Look, it’s okay — we all make mistakes. Even if you mastered your content distribution channels and spent hours contemplating and refining your distribution strategy, nobody is going to get it right 100% of the time. When it comes to content distribution a lot can go wrong, and with the slow-moving nature of content marketing, you probably will have wasted a lot of time and a lot of money by the time you realize your mistake.
But don’t worry — it’s time to repent your content distribution sins to the expert marketers at GenM and let the healing process begin. In the final chapter of The Content Distribution Handbook, we walk you through 8 common content distribution pitfalls you should look out for.
Creating content is hard. Sparks of creativity come and go and many times people will wait until they have a great content idea before taking the initiative to start creating. Your audience isn’t going to wait around for you though. The best piece of content you can create is the one you can start today. Your audience only has so much time, and in the digital age, everyone else creating content is competing for it. If you want to keep your audience engaged then you’re going to have to be consistent with your content distribution. Additionally, new people visiting your channel who see that you post content very infrequently will have less incentive to follow along.
To keep your audience eagerly anticipating your next piece of content and to draw in new, loyal followers you’re going to have to start publishing regularly. Set a schedule and stick with it. Know who will be creating your content and when it will be published. Let your followers know when they can expect your next piece of content and be sure to follow through.
Posting to the Void
The amount of content on the internet is nearly endless - well over 1,200 petabytes to be exact. With that in mind, posting your content to your website or blog and hoping people will find it organically is a recipe for failure. Optimism will only get you so far and if you want eyes on your content you’re going to need a better plan than hope and prayers.
Plan out the channels you plan to post your content to and determine how your content will be part of a larger strategy to grow your following on these channels. Distribute your content on as many channels as you have available to you to give your content the best chance at gaining impressions.
Remember to think outside your owned media channels if you aren’t hitting your distribution goals organically. Consider leveraging paid media like Facebook or Instagram ads or buying a sponsored spot in an email newsletter like The Daily Carnage.
So you’ve written what you think is the perfect piece of content to go viral. It’s just clickbaity enough while still delivering solid value to your followers. You post to your channels, eagerly awaiting your content to start going viral. After a few hours of frantically checking your traffic…nothing. This is just the unfortunate reality of viral content — you can’t count on it. If your content happens to go viral, great. If not, don’t give up hope. Earned media can be powerful for gaining traffic and new followers but it’s not something you can force.
If your content isn’t getting the virility you are hoping for, don’t underestimate the power of paid media. A small paid media ‘seed’ has the potential to foster substantial earned media. But keep in mind that with paid media it’s easy to overspend. Keep a budget and test different paid media channels. Find one that works for you and keep creating engaging, easily shareable content to give it the best chance at going viral.
There is a lot of misinformation floating around the internet about how quantity beats quality when it comes to content marketing. While it is important to be consistent with your content, if your quality is suffering, then the amount of content you’re posting is a moot point.
Focus on creating long-form, valuable content. According to Forbes, longer form content is more likely to get likes, shares, and a higher search engine page rank than shorter form content. Strive for at least 1000 words for written content and 10-minutes for video content on YouTube.
Keep in mind that just because the content is long, doesn’t mean it’s quality. Research your topic thoroughly, focus on including keywords for search queries you are trying to rank on, don’t fluff up your content with information that is irrelevant or redundant for the sake of increasing length.
Content marketing takes time. Don’t get discouraged if your first post doesn’t take off right off the bat. Keep testing different channels, topics, and formats. Keep in mind that there is often a snowball effect when it comes to content marketing. Little by little, your following will grow and your content will get passed around through earned media. Building connections with people who can distribute your content is also important and requires patience. The more you build your distribution network and take time to put effort into fostering those relationships, the more reliable your distribution will become. Plan for the long-term and stick with it. Leads earned through content marketing often have the highest lifetime value.
Not Setting Clear Goals/KPIs
With content marketing, it’s easy to forget that your goal lies beyond simply getting content out there. The biggest difference between content marketing and simple content creation is that with content marketing there is a clear purpose behind the content. Depending on your business and the stage of the sales funnel that the audience you want to reach is, your goals will differ. Remember to set clear goals and keep track of them. Test different strategies and see what works and what doesn’t.
The most common goal of content marketing is lead-gen and sales. For this, you are using your content is a way of getting people on your site and capturing a lead by offering them value through your content. Common lead-gen/sales KPIs are:
- Newsletter Sign-ups
- Form completions
- Course sign-ups
- Gated content downloads
- Webinar sign-ups
If already have a solid base of followers that you are looking to engage or re-engage them, then your goal might be user engagement. With this goal, your content will serve to deliver value to customers who have already made a purchase from your brand or are considering making a purchase. Delivering content that they find valuable can keep them engaged with your brand and create a greater lifetime value or move prospective customers further down the sales funnel. Common user-engagement KPIs are:
- Social shares
- Inbound links
- Content downloads
- Mentions on other platforms
If you’re just starting out or want to bolster your brand’s authority, then your goal might simply be brand visibility. Getting people mentioning your brand, sharing your content, or simply visiting your site might be a strong enough goal for your content strategy for the time being. Common brand visibility KPIs are:
- Website traffic
- Content Views
- Read/Listen/Watch ratio
- Follower increase
- Branded search
Paid media is an extremely powerful tool to get eyes on your content and can be a great way to seed a post for earned media. That being said, the cost can add up quickly and if you don’t know what you’re doing, you’re going to waste a lot of money for little results.
If you plan on using paid media, you first have to start with clear goals. Don’t just boost a post on Facebook and hope that people will start converting on your site. Paid media requires a strategy in and of itself and you have to have a clear understanding of the audience you are trying to target and what you want them to do after interacting with your content. Take a look at our other article on hour to set up and prime a new Facebook pixel for more info on how to get the most out of your ad spend.
Ignoring your network
Don’t forget that your network is another channel you can leverage. Send your article out to people in your network who you think will find value in your content and they can, in turn, share it with their network. If you happened to mention a person or brand in your article, reach out to them and let them know — they may want to share it with their customers.
Be careful to keep in mind the frequency with which you are asking people in your network to share your content. If you believe it is relevant to their industry of particular business then share away, but you don’t want to come across as annoying or make it seem like you are using them.
Sharing content with your network can not only be a great way to increase impressions on your content but also a way to build relationships and let others know you are thinking of them.
When it comes to content distribution, everybody’s strategy is going to look different. What works for some might not work for others. Understand your channels, have a plan and avoid common mistakes. If you’re smart about how and where you distribute, consistent with your content, and have defined clear goals for your content then you should start seeing success in no time.
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