How To Create An Effective Content Distribution Strategy

Posted by Matt Manning on 14 September 2016

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The fragmentation of the media landscape has fundamentally changed how consumers interact with content. Gone are the “Mad Men” days where advertising relied on a clever idea, a catchy tagline, and eye-catching visuals. While these are still integral elements of any marketing campaign, an effective content distribution strategy has become just as important, if not more so. Consumers have thousands of content providers to choose from, and just as many ways to access it. On top of this already fragmented media landscape, the proliferation of social media has revolutionized how consumers interact with each other and interact with brands. Companies rely heavily on social media as both a distribution channel and a feedback loop; keeping audiences informed of the offering, while gathering sentiment and fielding requests. 

We recently came across an interesting article on “Ecoconsultancy” that examines effective content distribution strategies ( The author suggests that this process starts with clearly defining the target audience. This ensures that the content is relevant and appropriate to the consumer you are trying to reach. Due to the fragmented media landscape, this has become even more imperative over time. Years ago when marketers could rely on a few “mass reach” vehicles like broadcast television networks and nationwide newspapers, they could create a generic advertisement for all audiences. Now with the abundance of content providers of all sizes and niches, this “one size fits all” strategy is no longer effective. That is not to say that a company needs to drastically change its message by medium and audience, but there is a level of customization and relevance that consumers have come to expect.

With social media content distribution, this idea of customization based on targeted audiences is especially key. Everyone uses social media differently. Some people might be passive users, using the various social platforms to browse content and take in information. On the other hand, active users interact with the content by sharing, commenting, liking, etc. An effective content distribution strategy examines the target audience’s behavior, and tailors the medium and message to it. It would determine whether the content should be text-based, visual, or even a video.

To assess the effectiveness of the content distribution strategy, determine the appropriate KPI’s to measure. These KPI’s are also highly dependent on the target audience, message type, and desired interaction. For instance, if you knew you were targeting a passive audience, then “likes” and “shares” would not be the most effective KPIs to measure. Instead, you might look at open rate or click through rate to the brand site.

While the aforementioned tips are designed for external marketing, they are also relevant for internal communications. As this blog has discussed in the past, effective internal communications are a key element of employee engagement. In the same way that “one size fits all” messaging is ineffective to an external audience; standardized internal communications have a greater chance of being ignored by employees who are already bombarded by messages relevant to their day-to-day job function. Conversely, by tailoring the message and the medium depending on the employee audience and their consumption habits, companies can break through the clutter and have a greater impact.

To review, an effective content distribution strategy (whether it is for an external marketing campaign, a social media strategy, or for internal employee communications) should address the following:

  1. Define the target audience
  2. Research target audience’s consumption habits and preferences
  3. Tailor the content’s messaging and medium depending on the target audience research
  4. Measure the effectiveness by defining a KPI that takes into account how the audience should consume the content

We’d like to hear your thoughts on this. Please drop us a line if you have any questions or comments.