Content Distribution Techniques

You published a new blog post, now what?

When it comes to content marketing, the actual marketing and promotion part of the equation often gets left out. We make the mistake of thinking just because a blog post or video is high quality, people will just stumble upon it on their own. But that’s far from the case. The publish and pray approach won’t get you the type of results you need.

Popular blogger Derek Halpern says the secret to building up an audience through blogging is to focus on the 80/20 rule. Derek spends 20% of his time creating content and the other 80% is dedicated to promoting it. And Derek’s not alone. Other popular blogs like Point Blank SEO prove that it’s not always about putting out the most content, but what you do after the content is published.

So how do you transition from being just a content creator to a full-fledged content marketer? Focus on content distribution!

What Is Content Distribution?

Here’s the process most businesses and marketers go through when creating a new piece of content:

  1. Create the content
  2. Share it on social media
  3. Maybe share it with their email list
  4. Wait
  5. Repeat

Outside of sharing content on social media, so many companies don’t know how to get the word out. Sharing your content on Twitter and Facebook and sending out emails are great forms of content distribution. But unless you have a very loyal social media following or an active email list, it isn’t going to be enough.

Content distribution is more than social media and email marketing. It’s everything you do to get your content out to a larger audience. That means social media, paid ads, email marketing, blogger outreach and anything else that puts your content in front of your target audience.

Let’s go ahead and look at five techniques to get your content distributed:

1. Build a Content Distribution Network

Your very first step is to start building relationships and grow your content distribution network. This network is a group of people you can notify about a new piece of content you just created so they’ll immediately promote it to their own audience. This is great to get the initial traction going, particularly if you don’t have an audience.

Your network should consist of thought leaders, influencers, friends and colleagues. Ideally they should be people who have audiences that are at least somewhat related to your industry. For instance if you’re a personal trainer, you might have doctors, physical therapists, fitness bloggers and vloggers all in your network.

The more people you have in your network, the better. Let’s say your network consists of 10 people who each have 10,000 Twitter followers. Having each one Tweet out a link to your blog posts gives you exposure to tens of thousands of people who would have never known about you if it weren’t for your network. And now those people will be more likely to click through to your content because it was shared by someone they know, like and trust.

There are plenty of ways to start building up your content distribution network:

  • Join LinkedIn groups related to your industry and network
  • Reach out to bloggers directly and start to develop a relationship
  • Start sharing other peoples’ content and over time they’re more likely to share yours even without being asked
  • Keep in touch with people you meet at conferences or networking events
  • Comment on other blogs consistently to build familiarity

It’s all about creating and nurturing relationships. Don’t come right out and just ask people to share your content. Add value to them first by regularly sharing their latest blog posts or other content. A lot of the times that alone will trigger them to return the favor.

Here’s a quick “hack” to get on the radar of people you want to add into your network. Connect their blog’s RSS feed in Sprout Social to automatically Tweet out their newest posts. Attach a prefix of “via @theirname” so that they’ll get notifications every time you share their posts.

Add an RSS Feed example

2. Guest Post With a Purpose

Guest blogging is probably one of the most underutilized content distribution tactics out there. The reason why is marketers are still treating guest blogging like it’s 2012. Only a few years ago, guest blogging was primarily seen as a way to gain backlinks from relevant websites for search engine optimization (SEO). While guest blogging can still be beneficial for SEO, it’s so much more valuable than that.

After the whole fiasco with Matt Cutts slamming guest blogging for SEO, a lot of website owners either:

  1. Stopped allowing guest posts completely
  2. Didn’t let people link back to their own sites within the guest post itself, and only permitted a link in the bio/byline section

That scared off a lot of the people who were taking the wrong approach to guest blogging in the first place. But for people who understood the real value of guest blogging, which is reaching a new audience, it wasn’t a huge deal.

In order to approach guest blogging with the intention of content distribution, here’s what you need to do.

First, create one piece of amazing content. This could be an ultimate guide post like our guide to calculating social media ROI, or even a free downloadable eBook. The most important thing is that it’s packed with value content. This is going to be what you’re trying to get distributed and what you’ll link to in your guest posts. We’ll call this the money piece.

