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If a tree falls in a forest, does anyone hear it? If a blog post is published, does anyone read it? Perhaps Google. Google is everywhere, after all.
But what about your current and prospective customers? Content distribution plays a crucial role in any content marketing strategy. Quality information is more effective when it is positioned where current and prospective clients can easily find it on their own time. The consumption of your content should be a part of a reader’s habits versus an interruption.
In an era when new marketing technology is released every day, distribution and promotion are no longer as simple as they once were. Content disruptors are here and they are not going anywhere as the marketing landscape becomes increasingly entangled with sales, data and technology.
Read on to learn how content promotion was once viewed, what channels marketers are looking to for 2017-2018 and my tips on how to prepare for these disruptors and others in your marketing plan for real business results.
It wasn’t that long ago that we only talked about content promotion in three ways: owned, earned and paid. It was a simpler time.
Owned Media – These are the channels you are completely in control of. For example, owned media can include the variety of content that can be found on your website, including blog posts, employee stories, customer testimonials, downloadable content, webinars, videos, podcasts and more. The primary value of owned media is your brand’s ability to distribute its message in a more controlled environment.
Owned media content distribution is not overtly promotional, and the primary goal is to provide value to prospective clients as they move down the funnel. The more helpful your content, the greater benefit a lead receives, which aligns your brand with positive authority and the ability to build a stronger relationship with that future client.
Earned Media – Earned media refers to the recognition you receive as a result of exposure with the traditional press, positive reviews, reposts of your content or recommendations. One of the most valuable ways to facilitate earned media is by helping journalists and content writers develop articles or contributing your own thought leadership to industry publications. Earned media expands your circle of influence through third-party validation, introducing you to new leads and filling the top of your funnel.
Paid Media – Looking to expand your circle quickly? Paid media expands a brand’s presence by leveraging consumer behavior and segmentation to target audiences that should be receptive to your message. In today’s 24-hour news cycle, constant Twitter updates and 84.3 million blog posts published a month (just on WordPress alone, which controls approximately 58.2% of the market share), paid media helps brands target audiences who are most receptive to information.
But today, the framework of how we talk about content distribution needs to get more granular than simply owned, earned and paid media.
According to the State of Inbound 2017 report developed by HubSpot, the C-suite continues to motivate its teams by pushing forward, indicating a higher preference to expand across emerging distribution channels. Directors, managers and even individual content creators will, if they aren’t already, feel the pressure to learn how to effectively use these channels and leverage them for business results.
Because of the sheer number of content distribution channels, marketers are understandably worried about resources and prioritization. From the more traditional social media channels like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram to emerging networks like SnapChat, WeChat, Messenger and so on, marketers will find themselves and their budgets suffering if they attempt to do everything.
It looks like the next horizon for most marketers is video content, with YouTube and Facebook video being the top contenders for budget and attention. However, video is pervasive and I’m predicting it won’t just be Instagram adding stories. Messaging apps and other emerging technologies that integrate with consumers’ everyday lives will soon also feature video components.
The good news about video is its ability to be dissected and distributed across a wide range of platforms to fit individual buyer needs if appropriately planned for. There’s no reason the footage developed for a YouTube video shouldn’t also be able to edited and leveraged for Facebook, Instagram, etc.
It seems like every new tech and app product out there promises to disrupt an industry and change how we live our daily lives. While many are overhyped, there are future disruptors out there and you never know who will emerge. Or do we?
According to the State of Inbound 2017 Report, YouTube, closely followed by Facebook Video and Instagram, are leading the charge in marketers’ content distribution channels. What do all three of these tactics have in common? They all rely on visual communications – video – to tell a story.
Video is a scary prospect for some marketers who worry about production costs. However, the opportunity for real business benefits is there for brands willing to spend time and money preparing a video content strategy before ever picking up the camera. And as is the case with more content development, the right strategy and preparation can decrease production costs in the long run and lead to greater return on investment.
Image Courtesy of think with Google
Tip: When storyboarding your video, be sure to plan your shots for each content distribution network you will be using for promotion. Your video content should be catered to the network it will be actively promoted on. For example, a video for YouTube is likely to have a different length, may feature different shots or have a different call to action than one made for Facebook or Instagram. This will save money and headaches in the future.
After creating your video content, leverage influencer networks to expand your message and connect with an actively engaged audience. Create relationships with YouTube, Facebook or Instragram celebrities and contribute to their brand and yours by development a partnership.
Audience participation drives greater engagement. Therefore, the third type of video content to get more reach from your idea is to make video and image contributions from your audience part of your story. Curate that content and make engagement part of the story – an enticing offer to many potential customers who use these social networks every day.
AOL Messenger may no longer be where the cool kids are, but that doesn’t mean people have abandoned chat platforms. Facebook Chat, WeChat and Slack are all powerful chat platforms that businesses and individuals are using on an everyday basis.
Messenger apps allow users to engage in ways that are more interactive and inclusive than ever. Like social media, this content distribution disruptor thrives on creating community and conversation.
Luxury companies are using messenger apps for brand storytelling, by invoking the emotions they want to associate with their brand. Kate Spade used WeChat, a popular messenger app service in China that features gaming functionality, to create a wildly successful lantern flying campaign. Users were able to design their own lanterns, customize a wish or greeting to send to friends and family on holidays and invite their friends to release their lanterns together into a virtual night sky.
This interactive game featured each user’s story to form the Kate Spade message of celebration, connection and hope. It also provided participants with a chance to win gifts from Kate Spade. As a branding and awareness exercise, it drew a huge response with its fun, colorful message and created a unique engagement experience for a new group of untapped prospective customers.
Tip: When considering a creative strategy using messenger apps, consider the user demographics of the technology platform you are planning on using. WeChat worked for Kate Spade to build awareness and expand its presence in a new market. If your company offers B2B products, I would recommend Slack as a more optimal platform.
Content distribution is an evolving issue for marketing teams around the world. The ever-changing availability of new marketing technology and evolving search best practices means that education is the best strategy for improving business outcomes. Learn more about the latest trends, challenges and priorities of marketing teams by downloading the State of Inbound 2017 report.
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Topics: Content Marketing