Great content is crucial to successful digital marketing, but content alone can't take your business to the top.
Fifteen years ago it may have been enough, but today's online landscape is so saturated that it's all but impossible for content to rise on its own. Great content doesn't naturally find an audience — it requires assistance. Driving strong content ROI requires a distribution strategy to deliver your content to a relevant online audience.
Too many brands overlook the importance of distribution, and their marketing ROI suffers as a result. If this describes your business, take a step back and examine what you're doing to set your content up for success.
Know Where to Find Your Audience
As AdWeek pointed out, the better a business knows its audience, the more effective it will be at distributing content to those customers. Does your target audience skew young and prefer visual platforms like Instagram and Snapchat? Have past marketing campaigns led to success with email newsletters? Are you a B2B brand connecting with most of your customers via LinkedIn?
These are important questions to answer before you begin publishing and distributing content. Distribution should center around finding the most valuable channels for reaching your audience — both in terms of overall volume and degree of relevance — and should be budgeted accordingly to support content as it attempts to reach customers through these channels.
Invest in Channel Development
If your distribution channels are young and small, expect your content ROI to follow suit. Instead of getting discouraged, focus on developing these channels to attract a larger audience and build a digital asset that can grow in value over time.
Sometimes it's a chicken-or-the-egg question. Good content can't drive strong ROI without effective distribution, but it can strengthen distribution channels by compelling your audience to subscribe to newsletters or follow your social accounts. This helps broaden the base of your distribution efforts for the next piece of content and everything that follows.
Tailor Content to Channel Success
Suppose you start out producing primarily blog posts, but later see a short video go viral on Facebook. Or maybe a weekly advice newsletter starts drawing subscribers more quickly than any other channel. As you start to find success, it's not always enough to continue churning out the same content regardless of your distribution channels.
Video is a great example of the importance of distribution because its value is clearly tied to the ease of pushing content to other platforms. As platforms like YouTube and the rise of social media have been more accommodating to video, it's become easier to distribute, which makes it more valuable even to SMBs. Search Engine Land recommended creating content specifically for some of these channels, including shareable content for social media, or even repackaging existing content to redistribute using new, valuable formats.
Anyone can create content, but if you want to generate content ROI, you need a strong support system in place. Before dropping a fortune to build up an army of content assets, make sure you have a solid distribution strategy in place.