The old adage -- build it and they will come -- doesn't work for content marketing. More than 85% of marketers publish branded content, but only 36% feel they're doing it effectively, per Forrester Research. Much of that content doesn't get seen or shared.
The problem is an abundance of content. Marketers keep creating it, although only a small portion gets noticed. Since it takes great content, but better distribution strategies, Forrester analyst Ryan Skinner suggests that brands step down content production and step up distribution.
Forrester defines distribution as getting your branded content in front of your target audience, through any channels that the audience has selected to use, to drive brand awareness and conversions such as subscription or registration.
Skinner, the author of "Put Distribution At The Heart Of Content Marketing," explains that placing too high a priority on content may help to close sales, but marketers miss the opportunity to reach a larger audience. The proof comes from a SAP Web content audit where the company discovered the content was only relevant to a minority of its target audience. After focusing more on distribution, SAP's site grew to more than 200,000 unique visitors per month in 18 months.
Build a distribution framework by looking for engagement opportunities, identifying channels to grow audiences, and including influential folks who like to share content, suggests Skinner. If content gets distributed through a URL in Facebook to an available audience of 50,000, maybe 4.5% will see it, engage and click through, totaling about 2,200. Take that same content to an audience of 1,500 through a blog and 16% might see it -- about 240. A third-party influencer with a following of about 20,000 will take that piece of content and push it out, for a 14% engagement rate of about 2,800. These are Hypothetical figures, allowing Skinner to make his point.
Building a content distribution strategy and establishing a framework will enable marketers to link content marketing to performance. That's if the marketer builds organic distribution methods by investing in paid services, and content distribution to drive long-term marketing objectives. Skinner suggests looking for specific audiences to push out content, identifying social content mavens to amplify the reach, and utilizing emerging technology that will make that content visible and easy to distribute.