Building a strategic content distribution plan with measurable results against your unique business objectives is a tall marching order. It begins with a foundational understanding of the digital environment in which you compete: who your audience is and where they spend their time; who their influencers are, where they publish and why; and how to amplify your efforts through the strategic use and development of your own advocate communities.
Sound a bit overwhelming? That’s because it is. Or, at least it can be, if you let it.
When putting a puzzle together, which is what a personalized comprehensive strategy will feel like, it helps to occasionally look at the picture on the outside of the box for perspective. Keep this in mind as we explore and answer the question, “Why invest in a strategic content distribution plan?”
Knowledge is [Em]Power[ing]
Peter Drucker’s “Age of Discontinuity” is said to have first coined the term “The Knowledge Economy.” Opening U.S. trade borders with the 1993 signing of NAFTA caused a surge in the shift of textile and other low-wage, low-skill industrial jobs. Politicians and economists of the day popularized the term “knowledge workers” by emphasizing the importance of increasing technical education to meet the coming demand for a more skilled workforce.
Today, according to Silicon Valley Techflash, “the competition for tech talent has never been more fierce,” emphasizing the explosion of generally free access to knowledge. Mobile phones are now pocket-sized computers more powerful than the vintage supercomputer of 1969, the year “Age of Discontinuity” was first published and NASA “placed two astronauts on the moon.” As a result, there is a glut of published knowledge online, and most of it is generally accessible to all. So how does one stand out in such a crowded environment?
Do More Than Paper the Town
In her 2014 article, “Beware Parochial Content Marketing,” Rebecca Lieb declares, “Smart marketers know… that the best content begins with a strategy. Not with a channel.”
Papering the town in the 60’s meant posting fliers or posters on buildings, fences, and utility poles to affordably increase awareness of an upcoming event such as a concert or festival.
In 2015, papering the web with your content is just as ineffective. People see it, but it doesn’t fuel excitement or sell tickets or goods unless some secret sauce causes it to go viral and become the talk of the town. That’s so rare and unreliable that many people believe that when it happens, it’s pure luck.
What Smart Marketers Ask
The first objective of a strategic plan is determining exactly what to be strategic about. But what really goes into a content distribution plan that provides measurable results?
In his “2015 Digital Marketing Pricing Guide,” author and content strategist (and Relevance contributor) Jason Falls points out that “no marketing effort is optimally efficient without some degree of market research.” Market research, then, is one of the first steps in developing a solid strategic content distribution plan.
An MBA student will tell you that research requires you to know the management dilemma, the right information to pursue, and the right hierarchy or structure of questions to develop. So for content distribution, this is the beginning of your strategic planning:
- Who are your customers? (I’ll assume we all already know the answer to this one)
- Where do your customers spend face time?
- Why and what other benefits do they gain in the same location?
- If they spend time in multiple channels, what is the context of each?
- Who are your customers’ influencers?
- Where and how do those influencers publish to attract an audience?
- Why and what tools do they use to streamline their effectiveness?
As this discussion is around distribution, the question of where seems one of the most important. However, as you can see, there are relevant related topics so, as we’ve glanced at the outside of the puzzle box together, keep that picture in front of you as we work through this plan. Remember, this is not the era you grew up in, even if you’re a millennial.
We’re Just Getting Started
Stay tuned and work diligently with me through this. It is the same process I’ve used successfully for more than 100 clients over my career, and the same I am using for ALPFA as their Chief Branding Officer.
As we near the completion of this six-part series, I’ll ask for submissions of your in-process plans. I will then select a winner who will receive a three-hour strategic planning review session with me (either remotely or onsite, depending on availability and other factors).