November 10, 2022 (Updated: May 4, 2023)
Content distribution is a marketing strategy that includes promoting and sharing content across various free and paid media channels. When done correctly, it’s a way to make sure the right segments of your audience see the right information at the right time. But as a marketer, you know you and your team are busy. How are you supposed to make sure you’ve hit all the right channels for distribution? Today, we’re introducing a 12-item content distribution checklist to make sure your team never misses a content distribution or promotion opportunity:
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Content distribution has a lot of related but distinct moving parts to make it work. Don’t confine your distribution to computer programs, interacting with other people, or even just digital media. The more layers you add to your content distribution plan, the more brand awareness, reach, and leads you can attract. But layers also make the strategy more complicated, and it becomes more difficult to keep track of all the pieces.
Creating and customizing a content distribution checklist allows you to make sure you don’t miss a potential publishing, distribution, or promotional opportunity through simple oversight. A distribution checklist helps you keep all the information about your strategy in one place for easy reference, and adjust the items accordingly based on your brand, content, or audience. Content managers, small business owners, and marketing teams or agencies may benefit most from using a checklist document, but anyone in content publishing, distribution, or promotion make find a use for one.
Use this checklist to make sure you’ve hit every content distribution channel or option that makes sense for your business and audience:
You didn’t think you could jump right into content distribution without at least one planning step, did you? Every stage of the content marketing development process requires planning, and distribution is no different. Make sure you’ve taken the time to segment your audience and understand which groups spend their time where, and what messages they want to see. Segmenting your audience helps you decide which distribution channels below best align with your campaign and strategy.
You won’t distribute all your content all at once. Most times you’ll decide what content to distribute based on the day it publishes, the topic it promotes, or the time of year you plan to share it. Prioritize your content for distribution, starting with the pieces you want to share first. Creating a content calendar is a great way to do this preparation. The calendar not only covers the creation phase of content development but also lets you determine where, when, and for how long you plan to share content on a variety of channels.
Most of your content needs a permanent home before you can distribute it through any other channels. One of the simplest places to publish your content for distribution is on your owned media channels. These include places like your brand website, blog, or social media profiles. Make sure that you’ve published, polished, and optimized your content in its lifelong location before you share it on other channels.
By doing this prep work, you’ll know that any traffic, conversions, or engagement you get back on your content hubs from your distribution efforts will do their job. They’ll entice people to work with your brand and someday become paying clients or customers. If you find you’re not receiving the attention you expect from your distribution strategy, you’ll know there’s a snag with the strategy itself and not the content.
When most digital marketers think about content distribution, their minds immediately go to social media channels. It’s a logical jump. According to Smart Insights, about 4.7 billion people across the world use social media as of 2022. Couple the large audience with the chance to go viral and repeatedly put your content in front of their eyes, and who wouldn’t want that kind of exposure?
But social media distribution shouldn’t be a “throw things at the wall and see what sticks” approach. You don’t have to put every piece of content on every single one of your distribution channels if it doesn’t fit. Your brand doesn’t have to be on every social media platform if your audience doesn’t spend time there. For example, most B2B brands find the most social media success on platforms like LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. There’s no need for a B2B brand to distribute content on TikTok unless its research finds the audience has migrated there to get business news.
No matter which social channels you use, make sure you’ve distributed your content to the right ones, and follow the best practices of each platform to get the most potential views and reach out of each post.
If you want to be ultra-sure that your audience sees the content you share, one of the best ways to do that is to slide it into their inboxes. Whether you use email marketing, text messaging, or another form of direct communication, you’ll be able to know and track their engagement through analytics. Look at how many people open, click, and convert through this type of content distribution.
Direct marketing lets you personalize your communications with your audience, which makes them more likely to click and explore what you share, compared to a generic post on social media. When they’re more likely to engage with your content, the audience is also more likely to share it with their own followers or through their own channels. For example, a subscriber on your email blast may forward the content to their colleague. Segmenting your direct marketing lists, especially your email lists, helps increase open rates and engagement based on the content you distribute in each campaign.
Your team members and other company employees are also helpful distribution channels to get the word out about your latest content. If you’re not getting your team members to promote your brand content, you’re missing out on the potential to reach even more leads through word-of-mouth (WOM) marketing. WOM marketing is a great tactic for letting your influencers, brand ambassadors, and fans hype your brand on their own.
People often trust recommendations from their friends, family members, or colleagues more than they do marketing materials that come from your brand. Even though people may know your team members work for your company, they may still be more likely to check out content recommended by the individual rather than when it comes from the brand account.
