There is no question that content marketing is uber-effective. After all, so many successful businesses don’t jump on a marketing strategy and stay with it if it doesn’t work. There’s also no question that one of the main keys to success is maximizing your content distribution. A primary campaign goal is having as many of the right people see your content as possible.

That being said, how do you make that happen? Ah, let me count the ways….

Keys to Maximize Content Distribution

Laser Targeting –

Find what your audience really wants and give it to them, exactly. What are their most pressing issues, and how can you help solve them? Creating such “precise match” content ensures that you content will have the kind of value that gets it shared, and more likely to end up consumed by more of your target audience.

You’ll need to do market research if you aren’t already sure about who they are. Typically, you or your marketing department will have identified campaign targets and what kind of supporting content best meets their needs.

Don’t take it for granted that you know not only who your ideal buyer is, but who the real people are who are out there looking for the solutions you offer. It’s true for both B2B and B2C organizations. That  knowledge lets you create killer content that’s exactly what your buyers are looking for.

A Compelling Title -

Great content is only great for you if people see and consume it, and a compelling title is one of the best ways to ensure that happens. Keyword optimization helps it show up in the search engines, but remember, Google bots don’t read, watch, or buy anything. You want real readers to think your title rocks, too.

If you grab their attention and get them to read the first paragraph, your remaining content can take it from there. A killer title is not only one of the best ways to ensure that your content is consumed, but shared, as well.

That title will propagate across Twitter and other social media outlets. If it’s compelling, it is more likely to keep going, and going, and…..

Create Graphics, Audio, and Video -

These days, great content means more than just printed words on a page. People want to be stimulated, and not just by their significant other. Intellectual stimulation often requires multi-modal content for maximum effectiveness. Moreover, different people absorb information most effectively in different modalities. Get people excited, and build perceived value; they’re more likely to share your content

Don’t Keep It All At Home –

Distribute your content widely. Don’t restrict your publishing efforts to your own blog or website. Use document sharing sites like slideshare and docstoc, and syndicate it to other websites and blogs. It’s not all about your reach here, although that never hurts.

It’s a bit chicken/egg here. The broader your distribution, the greater the chance that your content will get picked up and shared by others. You’re but one social media power user share away from virulence.

Promote Sharing and Ask For It

There’s a reason you see those little social sharing icons at the top of virtually every blog and website; they work. People will share your content, but you have to make it as easy as possible. Go further, though. Come right out and ask them to share. People need a call to action, and that holds true for more than just sales letters and landing pages.

Call In The Troops-

Get your employees to share your content on social media and/or email. Ask, cajole, convince, or hell, even bribe them, just get them in the habit of giving your content distribution a jump start. They can be some of your most effective evangelists, and really help get things moving.

You probably have at least a few social media power user hiding on your staff somewhere. Find out who they are, yesterday. A recent study showed that 60% of employees wanted their employers to help them share relevant content…. so do just that.

Timing is Everything -

As in life, so it is in content marketing as well; when the content hits social media makes all the difference whether or not it spreads. Examine your target audience. When do they consume and share the most social media?

There are national averages but in reality, it varies widely for different niches and media outlets. There is plenty of research floating around to help you, but in the end, you’ll want to conduct your own. That’s the best way to ensure that you’re meeting the needs of your exact target market and customers.

Using a social media tool with integrated analytics, such as Hootsuite, can keep you from pulling your hair out here. You’ll discover exactly when and what works best for you from a social media perspective.

Using tools is the easiest way to know when and what subjects and headlines engage your followers best. That way you can give them more of what they want, when they want it. Your response, reach, and follower totals will rise accordingly.

For example, on average Twitter users tend to be most active mid-late in the day, and later in the week. (Not too late, though.  A study by bit.ly, the folks who make the url shortner used in Twitter, revealed that posting late in the day is great for increasing viral potential, but only until Friday at 3pm)

NOTE: Hubspot and bit.ly show somewhat conflicting data in their Twitter timing studies, with bit.ly showing better clickthrough results earlier in the day, and Hubspot somewhat later.

Facebookers share things on average about 5 times more on Saturday than any other day, and they tend to do it in the morning. That may or may not best describe your audience, however. That’s why you’ve got to dig deeper for the best results.

No matter where you live, most of the U.S. population is in the central and eastern time zones. If you’re doing business nationally, that’s something to consider.

