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Content marketing doesn’t stop after creating the content. You can have the best content on the web, but if it doesn’t cross the screen of your buyers, it’s essentially useless. Excellent content is still key to your B2B marketing strategy, but you also need a way to disseminate it to your target audience to garner traffic and eventually lead to more sales for your B2B business.
A well-thought-out B2B content distribution strategy does just that. B2B content distribution is the process of connecting with your buyers via the delivery of quality content, both written and video, by utilizing different social, organic search, email and paid channels. It’s a big (important!) job that needs attention at every stage of the buyer process.
In this article, we discuss the importance of a B2B content distribution strategy, the various ways to distribute your content and how to measure the success of your efforts to determine what’s working for you and what needs changing.
Why do you need a content distribution strategy?
Data is everywhere in our world today. Many are blissfully unaware of the amount of content that floods our channels on a weekly, daily, or hourly basis. As fast as it’s seen, it’s already forgotten. B2B businesses have an especially difficult time in our digital world. People are constantly bombarded with information and you have to be intentional if you want to break through the noise and get the attention of your target market. This is why having an effective content distribution strategy is so important.
Some factors to consider before deciding on a B2B content distribution strategy that works best for you are:
- Who is your target audience and what do they need?
- What distribution platforms does your target audience frequent the most?
- What content do you have to distribute, and does it work for your audience’s key platforms?
- How are you connecting with your target audience to learn more about what they want?
- How do you plan to measure and evaluate your success?
How to distribute your content
There are many different ways to effectively distribute your content. What works best for you depends on the product or service you’re offering, your budget, the time you’re willing to invest in distribution to reach your content goals and your target audience. Channels to consider include:
Social media (paid and organic)
Social media platforms include big names like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram. You can opt to use these channels organically (i.e. unpaid), but the reach isn’t quite the same as it once was. These media sources are swamped with content and users are overwhelmed with information.
That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t share content on these platforms. People are more active on these sites than ever before and if you can get someone to follow you, they are likely to come across what you post. But aside from your regular fans, another way to reach your target audience is by using paid social ads. These promotions are especially effective for B2B companies because you can tweak them to target your ideal customer profile or to target a specific account if you are leveraging account-based marketing strategies.
Also, for those who didn’t convert the first time they visited your site from a post, you can get new content in front of them by launching retargeting ad campaigns. The more you know about your buyer, the more you can manipulate your reach and get your content in front of those who are not yet aware of who you are and where they can find you. Filters you can choose from include geographical location, employment status, industry, and job title. Additionally, using social media management tools like Hootsuite, can help to organize and optimize your posts.
The most recent statistics show that LinkedIn is responsible for about 80% of all B2B leads coming from social media . B2B content is a coveted resource on LinkedIn, unlike other social media platforms. In other words, if you’re not on LinkedIn by now, you should be.
LinkedIn has many different marketing tools that can assist with lead-building. InMail, the social platform’s messaging system, can complement traditional email marketing with some B2B companies claiming to receive significantly higher response rates via the social media messaging tool vs. regular email.
You can also use the LinkedIn Matched Audience feature to match an external collection of contacts to an audience of LinkedIn members with the same email addresses. This feature is accessible via Campaign Manager, LinkedIn’s advertising management portal..
Podcasts (your own and others)
Podcasts are a popular way to digest auditory content for the busy business leader or entrepreneur. Whether or not people are taking the time to read content, they’re certainly willing to listen to a compelling and unrehearsed dialogue. Podcasts are fun and functional across multiple channels, which means greater visibility and more traffic.
You can also accept a guest spot on someone else’s podcast who’s already established as an authority in the audio distribution world and whose trade or business culture closely aligns with your professional specialty.
There are three primary reasons why you should be using podcasts as a part of your content distribution strategy, including:
- It’s a great way to get guest content
- It’s a quick turnaround format, meaning little to no editing
- It’s easily converted to written content
Businesses tend to underestimate the power of email marketing as an effective B2B content distribution method. Part of its underutilization might lie in the fact that it’s fairly effort-heavy, requiring personalization to create pointed emails that aim to flatter your potential consumers. One large-scale analysis showed that without personalization, though, the response rate drops significantly, proving that audiences prefer the acknowledgment of being an individualized entity and not just another prospect receiving a canned email.
