Distribution of Your Online Content is Crucial

Distribution of your online content is crucialDear Readers at last, the names of the contestants on “Strictly Come Dancing” have been announced. I bet you can’t wait to see “Judge Rinder” in sequins, or Louise Redknapp being cheered on by father-in-law Harry. Of course, I’m assuming you are a “Strictly” fan. You might be watching “the other side” where X-Factor is already in full swing with the early auditions. On the other hand, you might not like either of these programmes, instead waiting with eager anticipation for Aidan Turner to take his shirt off in the next series of Poldark. Yes, the summer is officially over as the autumn TV schedulers try to lure us away from the barbeque. Whatever your TV fancy this coming autumn, though, spare a thought for the programme makers. They are already filming next year’s offerings and planning the ones for the year after that. Television is a 24/7, non-stop machine that devours content. That means non-stop, long-term planning for the producers. The schedulers already know what you’ll be watching in 2018. But the Internet too is a non-stop, content devouring machine. So it begs the question, how far ahead do we all plan our content? We could learn a thing or two from the world of TV and plan further ahead. As I travel around the world of business, I see far too many companies for my liking that don’t plan beyond the next week or two. How good is that for business?

Are you a content distributor? You should be?  Every hour, of every day, millions of pieces of new content are uploaded to the Intenet. No doubt your business adds to this volume of information online. But how many people get to see your pearls of wisdom?

This week I was with a large multinational business that was adding content to its website on a frequent basis. They had at least one blog post a day, and they also added new pages to their website fairly regularly. They were doing all the right things, such as creating a variety of different forms of content, allowing it to be shared on social media and producing a plan of ideas for the future of their website.

But there was one thing they were doing that was not so good. They were clearly fully signed-up to the “build it, and they will come” mentality. They assumed that because they were a well-known brand, all they needed to do was write some blog posts, add some new web content and all would be fine. After all, they reasoned, they got millions of website visitors a year.

Drilling down into their analytics, though, it was easy to find that most of those millions were going to the home page, largely through typing in the company name in a search engine. The numbers of people being attracted by the content were not as significant as the company really wanted or had thought was happening.

This business, like so many others, focuses on content creation rather than content distribution. Indeed, you can create less content if you distribute what you do produce in better ways.

Imagine you are a printed newspaper editor. You set your team of journalists on a task each day of producing loads of stories and getting the best pictures. You are proud to be producing the best content around. But then all you do is print half a million copies and leave them outside your building in the hope that people will pick them up as they walk by.

That’s what most website owners and bloggers are doing. They are writing their content, adding it to the web and hoping that people will find it as they stroll around the internet.

Consider being that newspaper editor again. You produce fantastic content, but you ensure that your printed copies get to every newsagent in the land. You also provide copies free to charge to hotel chains, put them on trains and planes, and arrange some kind of sales promotion such as a free bottle of water with every copy purchased. No longer are you depending on people stumbling across your fantastic content; you are doing everything you can to make sure as many people as possible see it.

In the world of newspapers and magazines, distribution is king. It’s a mistake to think that the advertising or editorial departments rule the roost. It is the distribution manager who is most important. If that individual cannot get the publication into the hands of readers, the editorial and advertising staff need not have done any work.

The same goes for websites. If you cannot get your pages into the hands of readers, then you may as well not have written anything or paid a content agency. Distribution of your is crucial – and it is a weakness in a considerable number of websites.

Partly, that’s because website owners think that Google is their distribution system. Use the right keywords, produce the site content and hey presto you are at the top of the rankings and people looking for your content will find it. But that is assuming people will search for what you have produced. It is also relying on Google to get things right. This kind of attitude means you are relinquishing all control over who sees your website content.

It’s time for website owners to be in charge. That means, like the newspaper distribution manager, you have a plan to distribute your website content so that it is front of the people you want to connect with.

Your plan might include adding your content to social media, but that’s not the only way of distributing your content. You can, for instance, work with other people in your sector, making sure they mention your content on their websites. You can also promote your content through newsletters, add it to handouts you use in the “real world”, or promote it with specific advertising.

You could also make it a daily task to search for questions on Quora, for example, and promote relevant content as part of an answer. You can also do the same in specialist forums relevant to your market.

Another option is to find influencers in your marketplace and email them with links to your content. They may share it, bringing you more visitors. Or you could copy your content into LinkedIn’s publishing system, or add it to EzineArticles.com.

There are dozens of different ways in which you can distribute your content and get more people to engage with it. Just creating it and “hoping they will come” is a waste of your time and money. Your content plan is relatively useless without a distribution strategy.

Well, that’s it for another week. I wish you well for the week ahead.

Kind Regards

Graham Jones
Internet Psychologist

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