Content marketing is a customer acquisition powertool. The concept is simple — inspire, engage, and delight audiences through great storytelling. Write compelling, heartfelt blog posts. Create beautiful infographics. Produce never-before-seen e-books and guides. Delight your audiences, and pour your humanity into your brand.
It sounds simple, right? Produce great content, and you’re set.
The competition for audience attention has never been more cutthroat. More and more brands are jumping into the content ecosystem, with 78% of marketers believing in storytelling as the future of marketing. Meanwhile, human attention spans are getting shorter — goldfish are putting us to shame.
In addition to creating amazing content, your marketing team needs to build out a thoughtful and high-impact distribution strategy. Rely on this guide for the ultimate crash course.
1. Content Syndication
It takes time to build and grow your audience. One way to kickstart the process is to syndicate your content with established media channels. First, publish your content on your own blog. Then, pitch the story to editors at bigger publishers to redistribute.
Here is an example of a blog post on Coworks that was recently syndicated with The Next Web. The Coworks blog, at the time of syndication, was only 1-month-old:
Original Post on the Coworks Blog
Post Syndicated on The Next Web
A syndication strategy takes time and patience to fully develop. Editorial relationships are tough to build, especially for brands. Prove to editors that you’re committed to delivering value. Keep networking, and keep asking. Syndication is a business development art — persistence and creativity are key.
2. Email Marketing
It’s unlikely that audiences will be visiting your blog (and content) on a regular basis. There is so much content on the web, and yours is likely to slip through the cracks.
The most effective way to reach consumers 1:1 is through email. When you publish a blog post, send your email subscribers a short-and-sweet snippet to tell them that you’ve published something awesome. Include a bold call-to-action (CTA) back to your blog to drive consistent traffic.
Here is an example email that promotes an article on the Coworks blog:
Roughly one-in-ten users who opened our emails clicked through to finish reading the article on the Coworks blog:
Visits from email about the post
Pay attention to open, click-through, and unsubscribe rates to learn how audience respond to and engage with your content. These data points will help you optimize your strategy.
3. Client Service Teams
Content is a tool for building relationships at scale. Your marketing team’s blog posts, infographics, videos, and ebooks can help spark natural conversations between sales teams and prospective clients.
These conversations provide a low-touch, yet high-impact say to say hello — “just because.” In some cases these “hellos” may materialize into strategic upselling opportunities.
Marketing teams should build feedback loops with account management, sales, and customer service reps — these teams are at the front-lines of your organization and are powerful distribution engines.
4. Paid Channel Advertising
Did your company recently publish an e-book or guide? Are you looking to generate leads? Paid channel advertisements can help you connect this long-form content with mid-funnel audiences. Here is what you do:
- Step 1: Drive traffic to your website organically.
- Step 2: Retarget these visitors on Facebook and AdSense with a CTA to your free e-book.
- Step 3: Set-up a landing page to capture leads.
On Facebook, for instance, you can create ‘Lookalike audiences’ based on your existing CRM database — prospects who fit the same demographic and interest-based profiles of your most engaged customers.
Here is an example ad from General Assembly, a company that aims to democratize education. The company is promoting a free trial of its online content program.
Take a look at the paid channel ad:
…. and the corresponding landing page:
Landing page for paid social ad.
5. Social Visuals
You already know that Facebook and Twitter are invaluable channels for promoting your content. The challenge, however, is that these markets are saturated.
It’s crucial to give your tweets and status updates a ‘visual edge’ — to outsmart the crowd in capturing fleeting audience attention spans.
Be sure to include compelling images with your social media updates:
Social updates with compelling images stand out in feeds.
Tap into existing conversations through #hashtags related to your content. Use hashtags strategically by pinpointing what’s trending and by tagging keywords in your tweets and status updates.
TV Series Doctor Who does this well:
Doctor Who page post on Facebook
BBC network uses same #DoctorWho hashtag.
7. Your Immediate Network
If you’re publishing a particularly meaningful piece of content, ask your network to promote it 1:1. These could be offline and online networks. As an example, take a look at this blog post on Clarity.fm, which features the story of volcanologist turned nonprofit entrepreneur Jess Pelaez:
As you can see, her interview received hundreds of shares. Her secret? It’s no secret at all — it’s her amazing network.
Jess does not have thousands of fans and followers — and neither does her nonprofit, Blueprint Earth (at least, not yet).
What she did, to promote this article, was to reach out to her network, which consists of scientific and geological associations. These groups promoted this article to their audiences. This promotion strategy helped drive visitors to the Clarity article.
8. Your Extended Network
Thanks to social media, today’s marketers are continuously in touch with anyone and everyone. Maybe you have thousands of LinkedIn connections. Maybe you’re an avid blogger who enjoys publishing on industry sites.
In either case LinkedIn is a platform that can help you get the word out to key communities in your industry — in more ways than one.
When you publish your content on your blog, you can very easily promote it through the LinkedIn groups that you’re a part of:
Promoting Content on LinkedIn
LinkedIn is also opening up its influencer program — a platform for writing content within LinkedIn — to the general public. If you’d like, you can re-publish your own content through these channels for more eyeballs (like Danny Wong did here, with this example from Coworks):
Original blog post
Republished on LinkedIn
LinkedIn’s technology will help match these articles to new audiences, potentially driving high pageviews. Make sure to link back to the original article on your site:
Post links back to original article.
9. Build Distribution into Your Content
Embeddable ‘click to tweet’ features and community interviews can help accelerate this process. Here is an example of an article of Clarity.fm that generated thousands of shares. Why?
- The content was awesome, with a compelling human-interest element
- The content was community-generated
- The content was very easy to share, with integrated tweets
With natural engagement comes organic distribution:
Building in content distribution using Click to Tweet.
Opportunities for distribution are limitless. Depending on your business model, there are incredibly opportunities to get your content out to the public, in a high-impact way.
You just need to scratch beneath the surface to look for the ‘less than obvious’ and ‘less than clear’ paths. These distribution touchpoints will be key opportunities to outrun the crowds and outsmart the noise.
What is your company’s approach to content distribution? How is it creative? You pick #10 to add to this list.