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Leverage Content Distribution for Effective Brand Building

For content creators, half the battle is developing well‑edited content that closely meets your target audience's interests.

However, that’s not enough to gain real traction. After all, every platform is growing increasingly competitive, from video-sharing websites to ebook retailers.

Content distribution is becoming a must-have skill set for creatives and businesses alike. It’s a key part of your overall content strategy.

Leveraging content distribution and social media channels can solidify your brand and extend your reach with audiences across multiple content distribution platforms. It can also be quite cost-effective.

You will learn valuable insights about your target demographics and analyze how they respond to your content. Taking the guesswork out of this process lets you perform more efficiently and avoid wasting time and money on dead-end projects.

A smart content distribution strategy is consistent yet adaptable. You want to work with search engines and social media channels by publishing on a consistent schedule and showcasing a clear brand and niche.

However, this consistency needs to be paired with the flexibility to jump on coming trends and a personal touch that keeps the new audiences you’re attracting.

What is content distribution?

Content distribution is the process of publishing, sharing, and promoting content on various platforms. It’s a key factor to consider when you make a content plan. The right content distribution strategy allows creators and brands to bring their content visibility.

It’s getting increasingly hard to stay visible online. This makes content distribution a critical concern for content creators.

Distribution gets the content out in front of the eyes of closely targeted audiences, whether they write for a small business, the public at large, or a narrow demographic.

What kind of content are we talking about here? E-books and online courses, Video content, Blog articles, Photos and graphics, Podcasts, Webinars, How-to guides and tutorials, Surveys Reports

It can get expensive to create social media content, from the time dedicated to other costs like image licensing fees.

However, that investment won’t pay off if your target audience isn’t aware that this content exists. Content distribution lets your brand get what you’ve created out on the right platforms and in front of the right eyes.

Types of content distribution

Content can be distributed through a number of channels. These include your website or blog, forums or communities, pay-per-click ads, social media ads, and much more. All of these content distribution channels fall into one of three broad media categories.

The three types are owned media, paid media and earned media. Each one has its own benefits and challenges to offer.

Types of content distribution channels: owned media channels, earned or shared media channels, paid media channels

However, they can all play a vital role in distributing your content.

Owned media content distribution

Owned media are the content distribution channels that a brand controls. Your website and mobile site fall under this umbrella. Most forms of social media presence do as well.

After all, your content assets may be viewed on a platform such as Twitter or YouTube, but you make and control the account.

Owned media really shines when it comes to building deeper relationships with your existing potential customers. It’s a cost-effective way to reach out to niche audiences. This gives many forms of owned media a great deal of longevity.

However, this type of content distribution can scale slowly. There are also no guarantees that it will grow to become a big performer in your content distribution strategy.

Paid media content distribution

With paid media, the brand pays to leverage its channel. These may include sponsorships, influencer marketing, display ads, paid search results, etc.

Paid media can act as an accelerant, bringing new website traffic to your owned media options. The content distribution channels that have been slowly picking up subscribers may experience a jump as new viewers get a look at your content.

Brands that explore the paid type of content distribution have a lot of control over spending and the paid social media ads put out.

Paid media can scale quickly, and in many cases, it offers immediate feedback. However, it’s also prone to decline response rates as the internet gets increasingly crowded and competitive.

Paid media may be viewed as having poor credibility by customers. This means that your brand will have to work harder to earn its trust.

Earned media content distribution

When your customers become the channel, your business is working with earned media. Put more simply, your customers are spontaneously getting the word out about your content, building your brand for you. This category includes going viral, generating buzz, and general word of mouth.

Earned media may come from sources like a longtime loyal customer, or from paid media giving a powerful boost to your social media accounts at just the right moment.

People are generally more likely to believe a personal recommendation over anything they see online. This means that earned media can be the most credible form of content distribution. In many cases, it’s a key factor in turning interest into sales.

Unfortunately, brands cannot control earned media. They can only nurture the conditions to encourage word of mouth.

