Content Marketing, Facebook, LinkedIn, Native Advertising, Other Networks, Owned Media, Paid Media, Search Engine Marketing, SEO, Shared Media, Social Promotion, Twitter
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If content lives on the Internet but no one sees it, does it really exist? Aside from philosophical musings, the truth is that without distribution even the most creative, innovative, and groundbreaking content might not be discovered. So how can you ensure that the right audience has access to the information your company is trying to disseminate?

The first thing you need to do, is download NewsCred’s Guide to Content Distribution. You’ll get a detailed breakdown of best practices for both paid and unpaid distribution methods, from social media and native advertising to PPC, SEO, and more. Print it out, grab a highlighter, and take it into your next content strategy meeting.

But for now, if you’ve only got five minutes to spare, here’s the cliff notes version of the guide, and how it can change your approach to content distribution.

Why & Who?

First, answer these two basic questions:

1.     Why do you want people to read your content? You might be trying to increase user engagement, boost brand awareness, promote thought leadership, or drive leads. Have a clearly defined goal so you can create a plan.

2.     Who is your audience, and how do they consume content? They might be consumers or B2B connections; they could be decision makers or information gatherers. Figure out who you want to reach, and then determine where they spend their time online, and what types of content they prefer.

Paid & Unpaid Distribution

Paid distribution:

Ad networks – You might know these as a Pay-Per-Click (PPC) campaigns. You can use search PPC (e.g. Google Adwords) or content PPC (e.g. via companies like Outbrain).

Quick tip: This method works well at beginning of campaign to ramp up engagement. Select keywords according to what your users are searching for, and use strong calls to action (CTAs) in your ad copy.

Paid Social – These campaigns can include LinkedIn ads, sponsored posts on Facebook and promoted tweets on Twitter.

Quick tip: For marketers on a budget, use paid social to drive people to gated content so that your social efforts can be used to generate leads.

Native advertising – This is partnering with a publisher to provide content for their audience, which should align with your brand and marketing goals. The content should be stellar, and feel indigenous to the platform.

Quick tip: Native advertising takes time. You’ll have to run these campaigns for 3-12 months in order to see tangible results.

Organic distribution:

Social media – With so many platforms to choose from, each one has its strengths and specific strategies for success. The key is to not spread yourself thin. Choose the ones that work best for your brand, audience, and type of content. Add social buttons to your site, and cross promote your content to encourage social sharing.

Quick tips:

  • Facebook: Share content that is highly visual—articles and images get 94 percent more views than those without.
  • Twitter: Strike a balance between links to content and conversational tweets.
  • LinkedIn: Create your own LinkedIn group for free, and on your own company page, target specific updates to certain Linkedin members by role, industry, and company size.
  • Google+: Posting on Google+ results in improved search results on Google. Post actively in order to improve SEO.
  • Pinterest: Engage users through visual content to drive traffic back to your site. Use accurate descriptors to ensure your pins will be discovered.

Free content platforms – YouTube and Slideshare are free platforms that allow you to share specific types of content such as video and slideshow presentations respectively. Both formats can be very effective depending on the type of audience you wish to reach.

Quick Tips: For YouTube, be sure to use keyword-rich descriptions to make your video content searchable. For Slideshare, repurpose your white papers and guides into presentations.

Crowdsourcing – Finding ways to engage or incentivize an audience to participate and share their own content can be massively effective.

Quick tip: Such campaigns should encourage social sharing, so that audience participants can spread your message to their personal networks.

SEO – Though the algorithms are always changing, SEO helps search engines figure out what each page on the web contains, and how useful it might be to users.

Quick tip: Strong, relevant content will help you score inbound links to your pages (thus increasing your PageRank), but you should also do your part by identifying the major themes and search terms of your business so you can build content around them. Use keywords in the headline and body copy, but be sure the content is high quality. Currently, Google favors pieces over 500 words.

Lead nurturing – Lead nurturing is the process of building business relationships with prospects early in the buying cycle. To do so, you can feed personalized content to a segmented audience based on their industry, web behavior, job, function, or vertical. Marketing automation platforms like Marketo and Hubspot can simplify this process.

Quick tips: Optimize your site for your CTA or form. Include fields that capture company information, business needs or interests, and contact information. Then, track and monitor user activity, including time spent on your page and bounce rates, so you can properly market to users based on that information.

Getting eyes on your content is no easy task, but by trying a combination of the above distribution tactics, you can grow your audience and get your brand message across.

This article originally appeared on NewsCred.

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