Most online content is never seen. Google doesn’t crawl it. Readers don’t read it. Influencers don’t share it. And customers don’t buy it. As far as most people know, it doesn’t exist. Creating great content is table stakes. But getting that content in front of your potential customers — getting them to like it and share it and tell their friends about it — requires more than just great content. It requires a content distribution plan.
What is a content distribution plan? Why does it matter for your brand and your business? What are the core content distribution concepts you need to keep top of mind to make your content work? That’s what this episode of Thinks Out Loud is all about.
Want to learn more? Here are the show notes for you.
Revisiting "Content Distribution Concepts to Help Your Content Marketing Succeed" — Headlines and Show Notes
Show Notes and Links
- Is Content Still King or Have the Gatekeepers Won? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 328)
- Content Shock: Why content marketing is not a sustainable strategy
- Content Shock and Content Ignition: A Conversation with Mark Schaefer
- Content is Still the King – Tim Peter & Associates
- Is "Content is King" Dead? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 306) – Tim Peter & Associates
- Is Content a Strategic Product for Your Business? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 319)
- The Single Biggest Myth in Digital: Content is Expensive (Thinks Out Loud Episode 275)
- What Connects TikTok and the Hub and Spoke Model of Digital? (Thinks Out Loud Episode 299)
- You Don’t Need a Website
- Digital Gatekeepers and the Death of Organic Traffic (Thinks Out Loud Episode 247)
- Whose Brand Does Google Want To Build?
- Deal With It: Digital Makes Marketing Easier for Everyone, Which Makes Marketing Harder For Everyone (Thinks Out Loud Episode 213)
- Social Networks “Optimize for Engagement.” What Does That Mean for Marketers?
We have some free downloads for you to help you navigate the current situation, which you can find right here:
- A Modern Content Marketing Checklist. Want to ensure that each piece of content works for your business? Download our latest checklist to help put your content marketing to work for you.
- A Brief Introduction to Thinks Out Loud. As a bonus, we’ve also included this PDF document that highlights some of our core episodes to help you dig into what the show is about. We think it will help you capture the show’s essence while you’re working your way through the 300-plus episodes published so far. Download it here.
- Digital & E-commerce Maturity Matrix. As a bonus, here’s a PDF that can help you assess your company’s digital maturity. You can use this to better understand where your company excels and where its opportunities lie. And, of course, we’re here to help if you need it. The Digital & E-commerce Maturity Matrix rates your company’s effectiveness — Ad Hoc, Aware, Striving, Driving — in 6 key areas in digital today, including:
- Customer Focus
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Past Insights from Tim Peter Thinks
You might also want to check out these slides I had the pleasure of presenting recently about the key trends shaping marketing in the next year. Here are the slides for your reference:
Technical Details for Thinks Out Loud
Recorded using a Heil PR-40 Dynamic Studio Recording Mic and a Focusrite Scarlett 4i4 (3rd Gen) USB Audio Interface into Logic Pro X for the Mac.
Running time: 18m 57s
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Transcript: Revisiting "Content Distribution Concepts to Help Your Content Marketing Succeed"
Well, hello again, everyone, and welcome back to Thinks Out Loud, your source for all the digital expertise your business needs. My name is Tim Peter. This is episode 329 of the big show. And thank you so much for tuning in, I genuinely appreciate it.
“Why To,” Not “How To”
Now, I think you know that generally speaking, this show is not a how-to show. I prefer to think about what we do as a why-to or more about how to think about a problem or situation or what’s going on in the world of digital, then how-to. And I do that for a bunch of reasons, and the biggest one by far is because I want this information to be usable more than just next week.
And when you think about digital, if we talk about how you do a specific thing, it’s entirely possible that the way you do it and the things you have to do, the actions you have to take simply change too fast for this to be usable if it’s click this button, move this thing, et cetera, move this slider. The other reason is because I don’t think audio is a particularly good format for that. A video’s a great way to do that, infographics could be a great way to do that. But talking you through something you might be listening to in your car or on a treadmill isn’t going to provide enormous value to you. At the same time, I do want to make sure that you get value out of the discussion and can take the things we talk about and apply them in your day-to-day life.
