It’s safe to say there is no shortage of content.
Millions of new blog articles are published every day.
Most of them add very little value though, and most of the articles that do don’t get the attention they deserve.
Because the content isn’t being distributed.
People aren’t reading it because they don’t know about it.
It’s just content sitting on a site, gathering e-dust.
Content marketing encompasses much more than just creating content.
After you create it, you need to make sure people read it.
Sadly, most content marketers will queue an article for sharing in Buffer, mark their task as done, and move on to writing their next article, which receives an equally low number of visitors.
This is wrong.
Everyone needs to be held accountable within a company, including content marketers.
Create a content strategy that clearly defines the goals you want to reach.
Ross Tavendale has come up with his so-called COPE framework here, which is very comprehensive – check it out.
How can you even look back at your work and learn from what went well and what didn’t without these goals?
The ROI of doing content marketing without distribution is going to be very low.
Especially in high-competition markets.
You won’t stand a fighting chance.
People will be reading your competition’s content even though it may only be half as good as yours.
Sounds frustrating, right? And unfair.
Good. That’s because it is both of these.
While Google is getting better and better at figuring out what quality content is, it’s far from perfect.
You’ll frequently encounter the most popular content rather than the best content at the top of the SERPs.
On social media platforms, it’s popularity, in the form of engagement with your content, that makes or breaks content success.
Ever heard the phrase “If you build it, they will come”?
Yeah, that’s not true in most cases.
Yes, you can do something very spectacular that goes viral.
But most people will just have to work their asses off to get people to come and buy their product.
The same goes for content marketing – you’ll have to put blood, sweat, and tears into distributing your content. You’ll then see your content gain attention, attract links, and start to rank.
Content distribution is about understanding your target audience, building relationships, and creating a repeatable framework.
Below we’ll go through nine steps to get started with content distribution.
1. Find Your Target Audience
On which platforms is your target audience present?
Find out, and engage.
Every community has places where members come together virtually – and in real life.
Discover where these are.
Here are some examples for digital marketing:
- Discord workspaces.
- Facebook groups.
- WhatsApp groups.
Tip: On Reddit, you can search for links to a certain domain by going to this URL: https://www.reddit.com/domain/example.com. Just replace “example.com” with a domain.
2. Research Successful Content Formats
What content formats perform exceptionally well on the platforms your target audience hangs out on?
Analyze that content and figure out why people love it. You need to learn what makes your target audience tick.
In order for your content distribution to be successful, you need to create the right types of content.
So this research is input for the content creation phase.
Example: People in the SEO space love case studies. This case study from Apollo Digital was successfully distributed and gained 88 referring domains as measured by Ahrefs.
Tip: Search through a subreddit’s history to find content that people loved. Here are this year’s most successful posts from the BigSEO subreddit.
3. Build up a Reputation & Engage With Others
Participate in discussions on the platforms you’ve identified in step 1.
Build up a reputation and engage with others in similar roles, and maybe even in the same space if you’re not competitors.
Provide meaningful insights, help others solve issues, and help them distribute their content – build up a good relationship.
Tip: While traveling may not be on your mind right now, meeting with people in real life makes for the strongest connection in my opinion.
4. Build an Amplification List
When you’re engaging with others, you’ll find you really click with some of these people.
They are great candidates to put on your amplification list – the people you’ll be able to call upon to amplify your message.
Don’t forget to include your colleagues – they’re often forgotten in this process, but actually make for a great asset in content distribution.
Make no mistake – building an amplification list requires a significant investment, and it only works if you are authentic and make sure it’s good for both parties.
Tip: Doing something small but thoughtful for someone goes a long way.
If someone has mentioned they loved a certain book, or they’re digging into a topic: don’t hesitate to send them a book, or make introductions with others.
That’s what you’d do for your “regular” friends too, right?
5. Ask for Feedback
You’ve written a kick-ass article, but perhaps your amplification list can make it even better?
The hive mind knows much more than you.
The time has now come to turn to your friends for feedback.
You will find that you missed some things here and there – and that your friends don’t have any issues helping you share the word about your content.
They’ve reviewed it; they know it’s solid.
If they’ve contributed, they’ll be eager to share the word on it.
Rinse and repeat.
Tip: Phrasing is important. Don’t just ask “What do you think about my article?”
Instead, ask “How do you think I can make this article better?”
You’ll find you’ll get more useful responses.
6. Create a Repeatable Framework
By now, you’ll have had a few successes – people found their way to your content and loved it.
Now that you’ve had a taste of success, you’ll want to do it again. And achieve even better results.
So create a repeatable framework around content distribution.
You know where your audience hangs out, they know you, you have a group of friends to call up, and now you can start standardizing your approach.
Be careful though; this doesn’t mean “you’ve figured it out.”
Don’t get lazy – always keep learning and improving!
Tip: Take notes of every distribution run you do. For example, figure out who runs your favorite subreddit and who puts together influential newsletters.
7. Perform Email Outreach
Don’t underestimate the power of targeted email outreach (don’t spam, however!) as part of a content distribution strategy.
You need to take the right approach though; personalize the outreach and ask people you’re reaching out to for feedback.
Get a conversation started and steer towards your goal, which should be mutually beneficial.
8. Draw Inspiration from Others
You’ll come across folks who have really mastered the art of content distribution.
Try to reverse-engineer their approach: learn what they did, and try to figure out why.
What did they do well?
Can you replicate that and add it to your own framework?
Tip: Drop others’ content into SEMrush, Ahrefs, Moz, Majestic, and BuzzSumo to get a good feel for what they did, and where they did it.
Careful though: don’t assume that whatever other people are doing works.
Use your common sense, and experiment.
9. Explore Paid Content Distribution
Leveraging paid content distribution may be a great kick-starter for your content distribution – but it can also be absolutely necessary if you’re in a very crowded niche.
I’d highly recommend reading this blog post from the folks at Grow and Convert where they explain why they started focusing less on organic and more on paid distribution.
Start distributing your content today using these nine actionable steps.
Keep leveling up, and follow these smart folks on Twitter for continued inspiration: