Inbound marketing relies on a steady stream of original content. But, just publishing content on your website, no matter how remarkable it is, and expecting it to get found is not an option.
‘Content shock’ is real. We are reaching a point where the volume of online content is outweighing our human capacity to consume it.
Before you put pen to paper, you need to define your B2B content distribution strategy. Here are some tips for setting out a content distribution strategy.
Analyse your social channels
- Which channel is most valuable for you regarding lead generation and traffic? If you use HubSpot, these metrics are very easy to track. If not, there are several social tracking tools available. Find where your audience hangs out online and join in the conversation. Share your content, ignite discussion and answer questions.
- Do your staff actively use social to promote your content? If not - it could be time to implement a social media strategy. You could offer small-scale incentives to get a little competition flowing amongst your staff - who can get the most new followers in a month, for example.
- You may consider paid social to amplify your content. This is especially relevant if you are a new business and do not have an established organic following. More on this later.
Analyse your newsletter subscribers
- Who are they and how did they find you? This will help you to discover if you are attracting the right kind of interest. If not, re-evaluate how you attract them - if you use a pop up on page exit, for example - maybe people are subscribing just to escape the page, rather than because they are genuinely interested in your content?
- How is your list segmented? Greater personalisation is a key trend in 2018. This is especially relevant if your company operates in more than one industry niche or sector. Your content marketing strategy should include sector-specific blogs, videos etc. But if you don't segment your distribution lists in the same way, the relevancy decreases and you risk losing subscribers.
- How do your promote your newsletter? A build it, and they will come approach just doesn't cut it in 2018. You may well have CTAs throughout your site to promote your newsletter, but do you also have social CTAs to encourage new subscribers? Is there a subscribe option in the footer of your company email template. The people you are in direct communication with are surely the kind of people who want to attract, retain and delight?
Distribute content through Influencer Marketing
You are maybe more familiar with influencer marketing in a B2C context - celebrity brand endorsement, or more increasingly, non-traditional influential figures such as bloggers and social media stars being used to promote or endorse products (HuffPost).
But, in 2018 the stage is set for more B2B brands to adopt the approach.
Influencer marketing has expanded exponentially over the past several years - it's now four times its size just two years ago. Kamiu Lee
The reason why is simple. Because it works. Research shows 67 percent of marketers surveyed thought influencer marketing campaigns helped them reach a more targeted audience.
The approach to B2B influencer marketing differs from B2C. You are unlikely to get an influencer to pose with your product on Instagram, for example.
Instead, industry experts may create review content or how-to pieces; share your content on their social channels; or co-create content in the form of an interview for a blog post, a webinar, or even a live video.
If you know your industry well, you may already have an idea of who the key influencers are. If you are fortunate, then you, one of your colleagues, or one of your customers may even be a respected voice in your business community (Keith Errington).
If not, then there are many influencer marketing platforms and tools available to help you identify and target influencers, here are some of the most well-known/popular:
Create content specifically targeted at influencers; you could even consider brainstorming an influencer persona, adapting the process you went through to identify your buyer personas.
Most influencers are looking for good quality content to share – make it easy for them and you increase your chances they’ll spread the word.
Use Paid Content Distribution
With content shock a reality, organic reach on social in sharp decline, and search trends and algorithms constantly changing, it’s time to face a tough reality:
"If you want your content to get discovered by the right audience at a scale that will help further your business purpose, you’re going to need to amplify its power by incorporating paid promotion into your content marketing strategy" (Content Marketing Institute).
Going into 2018, you must consider including paid promotion in content distribution strategy.
But paid promotion has moved on from banner ads, sponsorship deals, paid product placement and the like. Marketers are taking advantage of more subtle, authentic and targeted methods of getting content in front of their prospects. Here are a few examples.
Native advertising is an 'in-stream, pay-to-play technique that enables brands to display their credible, information-based content on relevant third-party sites' (Joe Pulizzi).
The aim is to not disrupt the user experience but offer valuable, relevant content in a format similar to the third-party site you have paid to place your content.
As with traditional advertising, you are renting someone else’s content distribution platform; the difference is you are promoting helpful, relevant content not selling a product or service.
Search engine marketing (SEM) or paid search involves purchasing ads or sponsored listings that appear on search engine results pages (SERP).
Virtually everyone uses search engines to discover content and information. 'Just Google it' has become the ubiquitous term for searching for information online.
With the number of organic links on a Google SERP decreasing to an average 8.5, and HubSpot research finding that 75% of users never scroll past the first page of results, it makes sense to boost your content’s chances of getting in front of eager searchers.
But getting paid search right is not for the faint hearted. Many companies blindly throw valuable marketing budget at paid search campaigns expecting to see results soar. When it comes to managing your paid search campaigns, a working knowledge of Google’s AdWords tool is key. If you do not have the right expertise in-house, consider outsourcing to a specialist.
Of all paid content distribution methods, paid social is by far the most complicated, yet also arguably the most effective. As all the channels compete to get your investment the variety of advertising options available has grown; from simply boosting distribution on a single platform, to complex, content-driven campaigns that can be segmented, customised, and delivered across a network of third-party websites and social channels (CMI).
Regardless of which platform you choose, the end goal is the same - to drive visitors to your site, content or blog to learn more about your business and to ultimately convert into a lead.
For paid social to be an effective content distribution strategy, you need a deep understanding of your audience and what you want to achieve with your content. It makes sense to amplify content that is already performing well organically. This way you can be confident that the content resonates with your target audience.
Take time to consider the language and imagery used in your paid social promotion. Does it clearly and concisely convey what the offer is, and is there a clear call to action?
You should also make sure your landing page reflects the offer in the ad, and the two are consistent.
These are just a few ideas on how to distribute your B2B content. If you would like to learn more about how content distribution fits into an overall inbound marketing strategy, then download our eBook.