Because of this, earned media is hard to measure or scale. It can also be negative, as when angry customers and website visitors air their complaints about a brand.

Importance of content distribution for brand reach

The internet is increasingly saturated with content. This decreases the chance of any one piece of content reaching a new audience.

Meanwhile, many social media platforms have adopted a pay-to-play model and will actively obscure old content that isn’t boosted by paid social media ads. You don’t have to like it, but this is the digital landscape where you’re growing your brand.

The biggest brands may be able to get away with simply dropping new content, letting word of mouth do the rest.

However, most companies will need to put in the work for content distribution. Otherwise, they’ll see their content vanishing into the recesses of the internet.

Reaching audiences now means you need to work out the most effective ways to amplify, promote, and share your content assets with the right segments of your audience.

All three media categories we just talked about are important. However, they may not be equally important for every brand.

Some also have higher associated costs, putting them out of reach of very small companies and new brands. You will need to evaluate where your company is and how it interacts with customers in order to establish your priorities here.

Benefits of content distribution

The content you post online can help you build your brand, but only if you get it in front of your audience.

A good content distribution plan is a cost-effective part of your overall marketing strategy. It helps you improve your targeting, reducing wasted time and money.

Benefits of content distribution

Meanwhile, greater engagement and viewer interaction can increase exposure and spread brand awareness in a number of ways.

Cost-effective marketing strategy

Not every form of marketing is created equally. Some are only effective for certain products or niches. Others only get traction at a large scale with a big budget supporting the content marketing plan.

Content distribution works a little differently. You start with an existing foundation of the content you’ve created and your first audience members and build from there.

With the right mix of owned, paid, and earned media, you’ll develop a content distribution plan that works for where your brand is now and where you want it to go.

Increased exposure and awareness

You’re creating content for a purpose, whether it’s to move products, build a brand, or educate people on something you’re passionate about.

Building awareness of what your business stands for and what you have to offer isn’t easy. However, it is necessary for your future success.

Exposure is key here. You need to lift your content out of the field of your competitors so it can be clearly seen by your target audience. Content distribution takes the guesswork out of how to accomplish this.

Targeted content marketing

What are the chances that your content will pop up as a suggestion when someone in your target audience types into a search bar?

It’s not zero, but you have a lot of competition just to get to the first page of the results.

Smart content distribution plans help you target your marketing efforts. If you can build brand and company recognition among your viewers, they’re much more likely to click on that link they wandered across.

Better engagement and interaction

You learn a lot when you go through the process of planning a content distribution strategy. Some of the key lessons go beyond grabbing your target audience's interest. You’ll also learn how to hold onto their interest in the long term.

What content structures do they find engaging? How can you make it easier for them to interact with the content and your brand?

The more engaging and interactive your content is, the more you’ll be able to enjoy earned media content distribution channels like positive word of mouth.

Steps to effective content distribution

If you want to be effective in this space, you need to work smarter, not harder. That means coming up with a good plan to create distribution-friendly content.

Identify your target audience

No content distribution strategy can help you if you don’t understand who the right audience is. That makes this a great place to start improving your targeting.

After all, you don’t need your content seen by every pair of eyes. It just needs to get in front of the right eye.

What demographics respond well to your brand and presentation style? If you’re chasing a particular demographic, what can you do to encourage reactions and shares?

Finally, take a look at the competition and who is where you want your brand to be. What are they doing right, and what lessons can you learn from this?

Define your distribution channel’s best practices for content distribution

If you simply take these audience insights and start creating content, you may be jumping the gun. It’s easy to get distracted and forget the plan you’ve developed.

Best practices can slip from your attention when you dive into creating. Write out and define the practices you’ll be using so you have something to refer to as you work on content distribution.

Create relevant and high-quality content

You may be able to briefly fool search engines and algorithms with hastily cobbled-together content. What happens when this content reaches real human beings? They won’t respond well.

It’s okay to occasionally miss the mark, especially if you analyze your missteps and learn from the experience.

