If a tree falls in a forest and no one hears it, does it make a sound?
An unanswerable Zen riddle? Perhaps. But a similar question could be asked about the content that you publish online.
In my book, The Predictable Profits Playbook, I talk about the importance of being a trusted authority in your niche — when you’re a trusted authority, people seek you out — and it’s much easier to charge premium prices.
One of the easiest (and fastest) ways to do that is to create your own free content. That content could be blog posts, articles (like this one), videos, infographics, slideshow presentations, or whitepapers (or a combination of any of those).
But just creating content is not enough – you need to actively market that content so that it reaches your target audience. Here are five distribution channels for getting your content into the right hands.
LinkedIn Sponsored Updates
LinkedIn is a great place for distributing your B2B content, with more than 277 million users and an estimated 40 percent of users checking their accounts every single day.
LinkedIn’s sponsored updates are a great way to get your content in front of a targeted audience. And if you already have a company page, you’re probably familiar with how updates work on this particular social network.
In case you aren’t familiar, updates are a way of keeping people informed about developments at your company and a means to share useful content. With sponsored updates, you can promote your content beyond users who already follow your page.
LinkedIn has access to a huge amount of information about its users. This allows you to target the audience for your sponsored update by job title, company, gender, and location. What kind of results can you expect?
Adobe was used as an early case study for sponsored updates. Infographics on marketing trends, humorous videos, and articles about marketing strategies were used with sponsored updates to target U.S. marketing decision-makers. By the end of the study, the company discovered their target market was 79 percent more likely to agree that Adobe could help them achieve their objectives.
Facebook Sponsored Updates
Admittedly, I’m not as active on Facebook as some others. You can only do so much in a day, right? But there’s a big difference between posting a link to your Facebook page and a sponsored post. In one test I ran, I got a mere 46 views doing nothing but posting it to the site. Then I decided to spend just $5 dollars boosting the post, and it increased my views by 29.5 — not bad for a small $5.00 investment!
You can promote these posts to page fans, friends of fans, and in tons of other ways through detailed targeting.
Online Press Releases
Press release sites are one of the fastest ways to distribute your content across the web and position yourself as a leading authority.
Readers may find your press releases exactly as you wrote them, or traditional publications can pick them up. Press releases aren’t just great for distributing text-based content. Many online press release services also allow you to embed videos and pictures. According to research from Dan Zarrella, this can increase engagement by 55 percent for videos and 18 percent for images.
Some of the most popular press release sites are:
PRNewsWire PRWeb BusinessWire MarketWire
While press releases can be very effective, keep in mind that your reader wants to know what’s in it for them. Provide valuable, insightful, relevant content that will be interesting to your reader.
Social bookmarking allows people to store and share links to content that they find interesting. They are also a useful way of getting more attention for your own content.
Users can vote on the content that is shared, so popular content is viewed more often. Some of the most popular social bookmarking sites include:
Pinterest Tumblr StumbleUpon Digg Reddit Delicious
Social bookmarking is a little bit different from social networking, though they share plenty of similarities. On bookmarking sites, the content is front and center, rather than the profiles of individual users. This means that people aren’t just seeing what their “friends” post – they are seeing the content that users throughout the site have deemed the most engaging.
The key to making the most of social bookmarking sites is understanding what kind of content is the most popular on each site.
Here’s an example: Imagine that you provide web design services. You could use the search function on Reddit to look for what kind of content is being voted up in web and design related “sub-Reddits.” If you notice that tutorials are popular for the Reddit channel, you can focus on sharing tutorials rather than your more personal blog posts.
Social bookmarking sites (and other users) want you to share the best content from the web – not just your own content. Make sure that you are also sharing other peoples’ content in addition to your own. These sites hinge on participation.
Consider using a service like IFTTT.com (it’s free) or Zapier to automate some of the social bookmarking for you – namely posting across multiple sites with ease. Not every social bookmarking site is offered, but those that are can be big time savers!
Document Sharing Sites
There are a number of document sharing sites with a fair amount of notoriety, like Scribd, Docstoc, or Issuu. (My personal favorite is Slideshare, which I explored in much more detail in this post.) Document sharing sites allow you to share PDFs, slideshows, and webinars of your expert content.
Repurposing content is a good way to use document-sharing sites. This involves taking some of your old content (that has already proven to be popular) and converting it into a different medium.
To do this, take the key ideas from each paragraph and use them as bullet points. Add images and/or graphs to add interest, and just like that, you have fresh content ready to be shared. It’s great for SEO and provides another way to drive traffic to your website.
To get started, pick a distribution channel for your content and find a way to delegate, automate, or systematize it to leverage your time in the most effective and efficient way possible. Each of the channels mentioned above has its own nuances, and it can take a little trial and error to get the best results. Once you understand how to fully use the channel, add a different channel to your marketing mix.
By using multichannel marketing, you will be able to reach prospects wherever they like to consume content. Quality content (distributed through the right channels) is a great way to brand yourself as an expert and become a trusted authority in your niche.
It doesn’t do any good if it goes unread, so get your content out there!
Known as "The Entrepreneur’s Marketing Champion," Charles Gaudet offers more than just business and marketing advice – he helps entrepreneurs push beyond what is considered "ordinary" to build great companies. His advice has appeared in worldwide media such as Forbes, Inc. and Business Insider. He’s the author of "The Predictable Profits Playbook", an international speaker and business coach. He can be found at http://www.PredictableProfits.com.
The Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC) is an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, YEC recently launched StartupCollective, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses.