Schedule, publish, & measure
🌐 Plan for distribution
“If you build it, they will come.” —Kevin Costner, Field of Dreams
While it may have been true about a baseball diamond in a corn field, it’s not true of your content.
Distribution should not be an afterthought once content is produced (at that point, you’re already behind the game). You need to decide now, as part of your content strategy, where and how you’ll commit to repurposing and promoting your content to make sure you get eyes on it.
An overview of your options
There are lots of options when it comes to content distribution—anywhere where you could put a marketing message, you can talk about your content. One of the easiest ways to break them down is into owned, earned, and paid categories.
Channels you own and control
Channels in which you must earn coverage through someone else
Channels you need to pay for in order to get coverage
Your website (e.g. blog)Organic social media accounts (e.g. LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, TikTok, etc.)Your email list
• Organic/unpaid search (SEO) • Public relations • Unpaid influencer marketing
• Paid search (like Google ads) • Social media advertising • Display ads • Pay-to-play situations like newsletter sponsorships
If you try to tackle all of these options at once, you’ll more than likely fall short. It’s easy to spread yourself too thin and quickly burn out when you attempt too much. Instead, it’s better to start small. Choose, optimize, and master a couple of distribution channels that your audience tunes into and that feel like a realistic fit for your capabilities.
When it comes to most B2B companies, especially B2B technology/SaaS, we suggest starting with:
- LinkedIn (organic, not paid)
- Email (your own audience)
And when you nail those, you may consider:
- Other social media platforms (Twitter may be a close second)
- Influencers in your space
- Communities (think Slack, Patreon, Facebook groups)
- Anywhere else your audience hangs out (revisit your audience template from Module 1 for a refresher)
Lots of people search for solutions to their problems. They’ve got a challenge, and they’re looking for content that will help them fix it. This is called existing demand—and if you want to capture some of it (and earn a good placement in search results), you’ll have to convince Google your content is a solid fit for the search terms.
In other words, you need to optimize the content on your website for search.
- Choosing appropriate keywords your audience is searching for
- Choosing an angle that’s appropriate to your audience
- Outlining and writing the content according to SEO best practices
- Including your keywords in required places (e.g. H1, H2, URL, meta description, page title, body copy, image alt text, etc.)
- Including links out to other relevant pages on your site
- Linking into this content from other relevant pages on your site
We’ve created a content outline template to help you consider all of the important details for each content piece you’re creating.
(And if you need a little more help with outlining for SEO, check out this piece: Outlining for content performance.)
Keep in mind, not all of your content has to rank for a keyword. Case studies, for example, are notoriously hard to optimize for search. There are also opportunities to generate demand (rather than capturing demand) by producing creative, thought-provoking content—but people aren’t necessarily searching for this stuff. In this case, you’ll need to focus on other distribution tactics.
When it comes to B2B, LinkedIn is one of your best social options. The platforms boasts “nearly 800 million members” and 57 million companies across 200 countries. And as long as you’re not practicing the connect-and-pitch (aka “pitch slap”), it’s a great place to engage customers and prospects across industries.
But contrary to popular belief, you do NOT want to link off to your blog post or eBook and call it a day.
The best way to share content on LinkedIn is by repurposing it into posts that can live on their own, on the platform. Think of these posts like micro blog posts—they’re shorter, but they still offer something concrete without having to click off elsewhere.
Content Marketer Justin Simon provides a solid framework for repurposing content on LinkedIn as part of his Content Repurposing Roadmap course. For each larger content piece, he recommends creating one summary LinkedIn post that sums up the full content piece. Then, create another LinkedIn post for each of your H2s (subheads), focusing just on that section of the content.
LinkedIn Post Copy
As you can see, this makes it easy to quickly come up with copy for three to five LinkedIn posts from a single blog post, for example. Thinking about your larger content this way allows you to promote each piece numerous times while adding value for your audience—and without being overly repetitive.
We’ve created this distribution template that you should fill out for each content piece you want to promote on LinkedIn.
Consider taking Justin’s course for lots more details on giving your content alllll the legs: The Content Repurposing Roadmap.
