Content CreationDemand Generation

How to Pick the Right Digital Distribution Channels

By March 13, 2015 No Comments

Distribution is a crucial aspect of a content marketing plan, but streamlining those distribution efforts isn’t easy. Take, for example, the fact that 70% of marketers plan to produce more content in 2015 than last year, yet only 38% find that content effective. Part of the reason for this gap is that marketers are sharing the wrong content in the wrong places.

Identifying the best marketing channels for your business is all about asking the right questions. Here are four key questions to ask before you plan your content distribution.

1. Who (and Where) Is Your Audience?

This is a primary question for all of your content marketing initiatives, and it’s no less important in distribution. You should have a clear idea of the buyer personas you want to reach and create your content assets with your target audience in mind. With distribution, the trick is to find those people.

Aligning your content with the right channels is one of the best things your brand can do to win the distribution game. That means keeping tabs on usage trends, as well as watching your own data about who the average user is for any digital channel you’re considering. What’s your reach on social? How many people read your email blasts? How many visitors to your website?

Your content should be where your audience is, so put your insights to work to connect them.

Be mindful of who’s among your brand’s dedicated followers as well as the common traits across all of a platform’s members. For instance, Facebook has lost some ground with teenagers in recent months, but that doesn’t mean that no teens like MTV’s Facebook page.

Plus, you may have different types of audiences to reach with different content. If you’re looking to reach new customers, look at sales data to determine where you find the most new leads. If you want access to Twitter influencers, then you better be tweeting.

2. What Fits Your Budget?

On just about any channel that you might use, brands have a paid option available. Paid content amplification helps ensure that your content gets in front of the eyes and ears of your audience. Stay within your means as you make choices about which networks get your hard-earned money. There’s usually space for organic content to succeed, so don’t worry about creating a smart distribution plan on a shoestring budget.

Having a large budget doesn’t mean that you should purchase paid distribution on every channel you can. More impressions does not equal more leads. The ultimate goal is to make informed decisions to connect your content with your desired audience. Forging a genuine connection between your brand and an individual will usually be more lucrative in the long run than plastering your message all over the web. Return on investment is still at play in distribution, so make sure that every dollar goes as far as it can.

3. How Will It Connect to Other Content?

Your content shouldn’t exist in a vacuum. Each piece you create helps tell your brand’s whole story. Think hard about what networks you’re choosing to turn into content hubs. If you had a great social media campaign on Twitter, then your followers might expect to see your latest project also appearing in tweets. Every success not only grows your following, but it sets expectations of where those people will be able to find more content. Consistency is key.

Hopping from one platform to another for different campaigns may leave your audience confused.

There’s no saying you can only pick one place for your content to appear. In fact, cross-platform distribution gets a single item in front of more people. But pick channels that make sense in conjunction. Social channels can be used to share many different types of content from other sources. Your blog can have links to a YouTube channel.

Think about your distribution holistically rather than as a piecemeal activity.

This approach will give a stronger, more intentional presence to your content and your brand.

4. What Fits Your Message?

Just as every channel has a typical audience member, they also have a common tone and style that most of those members follow. Your content should be a good match for the vibe of the distribution channels that you choose.

For instance, a law firm that wants to share photos of its legal advisers probably doesn’t want to use Snapchat. The disappearing image social network is fun and casual, not really the place to project authority and formality. But some universities are using Snapchat in their new student orientation programs to great effect. Even though administrators do want to be seen as authority figures, the playful nature of Snapchat makes it great for scavenger hunts around campus and it puts the new freshman at ease.

The Recipe for Distribution

For a deeper look at how to streamline your company’s marketing content distribution, check out The Multi-Channel Content Distribution Guide. It has tips to help you get your message in front of the right people.

Anna Washenko

About Anna Washenko

Anna is a freelance writer in Los Angeles. She's a generalist, just as excited about marketing and social media as about music and video games. Her very concise thoughts can be found on Twitter: @AnnaGetsPithy.