Have you ever written The Best Blog Post Of Your Life and been sure that the second you published it, it would go viral?
And then you hit that button for it to go live, ready for the onslaught of traffic.
And then nothing. Maybe you get a like or a comment, but that’s about it.
You are not alone.
Great content, after all, is only the first step in content marketing.
Distribution and promotion is the next crucial step, but it’s one that too many people forget about.
In many cases, I discuss distribution options with my clients so that we can make sure our posts will be seen by the target audience.
Because sure, SEO helps and yes having great content is an excellent tool for your SEO strategy, but especially when you’re first getting your content out there, you can’t rely on SEO alone to get traffic to your content.
To make things even more challenging, there’s not really a one-size-fits-all post distribution strategy that will be perfect for every business.
Part of an ongoing content marketing strategy is evaluating the current plan and adjusting as necessary, and knowing which options are most likely to benefit you.
It’s all a little complicated.
So, in this post, we’re going to go over everything you need to know about post distribution, including what channels are available, how to share your content in a way that will get the most results, and different tools that can streamline the process.
I don’t know about you, but I’m excited about this one. Let’s get started.
Why Does Post Distribution Matter?
Big-name sites can count on the fact that as long as their posts are optimized well, every time someone goes searching for their chosen keyword their post will hit on the first page of results.
Most businesses do not have that luxury. And even if they did, relying on SEO alone is never enough, in my opinion, to sustain a content marketing campaign.
The reason why is simple– you want to be more proactive so that you can introduce your content to all of your target audience, not just the ones who are actively searching.
Let’s look at an example.
Today, I clicked on an article I saw on Facebook talking about air purifying plants for the household.
Would I have searched these out? Possibly. I didn’t know that there were any air purifying plants outside of peace lilies (which I already have). I would never have known to search for that topic, even though it’s of direct interest to me. And if I’d gone searching for something similar, I likely would have Googled “air purifiers for home.” Plants wouldn’t have been anywhere in there.
Instead, I stumbled across the article because it was placed clearly on my digital path. And I was happy to read it. I just wouldn’t have found it searching on my own.
That’s why content distribution is so crucial.
The right distribution strategy will place your posts on the platforms where users are most likely to see them, getting you more clicks and getting you more results for the great content you’ve created.
The Best Channels for Sharing Blog Posts
There’s a lot of different options for post distribution when you want to promote your blog posts, infographics, and more.
In many cases, using a combination of some or all distribution channels is a good choice for a lot of businesses. It keeps you from putting all your eggs in one basket and increases the chance of more people seeing it.
Facebook is one of the most popular content distribution channels.
People are browsing, waiting for something to catch your eye, and then there in front of them is a fascinating article about air purifying plants. 😉
Facebook has a large and diverse audience, and people are ready to click.
There are a few downsides to Facebook.
Outbound links don’t always get as much traction in organic reach as other posts, so you may not get the engagement you expect.
More importantly, too many businesses don’t share their content the right way on Facebook.
They drop a link and say little to nothing else, at most listing a title of the blog post. That won’t get you any clicks or any engagement.
Instead, you need to capture interest and tell them what they gain out of clicking.
Wouldn’t you want to purify the air in your house? Or learn how to get a higher CTR with custom audience strategies, or get another six months out of your car battery?
You can also use current events or trending news (like the Jon Loomer example above) to hook users and get the clicks.
Twitter is another popular option, though, like Facebook, too many people use it as a black hole to dump links. We have double the characters we used to– use them.
One of Twitter’s biggest advantages is that people are more likely to share content on this platform than other social channels.
Retweeting is a common practice, where sharing is reserved only for the best content on Facebook. This can help you expand your reach significantly.
Use the same general strategies on Twitter that you do on Facebook, explaining why users should click and capturing their interest instead of just dropping a title or link.
Pinterest is the other big social channel that’s commonly used to distribute content to a wide audience, though it’s not quite for all businesses.
Businesses who fit into some of the stronger-performing categories on Pinterest will do well, however, including those in the wedding, home, education, gardening, photography, and fashion industries.
For best luck on Pinterest, make sure that your images are adhering to best practices and that you’re using overlay text on the image and your descriptions to explain value proposition early on.
Medium is an excellent site that allows anyone to write posts and engage with other content, and it will all be shared on their platform.
There’s an enormous readership on Medium, and it’s a great way to find new readers who are interested in what you’re writing but haven’t discovered you yet.
Here’s the thing with Medium: Like all other platforms, you have to use it right. And a lot of businesses don’t.
The posts that you upload on Medium should also live on your site. More importantly, they should be uploaded onto your site first, and then imported to Medium.
