There’s no denying it; content is king. Marketing trends come and go, but the need for high-quality content will never change.
But even if you create great content, there’s no guarantee it’ll reach your audience.
To get your content seen and heard in the right places by the right people, you’ve got to feed it into the right channels.
This is the concept behind multi-channel distribution; that by publishing and sharing content where your audience is, it’ll be more successful.
Simple stuff, and by the end of this guide, you’ll have everything you need to put it into action.
Why is multi-channel distribution so important?
It’s foolish to have the attitude that if your content’s good enough, then it will eventually be seen.
This becomes increasingly poignant when you consider the substantial and significant nature of the internet, where everyone is competing for search engine supremacy and for their Tweets to ‘bang’.
We all know about the importance of SEO and how it makes a massive difference to whether your content is seen. In many respects, this aspect of marketing is actually one of the biggest distribution opportunities there is. The vast majority of online experiences start with a search engine and if customers are looking for products or services relating to your business, this is probably where they’ll come first. So while high quality content should be your priority, SEO must be a prime concern too.
Then there’s social media, which is where we really start to explore the idea of multi-channel distribution.
From the main social spheres of Facebook and Twitter to more niche networks such as Instagram and Pinterest, potential customers are ready and waiting.
Distributing content to these active onlookers is remarkably easily, but the messages and information you’re conveying must be appropriate. Explicit sales pitches or lacklustre content will not go down well and could quite easily do more harm than good.
But distribution opportunities don’t end there, as content discovery platforms are now growing in prevalence and prominence.
These paid-for channels give brands and businesses various advertising opportunities on existing pages of content. Ever clicked on a ‘Recommended Post’ or ‘Suggested Content’ link at the bottom of a blog post? This is the work of discovery platform algorithms, which match your content with similar posts on websites and blogs that your target market is visiting.
Therefore, when it comes to the initial stages of content creation, distribution has to be at the forefront of your thinking.
Whether you decide to distribute organically or pay for targeted advertising, there is an extensive range of potential channels to choose from.
Here, we’ve listed channels which we recommend you consider to start out. Some are more obvious than others, but crucially each can be incredibly effective.
- Website – Ultimately, this is where you want customers to end up, so start by distributing content on your company website. The most common and clear-cut option is a blog, but you can also incorporate images on the homepage, embed an ‘about us’ video somewhere on the site or publish regular updates and news stories. Make sure you include some social sharing buttons so website visitors can also distribute content to friends, connections and associates.
- Email – Even if you are bombarded with scores of irrelevant and tedious emails every day, it still remains an incredibly effective way of speaking directly to an active and interested audience. The secret is to provide something useful and valuable that resonates with the reader. Whether you include the majority of content in the email or provide an external link to it, always remember to include a defined call-to-action.
- Facebook – This is an obvious distribution channel but one of the best due to the sheer number of people with an account. For increased impact and engagement, think about paying for sponsored newsfeed posts, which displays your best content. But to simply increase fans and likes, go for a sidebar advertisement. Audience segmentation is the key here, as you could end up wasting lots of money by not targeting effectively. Since Facebook updated its News Feed algorithm, not all of your fans will see every piece of content you post organically, as the social network wants more brands to pay for promotion.
- Twitter – It might not be as developed as Facebook in terms of targeted distribution, but Twitter is a great channel for reaching the masses quickly. Remember that images are much more powerful than text alone and sharing content from industry influencers is equally important. Promoted Tweets and Twitter Cards will seamlessly integrate into your audience’s timeline, but building up an organic following can be tough.
- Pinterest – Visually striking images get noticed, saved and shared by this increasingly active network of users. But seeing as Pinterest is currently testing Promoted Pins with a few select brands, now is the time to capitalise on this particular network’s organic distribution potential, especially if you’re an e-commerce brand. Pinterest controls 23 per cent of referral traffic to e-commerce sites and users will spend twice as much as those coming from Facebook.
- Outbrain – The two main purposes of Outbrain are simple – to amplify and engage. With this discovery platform, your audience will see your content on sites and pages that interest them. The personalised nature of this distribution channel can increase page views and time spent on site while adding revenue without disturbing the user’s natural browsing experience. On top of that, you can appeal to the right audience and enhance your content strategy through in-depth targeting and insights.
- Taboola – Another content discovery platform with an extensive publisher network, Taboola wants to boost traffic numbers through a sizeable and switched-on audience. But despite their claims, both of the aforementioned distribution channels aren’t as good at targeting specific individuals as the alternatives. Therefore, it is imperative to always be mindful of cost vs. conversion.
- Paid search – There is no reason why you can’t take advantage of Google, Bing and Yahoo’s paid for advertisements. They are highly targeted, attract an active audience, work on a pay-per-click basis and appear in the right places. However, the world of PPC is a complicated place and can end up being an expensive drain on money and resources if you do not know what you’re doing. But if you choose relevant keywords and direct customers to suitable landing pages, that all-important piece of content can thrive.
- Remarketing and retargeting – Similar to content discovery platforms, Google’s Display Network puts your message right in front of an audience that has had a previous interest in your brand or products. Advertisements can feature text, images or videos and appear in all manner of different places. The Facebook Exchange FBX, which uses a real-time bidding system, is another useful resource for retargeting certain people. Although you can manage and track your budget as well as the end result, some prior knowledge or expertise is again highly advantageous.
Multi-channel distribution tips
- Know your audience. You’ll have a much better chance of distributing content in the right places if you have a clear and defined target audience. Rather than concentrating on general consumer facts and figures, try to understand the interests of specific individuals. Finding and targeting a niche group of people can help broaden your paid strategy, lower cost-per-clicks and increase page views.
- Make it shareable. Whenever and wherever you publish your content, make sure it can be shared across every social media channel possible. Even though you’re putting in a great deal of effort to get content noticed, your audience can help with this process too. Calls-to-action will encourage readers to share and it doesn’t hurt to ask employees to get involved too.
- Leverage influencers. Reaching out to industry influencers and asking them to share your content can have far-reaching benefits. Seek out these individuals on social media and give them a reason to share your content. They will have an extensive and relevant group of followers or fans that you might be able to capitalise on.
- Reuse content. This doesn’t mean re-writing blog posts or feature articles, as quality will suffer. Instead, recycle or re-purpose the message you’re trying to get across through other content mediums, such as images, infographics and videos. Visual content is the best way to grab attention and engage with users on social media.
- Analyse the results. Any multi-channel distribution strategy is fairly pointless if you don’t analyse the outcomes. Concentrate your efforts on platforms that work well and ditch the ones that don’t.
So, why is multi-channel distribution the key to successful content marketing? Because without utilising every resource at your disposal, all that great content you create will go unnoticed. Come to think of it, is there a better way to waste money?