Once you’ve created your amazing content, your next task is to think of related topics you could guest blog about. The topics should be related and not just a rewrite of your original content. For instance with our social media ROI post, some potential topics we could guest blog about would be:

  • How to define your social media goals
  • Are you spending too much on social media marketing?
  • 10 tools to track your social media campaigns

The ideas for these topics were all pulled directly from sections within the social media ROI post. Within these guest posts you have the opportunity to go a little more in depth on particular section.

Now that you have some potential topics to write about, you want to find some sites that are related to the topic and would be interested in letting you write for them. Here’s a great article that goes over how to find sites to guest post on and how to pitch them.

Once you get accepted and write the post, you’ll need to put together your bio. This is where the content distribution part comes in. Generally, people just link to their home page or social media profiles in their bio. But for this approach, we’re going to link to the piece of content we created earlier. Sticking with the social media ROI post example, our bio might say something along the lines of:

This works out great because the people who read all the way through your guest post and make it to the bio section are clearly interested in the topic. And there’s a subtle non-spammy call to action that’s likely to resonate with them more than just a link to your site’s home page.

Try this technique out the next time you create an epic piece of content.

3. Repurpose & Distribute

Repurposed content: Isn’t that bad for SEO?

Before you think we’ve lost our minds, hold on a second. We’re not talking about taking your blog posts and submitting them to hundreds of spammy article directories. What we’re saying is to reformat your existing content so that it can be published on other channels.

For instance if you look at our post, The 7 Different Types of Social Media Managers: Which One Are You?, we have a blog post written out, and then we restructured and condensed it into an infographic as well.

social media manager infographic snippet

You can take a similar approach with nearly any other type of content you create. For instance, if you publish a new blog post, you may be able to repurpose it into:

  • A short PDF (combine multiple related blog posts into a free eBook)
  • An audio version of the post (start an entire podcast)
  • A video
  • A slideshow presentation

And of course, if you have any of these other types of content, you could repurpose it into one of the other formats too. Once you’ve created the new content, you’ll have the ability to distribute it on new channels.

PDF’s and eBooks can be uploaded to any number of document sharing sites like:

With audio your written content turns into an audio version that can be uploaded to SoundCloud, iTunes or Stitcher as a podcast. This will help you to reach an audience of people that prefer to consume content while walking or driving work instead of sitting down and reading. If you don’t have the equipment to record yourself or if you’re not the greatest speaker, you can use a site like Fiverr to find people to record the audio for you.

Fiverr Voice Over Gig

To repurpose your content into a video, you could:

  • Make a brief video introduction or teaser of what the content is about. Add your short teaser to Snapchat or even Vine
  • Go more in depth about the blog topic within a video
  • Turn tutorials into a video

Once you have your video made, you can upload it to YouTube and get further exposure. Don’t forget to link to your original piece of content in the video description.

Here’s an example of how WPBeginner turns written tutorials into videos. Then the video gets embedded into the blog posts.

WPBeginner Repurposed Video Content

Lastly, you can try turning some of your content into a slideshow presentation and upload it to SlideShare. Just make sure that the topic makes sense for a slideshow and it’s high quality. Here’s a step-by-step guide to creating great SlideShare presentations.

This content distribution technique is effective because not everyone consumes content the same way. The more variety you have in the type of media you use, the less likely you are to alienate potential followers and fans that can benefit from your content.

4. Answer Questions and Solve Problems

Some of the best content is the kind that solves a problem. Whether it’s showing people how to do something, helping them decide whether or not to buy a product or simply giving advice. That’s why ultimate guides, reviews, lists and how-to articles are so popular and get a lot of social media shares and organic search traffic.

When you create a piece of content that solves a problem, this content distribution technique gets your brand in front of the right people.

Aside from Google, people use sites like Yahoo Answers, Quora, Facebook Groups, Twitter and forums to get answers to their questions. In order to distribute your content with this technique, you’re going to follow a simple three step process:

  1. Find people asking questions that your content solves
  2. Answer the question
  3. Include a link to your content for additional information/resources

The mistake most people make is only following through with steps one and three. They’ll find a question and instead of answering it within Quora or Yahoo Answers, they’ll just link to their content where the answer can be found. The problem with that is you’re making the person do extra work by going through your content to find the answer.

