One of the most effective ways to build awareness and engagement for your business is to publish content that translates ideas into practical multimedia (writing, videos, infographics) resources audiences can discover and digest on their own time. Because content marketing is about building human connections, there are no tricks or gimmicks involved with successful content marketing; and a high-impact strategy depends on quality, thoughtfulness, and a desire to build relationships.
If you’re publishing content, the best way to ensure traction around your ideas is to be the brand storyteller. But in order to reach your target audience, you need to build a content distribution strategy.
The following framework — based on industry best practices that the ManyChat team has developed as successful content marketers — will help you build a scalable, repeatable program that aligns with your business goals. .
What is content marketing?
Content marketing is when a company publishes multimedia that includes (but is not limited to) blogs, infographics, webinars, e-books, and other digital resources. The goal of content marketing is to translate everyday conversations into resources that audiences can absorb on their own time.
Content marketing is about program building rather than publishing one-off pieces of content. As with any marketing strategy, performance depends on careful planning and consistent execution. The following in-depth video goes over content marketing in more detail:
In general, there are three components to a successful content marketing plan: content creation, distribution, and measurement. One of the most challenging balances to strike between these components is creating new resources and distributing what you develop.
When you launch your content marketing strategy, you’ll likely undergo a bit of testing and iteration to determine the ideal approach for your company, and it’s important to pay close attention to your metrics.
When measuring the ROI (return on investment) of content, marketers generally calculate success in terms of the following metrics:
- Reach: How many people are accessing your content, quantified as website traffic.
- Engagement: How many people are engaging with your content, quantified as interactions such as likes or shares.
- Revenue: Whether your content marketing efforts are contributing to growth or sales for your business.
As your company and revenue grows, you can perform more sophisticated analyses (i.e., a sentiment analysis) to deepen your understanding of how audiences are responding to your insights. Are they sharing your content on social media? If so, what are they communicating?
Keep in mind that your ROI will be stronger when you reach the audience most likely to engage with your company and brand; and the right distribution channels will help you connect with those audiences.
Build your distribution foundation
With distribution, also referred to as “sharing” and “promoting,” you’re essentially building the digital foundation for your content to reach its ideal reader or viewer. The key to a successful distribution strategy is to be targeted, focused, and direct.
According to the Content Marketing Institute, one of the biggest mistakes brands make is assuming “they need to post their content anywhere and everywhere to increase their chances of achieving the desired results.”
Reaching the right audience means actively seeking it out. Here are the steps you need to take to build your distribution foundation.
Step 1: Optimize your search engine rankings
At any given time, countless people around the world are conducting internet research on search engines such as Google. For this reason, one of the most impactful steps you can take when building out your distribution foundation is to make sure your articles, images, and videos are search engine optimized.
Search engine optimization (SEO) is when your content makes sense to or can be found by search engines. Through a variety of technical and writing methods, SEO ensures that people can find your content.
Your SEO strategy depends on your business, geography, and content that you’re publishing. Techniques include, but are not limited to, incorporating relevant keywords, writing tags and meta descriptions, linking between articles on your website, building links to your website, and selecting topics based on searchability.
Here are a few in-depth resources to help you create your SEO strategy:
- This SEO checklist from SEMrush covers the bases with respect to written articles.
- This guide to YouTube optimization from Search Engine Watch can help optimize video rankings.
Step 2: Share content on social media
Social media platforms are a great way to reach audiences all over the world, but you need to do more than simply post content. Channels such as LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter are all flooded with chatter, and your insights might go unnoticed.
The key to success on social media is to choose a few relevant platforms and stick with them. Where are your audiences hanging out, and where is your content likely to capture your audience’s attention?
Even if you choose to build a presence on multiple platforms, be careful not to spread yourself too thin. Being successful on each platform means understanding the nuances of each channel (i.e., knowing which hashtags to use or what types of groups to join). An editorial calendar will help you build a structured program.
ManyChat has published a few resources to help you build your social media strategy for distributing content:
Step 3: Create a newsletter
As you publish more and more content, you’ll grow your audience and build a dedicated follower base. A regular newsletter makes it easier for these individuals to discover and stay engaged with your content, but the key is to give people a heads up when you’ve released something new.
In addition to being a vehicle for your content, your newsletter is a great tool for announcing valuable and/or time-sensitive offers and promotions. Unlike social media, where attention spans are fleeting, a newsletter is a more in-depth way to engage with your audiences.
The frequency of your newsletter depends on your invested resources, as well as your audiences’ preferences. Here are a few resources from ManyChat to help you get your newsletter program off the ground:
- Take Your Email List from 0 to 1: A Simple Blueprint
- Email Marketing Best Practices
- 6 Awesome Newsletter Concepts to Check Out
- Email Newsletter Mistakes: What Marketers Need to Know
- Email Newsletter Templates: Resources for Design Support
Step 4: Create paid ads
Paid ads can kickstart your content distribution on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn, all of which host sponsored posts.
These platforms offer technology to target audiences based on interests, shopping patterns, and previous browsing activity. On LinkedIn, for instance, you can target audiences by job title. On Facebook, you can set up targeting parameters to reach existing customers, build lookalike audiences mimicking your highest value customers, and identify viewers based on their interests. On Twitter, you can sponsor content tailored to a specific audience group or hashtag.
The challenge with advertising, though, is that you risk running through your budget quickly, and, unless you’re careful, it’s easy to overspend without a clear connection back to the ROI of your business. If you don’t have a dedicated ad budget, it may make sense to start out with organic channels, but the decision is ultimately up to you.
Here are a few resources to get started with ad content distribution:
Step 5: Build a chatbot
Content marketing is about being conversational, and distribution is about connecting audiences with information in a conversational way, which is why chatbots are a valuable addition to any content distribution plan.
Using a platform like ManyChat, build tailored funnels to your published information. One way to use your chatbot is to ask individuals questions about what they’re interested in reading/learning about. Your chatbot then tailors its response by sharing content pertinent to that individual’s interests.
Learn how ManyChat builds its email list using its blog content (located at the bottom of the article). And if you’re interested in using ManyChat for marketing automation, email list management, managing omnichannel marketing campaigns, or integration with Messenger, take a look at this article for a clear set of instructions.
Last but not least
Over time, there will be an amplification effect to your content distribution strategy. As more people discover and enjoy your content, you should see a boost to your share count. The key to achieving this milestone is to stick with your strategy for content production, distribution, and measurement, making necessary adjustments to better optimize along the way. This process creates a feedback loop that enables you to explore new channels for distribution.
As you measure success, pay attention to both quantitative and qualitative data. What are your audiences saying about your content when they share it? Who is likely to be sharing what you create?
Content is a living, breathing organism with the ability to evolve, and you should adjust accordingly.
Deepen your customer conversations by creating a chatbot. Try ManyChat for free, today.