Editor’s Note: This is Part I of a two-part post about the importance of content marketing planning and distribution. Part II will focus on best practices for measuring engagement, reach and Total Media Value (the notion of quantifying the combination of paid, owned and earned media).
If brands want to engage with information-hungry consumers, they must be doing content marketing. They must have a strategy for creating content that is meaningful, authentic and strives to add value to the consumer’s purchasing decision rather than “sell to them.”
But creating content is just the beginning. Generating thoughtful, relevant content without making sure it gets wide-spread distribution to your target audience with a measurable impact is like investing in a Ferrari and only driving it to the mailbox! Content for content’s sake is not a strategy. Successful content marketing is 15% content creation and 85% planning, distribution and reporting.
Content planning and distribution go hand-in-hand when it comes to optimizing the value of the content you create online. For instance, if you are a health food brand, consider creating content that helps consumers make healthier choices in all areas of their lives. Instead of selling your product, offer valuable suggestions and expertise that the consumer can use regardless of whether they buy your product. Then distribute that content to various online channels and customize it based on the engagement and attention span related to that channel. Start with long-form content first and then break your content down into smaller forms for more social channels. To continue with our health food brand, here’s an example of how one piece of long-form content can be leveraged to create dozens of additional pieces of useful content.
Our health-food brand creates a 15-page e-book entitled. “10 Small Changes That Have Big Impacts On Your Health.” It includes thoughtful tips that are relevant to the widest audience, and uses detailed descriptions and examples. The brand’s distribution strategy might look like this:
1. Post the e-book on the company’s website (with search-optimized keywords)
2. Convert the e-book content to a webinar that consumers can register to attend
3. Record the webinar and offer it as complimentary content on the website
4. Post links to the e-book and webinar on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other relevant social channels
5. Create a presentation-style version of the webinar for easy posting on sites, like SlideShare
6. Turn each of the 10 tips into its own blog post and publish on that content on the website, LinkedIn, and Google+ using relevant search keywords
7. Include infographics, images (i.e. for recipes) and video content so the content is shareable on rich media channels, like Pinterest and YouTube
8. Publish links to each blog post to Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other social channels
9. Host a Twitter chat for each blog post topic using relevant hashtags to engage consumers in a live discussion
10. Include trackable links and hashtags in all content so reach and exposure can be measured
11. Identify social influencers (How to Identify Influencers) who already reach that audience and partner with them to further amplify the distribution of content
The health-food brands entire content distribution strategy is built around one original piece of relevant content. By mapping out a thoughtful plan for distribution, it’s easy to see how content creation (What You Need to Know to Create an Online Content Calendar) is just the beginning and widespread distribution is key to maximizing the best results from your content marketing efforts. Furthermore, by leveraging content that is value-based, instead of sales-based, brands will build better trust and loyalty with the consumers they have helped.
Holly Hamann is chief marketing officer and co-founder of TapInfluence. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.