You’ve just created the Mona Lisa of content. It’s beautiful, it’s one of a kind, it has metaphors, it has puns, and you’ve proofread it 14 times.
Now, where is everybody?
Unfortunately, great content is worthless if nobody ever sees it. And posting your Mona Lisa to some random blog won’t automatically bring hoards of awestruck readers to your website who are dying to peruse your products and services.
Companies should be thinking just as creatively about their distribution strategies as they are about their content strategies. They need to be savvy enough to target the right audiences who crave their material. If they don’t do that, they’ve failed.
Ninety percent of marketers say they currently utilize content marketing in their strategies, but only 26 percent actually invest in their distribution plans. You need to beat this sorry crowd.
Where Are the Right Eyes?
In many cases, your content will introduce readers to your brand. You have to make this first impression count and lead those consumers to your salespeople. The best way to achieve this is by offering custom content—something that’s favored by up to 68 percent of consumers.
Start out by determining which ages, locations, demographics, and industries care most about your product. Then, identify how and where this audience prefers to consume content. Are your ideal buyers watching TV, looking for professional advice on LinkedIn, or browsing around Facebook? Are they on mobile phones or desktops?
Create meaningful relationships with your target audience by reaching them with messages that are individualized and tailored to their tastes and channels. This will optimize your inbound website traffic, create informed buyers, and give you a whole lot of bang for your content-marketing buck.
Hone Your Distributions Strategy
Now that you know how to identify and locate your ideal audience, here’s how to make sure your content catches their eye.
Become Your Audience
In The Art of War, Sun Tzu wrote, “To know your enemy, you must become your enemy.” Just substitute the word “audience” for “enemy,” and you’ve got yourself a winning strategy. Ask your clients about the hot-button issues plaguing their day-to-day lives, and browse social media to see what your target audience is talking (and complaining) about. What’s keeping them up at night? Your top priority is to produce pieces they’ll care about.
By constantly looking at your content through the lens of your ideal audience, you’ll keep finding ways to improve your creation and distribution strategies.
Don’t Go a Day Without Testing
Do people learn how to cook by sitting back and thinking about recipes, or do they fire up the oven and try different techniques until something tastes delicious? The best way to figure out if your content is resonating is by trying out different methods. Experiment with various voices, formats, and channels. Then assess, reassess, re-strategize, and keep experimenting until you find the ultimate combination of the right words hitting the right eyes.
Make decisions based off of data, not just a hunch of what you think looks good or think should work. Any decent publishing or creation platform will provide you with the numbers that prove what your audience is (and what your audience isn’t) responding positively to.
Keep Your Finger on the Competitive Pulse
This isn’t high school anymore; I encourage you to peek over at your peers’ work to see what they’re doing and how it’s performing. If you see that the infographics they tweet out every month are getting shared like crazy, you ought to consider making some as well. And if your biggest competitor is writing 2,000-word opuses that no one is engaging with, don’t waste your time on verbose, long-form content. Constantly check in on the places your ideal eyes hang out, see what’s performing well there, and craft your content accordingly.
To start off, consider using Google Alerts. This allows you to receive notifications of new content your competitors have published. Use listening platforms to track their activity on social media. Consider using tools like Meltwater to track PR and news mentions.
Don’t Overlook Those Closest to You
When it comes to getting your content seen, your employees and their thousands of connections on social media can be incredibly helpful. According to Nielsen, peer recommendations are the most trusted form of marketing today, so encourage your employees to share and discuss content on their social accounts. Building and nurturing an employee advocacy program within your company will expose your pieces to countless more eyes in a trustworthy way.
Fostering a culture of more informed employees will not only ensure that your company is more engaged, but it will also allow for feedback on the content you’re creating. Employees will provide honest opinions (or what they’re passionate about), and those sentiments don’t deviate much from the way you’re customers and prospects will feel.
Smart brands are getting savvy with their distribution strategies. SAP is one of those brands; so are Cathay Pacific and Humana. Regardless of the industry, the value in these strategies is evident. Rely on data, get familiar with trial and error, know your competition, and integrate your employees from the start.
You might as well spend your time writing knock-knock jokes if you’re not also investing in your distribution strategy. You have to get yourself into your users’ worlds, understand what will resonate with them, and create content that will have them saying, “Wow, this company really gets me.”
Now let that Mona Lisa content do her thing.
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