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The Ultimate Guide to Content Distribution

Content marketing trends continue to evolve. On the back of an interactive content boom and a whole host of new distribution channels making their way onto the scene, marketers are quickly adapting their strategies in 2023.

In a digital-first era, 73% of B2B marketers and 70% of B2C marketers now use content distribution as a key tactic within their branding strategy. Whether this is in the form of a blog entry, a social media post or even a dip into the metaverse, content has become king in a competitive marketing industry. 

In fact, a whopping 60% of marketers now create at least one piece of content a day in an effort to drive brand engagement and increase the chance of sales. 

If you haven’t started already, neglecting a content strategy could harm your brand’s success. Stick with us as we walk you through the different types of content distribution and teach you how to perfect your strategy in just a few easy steps. 

What is content distribution?

Content distribution is the art of promoting your business and its services using various forms of content. From blog posts to social posts, the choice is yours. The key here is to make sure that whatever content strategy you choose reaches your audience and encourages them to engage with your brand.

CEO of Instarel AI, Thomas Helfrich, said:

Content marketing is a powerful strategy for businesses to promote their products and generate leads. When done right, it can help brands connect with their target audience, as the content of a website or blog can make or break its success.”

“If the content is engaging and relevant, users are more likely to stay on the site, click on the links and make purchases.” 

The current top three types of content are videos, blogs and images. Depending on your demographic size, age and interests, it’s essential to reproduce at least one of these forms of content regularly on your website, social channels or externally.

The question is, how do you distribute your content? 

Keep reading as we discuss the difference between owned and earned content and reveal which option is best for your audience. 

Owned vs earned distribution

Your content distribution channels are your avenues for brand promotion. From your Instagram feed to your site’s knowledge hub, the channels you use to share your content are the key drivers for success.

Content distribution is separated into three groups: owned, earned and, for brands with a larger budget, paid.

According to experts at Adobe:

“Owned media is that which you create and control - for example, your website or Facebook page - but earned media is material others have produced about you, such as product reviews and social mentions.”

While you’re only in control of your owned content, your earned content often drives the most engagement. When executed correctly, your owned and earned content should interact and sometimes overlap.

For example:

If you’ve created a sharable piece of owned content in the form of a blog post, you’ll be likely to see your audience promote your article on their blogs, Twitter pages and social feeds. 

This transforms owned content into earned content.

Owned vs earned content distribution

(Image Source: HubSpot)

As you can see here, when posting owned content, such as a blog post, you can use SEO to drive PR and sharing, as well as paid ads to boost organic promotion. These efforts turn owned content into earned content and generate maximum engagement.

Paid distribution

You could also look into paid content distribution if you have a large content marketing budget. While owned content is created and controlled by you, introducing paid options into the mix could make your owned content more visible, sharable and certainly more popular with your audience.

Paid distribution covers the content that your brand pays for people to see. From paid ads to influencer partnerships on popular channels like Instagram, TikTok and even Google, you can spend money to ensure your content appears above your competitors.

Paid content distribution

(Image Source: Business 2 Community)

Did you know that 80% of branded social content falls under the paid category?

If you want to remain on top in a competitive B2B arena, investing more in your paid content strategy could be the way to go. 

Here are some of the most common forms of paid content distribution to pick from: 

Pay-Per-Click (PPC) ads

If you’re an e-commerce brand looking to distribute content across a number of channels, PPC ads are the most effective form of product promotion off-site. 

Using the PPC ads method, advertisers pay per click when users interact with their ad. These can be placed on a search engine or a social feed and can drive leads in seconds, especially if you target them to segmented consumer groups. 

Paid social content

You can also pay money to boost the visibility of a branded social post.

Whether you pay the platform directly to appear further up on a user’s social feed or partner with another brand in a sponsored post, the key to raising awareness on social media is to keep popping up.

Paid influencer content

Consumers trust word-of-mouth marketing up to five times more than a branded social post.

Leveraging influencer marketing platforms will connect you with industry-leading influencers to drive more leads to your site. Not only are they experts at making a product shine on socials, but avid followers will often buy influencer-promoted products purely because they trust their opinions.

Owned, earned and paid distribution: the combined strategy

Whether you’re more inclined to experiment with owned, earned or paid content distribution, the key to true success is to combine the three in a victorious content strategy. 

Finding ways to distribute your content across many channels in different ways will keep your brand visible in a competitive market. To do it efficiently, try scheduling posts ahead of time.

Mary Ann O’Brien, CEO of OBI Creative, said:

“Create well-researched, thoughtful content that satisfies the search intent and desire of your target audiences. Then, get as much distance as you can from that content by repurposing it into different formats.”

“You can spin out one content piece across your social channels, pitch it to reporters, use it in a thought leadership campaign, post it to your site as gated content and email it to your targeted lists.” 

How to perfect your content distribution strategy in 5 easy steps

Now we’ve learned the different types of content distribution, it’s time to learn how to put them all together in a personalised branding strategy.

Stick with us as we delve into content auditing, strategy KPIs and creating the perfect piece of sharable content. 

1. Audit your current content strategy 

If your brand has been up and running for some time, it might be effective to take a step back before you take a step forward.

Before jumping into a new content distribution strategy, make sure you’re auditing your current content. We’re talking about blog posts, social feeds and even paid ads. Track their success and engagement and use these stats to inform your performance.

In fact, why not take an SEO-based approach when delving into your current strategy? Not only will gaining traffic-based insights make it easier to identify potential weak spots, but testing your existing high-performing content could also provide you with ideas for fresh, similar posts.

Brandon Amoroso, CEO of electrIQ marketing, said:

“So often, A/B testing is left to paid advertising landing pages and not utilised for organic search traffic on high-value SEO pages, such as pillar content pages and blogs.”

“In 2023, try running an A/B test on your website’s most popular blog post and see if it helps to increase your conversion rate.”

Auditing your content regularly will remind you of the tactics that have worked in the past and the ones to avoid moving forward. 

2. Delve into your demographic 

Delving deeper into your demographic data is also vital before you embark on a fresh content distribution strategy.

Leveraging insights about the current market, your competitors and your demographic clicks are all great ways to learn more about the content you should be creating and, more importantly, where to post it.

Rightmetric’s CEO, Charlie Grinnell, told us:

“The difference between good and great will be a brand’s ability to leverage data-backed insights from external sources to inform content production.”

“Content marketers have used internal data-backed insights for years, but that’s only half the picture. The other half is uncovered by using external audience, market and competitive insights to empower content marketers to create more impactful content.”

Start collecting data from your site engagement stats, social followers and email subscribers. Using tools like Google Analytics, you’ll quickly see which posts and products are performing well; this will influence your content ideas. 

3. Choose the right channels

Learning more about your audience can also help inform which channels you choose to distribute your content on. 

Where you post your content is arguably more important than the content itself, as your distribution method drives leads and engagement.

Take a closer look at your audience. What age group are your potential customers? 

If you’re working with a younger Gen Z audience, it may be time to start creating TikToks

Whereas, if you’re targeting a more mature audience, informational blog posts could be the content format that works.

Once you’ve chosen your channels, it’s time to brush up on their guidelines and recipes for success. Research the most popular content in your niche, and note how the piece is formatted. From the length of a video to the language in a blog post, following trending styles and formats will make your content more likely to go viral. 

If you’re going down the blog post route, make sure your site is up to scratch for your new readers. User experience is essential when creating successful content, as you want your reader to be engaged from start to finish. 

Why not try out a website template for your blog to improve visual readability? Or find new ways to incorporate visual elements like videos and images to break up the text?

Alice de Courcy predicts that the future of enterprise content marketing requires repurposing different content formats. 

4. Prioritise sharability 

Did you know that interactive and shareable content sees twice as much engagement as informational or static content? 

If you want your content distribution to succeed, prioritising sharability is essential. Transforming your content from owned into earned is the real goal here, as your audience is much more likely to engage with a piece shared by someone they know.

So, how do you create sharable content? 

The key here is to make your posts short, snappy and easy to recreate. TikTok is one of the best places to do this. With an algorithm that favours 15-30 second clips, their recipe for virality and engagement consists of hopping on a dance, skit or sound trend and turning it into a branded version of UGC content. 

Not only are TikToks easy to engage with, but short, skit-like videos are easy to share on other social platforms such as Instagram and Twitter, quickly turning your owned content into earned content.

Ismael El Qudsi, CEO of SocialPublic, said:

“The trend toward shorter, more snackable content is not new, but as people’s attention spans continue to decrease, shorter will become the norm - especially for video content.”

“The rise of TikTok has accelerated this shift, so brands need to start thinking about how they can create short-form content that people can consume quickly.” 

5. Analyse your results 

The fun doesn’t stop once you’ve posted your new content! When your new content strategy has been up and running for a few weeks, it’s time to test whether it works.

As a B2B marketer, you must always be prepared to adapt your content strategy, taking in consumer trends, platform updates and even topical and seasonal events. 

Analyse your content distribution plan regularly; this makes it much easier to predict upcoming content marketing trends and shoot ahead of the curve. 

Thomas Helfrich added:

“Testing and measuring the effects of your content is a potent way to discover what’s working so far and what areas need improvement.”

“It helps determine whether your content is reaching your target audience and having the desired effect.” 

Did you know that a whopping 60% of marketers measure their content success through their sales stats? If a particular product post works, it will likely drive more conversions. Other ways to keep on track are:

  • Measuring your blog views and engagement.
  • Tracking likes, follows, comments and shares on your social media.
  • Monitoring backlinks and brand mentions on external sites.

Content distribution: the last word

As we enter a new era of content marketing, adaptability and accessibility are the key factors driving recent trends. Consumer groups are constantly evolving, meaning that your content distribution strategy should follow.

Monica Alvarez-Mitchell, founder of Pulse Creative, said:

“Content developers have to stay nimble because the only constant is change. Anyone trying to template an approach will be left behind.”

“Users want variety and fresh content. So stay nimble and creative. Be ready to pivot in an instant!” 

Dipping in and out of owned, earned and paid media formats is your recipe for success. 

Better still, why not take a trip into the metaverse? A whole new world of immersive content is opening up.

The bottom line is:

Trial and error is the formula for winning at content distribution; those who take risks are the ones who’ll gain a competitive edge.

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