Content Distribution – Finding the Right Channels
At this point you have awesome content on your website. It’s great stuff — you should be proud of it! It’s time to open up channels where you can distribute your ideas and claim even more real estate online. Distribution channels create more opportunities to deliver content to potential customers and to possibly include a link back to your products and services.
The difference between promotion and distribution is that promotion is all about generating a buzz around your content and distribution is a matter of finding a lot of different ways to get your content to appear in the search results. To maximize your ability to distribute your content, diversify or repurpose it so that you can reach a variety of channels.
Diversifying your distribution channels gives you the opportunity to fill the search results with your content. Your branded social media profile on Facebook or your YouTube video might just outrank similar content on your website. If you have a diverse distribution strategy and you target the right keywords, you could potentially fill several slots on the search results page with your content!
Repurpose and Distribute Your Textual Content
To expand your footprint, consider sites like Huffington Post, Squidoo or even Hubpages. In effect, these sites ask members to generate web content in their area of expertise, building a resource for anyone seeking information on any number of topics, ranging from food to photography.
These types of sites have been around for quite a while, sustained by revenue generated through advertising. However, this is a good time for a word of caution. The Google Panda update in February 2011 targeted sites generally considered to be “content farms”. Sites that were littered with advertising and poor content were hammered, and rightfully so. My recommendation is that you find only the strongest sites for your specific market, sites like CafeMom and FanNation. There are a lot of really good sites in your industry looking for professional articles and even blog posts. Take the time to find and build relationships with them.
When you develop content for the site, make every effort to create new, interesting content that engages their readers. However, allow me to take this opportunity once again to praise the beauty of repurposing. You can take an existing piece of text content, tweak it with some new, original content, and submit it.
RSS for News and Blog Feeds
Really Simple Syndication (RSS) and blog feeds are awesome ways to distribute your fresh content to the masses. Not only does RSS deliver updated news to subscribers who are following your feeds, but it can also be picked up by feed catchers, widgets, and other applications that aggregate RSS content by specific keywords. RSS ensures that your content will get to the people who want to receive it.
From a distribution standpoint, sites like LinkedIn (and many others) allow you to add your RSS feed to your profile page. All your new posts will flow through your feed so that it immediately gets distributed to your LinkedIn page. Once you’ve established an RSS feed, the maintenance is minimal. Your content goes out to your subscribers and to feed-catchers looking for your keywords. Just as fast as you can develop content, your RSS feed pumps it out.
Video, Photo and Podcast Sharing Sites
Hopefully, you are either excited to start or are already producing lots of audio, video, and photo content for your site. Whether you’re reporting your success at conferences in photos, interviewing industry experts with video, or issuing audio versions of your content for the visually impaired, you will have some fantastic content in a variety of media formats. It only makes sense to open up distribution channels where you can post that same content.
As you think of content to put on your site, think in terms of the channels you have opened elsewhere (off-site) so that you can distribute it broadly. If you have a YouTube channel, think of content ideas that include video. When you have events, bring a camera to post photos to your Flickr account.
Let’s look at some of these channels:
VIDEO is Booming
Video content is highly visible and easily digestible. It’s a great medium for communicating your thought leadership, your expert know-how, and it’s probably the most entertaining way to connect to your audience, opening up the possibility for creative, fun content.
Not only should your videos appear on your site, but you should also get them onto sites like YouTube, Vimeo, and, if possible, MetaCafe. Video is easily shareable, and for this reason you should make as much use of video distribution channels as possible.
YouTube and Vimeo both offer the ability for users to create branded channels where you can upload your video content. If you haven’t done so already, set up branded channels for both sites. You can set up background images to show your brand logo, and coordinate the color theme to match your brand style. When you optimize the channel, make sure to link back to your website.
When it comes to video, remember to repurpose. Repurposing a video interview to text or to audio is a great way to get more mileage out of your video content. Likewise, if you have a great piece of text content, try having a dynamic person in your organization present it in video format.
Distribution Possibilities for IMAGES
If you’ve developed some cool, original photos or images, you should be sharing them. Image-sharing is a great way to keep people engaged with the excitement that’s happening in and around your industry. When you take advantage of photo-distribution channels, like Flickr, Photobucket, and Picasa, you not only raise the visibility of your content but also encourage it to be shared.
Almost every photo-sharing site makes it easy to publish photos to other social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. This can make it a snap to expand your distribution throughout your social media footprint. When you publish content to a photo site, share the photos to your social media platforms to let your networks know that you have new photo content available for viewing.
Make sure to use the description feature for each photo you publish. Make your description natural, but be keyword-conscious. Descriptions are the critical information that search engines use for identifying relevance and can get your photos into the search results.
PODCASTING: Your Own Private Radio Broadcast
People all over are keeping up on industry news through audio. By delivering audio files to these listeners, you can capture an important niche audience. By providing your content in this format, you can make your content available to your potential customers even when they are away from their computer.
Essentially, podcasting centers on an audio RSS feed from your site. When you set up a RSS feed for your audio, you are effectively broadcasting your audio file over the Internet. Anyone with a podcatcher that’s set to search for your feed or keywords in your feed will download your file. But that’s not the only way that people pick up podcasts. Many users go to podcast directories like iTunes and Podcast Alley to browse podcasts to download. You want to ensure that you’ve established accounts with these sites and set them up to receive your feed
When you set up the feed from your site, be sure that the metadata description of the episode is optimized for your target keywords. As always, the title should be natural for the human reader browsing directories, but it should contain keywords that will get it picked up by podcatchers searching for your term. Because most browsers use keywords to find podcasts to follow in directories, you need to optimize for them, too.
The bulk of content shared on SlideShare and other presentation sharing-sites is the traditional PowerPoint presentation. However, I’ve seen some very creative uses for slideshows that go beyond presentations. For example, travelogues are finding their way into the slideshow format. They work well because the traveler can post pictures from a trip and add text descriptions of the experience. As another example, President Obama’s 2011 State of the Union address was turned into a slideshow, complete with enhanced infographics, to demonstrate the key figures he discussed in his address. Some people have delivered eBooks, white papers and even product comparisons as slideshows.
The core message for distribution is, “Find ways to get it out there!” The more you capitalize on the myriad online channels for distribution, the more you will put your great content in the hands of the potential customers who need it. Distribution is where you get to show your brand’s ability to deliver industry wisdom. The more you create content for distribution, or repurpose content for distribution on multiple channels, the more your brand will show up in search, and the more opportunities you’ll create for sharing. You have great content right? — get it out where it can be discovered!
Got any great niche sites you can recommend for content distribution?
Note: the above is excerpted from my book Accelerate! Grow Your Business Through the Convergence of Search, Social & Content Marketing. It is a 250 page, step-by-step guide that any organization can follow to kick their content marketing strategy into high gear. Buy your copy today!
About Arnie Kuenn
Arnie Kuenn is the CEO of Vertical Measures and author of Accelerate! Content Development & Marketing to Grow Your Business Online. Vertical Measures provides search, social and content marketing services, designed to help businesses improve their online presence and obtain more traffic and conversions. +Arnie Kuenn