Content creation is just one part of the content marketing puzzle. Another piece of the puzzle is content distribution or getting your blog posts, videos, infographics, and so on out in front of the right audience.
One way to distribute your content to a wider audience is to share it on a platform, such as a social network or content sharing service. Not all platforms are meant for all types of content, and you’re likely to find that your content does better when you share it in one place versus on a different platform. Here’s what you need to know to get your content in front of the biggest audience possible.
What Types of Platforms Are Out There?
You can divide platforms into multiple broad categories based on the overall goal of the platform and the primary way people use. In some cases, there is some overlap between categories. Hootsuite describes 10 different types of social platforms. Here are five of the most useful platforms for content sharing and distribution:
Social Media Platforms
Social media platforms include Facebook and Twitter as well as LinkedIn. The goal of these platforms is usually to connect people and to create networking opportunities. Brands that share content on Facebook or similar platforms are looking to build relationships with audiences and customers.
Content and Media Sharing Platforms
Content and media sharing platforms include YouTube as well as photo- and video-sharing platforms like Instagram and Snapchat. In some ways, Facebook and Twitter are also content-sharing platforms, as both allow you to upload video and photos to share.
Content Curation and Bookmarking Platforms
Content curation platforms give people a way to discover new, useful information and to share useful content with others. Pinterest might be the most well-known content curation platform, but there are a few more, such as Flipboard and Pocket.
Even with the rise of newer, more interactive social platforms like Twitter and Facebook, the good ol’ internet discussion forum hasn’t gone away. People visit sites like Reddit and Quora to talk about (occasionally niche) subjects that interest them or to get answers to their burning questions.
Interest-based networks include platforms such as Goodreads and Houzz. They are niche and attract an audience looking for information on a specific topic. For example, people go to Goodreads to learn about new books, read reviews of books by other people, and find their next read. People visit Houzz to get ideas for home decor and DIY projects.
Who Uses Each Type of Platform?
Some platforms are generalist while others are considerably more niche. It makes sense for pretty much any type of company, whether B2C or B2B, to use Facebook; the platform is one of the biggest in the world and has more than 2.3 billion active monthly users.
Beyond that, you’re likely to find B2B companies using a platform like LinkedIn to distribute content to a business audience. Brands that are trying to connect with a younger audience are likely to be creating and sharing content on Instagram or Snapchat.
Different platforms appeal to different demographic groups. Here’s a quick look at who you’re likely to see on some of the more popular social platforms, according to research from the Pew Research Center and Hootsuite:
- Instagram: 18-24 year olds, 25-29 year olds
- Snapchat: 18-24 year olds
- Facebook: All ages
- YouTube: All ages
- LinkedIn: 30-61 year olds
- Women use more social platforms than men, with the exception of YouTube, which has more male users.
What Content Performs Best on Each Platform?
The type of content might determine the platform that’s best for your brand more than the industry or niche you’re in. For example, if you usually create video, then it makes a lot of sense to post that video to YouTube rather than to try and pin to a Pinterest board or post it in a forum.
Beyond that, some content is likely to get more shares and responses on certain platforms than on others. Here’s a look at the content types that do best on some of the more popular platforms:
- Video and blog posts do well on Facebook, according to Buffer.
- High-res photos shine on Instagram.
- News-related posts do well on Twitter.
- Infographics and visual how-tos and tutorials do well on Pinterest, especially in the crafts, home and décor, and DIY niches.
- Company and business-centric content does well on LinkedIn.
Quick Tips to Help You Choose the Right Platform for Your Content
You’re getting a better idea of your options, but maybe there’s no platform leading the pack as a favorite for your brand. Here are a few more steps you can take to figure out the best home for your content.
Define Your Audience
Are you trying to reach Gen Z or millennials, or are you looking to connect with an older demographic? Does your brand serve consumers or other businesses? Go to the platforms where you’ll find your target audience. If you’re a niche business, then don’t forget to look for platforms that cater specifically to your audiences, like Houzz for DIYers or design aficionados or Goodreads for bookworms.
Consider Your Content
Are you creating videos or long-form blog posts? Do you thrive on GIFs or on high-quality photos? Different content types have different homes online, so let your content guide you.
Try Things Out
Run a few tests to see how your content performs on different platforms. For example, you can post a video on YouTube and on Facebook and compare the reaction you get. It might be that the combination of your content’s subject matter and your target audience means your video does better on Facebook than on YouTube or vice versa.
Remember That You Can Cross Post
You don’t have to choose one or the other when it comes to picking a platform. You can cross post to extend the life of your content, as Heidi Cohen notes. If you do decide to cross post, wait a couple of weeks before posting on the second platform, and mark one of the posts as canonical so that Google doesn’t flag your content as duplicate.