You can also leverage your team members on the job, especially those that work in sales, customer services, and client-facing roles. Ask these team members to promote content on sales calls, in customer service chats, or in other places where it’s appropriate. You create all your content to be valuable for your audience, so make sure these teams know how and when to find your helpful resources and pull them out when necessary.
Your team members aren’t the only people to contact to help spread the word about your content. If you’ve mentioned any key industry influencers or subject matter experts (SMEs) in your content, reach out to them. Tell them you’ve mentioned their work in your piece, or linked their content, and ask them to share it on their own channels. Be sure to mention how you found their work and why it mattered to you, and why you wanted to share it with your audience. You can also thank them for the work they’ve done in your industry.
If you haven’t mentioned any influential people or brands in your content, you can still seek influencers to help with distribution. With an established network of influencer connections, you can reach out to the ones that are best suited to promote the content in your campaign. If you don’t have an influencer network yet, use influencer marketing platforms to find potential partners. Or you can reach out to influencers your brand wants to work with through personalized emails or direct messages.
If there’s a niche in your industry, you can almost guarantee there’s a forum or thread out there on the internet that caters to discussions about it. Whether you’re browsing general forums like Reddit or Quora, or your industry has specific message boards on Discord or Slack dedicated to deep thought and problem-solving, these are great places to share your content.
Since all your content is valuable, helps solve customer problems, and eases pain points, what better place to share it than directly where people are asking questions? You can use both Google and internal site searches to find threads and posts that correspond to the content you want to share. Then you can drop in to save the day with perfectly placed solutions.
The more quality backlinks your content gets, the more authority your entire site gets. The more authority your site gets, the better your content ranks on Google. And, the higher your content ranks on Google, the more trustworthy it becomes to your audience.
Though we often think of backlinking as an SEO strategy, it’s just as important for content distribution. The more backlinks you get on a piece helps elevate not just the content but also your entire brand. Make sure you’re optimizing all your content for search engines and audiences alike to capture organic backlinks through search. But you can also look into content partnerships or ways to fill broken links on other sites with your new content.
For a lot of brands, most of your content distribution likely happens on organic or unpaid channels. But if you have the budget and resources to dip into paid content distribution, make sure you add this item to your checklist. Paid channels include sharing content through Google Ads for search campaigns or by boosting posts on social media platforms. Working with paid influencers, syndicating content, or engaging in sponsored content partnerships are other ways to add paid channels to your distribution strategy.
Paid content distribution often earns results more quickly than organic methods. If you’re looking for a fast boost to your awareness and engagement, especially for time-sensitive distribution campaigns, research paid distribution options to find one that fits your budget.
You can set up Google Alerts to notify you when a curated list of topics or keywords appears in content around the web. While you can use this tool for content creation and keyword research, you can also use it to monitor how and where your content spreads across the internet after distribution. Whether you’re working with content networks or influencers, or you track organic distribution, this tool helps you find if your content appears in places other than the initial distribution locations.
For even more targeted monitoring of your content or brand mentions, engage in social listening across your distribution channels to find out who else is sharing your content, and where.
Content distribution doesn’t stop after you’ve shared your pieces for the first time. Especially for evergreen content. But, sharing the same links and the same posts over and over may not bring you the same results it did on the first share. But that’s okay because you can repurpose your content and distribute it in new ways to attract more leads. You can actually share your content and brand messages over and over, on a variety of channels and platforms, without oversaturating your audience.
Find ways to turn your written content into videos, videos into social media posts, or social media posts into downloadable resources. Whatever the case, you can keep reworking, repurposing, and redistributing your content across all channels to drive home your message to your audience without losing their interest.
If you’re the kind of person who doesn’t feel like you’ve fully accomplished a task until you can cross or check it off your list, this article may not be enough for you. You can create a personalized content distribution checklist document to review every time you start a new distribution campaign. The easiest way to create a checklist document is by using a template. Here are a few template programs to help you get started creating your physical checklist:
Many of these templates allow you to customize your distribution strategy and add or delete items to best serve your brand, content, and audience.
If you’re able to answer “yes” to all of the checklist items above, or all the checklist items that apply to your brand, then you’ve successfully launched a content marketing distribution strategy. Now it’s time to focus on the content marketing development process as a whole to send your brand into overdrive in the new year. Join us for our next webinar on the topic, How To Analyze Your Content and Craft a Winning Strategy in 2023.
Our VP of Partner Development, Sabrina Hipps, and Director of Content Analysis Jeremy Riverahost a live session to discuss how to analyze and underpin your content strategy. They also give you the dos and don’ts of creating content for the new year. Even if you can’t join us for the live session, all registrants receive a recording of the event in their inbox to watch whenever they have time.
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