Great content that appeals to your customers is the key to success. However, marketers often forget the importance of sharing and promoting their content—after all, the target audience won’t come across your content accidentally. And to make your content work, you have to deliver it to your target audience. What will help you successfully distribute your marketing content is a content distribution strategy. Content distribution strategy is your action plan on promoting your content to the target audience via various marketing channels.
Once you come up with the strategy, choose the channels to distribute your content effectively. According to HubSpot, content distribution channels are the channels through which you share and promote the content you create. The set of channels for distributing your content will vary depending on your audience and resources.
Most distribution channels can be divided into three main types: owned, earned, and paid. On the diagram below you can see how all three types intersect with each other. You can use one of the channels or all of them to increase their effectiveness and reach your company’s goals.
Let’s look into 15 content distribution channels and the best practices for driving traffic from them to help improve your content marketing.
Owned media channels
Owned media are the channels that your company owns. To put it simply, these are the channels that belong to you, so you control your published content. It applies to your website, company’s blog, social media accounts, email newsletters, and other content owned by your company. It can even be your own mobile app for publishing.
Owned channels tend to be the simplest form of distribution as they require fewer efforts. However, as we said before, your audience will not find your content if you don’t invite them to your website. So below are the main and the simplest ways of attracting customers to read your content across owned media channels.
To get more from your content, start with developing a plan for promoting it across your owned channels. After publishing your article, you can not only share it on your social media accounts but also give it more engagement.
For instance, you can add tweetable extracts in your article with some useful and insightful information that people can easily share. Tools like ClickToTweet provide your extracts with a link that redirects readers to their Twitter accounts, so they can share your content there. This way, you make the sharing process simpler and let your readers distribute your content for you.
Here’s how it looks on Buffer. They go beyond Twitter by adding buttons to share content on Facebook and LinkedIn.
#2 Email newsletters
Email newsletters are another owned media channel you can use to distribute your content and build a relationship with your audience. Though some content marketers argue about the efficacy of email marketing, most companies use it as an instrument to deliver their content as part of the content distribution strategy. Whether you send emails manually or use third-party services to deliver emails, it’s a direct way to share information and news with those who are already familiar with your brand.
Create engaging newsletters if you want your audience to share them with others. No one would want to share tedious emails, so here are some ideas on how to make yours stand out:
- Enrich your usual newsletters with videos, images, GIFs, and infographics.
- Make sure you give your emails meaningful and catchy headlines that will spark interest in your readers.
- Add value with interactive flipbooks. You can link to them from the images or GIFs in your newsletter. Since each flipbook is trackable, you’ll have additional stats on how your content performs—to compliment the ones your emailing service already provides. Here’s how we made a GIF + flipbook combo work in our Christmas newsletter of 2019:
Ebooks are great for distributing your content and engaging your audience. A recent research by Brian Dean proves that long-form content such as ebooks is valuable both to companies and readers: in-depth expertise on a topic and applicable information play a great role in promoting content. If written properly, ebooks become an effective instrument to entice readers, gather new leads, and reach a wider audience. And all of that is crucial for your content distribution strategy.
Ebooks also help increase brand awareness and give your brand credibility. Stats show that 63% of customers would only buy from an authentic brand. So creating an ebook that provides your audience with insightful information on a subject that resonates with them shows people that you are reliable.
While creating an ebook might be overwhelming, it’s worth it. Start small with a step-by-step guide that will help you make an ebook on your own. With FlippingBook Online, you can create a gorgeous ebook that is easy to share as a direct link. A ready ebook allows you to present your content in a smart way, enrich it with videos or images, and even collect new leads using the FlippingBook lead capture form. You achieve a lot if you use it in your ebook:
- Customize the form based on your needs: choose some of the pre-set fields or create your own. For instance, ask your leads to submit their names, phone numbers, and country of residence.
- Analyze interactions with your ebook. With built-in statistics, you will be able to qualify leads and see how many times they viewed your ebook. This can help you determine the quality of the lead and contact them at the right time.
- Simplify the sharing process. There’s no need to create landing pages for your ebook. Your readers will submit their email and name and can access the content immediately.
- Promote the content. With a lead capture form, you can gate your ebook on a certain page turning the previous pages into a preview. Thus, your readers will get a glimpse at your content and will be open to sharing their personal information in order to read the rest.
Do you know that 93% of all human communication is done via visual content? No wonder it works so well in marketing. Infographics as a form of visual content are easily shareable, which makes them a great content distribution channel. There are a lot of tools and platforms that can help you create infographics to entertain your readers. Readers will love your infographics because they’re easy to digest and understand—and are packed with valuable information, too.
You can base your infographics on a published article. Share statistics on the topic you’ve written about and make your content even more unique. Infographics also work well on social media—mostly Twitter and LinkedIn because catchy, visual stats are appropriately fast to consume as you’re scrolling through your newsfeed at work.
Besides, infographics can help you make stats readable—otherwise they can be hard to understand and memorize. And with infographics, you can turn numbers into pictures that are easy to process, remember, and visualize.
