Content marketing requires a lot of time, effort and expertise — but it pays off in spades when done well.
But the key to establishing ROI from your content marketing program is understanding the difference between promotion and distribution.
So how can you ensure that quality content is delivered to your ideal audience? Read on to learn why B2B content distribution tops promotion every time.
Promotion + Distribution: What’s the Difference?
While promotion and distribution sound like the same thing — a way to get your ideal audience to view your content — there’s a simple yet important difference between them: Promotion is push; distribution is pull.
In other words:
- Promoting your content is accomplished through advertising or posting your blog or article to undeveloped marketing channels. This method doesn’t involve targeting or personalization, just blasting it to a broad group of people and hoping it sticks.
- Distribution is accomplished by delivering your content to an audience that’s already expecting it on a developed marketing channel. This method consists of targeting it to a specific group of people who are much more likely to convert.
Now that we’ve explained it, you can probably guess which tactic is superior: distribution.
Developing your marketing channels in a way that keeps your ideal audience coming back for more is the goal when using a distribution strategy.
It means you have an ongoing place to connect with your target audience instead of having to work to find those people each time you have a new piece of content to share. That’s why the part about “developing” those channels is key.
Whether your distribution channels include social media posts, an email newsletter, a podcast or any other options, building expectations among your audience that valuable content will be delivered regularly is the ultimate goal.
What Is B2B Content Distribution?
Let’s be clear. Content distribution for B2B is just a content marketing strategy in which a brand seeks to connect with its target audience (the decision makers of a company) via relevant, valuable content to turn them into paying customers.
Distributing this content – blog posts, newsletters, video content, infographics, case studies, webinars, etc. – is typically done through organic search, email campaigns, paid media and social media platforms like LinkedIn. The goal for B2B content marketing is usually brand awareness in order to drive more traffic to your website by offering lengthier, fact-based expert advice on improving your business and getting more sales.
In contrast, B2C content marketing aims to sell directly to a broad base of customers via content that is generally more personal/emotional than informational and is not as stat/fact-heavy. Social media platforms for this target audience are usually Facebook and Twitter, but not LinkedIn. This chart shows the difference between B2B and B2C content:
Related Content: 5 Questions to Help Focus Your Organic B2B Social Media Strategy
What Are the 3 Types of Content Distribution Strategies?
The three main types of strategies to distribute your content are owned, earned and paid:
- Paid media: Content that you pay for, which is usually ads, sponsored material or press releases, and can be online (Google Ads, Facebook Ads) or offline (print ads, TV ads).
- Owned media: Content that you create and own, like your company website or your social media posts.
- Earned media: Content that other people write about you, like reviews or sharing your posts (aka word-of-mouth marketing).
Building a Content Distribution Strategy
There are many strategies for building an effective approach to content distribution. But when choosing which B2B marketing strategy to hone in on, two critical questions to ask yourself are: “What content am I distributing?” and “What channels should I utilize?”
Reflecting on the key user personas or audience research you’ve compiled for your content strategy can help you reach the right answers to these key questions.
Question 1: What content am I distributing?
Let’s take a look at a few types of content you can create for your audience and the difference between distributing and promoting them.
- Distributing your e-book might look like sharing it with an email list you regularly send to.
- Promoting it might be a LinkedIn lead generation campaign.
- Distributing your blog posts might look like updating your LinkedIn feed when you publish a new one.
- Promoting them might be by requesting backlinks.
- Distributing these videos might look like linking to them within your regularly scheduled email newsletters.
- Promoting them might rely on a YouTube ad campaign.
- Podcast episodes:
- Distributing your podcast relies on an engaged subscriber base listening to each new episode.
- Promoting the podcast could be through guest appearances or audio advertisements.
Question 2: What channels should I utilize?
Once you figure out what type of high quality content to create, you need to identify the approach to getting it out there.
Some examples of where (and how) you can distribute your content to meet various goals include:
- To move leads through the B2B marketing funnel: Creating weekly or bi-weekly email newsletters to send to leads who have interacted with your content in the past.
- To increase brand awareness: Optimizing your blog for the search engines (this strategy is explored below).
- To generate new leads: Providing your company’s sales team with content to share with their prospects through cold email or other 1:1 conversations.
- To increase engagement with your prospects: Sharing your content through well-developed social channels (Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.).
Best Ways to Distribute Content Across Your Marketing Funnel
Let’s take a look at top-of-funnel (TOFU) methods and middle- and bottom-of-funnel (MOFU/BOFU) methods.
The best way to distribute top-of-funnel content to your target audience is through search. To strengthen your SEO, you can:
- Audit your website for indexing problems, slow-loading pages, broken links, and other technical SEO issues.
- Build backlinks from third-party websites and increase the number of internal links within your website.
- Refresh old content that previously earned traffic via search but has since fallen off.
- Embrace a more SEO-centric content strategy that is largely driven by keyword research and content optimization to earn traffic via search.
There is no one-size-fits-all approach to distributing middle- and bottom-of-funnel content, but a few best practices include:
- Target long-tail keywords that ask/answer “What are the most specific, urgent pain points that our product or service solves?” and build internal links to these pieces:
- Segment out your email subscribers who have previously clicked on educational or product-related content and send new MoFo/BoFu content to them because they have proven they are interested in the details of what your product/service does.
- Meet with the sales team to see if new content can be included in their emails, whether automated or manual.
- Use forums and Q&A sites, such as Quora and Reddit, to post your content where people are already talking about the problems that your product solves.
Related Content: B2B Content Marketing: 3 Categories of Content for Your Marketing Funnel
Distribution Tops Promotion
There’s a simple, yet important, difference between promotion and distribution tactics in B2B content marketing: distribution is pull.
Relying on distribution channels for your content marketing program creates long-term marketing ROI by reducing ad costs and ensuring that the time and effort invested in new pieces of content are used effectively.
We hope you learned how to produce content to share through your distribution channels! But if you just want an expert B2B content marketing agency to do the hard work for you 👇