Here are some tips to significantly improve conversion rates when using your email list to distribute content:
- Use longer (personalized!) subject lines
- Follow-up if you don’t receive a response the first time
- Reach out to multiple prospects
- Personalize your message (i.e. the body of the email)
- Aim to send out your emails on Wednesdays and avoid Saturdays
- Include links to social profiles (e.g. LinkedIn, Twitter, Instagram and Facebook) in the email signature
- Strategize your outreach to include guest posts, links to recorded webinars and other tidbits to secure heightened interest and curiosity
Industry ListServs and groups
The term ListServ refers to electronic mailing list software. It’s a way to send one email that is then distributed to a group of people who subscribe because they share a common interest. The list updates automatically as new subscribers join, and all future emails are now readily sent to the most recent list member as well as all former list members. This is an excellent distribution source for an engaged niche audience that hasn’t adopted a uniform social media platform for communication.
LinkedIn groups are another mass connection route where like-minded professionals gather to share content, ask questions, make business contacts, find jobs, establish themselves in the industry and otherwise share and gather information about similar interests. You can find a group by selecting “Groups” from the dropdown list located to the left within the search box and using filters to narrow your search, or you can create a group of your own.
This is the perfect channel from which to generate qualified leads. Some tips to get the most out of LinkedIn groups include:
- Optimize your profile to gain authority and credibility in your field
- Build quality connections
- Make your presence known by posting timely, unique and relevant information
- Establish your brand
- Engage with others on their posts
- Let people know you’re open to opportune business relationships and other professional ventures
Facebook groups also serve similar purposes though they may be more difficult to find unless you are invited by an existing member.
PR and earned traffic
One way to get your content out there is to have others do the legwork for you. Create a press release and present it to media publications. Anything newsworthy, such as reports, new executives or other big-title hires, industry trends and new products, services or technology, can elicit positive attention from other professionals in the industry opening doors for interviews, partnerships and other profit-generating opportunities and leads.
Additionally, earned traffic can lead to a broader audience as you have now expanded your reach to people outside your immediate network. Earned traffic happens when you publish content and it’s shared by readers or republished with credit to you. It can also result from reviews, mentions or tags, comments and likes. It’s basically modern-day digital PR and word-of-mouth publicity. Reputation is huge for any brand, meaning hopefully the feedback and buzz is positive.
If you are consistently producing data relevant to your industry or newsworthy offerings, consider hiring a public relations firm to oversee your media outreach.
Do-it-yourselfers should consider subscribing to HARO, a daily list of publishers seeking authoritative commentary.
Quora & Reddit
Sites like Quora and Reddit are great for reaching niche audiences. Both sites rank high on Google due to their variety and pointed answers to far-reaching questions. Reddit is best for product and service promotion, while Quora is better suited for building brand authority.
On Reddit, finding the right topic or subreddit can make a world of difference in attracting valuable attention. Quora is easier to navigate and tends to have higher quality traffic even if the volume overall is less than what you might find on other channels.
But before you get started, it’s important for you to learn the proper etiquette. Too much self-promotion is a no-no, and spamming is absolutely not allowed. If you attempt to override the rules in any way, you will be flagged or banned, which means a loss of hundreds of millions of potential readers.
Video (i.e. YouTube, live streaming)
Video is everywhere right now, but fortunately, the B2B market isn’t yet overwhelmed by visual content. That means now is the perfect time to dip your toes into the lucrative world of video marketing to reach your business-oriented audience. According to Forbes, 87% of video marketers are seeing increased traffic to their websites after launching their video strategies and another 80% say video has directly helped drive up their sales.
It doesn’t have to be costly either nor do you need to have superior skills to deliver your message via video format. When working with your phone to catch your viewers on-the-go, live streaming is an excellent resource, especially for beginners. You don’t need to mess with a lot of fancy equipment and editing. All you need is a smartphone, a strong internet connection, and the right video streaming app.
YouTube is a great place to archive your videos and create a loyal following. Just behind Google, YouTube is the number two search engine around the world. So, if you are not yet vlogging, you should absolutely make this an immediate goal. Use video to build on your written content or highlight key points. You can also use video for guest interviews, panel discussions, product demonstrations, and how-to tutorials. Be interesting and relevant and your message will be sure to reach your audience and keep them coming back for more.