Medium has a method of letting you do this that reverts rights back to the original, keeping you from getting dinged as plagiarism on either one. You can see how to do this here.
You should also always link back to other blog posts on your site in your Medium posts, so it gets people back to your main site and keeps them bouncing around.
Guest posting on another site and placing a few links in key places to some of your top content can benefit you in several ways.
It can drive traffic from a new but highly relevant and engaged audience to your site. It can also help with SEO. Across the board, this is a big plus.
When guest posting, go for quality and not quantity (though quantity of quality sites is a plus).
Go for high-ranking, high-authority sites that have a great reputation in your respective industry.
Utilizing your email list will put you directly in front of users who are already engaged with your brand, meaning they’re more likely to click and engage, heading over to read your post.
For best luck, don’t just send out an email for every post that you share online. Instead, compile a newsletter of top posts in the industry or relevant news.
You can also create content specifically for your newsletters, which is a strategy that CoMMingle uses by sharing social updates that are relevant to hotels and resorts (their target clients).
Sharing In Relevant Online Forums
You need to be really, really careful with this one because no one likes a spammer or an over-promoter. A lot of sites and forums actually have rules against this, so pay close attention to them.
That being said, sharing your content in online forums or industry sites can be a great way to get it in front of your target audience.
Plenty of content, for example, is written to either 1) discuss news or trends 2) share opinions or 3) inform users. You can use your posts to generic new discussions and ask other users what they think, or share a link to your post that answers a question another user asked.
Quora is a general forum where you can share information, but they have strong rules against sharing your own links.
For marketers, sites like Inbound or the Warrior Forum have great discussion boards where you can share your own content as long as it’s directly relevant.
For best results with this, share snippets of text and add context in the post, and then say something along the lines of “you can find more in the full post I wrote here.”
It’s transparent, and it also isn’t just mooching for clicks because you’re providing the needed information right there in your response.
Content Sharing Tools That Streamline the Process
Sharing your content can be really tiresome, and it’s easy to fall off the wagon when you have so many posts to promote over a long period of time. Because of this, using tools to help you schedule the distribution ahead of time is a good way to go.
Ideally, you’ll use each of these tools to schedule multiple sharings of a single evergreen blog post all at once. This sets at least one chunk of your distribution on auto-pilot, ensuring that you’re staying up to date with it and getting the maximum results.
Here are a few different tools you can try out:
- CoSchedule, which is a content scheduling software that I love. It makes it easier to create, manage, and edit content calendars, and you can even edit posts directly from the software. When you’re viewing the post, you can create and schedule social posts designed to promote the specific blog update long in advance. CoSchedule will then post your content automatically to your designed linked social schedules.
- Hootsuite, which is a phenomenal social management and scheduling software. Copy your link, get your image ready, and then schedule a post promoting your latest post on several platforms at once. You can schedule another promotion for the same post to run months later, and you can even use their excellent AutoSchedule feature, which finds the perfect time to post for you.
One very, very important caveat to this: Twitter’s new spam rules.
You can no longer recycle duplicate Tweets, scheduling the same content to run next week and then again in six months. Instead, make sure that each Tweet that you’re scheduling is unique in content.
How to Choose Which Channels to Use
The channels that you choose should all depend on your audience and which platforms they’re using.
A business offering call center services could write a great post on Medium about customer service and find their audience; a survivalist prepper or technical writer discussing engineering topics may not have the same luck.
Wherever you have an active audience, go ahead and post.
That almost always includes social media, as long as you’re mixing it in with other content, and your email list as long as you aren’t emailing so often it feels like spam.
Watch your analytics carefully on each of these platforms and make sure that your content promotion posts are performing as expected; make sure that your email bounce rates don’t skyrocket and that your social engagement doesn’t tank.
In addition to each site’s native analytics, use Google Analytics and check your referral traffic over time. Watch this closely, and see which channels are sending you the most traffic. Even better, check the quality of this traffic.
Maybe Medium sends you a lot of traffic, but the bounce rates are really while, while users who come through email marketing are more likely to check out more pages or even convert.
Take all of this into consideration when choosing which platforms to focus on moving forward.
Content marketing is exceptionally straightforward in concept, but the details can all be a little bit murkier.
Consider your audience and how they interact with each platform when choosing which distribution channels you want to focus on.
This is a great place to start, and as your strategy progresses, track its progress through Google Analytics to see which channels are actually sending you the most traffic.
Adjust distribution accordingly, and repeat.
What do you think? What post distribution channels do you use? Which strategies do you use to best place and share your content? Share your thoughts and questions in the comments below!