In Parts 1 and 2 of this series, we discussed the importance of targeted content that addresses your buyer personas and establishing repeatable processes to keep your team on task and on schedule. The final building block of a successful content marketing strategy brings these two elements together, converging in an organized distribution strategy that gets your content in front of your target buyers and moves them down the funnel toward purchase.
Building Block 3: Distribution to the Right People at the Right Time
Without an effective distribution plan, no one will see or engage with your content. All of that work, the planning and effort, the behind the scenes organization and perfect editorial calendar…well, they don’t mean a thing unless they deliver results. And results require an active and effectively targeted audience.
According to the Custom Content Council, 61% of people feel better about a company that delivers custom content and are more likely to buy from that company. What does that mean for you, the modern marketer? If you master distribution and get customized, targeted content to the right audience, not only will your buyers trust you but they’ll be more likely to become a customer.
You can think about distribution in terms of paid, owned, and earned media–and a successful content marketing strategy uses all three.
You might think that content marketing only impacts owned media. After all, the content is created and controlled by your company, and owned media is a very important and strategic means of content distribution. But content marketing doesn’t stop with owned media. The most robust and successful content marketing strategies distribute content across all three types of media channels.
It’s crucial to share your content on company websites, blogs, and social networks and to track which outlets are most successful for lead generation. For example, LinkedIn and Slideshare are proving to be powerful B2B lead generators because business professionals are on there connecting and searching for valuable information from people they trust. Sharing on Twitter and Facebook builds your relationship with both potential buyers and influencers in your space–and their trust is a powerful weapon that drives earned media.
Content is also what fuels marketing automation. As discussed in the first section, you should create content around specific buyer personas and stages of the buyer’s journey. Since that’s already a part of your strategy, make sure you deliver the content correctly by setting up nurture campaigns and lead scoring. Not only will you more effectively move buyers through the funnel but you’ll gain insight into what works and what does not, further informing your strategy.
Increasingly, brands are using paid media to drive traffic to their content. They’re experimenting with digital advertising such as display ads and social media advertisements to promote webinars, eBooks, videos, and other pieces of content. And it’s working. Instead of pushing potential buyers to a product or solution page, from which they immediately bounce, they land on a piece of useful and relevant content–rather, content that’s useful and relevant to the right buyer.
Finally, earned media is the result of building relationships and a well-implemented paid and owned media strategy. Once you get people to pay attention to your content and respect your company’s opinions and insights, they’ll share it with their own networks. This is especially useful when it comes to influencers in your area. After building relationships with these already trusted and respected thought leaders, ask them to collaborate with you on a project or post. Their pull will earn you more traffic, engagement and leads.
And don’t forget to keep in close contact with your corporate communications and PR teams. If they’re in the loop on future pieces of content in the pipeline, they can pitch it to publishers and media–which can have a tremendous effect on driving traffic and leads.
For more, Content Marketing Institute gives a fantastic overview of using paid, owned and earned media in conjunction with content marketing.
Now, time to get building.
By focusing on these three crucial elements of a content marketing strategy and by taking the time to do them correctly, you’ll have a strong foundation for content marketing success. Good luck, content marketers!
Have any questions? Please leave them in the comments section below.