Content Distribution: Drive Traffic & Get More Value From Your Content

Content distribution
This entry is part 5 of 6 in the series Content Creation for Small Businesses

Millions of new blog posts are published to the web every single day. Sounds intimidating, I know. But with an effective content distribution strategy, you won’t get lost in the crowd—you’ll be standing in the spotlight.

Why content distribution? Because just writing great content isn’t enough anymore. You can create the most excellent blog post the world has ever seen, but if you don’t tell the world about it, no one will ever know. This is where your distribution channels come in.

Think of your blog as a warehouse, like the one in the image above. All your products (posts) are stored nicely and neatly waiting for people to need what you have to offer. But what happens when someone places an order and you don’t have any way to distribute it to the customer? Nothing.

So far you’ve come up with an idea, created your product (a blog post), and made sure it’s high quality. Just like in the warehouse, though, you must have a plan in place to actually distribute your content if you expect to get any value from it.

Content distribution channels

First of all, there are three different types of distribution channels:

Owned channels are those that your brand directly controls. You decide exactly what, when, and how to share everything. Owned channels include your company social media pages, blog, and email newsletter.

Earned channels are outstanding because they give your brand the opportunity to tap into the audiences of other, potentially more influential folks in your market. Guest blogging and influencer marketing are both examples of earned distribution.

Paid channels include Google AdWords and AdSense, Facebook and Twitter ads, and PR networks like PRNewswire. These channels can drive some major traffic and get a whole lot of eyes on your content.

If you are just getting started with your blogging, don’t overextend yourself by trying to use every channel. You’ll get burned-out, and your content initiative will fail before it even gets started. To avoid this, find the channels where your audience spends most of their time and stick to them.

Create massive value with your content by investing your time in the right distribution channels. Click To Tweet

Invest your time in the right places and it will create massive value for your brand and have your content burning across the web like wildfire.

Owned Channels

Your Website

I want to touch on this just briefly since your website is the home base for all of your content online. Each piece of content should find a home there first and foremost.

Make each piece of content highly shareable—Adding social sharing buttons, click to tweet links or embedded social posts are all great ways to boost engagement.

Most social sharing WordPress plugins give you the option to display the number of shares a piece of content has. By doing this you give other readers social proof that your content is worth its salt, and worth sharing with the world.

The more you promote your content across social media, email, and other channels, the more visitors you can expect to receive from your content efforts.

Social Media

With nearly 20% of the planet on social media, these networks play a significant role in your content strategy. As of 2016, the monthly active users on each major network are:

  • Facebook — 1.71 billion (yup, with a ‘B’)
  • Instagram — 500 million
  • LinkedIn — 433 million
  • Twitter — 313 million
  • Google+ — 300 million

To be most effective on social media, compose updates that sound like you are talking to a friend—Be social! People don’t respond to posts that are too sales-y or stuffed with too many keywords, and they will overlook them without a second thought. You can check out these articles for more info about how to post effectively on the major social media platforms:

You can inspire even greater engagement on social media by tapping into the power of Groups and Communities (each network has a variation of this). Sharing your content with these laser-focused groups of like-minded people will create a noticeable jump in traffic.

I know what you’re thinking, “I don’t have time to be on Facebook all day!” Thankfully, for busy folks like you and me, there are tools like Buffer and Hootsuite to help you manage posting times, schedule things in advance, and analyze post performance. Full disclosure: we recommend Buffer.

Email List

If you have not started building an opt-in email list using a service like MailChimp or AWeber, you need to start. There are people out there who will tell you that email marketing is dead, but this is simply not the case.

Riddle me this Batman: how often do you check your email each day? Pretty often, right? Chances are your subscribers check pretty often too. Your reader’s inbox is a valuable place to be.

Be cautious, though, if you send emails too often or don’t provide enough value to your subscribers, they won’t be your subscribers for long—because spam.

When you create content on your blog, send your readers updates at regular intervals. It could be weekly, monthly, or even yearly. The point is, create a plan and stick to it.

By curating your blog posts into an email newsletter, you put your best content right at your readers’ fingertips. Be sensitive to their needs and desires, and deliver a solution in your emails and your email list will begin to grow.

If you’re just starting out, you may not have a huge following on your owned distribution channels. That’s ok! Distributing content consistently across owned channels will help grow your audience. Another option is to use earned distribution.

