At the core of nearly every successful digital marketing strategy lies a strong content strategy. Thousands of articles have been written on producing content in all its glorious forms; noticeably absent from most content plans, however, is a strategy for distributing the content once it is created. Content does no good collecting dust on a web page somewhere, hoping to be found. This is why having a content distribution strategy is a critical part of your overall content marketing plan.
With that being said, here’s a simple yet amazingly-effective content distribution strategy that will grow your website traffic. I like this approach because it solves three key issues:
1. Since content is expensive (in time and dollars) to create, it helps you get the most out of your investment.
2. It’s a multi-channel approach, so you won’t miss an opportunity to get in front of your audience – no matter where they consume content. It saves heaps of time and makes your social media, email and search marketing efforts quite a bit easier, too.
3. It pleases Google, which naturally leads to better search engine rankings and more web traffic.
OK, I can see you’re sold on why having a content distribution plan makes sense. Here’s the strategy presented in a neat, orderly graphic:
(Many thanks to our client, The AMES Companies, for designing this graphic. I’m going to reuse it because it’s much prettier than my original crudely-drawn sketch.)
The process is simple. It starts after a piece of content is created – an article, infographic, video, whatever. Focus on making your content useful and interesting to your target audience and then follow these six steps for a well-rounded distribution approach:
1. Find a home on your website where the content can live. You’ll get the most out of your content when it lives on your site, collecting SEO juice while letting everyone know that your website is updated on a regular basis. Think of your website as a ‘Content Hub’, ’cause that’s where content should live for all to see. The more often you post interesting content to your site, the more repeat and referral traffic your site will receive in return.
2. Optimize the content for the search engines . In fact, I never create content without doing proper SEO research first, because I want to create content which delivers organic traffic based on what is on my audience’s minds. At a minimum, make sure to include high-value keywords in your article, write solid page titles and meta descriptions, optimize heading tags and use long-tail terms in the body. Over time, well-optimized content brings in more visitors from search engines, which typically account for 40 to 80 percent of all new site visits.
3. Share your content on social networks where your audience lives, works, plays and shops. Depending on your business, this could mean you’ll need to create a few Facebook posts, Tweets, LinkedIn posts, Pins, or what-have-you. Don’t spill all the beans on social media, though; you’re trying to get your audience interested enough to click the link and go to your site. This is one way to direct traffic from your social media pages to increase your website’s traffic, allowing you to measure your social audience’s behavior along the way.
4. Earn some links. If your content is good enough, plenty of blogs that cater to your industry (or customers) will want to summarize it, share it, borrow it, and otherwise link to it. When they do, you’ll earn links and referral traffic. There are plenty of articles written on the topic of earning links for your content so I won’t go into depth about link-building practices here, but a good starting point is to have a working list of industry influencers and trade mags that may be interested in what you have to say. (In the same vein, make sure users can easily share your sparkly content right on your blog page.) More quality links equals more referral traffic coming to your website.
5. Email a regular summary of your best content to your customers, prospects and industry influencers. This is essentially the easiest way to create an email newsletter. The key to successfully using email to distribute content is to build a strong list and share relevant content with it on a regular basis. For B2B marketing, we’ve found sending one to two content-related emails per month is the right frequency for keeping your brand in front of customers without risking unsubscribes.
6. Post your video content on YouTube, but don’t just plop your video on your channel page and call it a day. Again, there are many in-depth articles about YouTube optimization (like this one) but here are a few tips: write a lengthy video description loaded with video-friendly keywords (especially long-tail terms), utilize tags, encourage subscribing and linking in your description text and at the end of the video using YouTube’s pop-up ad features, and organize your video content into keyword-rich playlists. There are more than a billion YouTube searches performed each day, giving properly-optimized YouTube channels a serious opportunity for potential website referral traffic.
As you can see, once you’ve created a piece of original content, there are many effective ways to distribute it through web, social media, referral, email and search channels. With a plan and a little bit of discipline, your content can bring in droves of new visitors to your website. It should take a skilled internet marketer (or digital marketing agency like Synapse) about an hour or so to cover the six steps above, which is a very small investment considering all the energy spent creating the content in the first place. Simply put – don’t create content without a plan to distribute it.