com/
Startup Digest — https://www.startupdigest.com/
Saastr — http://www.saastr.com/
GrowthHacker — https://growthhackers.com
TO-DO: Make a list of all major newsletters in your industry and get to know people that are running them. Ask them what type of content they are interested in the most.
Recycle your content
What do I mean by “content recycling?” Let’s say you wrote an article:3 Ways to Improve Content Distribution. Can you rewrite this article in a different context or expand on one of the points highlighted in it?
Content recycling is the process of repurposing existing content from new angles or channels.
Angle — see if you can expand on one or two points you made in the article and reuse it for new content piece.
Format — can you describe the main idea for the article in a different format? Using infographic for example.
Channels — repurposing existing content with minimal editing on new channels.
The best content marketing teams keep content recycling idea in mind when they chose their topics.
- Can your article or blog post be put in powerpoint and shared on Slideshare?
- Can your article be used to answer Quora questions?
Quora is by far the most underrated tool for b2b marketers. It provides an amazing opportunity to learn what your target audience is interested in. Make sure to follow relevant topics and industry experts and see if you can use your content to answer questions on quora. Also, I often suggest to use Quora as tool to give you idea on what topics to cover in your upcoming articles.
TO-DO: Keep in mind how you can recycle your content when you are planning to create a new pieces. Make a list of formats, angles, and channels that you can use to recycle your existing content. Pick a few.
Cross pollinate your content — find guest post opportunities and open resources
The audience of your blog is your audience, they know you, your content, and your style. One of the best ways to showcase your content is to find a guest blog opportunities.
Make a list of companies that target the same type of customers but aren’t your competitors. If you create a tool for marketers to schedule social media posts, it is very likely they use some sort of analytics solution. Create a list of companies whose blogs can use your content.
On the other hand, be open to post good guest articles on your blog as well.
Couple of rules:
- Your article has to be unique and it has to be released as a guest post first and then it can be edited and reposted on your own blog.
- Apply same rules to guest bloggers on your resources.
TO-DO: Create a list of blogs that might be a good choice for cross pollination.
Work with your partners
Your partners are an excellent resource to help you distribute your content. We are talking about product partnerships for the most part. If your product can be used or integrated with other products, this is a great opportunity to reach the audience of your partner and vice versa.
Let’s say your product integrates with CRMs.
Do you sponsor industry events? Most likely they have a publication arm or at least a blog.
TO-DO: evaluate your current partnerships and see where the opportunities for cross-marketing are.
Pitch your articles to top publications
If you just starting out pitching to top publishers, it can feel intimidating. But as you have to start selling your product early, you should consider pitching your stories to top publications sooner. Make sure that you aren’t talking about your product or your services. Do not imply anything that can come as a promotion or ad.
Instead, think whether you can add an interesting opinion (or angle) to recent breaking news in your industry. You can share your internal report or industry analysis that can benefit others.
Most publications are interested in awareness type of content that isn’t too technical for the masses but isn’t overly obvious as well. I look at content marketing strategy as a production line and it makes a lot of sense to include stories that could be pitched organically in other publications. My recommendation is to make 1 in every 4 stories pitchable to industry publications.
TO-DO: Research and create a list of top 10 writers and journalists in your industry. Test 2 approaches to pitching your story: 1) pitch a new writer every day and give them 1 day to claim the story. This will insure that you have reached them first; 2) send 5 emails on day one and make sure your story is on first come, first serve basis. Give all them 3–5 days to get back to you. At the end of this period send and second batch of personal emails with the same timeframe.
Now this is the secret sauce and that’s why I put it at the end (only for those of you who will at least scroll to the end of this article).
Staged rollout is (in my subjective opinion) one of the most underrated strategies for getting maximum coverage for your content.
Content can perform differently from one channel to another (Checkout Andy’s experience in sharing posts on Linkedin and Medium.) and staged rollout can get your higher ROI on each content that your create.
Let me give you an example of how staged rollout can work.
Version 1: For the articles that can be pitched to industry publications.
Day 1: send personal email to 5 journalists/writers in the industry and ask them to get back to you in 3 days.
Day 4: (assuming you haven’t heard back) send 5 more personal emails.
Day 7: writer agreed to post your article in 7 days.
Day 14: article is published in top industry publication + share with social media.
Day 15: summary of the article is published on corporate blog with reference to original article + share on social media + send your original article to top newsletters.
Day 16: publish edited article on Medium.com + share on social media (including related Linkedin groups).
Day 17: republish article on open/free resources with link to your blog and original (ex: Linkedin, Gamasutra, Growthhacker, Quibb, Hackernews,… etc.).
Day 18: answer (or create) related questions on Quora + share on social media.
Day 19: post slide summary on Slideshare.
This process can be done practically with one good piece of content. In the case where your content is less appropriate for pitching to industry publications, employ these similar but simplified release tactics:
Day 1: release on corporate blog + share on social media.
Day 3: republish on Medium + share on social media.
Day 4: pitch your article to be added to industry newsletters.
Day 5: post on free resources (always have 3–5 resources) + share on social media.
Day 7: answer or create a relevant questions on Quora + share on social media.
Content distribution strategy is as important as content creation and it should not be overlooked by marketing teams. Experimentation with different approaches and processes of how to spread their message across larger audiences can pay large dividends. Also we didn’t touch upon how content release at a particular time of the day can impact engagement. This is another aspect of content distribution to keep in mind and test.