Earned Channels

Earned distribution channels, while admittedly harder to acquire, can send you massive amounts of traffic for extended periods of time.

Imagine one of your blog posts got picked up by a major website in your market or niche. Suddenly, your content is in front of a much larger audience, and it has a much greater chance of being shared far and wide.

However, just as you distribute your content to your readers, you often must reach out to earned channels and earn the right to get published there.

Guest Blogging

Guest blogging is great because blogs that accept guest writers have an audience that is established and engaged already. To earn the right to get featured there, you may need to pitch your guest blog post to the editor.

One of the many benefits of guest blogging is that you are usually allowed to link back to your site. If the site you are guest posting on has built substantial domain authority, the benefits of having a link there are enormous.

To find the best guest blogging opportunities, content strategist Erin Cushing, from inSegment, Inc., suggests you “identify other thought leaders in your industry, and ask to produce content on their blog.” Through this, Erin continued,  “you create a strong relationship, links back to your site, and put your content in front of a new, relevant audience.”

Blogging on influential websites is a great way to get traction in your market. Another method uses the power of those very same influencers on social media.

Influencer Marketing

Just as Erin suggested above, identify other thought leaders in your industry, but this time, we are looking to their social media influence.

Now, just a disclaimer ahead of time, you shouldn’t just start sending messages to influential people if you have never talked to them before and never engaged with their content. Unless they are really cool people or you have an exceptionally well-crafted pitch and idea, you’re likely going to get turned away and ruin any chance of working with that influencer in the future.

Cautionary tales aside, getting influencers to share or publicly endorse your content can give it quite a substantial boost. So reach out and, just like you would pitch a guest blog post, tell the influencer why your content is valuable and why they should share it with their followers.

While influencer marketing can have an immediate and significant impact, don’t feel pressured to reach out to these folks right away. It can take time to build the confidence to approach them.

Syndication

Syndication is when another website picks up your content and publishes it on their site. If a site syndicates your posts with an RSS feed, every time you publish a new post it will show up automatically on the.

You do need to be wary, though, as sometimes the syndicated post can outrank your original post (on your site) in the search results.

Paid Channels

Don’t let the paid part deter you from using these distribution channels if you aren’t already. Implementing paid channels like Google AdWords and AdSense or Facebook ads can prove to be immensely valuable, providing significant returns without breaking the bank.

According to Andrew Krebs-Smith from Social Fulcrum, “paying to increase your exposure can dramatically increase the impact and engagement of each piece of content, and it’s relatively cheap!”

Krebs-Smith also noted that “social signals play such a significant role in search engine rankings, (so) it’s important that the social posts that link to your site have as much engagement as possible.”

Paid Advertising Networks

Paid advertising networks like Google AdWords  or Facebook ads can immediately boost the reach and visibility of your content. Part of the beauty of paid advertising is that your ad campaigns are highly targeted towards people that are most likely to take action on them.

Unlike owned or earned channels, where you are limited to the audience that you or the influencer have built, paid channels get your message in front of an audience who are interested in what you have to say but may have never seen your content otherwise.

PR Distribution Networks

If your content is newsworthy (e.g. new product or service), you can submit it to a network like PRNewswire in the form of a press release. On average these services run about a hundred dollars for a standard release, which will get your content in front of thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of potential publishers who are looking to pick up content.

We published a press release in March, after winning a Stevie Award for Sales and Customer Service. The article was picked up by over four-hundred websites including Yahoo and Google and received well over 100,000 total views across all sites that picked it up. We also experienced a significant jump in traffic to our site, that lasted for an extended period of time:

Content distribution traffic spike
The spike in traffic from our Stevie Award press release was significant, to say the least.

Wrapping Up

Content distribution with what sets the blogs that get traffic apart from those that don’t. Twenty percent of your time should be spent creating content—eighty percent of your time should be spent distributing it to the world. If you do not distribute it, no one will read it.

At the beginning of this article, I mentioned that you should stick to the channels where your readers spend most of their time. That is true to an extent, but as marketers, it is our job to test everything. Try each channel for a set length of time and set goals for the test to see how each channel performs.

But, when you find the distribution channels that work the best for your business, invest your efforts into them, and you’ll reap the benefits.

If you enjoyed this post, please share it! Which distribution channels have worked best for your business and why? Let’s talk in the comments.

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