What’s more important: creating content or distributing it? For many marketers, content distribution is as important, if not more so, than content creation. But how do you get your content out there? How do you decide which content marketing channels to use?
You actually have a lot of options, from paid content marketing channels to content marketing channels your brand fully owns. If you’re not sure where to start or which option is the best, this comprehensive guide to every content marketing channel out there should help you out.
Paid Content Marketing Channels
Paid content marketing channels are those that you pay to promote or create your content. These channels include:
There are two ways to make sure your content appears at the top of the search results. You can focus on developing a terrific SEO strategy (more on that later), or you can pay for the privilege.
With paid search, you use a service like Google Adwords, choose keywords that are relevant to your content, and pay a fee every time your ad comes up in someone’s search results and they click it.
One benefit of paid search is that you only pay when someone clicks. Of course, that benefit can also be a big disadvantage, as it’s possible that no one will click on your ads.
IZEA offers a number of content marketing channels, including paid promotion and ContentAmp. ContentAmp is a pay-per-click option designed to boost traffic to your brand’s existing content. You pick the content you want to share, then influencers share it on their Twitter or Facebook profiles. Since it’s pay-per-click, you only have to pay if the content is clicked on.
Promoted posts from IZEA allow influencers to share content. Often, content that’s promoted by influencers sees up to 10 times the engagement as content that brands promote themselves.
Along with paying to have your content show up in search results, you can also purchase display ads to promote your content.
If that seems a little extreme, keep this in mind: Google’s ads appear on more than two million websites. You’re also able to choose your target audience, so that the people seeing your ads are the ones most likely to click.
Promoted tweets are paid advertising and content promotion on Twitter. A survey conducted by Nielsen for Twitter found that promoted tweets did three key things. They increased purchase intent, they amplified brand lift, and they increased brand effectiveness.
Like PPC ads, promoted tweets appear in the feeds of people who would be most interested in seeing them.
Facebook Promoted Posts
Like a promoted tweet, a promoted post on Facebook helps to make sure your content is seen by more people. You can target the post to appear in the news feeds of a particular demographic, and specify the types of interests people should have.
You also get to set your budget when creating a promoted post. That gives you an idea of how many people can see the post over a set number of days.
More than 175 million people use Pinterest every month. One way to make sure your content reaches those people is to purchase a promoted pin. Promoted pins appear on a Pinterest user’s feed and look just like a standard pin.
The key difference is that you’re paying for the pin to appear in that person’s feed. One benefit of promoted pins over other social media ads is that pinners can save the pin, increasing its reach without busting your budget. According to Pinterest, saved promoted pins result in about 20 percent more clicks during the first month.
Ads on Instagram are the new kid on the block. The image-based social network introduced the concept in 2014. Ads on the platform are particularly effective for boosting recognition of content and brands. For example, Digiday reported that Mercedes Benz saw the number of visits to its website increase by nearly 600 percent after it published an ad on Instagram.
LinkedIn Sponsored Content
Like other types of social media advertising, sponsored content on LinkedIn is content that you’re paying to have appear in the feeds of specific users of the site. Sponsored content on LinkedIn can be an effective way to boost the number of followers or connections who see your post. Usually, just 20 percent of connections see the content posted by a brand.
Owned Content Marketing Channels
Owned content marketing channels are those that your brand or company has full and complete control over. You don’t have to pay to publish content on these channels, but you might have to make the extra effort to make sure that the right people see your content.
Your Company’s Blog/Website
According to the 2017 Digital Marketing Plans Survey from Ascend Research, a brand’s own website and blog was the most effective tactical content marketing channel for a digital marketing plan to include. About 63 percent of marketers rank their websites/blogs as their most effective content marketing channel.
Social Media Profiles
Along with paying to promote posts on social media content marketing channels, you can also use your brand’s profiles to boost and share content. The social media platforms you use will vary based on your target audience and the type of content you’re promoting.
The big five social media networks — in the US, at least — are Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Twitter, according to Pew. Facebook is by and large the most popular and most used network, so if you’re not on any other social media platform, it makes the most sense to be on Facebook.
How you promote content on your brand’s own social media profiles is slightly different from how you’d promote it with sponsored content or promoted posts. On Twitter, for example, you can pin the tweets you think are most important. If your brand has produced a great ebook or white paper, you can pin the tweet linking to it at the top of your feed.
According to the Ascend survey, email is the content marketing channel voted the second most effective by companies.
The trick to having email be an effective way to distribute or share your content is to convince people to give you their email addresses. That can be difficult, as some people really don’t like to give out their addresses, or have created junk email addresses just for that purpose.
A compelling call-to-action on your website or social media profiles can be enough to get some people to share their addresses with you. For example, you can offer a discount on a product or service if people sign up.
Another way to use email as a content marketing channel is to create an RSS feed for your brand’s blog. People are able to subscribe to the feed, and will get emails whenever you post something new.
One thing to remember about email: Make sure you’re giving people the option to choose to subscribe to your newsletter or RSS feed. People get annoyed with brands that randomly start sending them email, and might report those emails as spam, which can hurt your brand big time.
Video can be a particularly effective content marketing channel. In fact, for a few years now, people have been buzzing about video’s potential for web dominance. For example, Cisco predicts that video will make up 80 percent of all web traffic by 2019.
Impending dominance aside, video is a great tool for getting your message across. It also leads to higher conversion rates. Forbes reports that emails with videos have click-through rates that are up to 300 percent higher than emails without videos. Videos on landing pages increase conversion by 80 percent.
You also have a lot of options when it comes to where you place or use video. It can be included on your website, in an email, or as part of your brand’s YouTube channel.
Earned content marketing channels are those you don’t pay for and you don’t own. Instead, you get them because of something positive your brand has done.
In contrast to paid search, organic search is what happens when a person types in a keyword or phrase and your content appears in the top results.
Quite simply, you earn a top-ranking spot in organic search results by having great SEO. What’s great SEO? It involves strategic use of keywords, linking, and quality content to make sure your blog posts and other content end up at the top of the search page.
TV shows that have been on for a certain length of time and that have high ratings often end up syndicated, meaning their reruns air on other channels, expanding the audience for that show.
As a content marketing channel, syndication is similar. It simply means that a bigger, more well-known blog or website has picked up something you’ve written and wants to publish it on their own site.
Although syndicating content can increase the audience for that content, there’s one potential issue, and that’s having Google (or other search engines) flag your original post as duplicate content, which can have a negative effect on your entire site’s SEO.
Luckily, there are tags you can use when syndicating to make it clear that the post is syndicated and not a copycat.
If you want to get technical, influencer marketing is a combination paid/earned content marketing channel. Your brand is most likely paying the influencers who are creating posts or other content for you. But, those influencers wouldn’t be working with you if they didn’t like the products or services you offer.
In fact, according to the 2017 State of the Creator Economy study, the number one consideration when influencers are deciding whether or not to work with a brand is how well the influencer fits with the brand, or whether he or she would be proud to represent it.
Influencer marketing can take several forms. You can have your influencers create content for you. You can also have them share content your brand has produced, using software such as ContentAmp.
It’s not just influencers who matter on social media. Your regular, everyday fans and followers can be an effective content marketing channel as well.
The more people share the content you’ve created, the better. You can boost or encourage social shares in a few ways.
One option is to make it very easy for people to share a blog post or an email message you’ve sent them. Email newsletters often have “forward to a friend” buttons on them. Your company’s blog should have share buttons that are easy to see and that let people share the content on Facebook, Twitter, and pretty much every other social media platform.