Experiment, too. Tweet early in the morning, and later in the evening. Use analytics to determine when your followers respond best.

The other side of timing is frequency. It’s not only when you Tweet, post, or share, but how often. If you’re content is right on target, you can post much more often, but that still varies considerably by market. Some are voracious consumers, hanging on every post, share, and  Tweet, while others aren’t quite so plugged in.

Speed is Essential -

People hate to wait, so don’t make them. Admit it, you’re right there with them, aren’t you? When the right people do show up for your content, they won’t wait. Make sure your web server is fast enough and everything is configured so that pages load quickly and everything streams smoothly.

Putting audio and video content on the cloud frees up your bandwidth, and ensures minimal bottlenecks. Reducing page load times improves the user experience.

Also, search engines  frown on slow sites, so keep them happy. Your rankings will rise accordingly, and you know what happens next…. That’s right, more people see your content, especially those that are actually looking for it.

Get To The Right People –

Darren Rowse of ProBlogger.net

This may be the most important point of all. Get your content to the thought leaders and influencers in your market. A tall order? Possibly, but if your content really delivers, and follows the above rules, you’re far more likely to hit a home run here.

Want to have even a better shot at such an opportunity?

Identify and build relationships with the right people before hand. Engage them on social media and forums, comment (intelligently) on their blogs, and guest post on blogs they frequent or other influential blogs in your niche.

All that broadens your opportunity to increase reach and maximize distribution. If your content hits the mark, and you’ve started to make a name for yourself with the right people, a little can go a long way.

Hiding in Plain Sight -

In the B2B space, look to synergistic distribution opportunities; vendors, industry leaders, trade publications, and so forth. They’re right in front of you. It’s where I got some of my first freelance opportunities. It helps establish you and your organization as an authority and positions your brand; a primary content marketing goal.

Most industries have a veritable plethora of blogs that focus on them. Keeping up with content demands can be a grueling slog. Many bloggers are always looking for compelling, authoritative content that you’re (of course) all too happy to deliver.

Guest posts can be one of the most powerful strategies you employ, so get out there and try it. You’ll open up your content to a a whole, new world; possibly a very large one.

Group Think (and do) -

Join social sharing groups. These strategic partnerships multiply your social media distribution. In short, it’s an “I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine” relationship. Reciprocity can be a powerful thing.

You can leverage one group into several of these. They’re very powerful when you get in with the right people. I’m in or have been in several of these, and it’s well worth the effort it takes to set them up. It’s not only a big help for social media, but a fantastic networking opportunity as well. You never know who you’re going to meet as your group grows.

Easy Digestion -

People have plenty of content to choose from these days, but still the same, old 24hrs to consume it. Making yours easy to digest will keep people sharing and coming back for more. How to do that? Small bites (short paragraphs), subheads, images, and bullets all make your content quick and easy to digest.

An Internet truism, never more so than today, is that people skim, not read when consuming online. In the new, 140 character, infographic world, they’re becoming conditioned to do little else.

Plan for Success -

It’s not enough to have great content, with a vague notion about how to get it out there. If you want the right people to see it, plan ahead. Develop a formal distribution plan for your major content pieces. Even down to the blog post level, a few minutes planning your distribution is well worth it.

It’s simpler than you think. Use a distribution planning form, with the important distribution points. A form helps ensure maximum content distribution, and makes it easier to avoid missteps and those little omissions that happen to everyone once in a while.

Optimize for Search Engines -

Th fact remains that while search engines are fickle beasts, you still need them. They deliver millions of visitors, who use them to find things every day. Sure, over-reliance on them will kill you, and social media is more powerful than ever, but people still use them to find things, plain and simple.

That means Google,Bing, et al remain one of the best ways to get found by the exact people you want to be found by; those looking for exactly what you have or something closely related to it. No matter where they are in the buying process, that’s gold.

In The End

It’s just common sense, really.

  • Make good stuff and people will want to see it. They’ll want to tell others about it, too.
  • Engage those who you want to see you stuff, and contribute value  to what they’re doing.
  • Put it out everywhere. You’ll maximize distribution and viewing opportunities.
  • Come out and ask people to share.
  • Make it all easy.
  • Plan for success.

If you got even a whiff of an idea from this post, hey, please share it around so others can benefit too.