Videos have become a crucial part of our lives. Can you imagine your day without watching video, be it on a professional topic or about cute kittens?
100 million internet users watch videos online every day. Take advantage of this and repurpose your posts into videos. And don’t forget to add call-to-action text that will drive the target audience to your website. It’s a great chance to increase your reach and find new customers.
Also, videos are easy to distribute via various video platforms, such as Vimeo or the well-known YouTube. While creating a video, keep in mind some basic recommendations:
- Define your goals: what you want to show in the video and what the main concept will be.
- Choose the type of your video: product review, tutorial, brand film, or something else.
- Think about the format in advance. Each social media platform has specific requirements or limitations for a video. They can be technical, such as video quality, or refer to the video’s size and duration.
Your video should also work well on mobile devices. According to stats, mobile video is the way to go. For example, 93% of Twitter video views happen on mobile. Video popularity also applies to Instagram: over 70% of Instagram users watch video content in the form of Stories daily.
Earned media channels
Earned channels are also called “shared” channels, i.e. earned media involve others sharing your content. This can take the form of guest posts, media coverage, and more. The key point of these channels is that anyone who shares your content does it for free—hence the name “earned”.
Being promoted and recommended through earned media is one of the hardest things to achieve—though the most valuable due to its credibility and potential reach. Whether your content is shared by users or by brands, it will help your business thrive. While it requires a lot of effort from you, the amount of trust placed in these recommendations is huge.
#6 Guest blogging
Although there are myths about guest blogging being dead, it’s actually an effective way to distribute content. With guest posts, you can reach a wider audience and raise brand awareness. Moreover, guest blogging can help you build strong long-term partnerships with industry experts.
To get the best results from guest blogging, focus on authoritative websites related to your niche and content topics. Then, pitch an idea and start a collaboration. If used correctly, this content distribution channel can help you generate qualified leads, increase mentions about your company, and also boost referral traffic to your website.
#7 Press releases
Got something newsworthy to share? Consider publishing a press release. It’s a great way to share your company news and updates with wide audiences and get promoted. You can either hire a PR firm or publish a press release yourself. If you decide to work on your own, look into services like PR Newswire or PRlog.
PR Newswire is a paid press release distribution network. Via this channel, you can distribute your company’s news, announcements, events to various sources and audiences, across specific industries, geographic locations, and more.
And if you’re looking for a free service, then PRlog might be what you need. The service provides a wide range of news distribution: you can publish content by location or industry, add video press releases, links, and more.
Keep in mind that press releases work great if you’re launching new products/services, supporting a large cause, or changing your brand name. This channel won’t work if you want to promote your regular marketing posts.
#8 Social media groups
Social media is the most powerful form of marketing and market research. Big companies spend a lot of time and effort to get promoted there. But when it comes to distributing content on social media, some content marketers forget about publishing in Facebook and LinkedIn groups. Facebook groups, especially those focused on popular topics, have thousands of followers. Find a couple of groups relevant to your niche and share your content there.
LinkedIn is a professional network. In LinkedIn groups, thousands of people gather to talk about specific topics and share the latest industry insights. You can benefit from this by sharing content related to your business and group topic. Note that LinkedIn’s policy doesn’t allow publishing posts in groups as a company—only individuals can do that. By sharing content on LinkedIn, you can establish a firm place of respect for yourself and your brand on this medium.
#9 QA Platforms
QA platforms such as Quora and Reddit can give you a great boost in content shares. People search for answers, so why not give them yours and refer to your content? But keep in mind that this way of distributing content needs time and effort.
The main idea behind Quora is that people can ask their own questions and answer those of others. The website has different categories—choose the ones where you can give an insightful response. Add a link to your website pages related to the answer you’ve posted and, if possible, to an authoritative source. Give varied, human answers to increase the authenticity and transparency of your brand. If people like your answers, they’re likely to share them on their pages or other resources. Don’t post similar, repetitive answers as it will show your profile as unreliable and violate the platform’s rules.
Reddit, another QA platform, is a bit difficult for new users because the site is quite complex. Registered members can submit content to the site, which is then voted up or down by other members. Posts are organized by subject into user-created boards called subreddits. They cover a variety of topics from news to photos of pets. Reddit allows you to add images and links to your answers but you have to be careful with that—only highly relevant links will be clicked. Irrelevant answers will be downvoted and marked as spam. However, if you receive positive votes for your answer, your post will become more significant and will bring people to your website.
By using QA platforms, you provide more information about your brand to your target audience and improve your credibility.
#10 Online platforms
Online platforms attract some of the world's most insightful writers, thinkers, and storytellers. Websites like Medium and Haro can be a great way to promote your content.
Medium is a platform where you can publish your content as an individual contributor or as a company. You can either create standalone articles there or run something similar to a blog on your site. But to give your content the broadest reach we recommend using Medium as an addition to your blog. The platform has thousands of readers every day and a good SEO rating, so your content will be seen by a lot of people.