B2B marketing involves convincing another company that you have clout within your field. Webinars are a great way to not only educate a specific audience on a particular topic but also to let them know what you do and that you are confident about what you know. Webinars also promote brand recognition and are a useful tool for touting the benefits of what you have to offer.
Webinars take some strategic planning to deliver flawless and pointed execution, but their advantages are far-reaching. Implementing webinars as a part of your B2B content distribution strategy can benefit you in the following ways:
- They’re fairly simple and cost-effective
- They can connect you to a broader audience
- They’re great for attracting quality leads
- They help establish trust with your audience
- They allow for a two-way conversation
- They have an ongoing marketing impact
- They’re effective at converting leads to buyers
Search engine optimization (SEO)
Search engines are going to be one of your top traffic drivers because they can bring you website users who were not yet aware of your brand.
HubSpot estimates that three-quarters of web searchers never browse beyond the first page of search results. It takes time to get it going, but once it’s up-and-running, it persists long-term as long as you’re regularly updating your content.
Implementing search engine optimization (SEO) best practices into your content creation and distribution strategies can involve many different techniques to rank high on Google. Its foundation, though, includes on-site optimization, researching keywords and building backlinks that take readers where you want them to go.
Try the following SEO best practices to improve your Google ranking:
- Research your keywords
- Include your main keyword early in the content
- Put a lot of thought into your title tags and meta descriptions
- Write unique content and avoid duplication
- Optimize your images
- Make your website mobile-friendly
- Ensure your site loads quickly
- Use internal linking
- Include keywords in your URLs
- Understand the importance of great backlinks
- Publish long-form content
- Track your success
Spread across multiple formats
You don’t need to limit the reach of your content. You can spread one piece of content across many different channels to access your audience wherever they be may to insure maximum exposure. For instance, you can splice a blog post into a 30-second video clip highlighting the shared post on social media to garner interest.
Additionally, you can transcribe and shorten a podcast into a blog post, convert it into a YouTube video with an audio overlay, snip it into image quotes or audio sneak peeks, link to it on your website, and ask your podcast guests to share in its promotion. Get creative with the multiple ways to showcase and share your content, so you are proactively going to your audience rather than passively waiting for them to come to you.
Measuring the effectiveness of your B2B content distribution strategy
After you start to put your content out there, it’s important to track how it’s doing and determine which channels are best supporting what types of content. You can also measure which platforms are working well overall and focus more time and resources on those distribution avenues or consider amping up efforts in other areas to help bring those channels to fruition as well.
Here are 5 tips to measure the effectiveness of your content distribution strategy:
- Make it a goal to measure your content marketing effectiveness on at least a monthly basis. You can still implement weekly checkpoints but try to give your content and distribution efforts a solid month to perform.
- Set monthly targets that ensure your content and distribution strategies are supporting your company goals. First, decide what the purpose is for each piece of content and ensure that your marketing efforts are adequately fulfilling that aim. Have broader goals that incorporate all pieces of content, as well, such as improving your brand awareness or increasing customer engagement.
- Establish key performance indicators (KPIs). There are hundreds of KPI categories and subcategories to choose from, such as marketing conversion rates, bounce rates, email subscribers, SEO-inspired keyword rankings, social media posts reach, followers and fans, returns on engagement (ROE), site traffic, web analytics and return on investment (ROI). You need to determine the top KPIs to regularly monitor for your company that will accurately predict and measure performance.
- Create a plan for collecting data. Web analytics provides the most effective approach to assess and improve your processes. You need to decide what application you will use and what procedures you will put into place to best measure, collect, analyze and report on your web data. You can also consider automating information for quick reference and updates.
- Do something with the data. The purpose of measuring your success is to also change things up when something isn’t working. It’s not enough to just look at the data. Analyze it, find opportunities for advancement, and develop ways to improve. Also, maximize your high performers because clearly this is where your audience is at and this is what they want. Remember, it’s not about you, it’s all about them.
Second Eclipse can assist you in developing the right B2B content distribution strategy and accurately and effectively tracking your success to further develop campaigns that deliver a strong ROI for your organization. Contact us to discuss how your company can produce high-quality content and use different B2B content distribution channels to generate more opportunities for your sales team.