Content Marketing

Making Contact: How You Deliver Your Content Matters

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badge-guest-post-FLATTERIf you are reading this blog post, you probably already know that content can be a valuable tool for attracting and retaining great customers. In fact, you may already be dedicating the time and resources it takes to create high-impact content that’s not only designed to resonate with your target audience, but that’s also inherently useful.

Great, we are all on the same page, right?

Not necessarily. Unfortunately, I see a lot of companies make the mistake of thinking that their work work stops there, and the fact is they’re dead wrong. It’s only after you have created something great that the real work begins as you try to figure out all of the best ways of delivering that content to your target audience. After all, no matter how good your content is, it’s never going to get consumed unless that content reaches your audience. Let’s be honest, a few tweets just won’t do. What you really need is a robust content delivery strategy that optimizes your use of the following channels:

Your Website

Posting to your website might seem incredibly obvious, but a surprising number of companies aren’t very good at it, burying their content deep within their site. As a result, visitors to their sites are often unsure about what they are supposed to do when they get there and don’t know where to find the specific content they are most interested in.

To avoid that pitfall, make sure that you design your homepage to encourage visitors to segment themselves in some way, such as based on their industry, their role in the buying process, or a particular challenge they face. Doing so allows you to control each visitor’s experience and direct them to the information that they will find most useful and engaging. It also it solves the issue of cluttered messaging on your homepage. Rather than try to create a single message that communicates all things to all people, clear segmentation options allow you to communicate that your company understands and serves a visitor’s industry and/or pain points, so that you can then provide the appropriate, targeted messaging.

Other Websites You Can Control

While posting content to your company’s website is important, it will only take you so far. Even if all of your content is optimized for search and your website is set up for segmentation, chances are that your company’s site isn’t a destination in its own right and only garners a small fraction of the potential relevant traffic that you are after. That’s why it is important to look for opportunities to post your content on other, more highly trafficked content-hosting sites that allow you to set up your own accounts.

Utilizing sites like DocStoc, SlideShare, Scribd, and Visual.ly will not only give you access to much larger audiences, but also create an opportunity to direct people back to your site where they can find even more content. One way to help ensure this happens is by only posting teasers for your content. For example, if you are publishing a 30-page eBook, you might consider posting the first 10 pages to SlideShare and then directing people to your website to download the rest. That way you get the benefit of broader exposure without sacrificing the opportunity to drive conversions.

Social Media Channels

The number of social networking sites has exploded in recent years, bringing hundreds of potential new marketing channels onto the scene. With so many options, it’s easy to get distracted and waste time experimenting with new channels that may never provide any real business value.

That’s why it is important to be extremely focused and to concentrate your efforts on the smallest number of channels that will have the highest impact with your specific target audience. Typically, that will include some combination of the social networks listed below. Each one is linked to what I consider to be some of the most useful guides for using these channels for business:

Ultimately your goal in using any of these sites is to raise brand awareness, foster engagement, develop a community, and drive people to your website so that they can consume your content.

Your eNewsletter

An e-newsletter is an essential component to any successful content delivery strategy. It is a simple and effective way to make regular contact with your target audience, promote your content, drive website traffic, develop brand awareness, and encourage engagement.

When developing your newsletter, strive to create one that goes out weekly and:

  • Delivers valuable, highly targeted content that’s relevant for your target audience
  • Contains engaging subject lines designed to ensure an open rate of at least 20 percent
  • Includes short, pithy abstracts of your content that are designed to get people to click through to get the full content on your website
  • Is widely promoted so that your distribution list grows by at least 100 new subscribers every week

Industry Influencers

Industry influencers i.e., the journalists, bloggers, consultants, industry analysts, and others who influence your buyers’ decisions can be invaluable when it comes to delivering your content. If you have built strong relationships with influencers, you can get them to share your content with their audiences, which has two huge advantages: It creates an opportunity to get your content out to a new and potentially larger pool of relevant prospects, and it gives your content the added authority that comes from being shared by a third party. That’s a winning strategy in my book.

Paid Channels

There are, of course, a variety of paid channels that you can utilize to distribute your content as well. These include various forms of advertising, such as:

  • Content discovery platforms such as Outbrain, StumbleUpon, and Zemanta
  • Social media promotions such as LinkedIn and Facebook ads, sponsored YouTube channels, and promoted tweets
  • Display and pay-per-click search ads
  • Sponsorships

These are all worth trying out with small budgets and experimenting to see which, if any, give you the most bang for you buck. Utilized properly, they can each be incredibly effective components of larger campaigns.

The Bottom Line

There are lots of options for distributing your content — I have only begun to scratch the surface here. No matter which ones you decide to try out, keep these pointers in mind:

  • Always consider your buyers and their contextual situation when selecting a method of delivering your content
  • Your method of content delivery must be effective enough to drive whatever the desired conversion is
  • Less expensive forms of delivery are often better than more expensive ones
  • Plan on needing multiple delivery methods to reach your buyers, not just one
  • Often, the less work you have to do to deliver your content the better

So the next time you create a great piece of content, make sure that you are also taking the time to come up with the best possible plan for delivering that content to your target audience. It really does matter more than you think.