One of the most important aspects to consider when distributing content is learning how you want your brand to be represented and how your content is going to affect your customer's experience across multiple channels.
Whether your audience is accessing your content through your website, your social media networks, or an online publication, your goal should be to convey a consistent tone across every medium.
This is no easy task as there are a multitude of rules, best practices and content types to consider and experiment with for each channel. Sometimes, publishing content effectively on a single channel can be difficult enough and expanding your distribution to new avenues can seem like an overwhelming challenge.
In addition, you'll need to consider a variety of distribution channels where your audience is most likely to interact with your content. Although every channel will undoubtedly require a unique perspective and strategy to be effective, there are techniques that can help you cater your content for distribution on any channel. The techniques require careful attention to detail and comprehensive planning to achieve success.
Plan for Cross-Channel Publishing
A common problem businesses have before distributing content is not understanding what channels they should be active on or why they should be there in the first place. It shouldn't be an afterthought, but a strategic decision to make before starting to develop and distribute content.
Plan what types of tools you'll need ahead of time to be prepared for distribution of your content across channels. The types of tools to consider when planning to distribute content are publishing, content management and measurement tools.
For publishing content, consider tools like MailChimp or Constant Contact for email marketing, Sprout Social or Buffer for sharing content across social media and Vocus or Cision for distributing press releases and managing other PR functions for your marketing efforts.
When it comes to managing and publishing content across your web properties, use a CMS (Content Management System) to ensure the managing content is easy for all contributors across the website and ongoing updates can be made to your content quickly.
Explore using measurement tools like Google Analytics to measure activity on your website, Sumall or Sprout Social to measure interactions on social media, your CMS to measure what's working with your content and lastly, a CRM (customer relationship management) to understand results from your lead generation efforts.
Also, ensure the members of your team, both internal stakeholders and outsource freelancers or contractors, are clear about the distribution process after creating content. Generating results from content marketing requires about half the time producing content and the other half spent on distribution.
Each team member that can contribute to this process should help to ensure efficiency, so that you can scale across channels. Everything from getting a team member's help with brainstorming to sharing the company's content across employee social networks can help set this process up for success.
Your plan of action will vary depending on the channels you're planning to use, the resources available to your team and the audience you're trying to reach. If it's your first time accounting for distribution of your content, try not to over-complicate it. Focus on keeping your plan simple and actionable. You'll learn more tactics and evolve your strategy with continued practice.
Develop Content Standards Per Channel
Create content standards for each distribution channel. Standards will ensure that your brand is consistent over a variety of channels and minimize any confusion your audience may experience. They'll also ensure that your content performs well on these networks.
These content standards should briefly cover the types of content most frequently shared on each channel, how your customer regularly uses these channels, how content is consumed on these channels, and what communities are most active on each channel.
These standards can help you and your team stay on track when other initiatives begin competing for your attention.
Plan to adapt your content to best cater to the user's experience on each channel, and document any feature changes to ensure they are accounted for in your strategy. Examples: a change to Facebook's algorithm or a change in the dimensions of a top performing ad on Google's display network.
When catering your content for distribution, consider the format and feature distinctions between each of the networks. Facebook's display ads and email each have vastly unique features and best practices to consider, ranging from image size, text count and publishing cadence. In addition, these rules and features will change over time as these channels evolve and you should adapt your content standards to align with these changes.
Try not to think too much about how your content will change ahead of time, as these changes can be difficult to predict. Instead, be agile when changes do occur. Having content standards in place can help your business better prepare your content for exposure on multiple channels.
Re-Purpose Content Into Other Formats
While it's pretty common for businesses to focus on producing lots of content, oftentimes they fail to distribute efficiently by not repurposing their content for each channel that they publish on.
Create a mixture of content that you can adapt as needed. Produce long-form and in-depth content such as a blog post, white paper or eBook.
These can be repurposed to tailor and match the needs of your audience across different channels into smaller pieces of content like a LinkedIn post, tweet, podcast etc. This can also help extend your content's longevity by turning one more lengthy idea into multiple formats, which saves your team time by not having to reinvent the wheel every time you're going to distribute content.
For example, Nikon produced this in-depth blog post about a photographer's journey across the historic Route 66 highway. It was then repurposed into a few different pieces of smaller content across Facebook, Twitter and Google+ to drive more visibility to the original content and build upon Nikon's communities on those networks.
Each highlighted a different angle of the original, more lengthy blog post, featuring different copy and imagery. When reformatting or repurposing your content, remember that you are designing your content to appeal to a variety of different audiences.
Some people prefer to read longer in depth articles, while others are looking to skim the main points or watch video content. You'll need to decide which formats are best for your audience and alter your content to match the specific requirements for each of your channels.
If you find it difficult to manage your content distribution on your own, you may consider implementing a content management system. CMS platforms can provide a uniformed location to store your content assets, organize your content contributors and in some cases measure the effectiveness of your campaigns through analytics.
What challenges have you overcome while creating content for multiple channels? Have you creatively repurposed your long form content, if yes, how so? In your experience, what is the best content to distribute universally? Share your thoughts below.
The article originally appeared on the DNN blog.