Another tool to distribute your content can be HARO. It’s an online platform that connects people and companies. You can register as a journalist if you’re conducting some research and gather information about a specific topic. This information from industry experts will become a great foundation for your next article and provide you with valuable insights. And if you want to answer questions and then be quoted in different articles, then get registered as a source. In any case, HARO is a great content distribution channel and helps to get press mentions and backlinks.
Just a decade ago podcasts weren’t as popular as they are nowadays. Stats show that there are over 850,000 active podcasts and over 30 million episodes on the air.
A podcast is a series of recorded audio content released regularly in the form of episodes. The channel has been growing rapidly in the recent years. Here are four benefits of podcasts as a content distribution channel:
- Podcasts are on-trend. According to stats, approximately 165 million people have listened to a podcast—it’s over 51% of the US population.
- Ease of creation. To record a podcast you don’t need special training. You can get started with inexpensive equipment to record audio and make sure it sounds good by using simple online tools.
- Potential of using content multiple times. Let’s say, you record an interview with an expert. Why not repurpose it? You can use it in your podcast first, then publish it on the blog and also make a video.
- Participating in podcasts. You can not only invite experts to your podcast but also attend some yourself. This allows you to reach a new audience and spread your content more easily.
Paid distribution channels
Paid channels cover media that require payment for content distribution. Typically, they include pay-per-click (PPC) advertising, paid influencer content, sponsored content, and social ads.
Generally, earned media dominates over paid distribution. However, this depends on your business niche and goals. Some companies prefer to choose paid distribution channels as their primary way of distributing content, while others stick to earned media channels.
#12 Pay-Per-Click (PPC) Advertising
Pay-per-click (PPC) requires payment each time an online user clicks on an ad or a link. This way, the advertiser pays when users interact with ads. PPC is paired with an SEO strategy, and, if done right, it can bring quality leads.
One of the most common types of PPC is ads in search engines—most commonly in Google. That’s why you’ll need the Google Ads platform to publish your ads. Search ads require specific keywords applicable to your target audience, engaging content, and strong CTA text to entice users to click. Don’t forget to determine keywords that match your content strategy, target audience, and your brand. The more accurate and relevant your ads are, the better results you’ll get for your efforts.
#13 Paid Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing refers to employing leading content creators in your business niche to promote your brand. According to Business Insider research, the influencer marketing industry is on track to be worth up to $15 billion by 2022.
Influencers tell people about your brand and share their personal experience with it. This helps increase brand awareness, boost traffic to your website, and deliver your content to the target audience. Influencer marketing can drive your brand’s message across various channels and not only reach your target audience but also expand it and drive new leads. Since people mostly believe reliable brands, influencer marketing is gaining popularity: customers would rather trust people they already admire than companies selling products and services they may or may not use.
You can use different channels to find influencers in your niche. Firstly, define where your target audience spends most of their time. Based on this information, you can choose influencers from social networks, blogs, or other media. If you’re struggling with the search, take a look at your peers: the influencers they’ve partnered with might work for you too.
Another popular approach is collaboration with celebrity influencers. With a well-developed strategy, such a collaboration can help you promote your brand more effectively. For example, Nespresso teamed up with George Clooney, a celebrity influencer. As a result, George Clooney brought in over 50 million total views for Nespresso on YouTube. Moreover, Nespresso promotes their sustainability-related approach, and they’ve got over 10 million views of their content thanks to their George Clooney ads.
#14 Sponsored Content
Sponsored content is a type of promotional media that's paid by the advertiser, but created and shared by another brand, influencer, or publisher. Marketers that distribute their branded content by partnering up with publishers see a 50% higher brand lift than those who make their own content.
Sponsored content makes your brand look more trustworthy and engages potential customers. It can be shared by a person or brand and includes all types of media: images, videos, podcasts, and more. To make this content distribution channel work well for you, find influencers who target the same audience as you and share topics related to your niche or brand in their accounts. Why? Because your content or a mention of your brand will fit right in and look natural, unlike the annoying advertisements we see daily. For instance, sponsored content on Instagram may look like a regular post with a hashtag #sponsored or a mention that it’s a paid partnership.
#15 Paid Social Ads
At first glance, this channel may resemble sponsored content. However, these two content distribution channels have crucial differences. While sponsored content is seen only by those who follow a specific account, paid advertisements can pop up in anybody’s newsfeed.
Paid social media include advertisements or sponsored content published on popular social media platforms and targeted at a specific audience. This channel can include PPC advertising, branded or influencer-generated content, and sponsored content. The form of the content will vary depending on the platform where it’s shared. For example, Instagram focuses on visual content, while LinkedIn is a better fit for texts, in-depth research, stats. So, you’ll need to adjust your content distribution strategy to each social media platform.
Distribute your content effectively
Creating amazing content is just the first small step. To share your content effectively, drive your leads and engage your audience. Content distribution channels will help you with that. If chosen correctly, they will boost your brand’s awareness, help you find loyal followers, and encourage your readers to click, act, and become your customers.