However, you want to make sure that your content is overall of high quality, deeply relevant, and offers real value to your target audiences. The audience needs to feel that your content was worth their time.

Optimize your content for distribution

You’ve created content tailored to your audience's interests. That means it’s ready to hit the content distribution pipeline, right? Only if you’ve taken the time to write SEO content.

Even content that’s engaging and relevant isn’t necessarily optimized for content distribution. This is because the platform and search engine algorithms don’t see content the way your audience will. These programs look for certain features such as keywords and content length.

Pieces that comply will be boosted. Those that don’t will likely sink no matter how much ad spend you throw at it.

Once the pieces reach audiences, optimized content will naturally drive engagement with techniques like included social sharing buttons and tweetable quotes.

Measure and analyze your results

As you work out the right content distribution strategy for your brand, stay on top of your analytics. Define your key performance indicators (KPIs).

Figure out how to analyze the data that you’re getting from your content distribution channels.

Some forms of distribution take a while to deliver results. You’ll need to look at data trends over time to check that these content distribution channels are slowly but surely gaining traction.

Other forms give you more immediate feedback. This lets you course correct on the fly. However, they’re also more prone to big daily and weekly fluctuations. If you don’t check frequently, you could lose money fast and miss opportunities.

Content distribution best practices to follow

Unless you get very lucky, you can’t just set up a few paid social media ads and sit back waiting for views. Now that creators in every niche are becoming aware of the importance of distribution, you need to stay competitive with them.

Here are a few best practices to help bring your content to the top of your particular space.

Be consistent

Consistency is just as important for content distribution as it is on the creation side of things.

Just as some brands niche down quite tightly and most successful brands stick to the same themes and style of content, you want your distribution efforts to be consistent. Create a consistent message that clearly communicates your brands across all distribution methods.

Try to post regularly, too. This is not necessarily about the quantity of content uploaded, either. Posting once a week, on the same day and time, can be more effective than brief media flurries followed by weeks of radio silence.

Use influencers and advocates

Although by definition you can’t pay for earned media, influencers and brand advocates can almost bridge that gap. Influencers come with a degree of trust built into their audiences.

Their followers are more likely to treat influencer shares and promotions similarly to the organic word of mouth. You can ask influencers to do paid sponsorships, comment on your site or social media posts, share your content from their accounts, and more.

If you invest time and resources into cultivating these relationships, your brand’s visibility will naturally grow along with the influencers'.

However, vet your influencers and advocates carefully. If they are involved in a scandal or otherwise lose audience trust, your closely associated brand may be viewed with suspicion.

Personalize your approach

Your audience is a critical component of your content marketing strategy. The more you understand them, the better the content you provide.

In the same way, more personalized content will be easier to distribute and will generate more interest. You’ll want to narrow down your target audience and learn as much about them as possible.

Where do they go to consume content? A website, a social media platform, newsletters in their email, or somewhere else? When do they consume your kind of content? Is there a specific time or day of the week that will be most effective? What content do they come to you for? What formats do they prefer?

A more personalized approach will make content distribution so much easier.

Remain adaptable and open to change

Content distribution is rarely set in stone. That content distribution strategy you used when you just started out may no longer serve you as your company grows. After all, the market and your business can also change dramatically over time.

A tentpole social media platform may go under, leaving you scrambling for new content distribution channels.

Perhaps you hired a specialist to take a look at distribution methods you haven’t had success with. How do you react?

Flexibility is key. Set and shift your distribution priorities as needed. For instance, if a post is going viral, you may want to trim your budget elsewhere to boost those social media posts with paid media channels.

Start implementing a content distribution strategy

Time is a content creator’s most valuable resource.

How much time are you spending juggling different social media platforms? How many hours do you waste struggling with analytics or squinting at opaque reports?

Mailchimp can help streamline social media management with a combination of real-time reporting and detailed analytics.

There’s a lot of information at your fingertips, but it’s presented in a user-friendly and streamlined way. This lets you cut underperforming strategies and create campaigns for your media distribution, growing your brand and reach faster.

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