Successful marketing depends on high-quality content, but you can’t create content without a distribution strategy and expect great results.
When Content Marketing Institute asked B2B marketers which factors contributed to their improved content marketing performance over the last year, 78 per cent cited better content creation. Only 50 per cent reported that distribution processes made a difference.
B2B marketers are creating better content (and more of it), but they aren’t committing to implementing distribution strategies that put that content in front of the right people.
Long-term marketing success depends on quality — both in content creation and its distribution. You work hard to produce amazing content. Don’t minimize its impact by neglecting distribution.
Building a Better Distribution System
This isn’t to say that a focus on content creation is misplaced or that creating insanely high-quality, deeply valuable content is an inefficient use of time. If you want to sustain or accelerate your content marketing performance, then you’ve got to split your efforts between creation and distribution more evenly.
Take my marketing team as an example. Like 50 per cent of all marketers surveyed by CMI (and 62 per cent of the most successful ones), we find long-form content like whitepapers and e-books to provide excellent value for the heavier investment. That’s why my team spent several weeks this year developing an industry research report that clocked in around 25 pages.
After hours spent surveying online editors, collecting data on millions of pieces of content, and analyzing our findings — not to mention writing, designing and editing the report — we knew we had something valuable in “The State of Digital Media.”
But simply creating that report wouldn’t guarantee our audience would ever see it. We needed to employ lots of creative, diverse tactics to get the report right in front of them.
So, we designed a comprehensive content distribution plan to get this report noticed, and the results impressed us. Compared to the performance of our previous whitepaper, this one produced nearly 150 per cent more page views and 40 per cent more download submissions.
Social media helps, but a full distribution plan requires more than a few tweets. To get more from your content, use some of the tactics that made the greatest impact for us:
1. Get in Front of Your Audience With Guest Posts
Reaching your audience means meeting them where they already are. If they’re reading content on industry blogs and other publications they trust, then that’s where you need to be, too.
The right online publications can provide a direct path to the eyeballs of your target audience. B2B publications cover a wide range of niches, and every audience is eager to consume new content that provides valuable insights. Deliver those insights to those outlets as a guest contributor. Having a media database service to help identify valuable influencers can really come in handy here by helping you find outlets to pitch.
Especially if you have long-form content that dives deep, you can often share unique snippets and findings with readers in your guest article. It should go without saying, but work with publication editors to ensure what you’re sharing is what they want. Then, create a guest-posting strategy that extends your reach and offers value to readers.
2. Cultivate Influencer Relationships
Make a list of all the people you want to share or promote this content — long-form reports or guest posts. In a perfect world, which influencers and thought leaders would have seen your work and found it excellent enough to share with their followings?
Follow these people on Twitter and other social sites, engage with them online and start building relationships with them. Ask for their input on your content, then use their insights to enhance and refine your work. Not only does this add value to your content when you finish it, but it also incentivizes influencers to share and promote it after you publish it.
3. Reach Your Audience Directly With Personalized, Content-Carrying Emails
Don’t make content delivery more complicated than it needs to be. Sometimes, the best way to get content into the hands of the right people is to put it there yourself. Stop sending emails to “just follow up” and start sending valuable, relevant content via personalized emails to your contacts.
Stay top of mind with leads, clients, partners, and new opportunities — whoever you’re in talks with — through exceptional content. Most people ignore valueless follow-up communications; content deliverables give recipients a reason to engage.
4. Don’t Neglect Your Internal Audience
Truly high-quality content works inside the enterprise as well as it does outside it. Just as your marketing and sales teams use content to attract and nurture prospects, leverage content to attract talent. Then, train new hires on your company and industry with content as their guide.
Consider ongoing education opportunities, too. Empower account managers to resolve problems more quickly and efficiently by providing content that addresses their needs. The more well-informed your team is, the better they can serve your clients and prospects.
Stop sitting on great content that could drive revenue. If you’re committing resources to develop better content, then you must also commit resources to distribute it, both externally and internally. Follow these tips to put your content in the hands of your target audience and accelerate your marketing performance.
About John Hall