How to Choose the Best Content Distribution Channel
Content is important for marketing success — there’s no denying that fact. But it’s not good enough to just create said content; distributing it strategically is a vital component to any comprehensive content marketing strategy. No matter what type of content it is — email, blog, video, social media, infographic, etc. — what you need to know is how to choose the best content distribution channel. First, two golden rules: know thy audience and know thy goals.
Golden Rule 1: Know thy audience
The first question you must answer is who is your audience? You probably already have a pretty good idea of this answer, since your content was likely developed for a specific audience, but you should take a moment and think through exactly who it is this content is trying to reach. Who’s reading/watching/listening to this? What are their motivations? What do they need? Answering these questions will lead to answers about where they’re most likely to want to consume your content.
Golden Rule 2: Know thy goals
Secondly, what is it you want this content to accomplish? What specific action do you want your audience to take once they’ve consumed this content? Again, you probably know what this is intended to accomplish, even if it’s just brand awareness, but you should have these answers in the back of your mind before you determine the best content distribution strategy.
Now that you’ve thought through these first points, let’s dive into some tips for helping you choose the best content distribution channel for your audience and your priorities.
Many folks take a piece of content, share it on every single channel, and hope that it lands somewhere with someone (see our blog about why spray and pray marketing does not work). Do not do this. Instead, carefully consider where each piece of content you’ve created should go. It may be that you never tweet about that blog post you just wrote — because your blog readers don’t go to Twitter to read your content — and that’s okay. The better you know your audience and where they are, the better you can make strategic decisions about what to share where and when.
Test, test, test
One of the only ways to determine what resonates is to test different strategies repeatedly. Do some A/B testing to find out which headlines work best with your readers. Determine what times are best for posting on social media by trying all of them at some point in time.
Testing is only as good as the data it provides, so you also need to make sure you’re checking the analytics for everything you try. This is a good rule of thumb even if you aren’t in the testing phase. How can you know the best ways to spend your marketing dollars if you don’t have data backing up your decisions? Analytics tools like Google Analytics, Facebook Analytics, and Twitter Analytics are all free and can provide you with the numbers necessary to justify your decisions — and help you make better ones in the future.
Don’t work in a vacuum
Finally, make sure your entire marketing schedule is working together as one giant functioning unit. The right hand has to know what the left hand is doing. Your content marketing should align with the messaging that’s in your advertising, your marketing automation, your media outreach — everything must work in tandem for it to be successful. If your content is operating alone, in a vacuum, it will not be successful, and your data will reflect that fact.
You might have noticed that our recommendation for content distribution isn’t a one-size-fits-all answer. What we recommend to some clients is going to be different from others, and that’s because each client’s audience and goals are going to be unique. There’s no “easy” button when it comes to content marketing, because it has to be personal to be effective, and the same is true of your content distribution.