Why Content Distribution is a Key Component of Your Company’s Content Marketing Strategy
So this episode really is intended to follow up on our last episode where I asked, "Is content still king or have the gatekeepers won?" But because that episode was running a bit long, I didn’t go deeply into, "Okay, great. If we acknowledged that the gatekeepers have not won, and if we acknowledge that content is still king, what do you do about it? How do you take that content and use it in a way that you can win?" And of course, in fairness to my friends, Mark Schaefer and Rand Fishkin, and the folks who inspired our last episode, you cannot talk about how to win in content today — you cannot be successful with content today — if you don’t have a well-thought-out content distribution strategy as part of your content strategy. You can’t just create content and hope that it succeeds, you have to have a plan for how it will succeed, and so I thought it would be useful to talk about that today.
And as I mentioned in the last show, we have a content distribution checklist that we use that I linked to the show notes for last week’s episode. And I’ve linked to it in the show notes for this week’s episode, you can find that at timpeter.com/podcast, and you will find it for both episode 328 or episode 329. Now, I’m not going to read you the whole sheet again, I don’t think that’s necessarily high value to you. And you can download it and read it all on your own. I did think it would be helpful if we talked a little bit about the highlights of it and particularly why we take this approach.
Three Key Steps For Content Distribution
So there are a handful of key steps, and I’m mainly going to focus on the three. There’s going to be some subpart A, subpart B, but in general, we can think about three big steps that you want to keep in mind when you’re talking about how you use content distribution most appropriately for your business.
Think About What Kind of Content You’re Creating — and Whether You Should Create It At All
And the first step, the first thing you must do is you cannot create content that’s going to be successful if you don’t have a plan for getting it in front of people and don’t have a good rationale for why that content exists. So the first thing you have to do to ensure that your content works and your content distribution works is you need to ask the question of whether or not the content needs to be created at all. There’s a lot of content out there. You may have a lot of content about a particular topic on your website today or on your YouTube channel or on your LinkedIn page or in your email. And maybe what you need to do is not create new content, but either update or redistribute existing content.
Now, if you don’t have the content, you still should ask the question of, does this need to exist, does this solve a problem for your customer, does it solve a problem for your target market, and does it do it in a way that, maybe, hasn’t been done before? Are you bringing a particular point of view or a particular value to the discussion that hasn’t been done before? Now, I want to be fair, it doesn’t mean that everything you come up with has to be staggeringly original, it just means it has to be distinct to you. Does it have your voice, and does it speak to the needs of your customer?
I’d also argue… And I’m modeling the behavior and the way that I do my podcast that you might want to think more in terms, not always, but more in terms of how to think and how-to, why does somebody care about this. If it’s just, "Do this step, do this step, do this step," that’s pretty commodity content and, probably, a lot of that exists. But if you can get deeper under the hood and help your customers understand why this matters, that is usually higher value and usually something that needs to be created more often than simply check this box, move this slider, click this link. So that’s the first big step, make sure the content needs to be created in the first place.
Focus On Content Distribution From the Start
Second, build content distribution into the ideation process, into the creation process. Before you put fingers on keyboard, before you set up a camera, before you have a designer draw something or lay something out, think about how are we going to get this content in front of our customers. You should not create what you cannot or are not prepared to promote because fundamentally, you’ll just be wasting your time. You’re creating a whole new chain of events that have to occur to get that content in front of somebody, and you’re so much better off by saying, first and foremost, "How are we going to get this in front of people? Is it going on our website, is it going on social media, is it going on our YouTube channel or our Vimeo channel?" Think about the formats you’re going to use that work best to help you get a message out.
So here’s one of my favorite tips, this is something we’ve been doing for a while now, start by doing a Google search. Once you know what the keywords are that your topic is going to be about or your piece of content is going to be about, do a Google search, see what kinds of content Google shows in the search results. If Google’s showing video, that’s a pretty good sign that to get your content in front of people, video is a really good medium. If Google is showing images, it probably means you’re better served with an infographic or some visual representation of the information you want to get out there. If they’re showing text, if they’re showing a webpage, great, then a webpage or a PDF is probably a better way to go. But this is one of the few places where a blue ocean or green field strategy, doing something different than what everybody else is doing probably doesn’t help you, doesn’t necessarily help you.
