Great content strategies begin with the creation of great content. Unfortunately, many die at that stage as well. Too many companies invest so much in the early stages of content creation that they miss the mark on distribution. That a means they do not get content to the right people. It doesn’t matter how insightful your blog posts and videos are if they don’t reach the right audience at the right time.
To do content marketing well and establish leadership in your space, you’ve got to focus just as much time and just as many resources — if not more, honestly — on content distribution as you do on content creation.
Tweeting a link to your latest blog post once and then letting it fall into the black hole of social media feeds is not an effective distribution strategy. Content distribution requires active participation from your marketing team, and your metrics for success should go beyond simple social shares to include real engagement and enthusiasm among your audience.
The goal is to get people so excited about your content that they return to your channels again and again. You achieve that momentum by creating content they love. It’s also important to execute a comprehensive content distribution strategy to get it to them when they need it.
Here are five ways to get content to the right people so you nurture relationships across your audience:
Contributing guest content to online publications your audience reads regularly — including niche industry outlets and trade publications, as well as household names like Entrepreneur and Forbes — is a great way to boost your content marketing distribution. Publishing articles with external outlets offers two key benefits. The first is that you establish your authority. If a reputable site is willing to give you a platform, then its audience will assume you have something valuable to say.
The second benefit is that you expand your content’s reach several times over when you publish with the right partners. I don’t have the stats about your individual blog on hand. But, I bet there are more eyeballs looking at Harvard Business Review, Mashable, and Content Marketing Institute each day than there are peeking at your company blog (though I’m sure your blog is still great). That makes consistently contributing to these diverse sites a valuable addition to your distribution.
Content triggers are great jumping-off points for developing the types of articles and posts your audience needs. This strategy also provides them with what they want to read. What are content triggers? They’re the questions, comments, bits of feedback, and suggestions your team members hear throughout their interactions with clients and potential customers.
If everyone on your team documents common questions or queries that really stumped your audience, then you’ll have a gold mine of ideas for creating interesting content. You can then use those materials to support your salespeople as they address those questions and objections. When sales reps send prospects a particular piece of content that answers their specific pain points, they’re literally delivering the right content to the right audience at the right time.
Influencer marketing is growing in popularity. However, it’s only effective if you work with the right influencers. Partnering with someone simply because she has 20,000 followers won’t yield a great ROI unless she’s a natural fit for your brand. Content is a great way to forge mutually beneficial connections. It also boosts your company’s status and your influencers.
You can use your content to introduce your brand to potential partners so they understand who you are and what you’re about. Once you develop rapport, invite those industry experts, leaders, and influencers to contribute ideas or quotes to your content. Their contributions will elevate your content. Additionally, they’ll also be more likely to share that content with their followers.
If you create content you know your partners can get behind, then they’ll inspire their audiences to follow and support you. You’ll then have thousands more people amplifying your content. This strategy will enhance your distribution success.
Partner referral programs
Partner programs are a great way to generate new business. I’ve seen this at my own company, where referrals drove 15 percent of new sales for us in 2016. Word of mouth is one of the most powerful ways to get the message out about your business, and happy clients and partners make the best brand advocates.
However, you can’t just ask partners for referrals and wait for sales to roll in. You have to provide them with all the information they need to pitch a colleague or peer on your services — what does your company offer, who else do you work with, what are your biggest successes, and what’s your client onboarding process like?
To get content to the right people, create content that answers these and any other questions your partners might have. Make it easy for them to pitch your company by providing content that offers a holistic view of your organization and the value you offer. Just like sales enablement, delivering the right content to the right prospects at the right time makes all the difference. The better you educate your partners, the warmer and higher-quality their referrals will be.
Recruitment and training
When you think about your audience, broaden your scope beyond existing clients and prospects to get content to the right people. Your audience also includes your current and future employees, so keep them in mind when creating and distributing content.
My company developed a hiring-centric aspect of our content strategy. The content we produced (and distributed) led us to recruit 30 talented new hires in one year. We created materials on what it’s like to work with our team and the type of culture we’ve built. It also included other themes that would attract the right candidates to our team. We continued using content throughout the interview process to have more informed conversations with candidates.
By broadcasting your company’s values and goals through content, you reach the type of people you want to work for you. The more people know about your brand before they apply for a position with your organization, the more likely they are to self-select out of the applicant pool. This increases the likelihood that you’ll hire people who are true assets to your organization.
Once you think outside the tweet-and-done paradigm, you’ll realize that content distribution impacts the full spectrum of your audience. By using content to connect with readers, prospects, partners, and potential hires, you create a thriving ecosystem around your brand. You also incentivize people to come back again and again to enjoy more of your company’s insights.