Beyond text, you can also extend your content into other formats for LinkedIn. Consider experimenting with:
- Images—make sure they add to the post (don’t bother with stock)
- Videos—not too long, include a title bar and captions
- Documents—you know, those slide-y things with a little content on each page or slide
Don’t forget: You also need to make sure you’re engaging with others on the platform. Social isn’t a one-way street.
This is true for personal accounts and business pages alike.
It felt a little weird, but I had an actual conversation with Metadata.io’s business page the other day. A real person responded to my comment—and even followed up with me about something personal. From the brand page.
You’ll be most successful on LinkedIn if you follow this kind of lead.
Again, there are B2B brands that have success with organic social on other platforms like Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc. If you know your audience uses these platforms, definitely check them out. But we recommend mastering LinkedIn first, then taking others one at a time.
Guess what? You can use email for more than following up with that event attendee list. It’s a great channel to use for content distribution.
In fact, you can use content similar to those LinkedIn posts you wrote in the last section to fill up your email calendar. For example, create a weekly email cadence for your list that starts with a summary email, then dives into each H2 or subhead in subsequent weeks.
The big difference with email compared to LinkedIn? You still want to provide plenty of the good stuff right in your email itself. But it’s also totally cool to include a call-to-action that invites your readers to check out the full resource somewhere else—or take some other related action outside of their inbox.
Read: Include a CTA.
This approach offers regular value to your email subscribers, while also encouraging them to visit the full content piece, or check out your website, or sign up for a webinar, etc.
Alternatively, or in addition to your email sequence, you can send a content newsletter that summarizes and links to multiple content pieces at once in a roundup format.
This distribution template will help you keep track of your email distribution, too. Fill it out for each content piece you plan to share via email.
No email list? No problem.
But you may want to start building one. Try adding a “sign up for our newsletter” CTA in a few spots, like:
- On some of your popular web pages
- In the sidebar of and/or at the end of your blog posts
- In your email signature
Then promote your newsletter like any other content offer. Heck, you can even just email your colleagues/clients/grandma and ask them to opt in.
Some unpopular opinions
No, Twitter does not have to be in your initial plan.
Twitter can totally work for B2B marketers, too. But man, do things move fast over there. To show up and perform well on this platform, you probably need to dedicate more time to sharing content and conversing with other members than you do on LinkedIn—which is why we recommend LinkedIn first. Somewhat lower barrier to entry.
However, if you’ve got some data that tells you Twitter is in some way a better fit for your goals, feel free to swap it out for LinkedIn.
For example, one friend told us (on LinkedIn, ironically), that the visitors her blog sees from Twitter are higher quality than those she sees from other channels.
Neither do influencers.
Influencer marketing is the pinnacle of earned media and is fabulous for getting the word out about your B2B content. If you build relationships with the influential people your customers listen to, they just may be willing to share some of your content for you.
This can be as simple as strategically quoting these influencers in the content you’re producing—and making sure they know about the quote once you publish. You can also tag them in your social updates promoting this content for extended reach.
So, why aren’t we recommending influencers in your quickstart distribution plan? Because this is a harder and less reliable way of distributing your content. Start with the tried and true tactics, and graduate to influencers (if you want) once you’ve nailed those.
Don’t worry about Quora (or any of the other Quora-like platforms).
One of us may or may not have referred to Quora as a “bombed out Reddit.” There’s a lot of talk about answering questions on Quora that are related to your content, then including a link back to your content piece. The idea is that you’ll drive interested readers over to your content for deeper information.
None of us has ever seen evidence of this actually being worth the time.
But, backlinks! Right? RIGHT?!
No, Quora puts a no-follow on links out of the platform, so the links you place there don’t do squat for your SEO.
🏄♀️ 8: Plan for Distribution
Commit to at least one distribution channel and document it in your Distribution Plan.
Make sure to choose a channel or two that is realistic for you and your team to execute with your tools and resources.
Do NOT commit to more than three out of the gate (you’ve been warned!).
We’re wrapping up. Read on for your last steps in
Everything we have to say on SEO, content performance, and content analytics – in convenient email form.
(Having doubts? Here's a recent issue.)