It’s unlikely your text, no matter how brilliant, is going to force Google to rethink their ranking algorithm if they’re already finding that video does a better job of answering searcher questions. So for better or worse, if Google is showing people video, it’s a clear sign that video is the type of medium, it’s the format that works best for customers. If they’re showing webpages, then it says text is a good way to go. It doesn’t mean you can’t try something else, it just means that they’re giving you a signal that that’s the most appropriate format for this specific type of content. So you want to think in terms of, "Great, now knowing that, how are we going to distribute a video, how are we going to distribute an infographic, how are we going to distribute a PDF or a webpage?" You can see how that gets built right into the creation process before you’ve actually created the content in the first place. If we know we shouldn’t create what we can’t promote, then it becomes really critical to understand what formats are we going to have to promote this content in.
Your Content Distribution Checklist and Content Reuse
Now, third, once you’ve done that, start making a regular list of the various content distribution channels that you’d use to get your content in front of the customers. You can share the message, no matter the format, on social and email and your website, you can, you should. The checklist gives you a whole bunch of ones to think about, but you should be building your own checklist to say, "How quickly do we put this out on social channels?" Social channels, usually, you get about a week before the content starts to age out just because that’s the nature of that piece. I don’t love it, you probably don’t love it, but it is the reality. It doesn’t mean you can’t share it after that, it just means that you tend to get your biggest hit right within the first seven days or so. So think about your various distribution channels, the spokes of your specific wheel, and you should make a list of these.
Do you have a LinkedIn page? Do you have a Facebook page? Do you have an Instagram account? Do you have a TikTok? Do you have a YouTube page? Do you have a Medium blog? Do you have a SlideShare? And there’s tons that I’m not even thinking of, Pinterest and so on, all the various types of things we can be thinking about. How do you use them, and how do you create traction with your customers there, with your audience there, and do you use them each and every time? Now, the answer might be yes, or the answer might be yes, but we need to rethink the content slightly for that medium. This is a place where content reuse is your friend, make the content that’s in one format and look at how you can do it in other formats, repurpose it for those formats. So we’re taking something that maybe…
Again, I’m going to keep using video. One of the things I genuinely like about video, even though I don’t do it a lot for my business, is because it’s so easily repurposed. You can take the video, you can put it on YouTube, or you can put it on Vimeo. You can take that video, and you can edit it down to a 30-second clip or a 20-second clip or a quick insight, and you can put that on LinkedIn or Facebook. You can take a transcription, and you can put that up on your website as a blog post, or excerpts from it as blog post on your website. You can take the audio and make that a podcast. And then each of these, you can take any slides you have from the video, or turn it into slides and put it on SlideShare, and you can share those on LinkedIn.
So each of those individual formats become ways of getting the message into your customer’s hands, which ultimately is why we’re doing this. The checklist isn’t about, "Did I check this box, did I do this thing," but it’s about, "Am I solving a customer problem?" Brings us right back to where we started, does this need to exist, and what problem does it solve for my customer? Because if you’re doing that, you’re going to be in a much better position in terms of actually creating content that is useful to your customers and gets distributed more widely to more people. Because regardless of what we think about the gatekeepers, the Apples, the Googles, the Facebooks, the Amazons, the Microsofts of the world, they only win when we don’t actually create value for our customers.
Conclusion: Why Content Distribution is a Key Component of Your Company’s Content Marketing Strategy
When we don’t create value, your customer goes looking for something else, somewhere else. And where are they going to go? They’re going to go to the place where they can find everything. So it’s not a question of whether or not they win, it’s a question of creating things that ensure you don’t lose. Create value for your customers. And while I can’t guarantee that you will win, I can guarantee that all the other steps along the way get easier. And the easiest way to do that is make sure you’ve got a great process that you follow each and every time that asks, "Is this content worthwhile, should it exist in the first place? Have we thought about content distribution from the outset, from the moment of creation? And are we using all of our content distribution channels to reach customers where and when they’re ready?"
Show Closing and Credits
Now, looking at the clock on the wall, we are out of time for this week. I want to remind you that you can find the show notes for today’s episode, as well as an archive of all past episodes, by going to timpeter.com/podcast. Again, that’s TimPeter.com/podcast. Just look for episode 329.
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With that said, I want to say, once again, how much I appreciate you tuning into the show. It means so much to me that you keep listening. Especially — we had a period where we weren’t doing episodes for a while — while we were working some things out internally, and it just really means so much that you have hung with us this year, over the last bunch of months, et cetera. It just really means so, so very much. So with that said, I hope you have a great rest of the week. I hope you have a wonderful weekend, and I will look forward to speaking with you here on Thinks Out Loud next time. Until then, please be well, be safe and as ever, take care, everybody.