More than 85% of marketers publish branded content, but only 36% feel they're doing it effectively. When it comes to content marketing, it’s easy to fall into the trap of overproduction and struggling to prove ROI.
A lot of marketing leaders are throwing masses of content into the ether and hoping for the best - and not only is this ignoring the precious opportunities in content for learning about your audience, it’s also dangerous for the business in the long term. Ten percent of the content we publish creates 90% of the engagement. As a marketer, your job is to find that 10% early and often - and then ensure it’s pushed out on the right channels for your audience to see it.
The same principle applies to distribution channels - not every social network will be relevant for you audience niche, find the relevant ones as early as possible, and optimize your content for what your audience wants to see there. As a marketer, your job is to find that 10% early and often - and then ensure it’s pushed out on the right channels for your audience to see it.
The first step to being smarter with content is this: prioritize your distribution strategy over your content production. By reassigning budget and resources from content creation over to distribution, your brand can start to identify that 10% more quickly, and ensure that it’s amplified on the right channels.
It’s also important to understand the long-term impact you can achieve with a refined distribution strategy, particularly on the customer relationship as a whole. Smart content distribution can be employed as a nurture tool - identify the distribution channels that resonate with a particular stage in the customer journey, and then optimize your content for these channels. This is a great way to use content distribution to drive long-term marketing objectives.
So how do you put all this thinking into practice?
Bring distribution into every phase.
Every stage of the content marketing process should include a strong focus on distribution - this will help to ensure the resources invested in every activity deliver a clear return. It will also ensure that your content team benefits from a strong learning curve when it comes to figuring out what works for your audience. Make sure you’re consideration the optimal distribution strategy from content planning and creation, through to measurement and reporting.
Creating this feedback loop between content activity and distribution considerations will help you to identify the strongest distribution channels for each phase of the customer journey - and this will ensure your content marketing setup is driving clear value for the company.
2. Measure content performance by audience niche, not activity.
This is the best way to break out of that negative cycle of overproduction and drained resources. Create a measurement framework for your content team that focuses on reach and engagement within a specific audience segment, and how much this content is enticing prospects into engaging further. This will help your content team to naturally optimize content for distribution, rather than measuring success through productivity.
A shift in focus like this will also ensure that your team’s resources aren’t drained to deliver on KPIs that aid progressions toward broader marketing objectives.
3. Build organic by investing in paid.
It might sound obvious, but it’s incredibly important. An increased investment in building reach on social will bring back a significant return. Not only can you expect an increase in social following after a paid push, but the advocacy and amplification that will follow an optimal piece of content will do wonders for your brand’s visibility on social.
The key thing here is ensuring you’re putting budget behind content that has a strong chance of resonating with your audience. Acting on instinct here is a mistake: make data-driven decisions when you’re planning content formats, crafting headlines and even creating copy. A strong social listening tool can be hugely helpful here - create some listening queries to monitor trending topic in the social conversations of your audience. This is great inspiration for curating content that will garner engagement.
Bringing up the question of distribution within every phase of the content marketing process will ensure you’re not wasting resources on initiatives that don’t work. By refining your distribution strategy, you can make your content workflows more efficient, and ensure content is making waves as a clear driver towards achieving larger business objectives.
Manita Dosanjh is PR and communications executive at Falcon.io.