The downfall of many B2B content marketing strategies isn’t content creation, though scaling content creation remains a significant challenge for many teams. Content distribution is where many seemingly solid plans lose their way.
There are a couple of reasons why distribution proves to be a challenge. The first challenge has to do with who is creating the content.
If your content is produced by freelance writers or colleagues in other areas of the business (product, engineering, HR, etc.) their responsibilities often end with creating the content. They might create effective blog posts or thought leadership pieces for marketing, but they aren’t responsible for distribution.
The second challenge for content distribution is a matter of collaboration. Many B2B marketing organizations have a number of moving parts and responsibilities. Team members often juggle different tasks depending on the time of year (event season, anyone?) and ensuring the latest blog post makes it to social media or into the weekly newsletter can fall by the wayside.
Nearly everyone who works in B2B marketing is familiar with the challenge of getting teams like sales and customer success to play a part in distributing content to the customers and prospects with whom they have relationships.
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The end result is too much content in too many B2B marketing organizations sites on website pages or in offline repositories, but rarely makes it to the market. And if you’re a marketer, that’s a frustrating situation.
So how do you fix it?
In short, you fix it by creating content that is so impactful that even the most cynical member of the sales team admits it has value to his contacts. The trick, however, is that you’ll need to create and distribute quality content to as many members of your audience as possible with the resources you have on hand.
Here are five ideas to help you create and distribute content your colleagues and customers will love.
Conduct Audience Research
Sometimes it’s difficult to get your colleagues on board with distributing marketing content because they don’t understand the value it holds for their audience.
When your content is built on a foundation of thorough audience research it’s obvious to teammates and your audience that it’s delivering value.
Audience research helps you understand:
- Audience preferences for topics, content formats, point of view, and more.
- The habits of your audience: Do they attend certain industry events annually? Are certain weekly or monthly content features drawing regular interest?
- Audience pain points: Do content pieces around budgets or conversations with leadership perform well? You might be getting a glimpse of their pain points.
- Where they spend time online: If your audience seems to be active on a social platform like LinkedIn, that’s probably a distribution channel you need to consider
In-depth audience research that relies on your data and third-party research allows you to better define the topics your content should address and focus on the best distribution channels for your content.
One of the ways businesses judge their success is when they turn their customers into advocates. Satisfied customers are one of the most powerful marketing tools available to companies. What’s more, when customers become advocates for your products and services, it relieves some of the pressure on marketing.
A similar type of success is possible in your content marketing efforts.
When your marketing content is developed using solid audience research it will resonate with your audience. The more it resonates, the more likely they are to share it with colleagues or on social media channels.
Despite their obvious similarities, the members of your audience are likely quite diverse. They have different preferences for the types of content they consume. And sometimes the type of content they will consume depends on the situation they’re in at that moment. An audience member researching on a mobile device, for example, might avoid a PDF file because the mobile experience is not very good.
Content atomization helps you break up your content into digestible pieces that can be reused for different channels. By doing so, it helps you expand your audience and run a more efficient content marketing strategy.
Your content atomization strategy begins with long-form pieces of content, such as whitepapers, videos, and webinars. Long-form content can be atomized into blog posts, short videos, social media posts, infographics, and more.
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Create a Holistic Content Calendar
Many B2B marketing teams rely on a content calendar as part of their planning. It helps the team understand the topics you’ll be addressing in your marketing materials and plan the content pieces it needs.
But a content calendar that only plans for content creation contributes to the content distribution challenge.
An effective content calendar should include distribution channels, so the entire team understands:
- What’s being created
- When it will be created
- Who is creating it
- Which distribution channels will be used for each piece
- When it’s expected to be distributed.
Creating and adhering to a holistic content calendar ensures your content has a consistent presence with your audience and keeps your team fully informed without overwhelming them.
Deploy Marketing Automation Tools
Content distribution becomes a burden for marketing teams and their colleagues when it takes time. As with any number of manual tasks, automation is the solution.
Marketing automation platforms help teams schedule and publish content across various channels. Marketing teams use automation tools to create and schedule emails, social media posts, blog posts, and more.
Automation tools save time and help maintain consistency, not only in your content distribution, but also on your team. The combination of a content calendar and automation allows marketing teams to plan for and work around busy periods like trade show season.
Additional Content Distribution Ideas
Depending on your business strategy, leadership, and industry, other tactics are available to help marketers solve their content distribution strategies. These include:
User-Generated Content: Encourage your satisfied customers and followers to create content about their positive experiences with your product or service.
Collaborate and Partner: Collaborate with other brands or thought leaders in your industry. Partnering for content creation and distribution can help you tap into each other’s audiences.
Employee Advocacy: Encourage your employees to share your content on their personal social media profiles. This expands your reach without additional costs.
Influencer Marketing: Collaborate with industry influencers who can amplify your content to their followers.
Community Engagement: Join industry-related forums, groups, and communities to share your content and engage with a niche audience.
Content Licensing: Consider licensing your content to other organizations or platforms that cater to your target audience.
Balancing content distribution and resource management is an ongoing process. B2B marketers must regularly assess the effectiveness of their efforts, refine their strategy, and focus on the channels that yield the best results to maximize reach without overextending your resources.