Instead, what you want to do is provide a genuine response that answers the question, and then recommend they check out your content for more information. Otherwise you’re just spamming.

Quora Answer Example

Finding questions is very simple. Just do a quick search in Quora, a forum or your site of choice using keywords related to the topic of your blog post.

quora search example

Try to filter the results by date. It’s best to find questions that are less than a week old because they tend to be the most active. Then look for questions that you can answer. This will give you an opportunity to link to your post as a resource. The question we highlighted below would be a great opportunity for our social media ROI post.

Filtering Questions

Now that you’ve found your question, provide a great answer. If you’re using Quora, the more in depth and detailed you get, the higher the chances are of your answer getting upvoted. The simple one sentence answers don’t tend to reel people in and entice them to click through to your post. Focus on providing value.

In order to be successful with this technique, you need to be active on a regular basis with these sites. Once you start answering several questions and get more recognition with your category or topic, it’s easier to get exposure and build a following just like with social networking sites.

Gary Vee Quora

Be consistent & offer something of value.

5. Try Paid Content Distribution

Up until now, all of the content distribution techniques we’ve covered can be done for free. But the last strategy we’re going to go over requires you to dig into your wallet. But don’t worry. This doesn’t have to break the bank.

As content marketing started to become more mainstream and widely used, companies started offering services to promote your content to new audiences for a fee. They’re called content distribution platforms or content discovery platforms. But all of these tools essentially do the same thing, which is promote your content on other sites and amplify your reach.

There are a lot of paid content distribution platforms out there, but the most popular options are:

Facebook boosted or promoted posts: This will give you the most targeted audience for your content. You also have the benefit of being able to have your promoted posts get Likes and shares, which can give you even more exposure. With a little testing and and learning, you can drive your costs down considerably. And with Facebook’s push to reduce organic reach, promoted posts are the best option brands have for getting maximum reach for their content on the social network.

Facebook Boosted Post

Promoted Tweets: Depending on who your audience is and what type of content you want to distribute, promoted Tweets on Twitter can be effective. You can take advantage of trending topics to use the momentum of what people are already talking about in real time. Also, your promoted Tweets blend in nicely in users’ streams so it’s not a huge disruptive ad. The downside to promoted Tweets is they’re best used for tech, media and marketing companies so small businesses might not get as much value from them.

Hailo Promoted Tweet

 

Outbrain: Outbrain is one of the top content discovery platforms out. You’ve probably seen it in action on sites like Mashable and CNN. The way Outbrain works is by displaying recommended stories or blog posts at the bottom of other sites’ content. The benefit of Outbrain is that your content is put in front of people who are currently viewing articles that are similar to yours, and on sites that would otherwise cost you a lot of money to advertise on. They also have some targeting options, but it’s not as in depth as Facebook’s. But Outbrain is a good way to quickly start getting new visitors to your site.

Outbrain Example

Taboola: Taboola is similar to Outbrain, and is their main competitor. Your promoted content shows up at the bottom of related articles on popular sites. One advantage of Taboola is that they also recommend video content as well.

Taboola Example

If you’re interested in testing content discovery platforms but you’re not ready to invest money into it yet, another option to consider is SumoMe. SumoMe has a full suite of apps for websites that help you get more social media shares and email subscribers among other things. One of the newest apps added to SumoMe is Discover.

It works just like Outbrain and Taboola, except instead of paying for clicks or impressions with money, you pay with credits that are earned from promoting content from other SumoMe users’ sites. You probably won’t get the same level of results you’d get with Outbrain or Taboola, but it’s an affordable way to get started.

Stop Publishing and Waiting

If content gets published on your website, but nobody’s around to see it, does it make an impact?

You need to start taking content distribution seriously if you want to get the most out of content marketing. We’ve outlined five different ways you can start promoting your content today even if you don’t have a social media following or a huge email list, so there’s no reason not to give it a try. If you’ve been spending 80% of your time creating content and only 20% promoting it, it’s time to flip the script.

Put these techniques into action today to get more visitors to your site and build your brand’s reputation online.