In this series, we’ll take you through step-by-step exactly how we work with clients to build their valuable online presence; from the small things you need to do before you get started, to using your content to generate interest and enquiries. Our 5 Steps to Inbound Marketing are all you need to get started on the road to revolutionising how you market your firm. Not read Step 1 or Step 2? Head there first for the groundwork needed before this step.
What to do with all this content?
Now that you’ve created a wide variety of content, you need to do everything you can to make sure that it appears in front of the highest number of people possible.
There are several ways to make this happen but remember that the best thing you can do to help this process is actually completed in step 2. By creating great content, you’ve already done a good portion of your distribution work. People are always looking for and are always willing to share great content, so aim high and watch your audience pick up your content and run with it. Sometimes though, you’ll need to give them a kick-start, which is where your distribution efforts come in.
Distribution is not spam
Before you start, it’s important to remember that ‘distribution’ is not the same as ‘spam’, so forget tactics like bulk Twitter mentions and direct messages before you start. Email marketing is fine but the more targeted the database, the better. If you send content that won’t be interesting to people, you shouldn’t be surprised when they opt out of your communications.
When you think about distribution, think about where your market is and how you can get in front of them. Sometimes those two things don’t quite marry up the way you expect them to. Take the Betfair Poker Twitter account as a prime example. Betfair spotted that their ideal audience - people who don’t play poker but who might want to - was on Twitter but to get in front of them they needed to talk about something other than poker. So the account didn’t and still doesn’t to this day and it managed to amass a large following. That’s distribution genius: find your market, then do whatever you need to in order to get your brand and your content in front of them and not have them consider your message as spam.
Finally on this point: don’t be afraid to abandon a piece of content if you are finding it hard to distribute. No content creator in the world has a 100% success record and sometimes you just have to accept that it didn’t hit home and move on to the next option down the line.
One the best things you can do for your content is to find partners who are willing to help you to distribute it. It could be a partner business who are willing to include articles by you in their newsletter, or a design-focused site that really likes the visuals you create and so tweets links to them. Consider suppliers too: after all, their business relies on yours, so it can be relatively easy to ask them for help with a very small marketing push.
Regular partners who like your content will be happy to distribute over and over again so it’s worth putting the time in to develop these relationships. As a start, consider approaching bloggers who write about your industry or even the industry press. Sometimes it can be difficult to get that sort of publication on board but even they won’t be able to resist truly original content!
Content can help content
Don’t forget that one piece of content can help to distribute another. If you’ve produced a white paper based on data you gained from an original survey, then why not do an infographic picking out some of the key figures you uncovered? Or a YouTube video where you explain some of the findings to your audience in more detail?
Cross-promoting content in this way is a great method of pushing people towards the really valuable content - in the above example, the white paper - by using some of the other channels you set up in step 1 in different ways.
Distribution shouldn’t always be free
It’s nice to get your message in front of people for free or little cost, but bear in mind that paid channels can make your content go further and reach audiences it wouldn’t normally.
Consider Google Ads or social PPC, for example. Yes, most search traffic (around 70%), goes through Google’s organic search results but by not engaging with PPC, that’s a whole 30% of audience you’re missing out on. Wouldn’t it be great to get your content in front of all of those people? Social is similar. Even if your LinkedIn page has 1,000 followers, a relatively small spend (sometimes as little as £8-£30 a day) can put your page in front of 1,000 people who don’t follow your page. Again: why not have both!
This is the stage where KPIs start to become important
Once you get into this stage you will soon start to find that there are more options for distribution than you know what to do with. How do you prioritise? How do you work out when to post your content in one place and when to post it in another? We’ll talk about this more in Steps 4 and 5 but be prepared at this stage to figure out which metrics matter to you and then to go out and measure them. Another key point here is to then act on them: it’s amazing how many marketing campaigns continue, even when those running them are receiving figures detailing their poor performance.
New isn’t always best… but it can be
Finally, although you’ll need time for all of this distribution, a good marketeer always has one eye on the horizon. For those who joined Twitter when it first launched, the value perhaps wasn’t all that obvious, but how valuable do you think their highly-personalised and well-established accounts are now?!