Developing informative and interesting content that is both well-written and persuasive takes a lot of time and effort. Writing great content involves coming up with relevant topics, conducting thorough keyword research, drafting good copy, making crucial edits, and finalizing the project with eye-catching design — all of this is tough and time-consuming work! So why would you invest all of this glorious sweat equity only to miss out on the payoff by not putting your amazing content in front of your target audiences?
It seems crazy, but tons of marketing departments do this every single day — wasting precious man-hours, money, and opportunities in the process. It really is a shame, and we want to make sure that you don’t fall victim to the same bleak reality.
That’s why, today, we’re going to examine five content distribution strategies to help you reach your target audience across multiple digital marketing channels. So please keep reading to get the most out of your hard work and ensure that your efforts result in good leads, great customers, and awesome ROI!
1. Gate Your Content on Your Website
Sitting at number one on our list (and rightfully so), is the practice of gating website content. Even if you choose to ignore every other suggestion on this list, you need to be gating your new and original content assets on your website if you want to capture leads and drive ROI from all you hard work. And when we talk about gating content, we’re really talking about eBooks, whitepapers, webinars. Depending on the quality and value of certain podcasts and infographics, you might want to gate these as well. (Notice that I didn’t include blogs as part of that list. Blogs are the lifeblood of your SEO efforts, so definitely don’t gate these articles.)
Before you can gate your content on your website, you need to create a section dedicated to these resources that your potential and existing customers can find easily. Once you’ve done that, you should create organic landing pages following standard best practices for every content asset that you’d like to gate. This means using a prominent call-to-action (CTA), limited fields (company email should be enough to get you started delivering automated email nurture programs), and placing the form above the fold to ensure more conversions.
In addition to creating a section dedicated to housing your content resources, you should also be including gated forms to access your content throughout your website. At Act-On, we like to place prominent buttons on product and service pages that link to related eBooks, solution guides, and datasheets. We also take things a step further by adding highly visible callouts and sticky sidebars that link to relevant gated content on every blog we write (taking care to swap out content whenever we create new assets).
2. Share Your Content on Social
With so many consumers and businesses taking to social media to research potential purchases, it’s a great place to post and promote your content. The trick to success with content marketing on social media is to gain a crystal clear understanding of your target audiences. By tailoring content for these segments, marketers are able to provide the right thought leadership and product-centric materials with enticing messaging to educate prospects and existing customers and prepare them to make more informed buying decisions.
Many organizations limit their social sharing to blogs. While these articles are definitely a vital component of any content strategy, they’re only one piece of the puzzle. You should also be creating paid and organic social media campaigns around “big-ticket” content assets, such as eBooks, webinars, and datasheets — all of which should link to gated landing pages to further boost your demand generation initiatives. By doing so, you can increase your contact list and use segmentation to group those users into relevant automated email drip campaigns for further engagement down the line.
To take things a step further, you can reach out to leaders within your industry to see if they would be willing to share your content on their social media profiles. You can incentivize them to do so by offering to link to specific pages on their website in your content before sending it their way. This creates a mutually beneficial arrangement that also opens up the possibility for more partnerships in the future.
3. Include Your Content in Your Automated Email Campaigns
Once you’ve captured the lead, you should continue guiding prospects through a compelling customer journey. One of the best ways to accomplish this is by developing automated email nurture campaigns that deliver useful content to targeted audiences. These potential customers have already shown a real interest in what you have to say and offer, so it’s important to do everything you can to capitalize on these opportunities once they’re in your database.
At this point, most of your leads are just entering your sales funnel, so you should be delivering top-of-funnel content that gets them interested in and excited about your products and services. These communications also pave the way for you to collect insights that will help you further personalize your marketing efforts as your contacts progress through the sales funnel.
At Act-On, we typically structure our automated email campaigns to look something like this:
- Email 1: Thank You: We usually include a link to an additional piece of content in these emails as a special show of gratitude to the user for sharing their contact information.
- Email 2: Blog: Providing a thought-leadership article on a topic related to the initial download is a great way to reinforce the theme of that initial gated content asset.
- Email 3: Webinar/Podcast: By now, your audience might be tired of reading so much content, so you should give them a break by providing an alternative medium that might be a little easier to digest.
- Email 4: eBook: Now that you have a captive audience, you can provide another in-depth eBook that is related to the initial download to give your readers an even better understanding of the topic.
- Email 5: Summary: Your final email should include messaging thanking the lead for taking the time to review the content you’ve sent their way and include links to each piece you’ve sent in your previous emails. Additionally, you should invite the user to speak with a sales representative, view a demo, or visit an eCommerce page with products and services related to the topic of the email campaign.
None of the content assets in these emails should be gated. You already have the lead’s contact information, so the user deserves access to these items without having to work for it. You can, however, use these emails to widen your reach by encouraging your recipients to share the content pieces they’ve enjoyed via social media.
Lastly, you should never cease messaging existing leads (unless they opt-out of receiving communications). Once they’ve exhausted one automated email program, you should enter them into a related campaign that makes sense for their pain points, challenges, and interests. Doing this will help you stay top-of-mind when the time comes for your audience to make a final purchasing decision.
4. Promote Your Content Through Content Syndication
Content syndication is the practice of promoting your content through third-party vendors who place your content on related websites to expand your reach. This can be especially helpful for organizations that don’t rank well for SEO or that just don’t produce content regularly enough to justify a resources section on their website. Depending on your budget and understanding of your target audiences, this one is optional.
When done correctly, content syndication can significantly increase content downloads, time on site, and overall page views. However, it can also eat into your budget, so you want to make sure that you have complete visibility into your efforts before committing to this tactic. Otherwise, your content syndication partner might be promoting the wrong assets on the wrong website with little return on your investment — and you won’t be able to course correct, because you won’t know there’s a problem in the first place.
Another concern is that the webpage hosting your shared content will actually outrank the article or asset on your website. So when passing along content to syndication vendors, be sure that they always add a rel=canonical tag pointing toward the original content on your website.
5. Encourage Your Sales Team to Share Your Content With Prospects and Clients
Sales professionals love great content because it helps them start fresh discussions and also reinforces the key elements of their talk tracks. Therefore, you should involve Sales when you’re ideating topics for your quarterly editorial calendar. They will likely have a keen understanding of your customer’s major pain points and interests, which will help inform your topics and your overall content strategy.
Once you’ve created the content, you should make sure that your sales team knows it exists, how to talk about it, and who to talk about it with. The best-case scenario is to use some sort of shared content repository that Sales can access whenever they need to share content with potential clients and existing customers. There are a lot of great and affordable tools out there, but even a Google Sheet will work — especially for small teams that work closely together.
You’ll want to make sure that your process includes these essential components:
- Abstract (use bullets to arm Sales with key talking points)
- Funnel Stage
- Content Category
- Links (PDFs or URLs)
You can get more detailed if you’d like, but these six items should be more than enough for your sales team to have informed conversations with prospects and clients. And to make absolutely sure that everyone knows when new content is released, your Content Team should join regular sales meetings to quickly review new content and how it can be used throughout the sales cycle.
Leverage Act-On’s Marketing Automation Platform to Get the Most Out of Your Content
Small marketing teams often struggle to write and distribute effective content. They just don’t have the time, budget, or personnel to do it the right way consistently. However, using a marketing automation platform like Act-On helps teams of all sizes accomplish and achieve more in less time with fewer resources — giving your content creators more time to develop great materials that help guide your prospects and clients through informative and exciting customer journeys.
If you’d like to learn more about how marketing automation can help you improve efficiencies across the board and achieve better marketing and sales results, please download our eBook, “What Is Marketing Automation and Why Should You Care?” It’s full of great introductory content that will help you understand:
- What marketing automation is
- Key features and benefits of marketing automation
- Best practices to get the most out of the software
- How to align strategy with technology
Or, if you’re ready to learn more about Act-On, you can fill out this brief form to schedule some time to speak with one of our automation experts and get a free demo of our platform.