Content Marketing without an audience is just content. To make content marketing a long-term, motivated strategy, that deserves a budget, you need to make sure your content gets a fair chance of being consumed, by the right people. This is where a lot of creative people get lost. But content distribution is not rocket science and everyone should be able to avoid these five mistakes.
1. INVOLVING DISTRIBUTION LAST MINUTE
Probably the most common mistake, because compared to creating great content, most marketers find distribution less fun and more complicated. In fact, so complicated that they often hand over the distribution decisions to their media agency last minute, with a minimal brief. As a result, the chances to harmonize content and distribution into a powerful package will be lost.
Solution: Invite distribution representatives to the content planning from day one. They can give instant input on distribution opportunities and may help making strong content ideas even better.
2. NOT CONSIDERING AUDIENCE, BUYING PROCESS OR CONTENT FORMAT
The most important questions to ask when you design your distribution strategy are:
- Who am I addressing?
- How close are they to becoming customers?
- What kind of content am I distributing?
The answers will influence your channel mix. For example:
If you address customers, you may not need paid distribution at all. You can rely on organic traffic through email distribution or your website. If you address young people, avoid Facebook and try the social platform most likely to have that audience.
If you address people who are are close to buying, and therefore evaluating alternatives, “search” is probably a good option. But if you want to inspire people who have not heard of you, or considered your product before, “content discovery” (like Strossle) would be the best choice.
If you are distributing a short, funny video, instagram would be a convenient channel. But if you want leads to register do download a valuable report, buying traffic via LinkedIn seems perfect.
Solution: Again, invite distribution representatives to the content planning from day one, and match all content ideas against the 3 questions above.
3. NO A/B TESTING
Most marketers understand they need to measure performance to evaluate their efforts. Much fewer understand that minor adjustments to their content can make an unproportional difference. Changing a word in the title, or trying a different image, may increase the Click Through Rate by more than 100%. And the only way to know this is to experiment and evaluate.
Solution: When you post new content, try having two or three different headlines. Look at the performance after a couple of hours and keep only the title that has had best conversion ratio.
4. BUILDING TOO MUCH ON RENTED LAND
Native advertising and content hosted on social platforms are two examples of building on rented land, meaning that your content will only stay there as long as you “pay the rent”. The good thing about native and social is that these channels quickly help you get sufficient reach. In case of native there may also be a “context value”– the credibility of the publisher will increase the credibility of your content.
But there are also serious downsides:
- It will not help you rank better in search.
- It will not build organic traffic to your site.
- You are exposed to any changes in the mega platforms’ algorithms and pricing models.
- You will not have full access to, or control of, user data.
Solution: Use your owned media as the home for a majority of your content, and spend your distribution dollars on driving the audience to you. Employ “rented land” distribution only for short content, where redirecting people has a negative effect on the user experience.
5. ALLOCATE TOO LITTLE MONEY
Spending no or too little money on distribution can be very costly. One of the most important things to measure in your content marketing is the total cost per visitor on your content site, let’s call this “Cost Per Visitor” or CPV. The formula to calculate this number goes:
Cost Per Visitor = (Production Cost + Distribution Cost) / Visitors
Now let us look at an example where you do not invest in distribution, and rely 100% on organic traffic. Let us also assume that you spend $20,000 on production and that the organic reach is 1,250 people. Then the CPV would be:
($20,000 + $0)/1,250 = $16 per visitor
To most companies this is a quite high CPV, maybe too high to motivate continued investments in content marketing?
But what if we add $10,000 for distribution and get 16,000 visitors (equivalent to paying $0,625 per visitor, which is a valid market price in many markets for an engaged user). Then the formula would give:
($20,000 + $10,000)/(1,250 organic visitors + 16,000 paid visitors) = $1,74 per visitor
Investing in distribution will obviously make it much easier to get a good ROI. And for your information, the assumed numbers above are from a real case, and they are not abnormal.
Solution: Invest 50% of your content marketing budget in distribution, and use a relevant mix of the four leading distribution channels for content: a) social media, b) search, c) native ads and d) content recommendations.
Strossle has helped thousands of advertisers increase their ROI in Content Marketing. Read our cases to see what we can do, for both B2B and B2C.