What is Content Distribution? (And How Can It Help My Business?)

by: Dustin Hawley | Tuesday May 28, 2019

Content distribution is a hot buzzword; a term that’s thrown around in marketing circles far too often, many times lacking in specifics. It can mean a number of different things, so it’s important to have a firm grasp on all the possibilities before adding it as a line item in your company's budget. This is especially true today since distribution has become increasingly important to the success of your social media content creation. Given all the noise in the content marketing space that exists today, even high-quality content is at risk of getting lost in the crowd. Hopefully, this basic guide will help to get everyone on the same page. We will answer the question on the minds of marketers around the world: What is content distribution? And how can it help my business?

What is Content Distribution?

To describe it in layman's terms, Content Distribution is the act of promoting content to online audiences in multiple media formats through various channels. These channels are comprised of three groups: Owned, Earned, and Paid.

  • Owned Content Distribution: Distributing content to web properties that belong to you, like your blog, email newsletter, social media, or microsite.
  • Earned Content Distribution: E.C.D is when third-parties distribute your content or content about you through press coverage, guest article contributions, retweets or shares, or product reviews.
  • Paid Content Distribution: This is when you explicitly pay for content distribution. Payment can take many forms but often works on a cost-per-click (CPC) model, where the owner of the content pays a certain amount of money every time someone clicks through to view the content.

infographic on content distribution trifecta

Content distribution and content marketing are different, and your business needs both

In the world of online marketing, content distribution and content marketing are typically spoken of as if they were one and the same. However, the two differ in their objectives and the way in which they are designed to target particular audiences. Content promotion focuses on sharing information in public spaces without targeting any specific group, whereas content distribution aims to do the inverse. Content distribution is far more targeted, focusing on publishing content to specific people through digital content creation.

A content distribution approach typically entails creating detailed and personalized messaging. The specific combination of paid and owned platforms that you use, in addition to how you use them, will determine whether you are promoting content or distributing it. Hybrid relationships can exist between the two if deployed with tact. For example, social media, an ideal medium for promotion, can also be used for targeting users with specific content. In fact, it's arguably the best digital content marketing strategy

If you're looking to increase traffic, get valuable leads, and boost conversions, you have to use both promotional and distribution tactics with your content. Promoting allows you to maximize exposure of your content, whereas distributing allows you to get your content to audiences that are most likely to be responsive to it.

How Content distribution helps your business

picture of content strategy graph illustrated on a notepad by markers

Consumers today have a strong penchant for information and a reluctant and powerful resistance to being "sold" to. Many, if not all of us, research products and services online before we make a purchase. When car shopping, we research different cars, comparing prices and features, before we even step foot inside a dealership.

This is where Content Marketing Matters to Consumers

People want to consume good content that helps them make good decisions, plain and simple. However,  they don’t like being sold to in the process. Consumers are far less responsive to traditional advertising and old-school sales tactics than in the past. This truth applies to both B2C and B2B customers. One study even says 70% of consumers prefer to learn about companies through articles and social media than through traditional advertising methods.

A Roper Survey of business decision makers found that 80% prefer to get information about a prospective purchase from articles instead of advertising. The same survey found that 70% say content makes them feel closer to the sponsoring company and 60% say content helps them make better, more educated buying decisions.

Content Marketing Matters to Search Engines as well

Consumers far and wide turn to search engines for answers to their questions and solutions to their problems. That means sometimes, the best opportunity to win new customers is to be there when they Google it. Perhaps your brand has already established a search engine optimization (SEO) plan. That means you are also likely aware that search engines often update the algorithms they use to crawl the web, in order to continuously improve the quality of search results.

four pillars of seo success infographic

Updates over recent years have seen Google increasingly reward quality content, and demote low-quality content. But what does quality mean for Google?

Well for one, timely and up-to-date content is viewed as high-quality and rewarded as such. So if your brand is publishing fresh articles and online content while updating your existing content, it will help you maintain a strong presence on search engine results pages (SERPs) and keep people coming back to your website.

Highly effective content can help you build customer relationships while avoiding those less effective “hard sell” tactics. Showcasing your expertise in a particular subject-matter helps you gain trust by highlighting important topics that affect your prospective clients and customers. Well-crafted content can draw high-volume traffic to your website and social media accounts while boosting your performance on search results pages and giving audiences the opportunity to share your content with their friends on social media.

Final Thoughts

With all the opportunities available to help you spread your brand name and value across the globe, there’s no excuse to let your best assets wither away and fade into obscurity. If your brand distributes your content wisely and promotes it conscientiously, your brand is sure to see an enhanced performance from every piece of content you create. Or, even better, partner with an award-winning marketing agency like Viral Nation and see the massive potential of performing content marketing with the experts.


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