What Is Content Distribution?
Content distribution is getting your content in front of an audience.
The ultimate goal is to get your content in front of your target audience.
We’ll talk mostly about business content in this post, but for a second let’s look at two well known forms of content and distribution: Music & Movies.
In the old days of the music industry the record labels had a couple big things going for them. First, they were basically banks or investment firms for artists. Artists usually didn’t have the kind of money required to get their career going. Record labels could lend the artists money to get things started.
Second, record labels would build up music distribution machines. When an artist would release a new album, for example, that album would be available anywhere music was sold. All the stores. Everywhere. That’s not an easy thing to setup.
Napster changed the distribution of music in the late ’90s. Digital distribution is all around us now and it’s great for the consumer and also for many artists. Artists don’t always need the distribution machines of labels. They can upload directly to YouTube and Spotify and work to promote their content and sell concert tickets.
Maybe they’ll then sign with labels to get more distribution and more exposure, but it’s not always necessary anymore.
Movies work the same way. We haven’t necessarily seen the same explosion of movie-like content on sites like YouTube, but I think it’s getting there. You basically have reality shows on YouTube and things like that.
Business Content Distribution
Now back to business content distribution.
It’s often overlooked. Take a blog for example. You publish regular blog posts on your blog and do nothing else… You’ll get traffic eventually. Google will crawl your site and look for signals and rank your content. Google is doing some distribution for you.
And that’s great, but there are other forms of distribution.
Let’s get into some of the other forms…
This one is obvious, but I think the perception in the business world is that social media works like Google and organic search. You publish the posts, people discover your content (who knows how) and they love it so much that they share it on their social media profiles and it compounds from there.
You will get some of that over the long-term, but counting on it is not a strategy.
Content distribution with social media needs to be habitual. It requires you to build a machine that works all the time to help you share and then share some more of the content you create.
I like to call it The Snippet Strategy. It’s how you take one piece of content and share it many times.
That gets into old content as well. Content you’ve created several years ago. Here are some tips on how to share old content over and over again.
Buffer is a great tool for this type of social media content distribution. Most businesses don’t share nearly often enough. Their own content. Other people’s content.
I don’t think people are anywhere near content overload. They’re always pulling down on the top of their smartphone screen looking for more.
I use Buffer to share one post an hour on social media right now. I think that could easily be doubled and nobody would care about how often it is. Some might even want more.
I know that I want more from the sources I love most.
This one is old school in the eyes of many, but it’s still one of the most effective content distribution channels.
The simple explanation for setting it up is to create the content and then ask those consuming the content to subscribe to your email list in order to get more content.
Like all the strategies here it’s not something that happens overnight. It takes time to build. Some content creators get aggressive with email. They use popups and things like that. I’m not huge on that strategy, but I get that it works well.
The big thing to remember is that you have to commit to creating the email content on a regular schedule. At least every week or maybe every month if you can.
What happens when a new movie or new song comes out?
You see the actor or artist all over the place.
On late night shows. Guests on popular YouTube channels. On all the morning talk shows.
This is guesting. They’re getting exposure for their new piece of content by distributing themselves and the awareness to audiences.
It’s a little more of content promotion, but guesting is also a way to distribute content.
For example, when the original Deadpool came out Ryan Reynolds did guest content for Screen Junkies on YouTube.
You see this all the time in the online content world. A business creates a big guide. Then they create smaller articles for all kinds of websites as guest content and their call to action in that guest content is for people to check out the much larger guide.
Neil Patel does this with many of his guides. Here is one example. Check out the “By…” line. Two people credited including Neil.
That is co-creating content.
If you’re looking for better distribution and awareness for your content one way to do it is to create the content with another person or another brand. Then you can publish and distribute the content to their audience (and to yours). But really you’re distributing it to their audience and growing your own brand awareness so that the next time you publish content on your own you have a bigger audience to distribute too.
Finally there is paid content distribution.
You can do paid ads with Google to get your content in front of more people. You can pay for ads on Facebook or LinkedIn. You can promote video content on YouTube. You can do remarketing ads and distribute content to people that have visited your website in the past.
You can pay influencers to promote your content. You can pay media sites to talk about your content.
It’s a simple strategy, but not always an easy one. You have to find the right audiences and prices. It takes time to learn the nuances, but the good news is that you can test in small amounts to learn what works best for you.
Content distribution is simply getting your content out to the world. It’s often overlooked by many companies that create content. And those that do realize that they have to distribute usually underestimate the effort required and consistency required to do it. But hopefully the tips above will help you setup your own content distribution machine that will lead to more eyeballs on your content.