What is Content Distribution and Who Should Care About it?
Recently, I lead a training on what content distribution means to marketers and how it relates back to public relations. In the simplest terms, content distribution is any means used to disseminate content to both large and targeted audiences. It’s not only about what you do in-house but the tools outside of your company that can be used to your advantage. There are many platforms to help businesses do this and can be categorized into three types of media – Paid, Earned, andOwned.
One of the biggest reasons that clients engage in a content distribution strategy is to get additional ROI on the content they’ve developed. Marketers are tasked with proving the value of the content they create and how it maps back to the company’s sales goals. As PR professionals, this is especially important for us because we are likely creating the content for the marketing team. If we are knowledgeable about best practices to get that content in front of their target audience, then we are an even more valuable asset to our client.
Most marketers and PR professionals are well-versed in the PESO model, the Paid portion is where content distribution platforms fall. Some of the most popular platforms are:
- Facebook Sponsored Posts
- Linkedin Account-Based Marketing
Outbrain is the most well-known and is a “content discovery platform” that specializes in putting paid links where readers are looking for something else to read. You’ll recognize this from when you’ve seen a sponsored ad for other content at the end of an article you’ve just read.
Outbrain prides itself on the algorithm that puts your content on the most relevant sites. Because it’s an automated process, it also gives you little to no control over where the content is placed. You just have to trust them. You’ll need to have a good grasp on your website analytics because the platform gives you very little data, though you can add geo-targets and Google analytics tags. The platform doesn’t offer a representative to help you through the process, so it’s on you to be savvy and figure it out. The general CPC: is $0.25-$0.35.
Taboola is Outbrain’s biggest competitor and started out as a video recommendation service – analyzing video and slideshow viewing habits for future consumption (giving them an edge). Recently, Taboola has started giving clients more control over their post presentation – how it looks, as well as allowing you to choose where you do not want your content to appear.
This service seems to be more popular among startups that distribute more visual content, especially as a brand promotion tool. Taboola allows customers to break down their monthly budgets to daily goals as well and they do include a representative with their service. Their CPC rate is $0.25-$0.35; $0.75 for its network of top 30 sites.
Nativo is a little different in that it engineers homepage placements and article pages to fit natively within publications such as Entrepreneur.com. This strategy makes it possible for a brand to distribute sponsored posts on multiple outlets without striking separate deals with each publication. The platform gives more targeting power by being able to target audiences by geography and device. They also allow a little flexibility with monthly budget and campaign breakdowns. Unlike Outbrain or Taboola, where the content is pulled directly from your site, as is, Nativo does automatic A/B testing and captures slightly better analytics. Nativo’s pricing charges by the vCPM (viewable click per thousand impressions) and charges $10-$18.
Facebook and LinkedIn are much more well known in the realm of content distribution platforms and often get lumped in as a “paid social” initiative. Depending on how your client’s marketing team is set up, they may have separate content and social teams that utilize the platforms differently. In terms of promoting content, Facebook allows you to get hyper-specific on who you’re targeting and makes the content easily shareable. It also has great analytics and offers more tools and hands-on control. But, with that customization, comes a higher price tag. How much more depends on how targeted you get with your content.
LinkedIn is similar in that you can get pretty specific in targeting your audience. But for protection of its users, LinkedIn requires a pool of at least 300 profiles to target so the anonymity of those users remains safeguarded. This platform charges you a much higher price per click than other platforms because of the specific targeting and analytic data you get back on your campaigns. LinkedIn is mainly for businesses that have a higher budget so if you have the budget to do it, go for it.
The lesson in all of this for PR professionals is to be well-versed in the options available for content distribution. We need to be thinking about the whole picture when we create content. What is its purpose, where will it live, what are the goals tied to the piece of content, is it part of a larger campaign, etc? if we can think holistically about the content we provide, we can also serve as a greater resource on how to get the most out of the content and help our clients reach their goals.