A CMO Show Blog Post
How to distribute content: It's all in the delivery
A CMO Show Blog Post
How to distribute content: It's...

Wrestling with content distribution? Let me tell you a story. A long time ago, before the Internet even existed, my daddy gave me a website.

It wasn’t called a website – because it wasn’t on the World Wide Web, but it was a page through which I shared information about the things I thought were cool.

The website was called Kids Rule OK! And for good measure the homepage was decorated with a colourful ruler (see what I did there). It was a HUGE success and was regularly attracting 3 to 5 visitors per day. The platform was called Videotext, and from what I remember it was like a precursor to the internet. It was based on technology developed in France.

Videotext took off in France via Minitel terminals such as the one pictured above.

Every week I’d post funny jokes, the Top Ten music singles, and funny stories about animals – the sort of stuff your average 10-year-old wants to know. I had a great time doing it, and I learned a lot. I spent a lot of time wondering how to attract more visitors to my page. I was regularly getting three to five visits a day, which seemed pretty cool.

I tried to diversify the content, I added more colour and formatting to the pages, I even ran competitions. In short, I offered everything a kid could possible want online – but still the traffic remained the same; three to five visitors per day.

What my ten-year-old brain failed to realise was the single major flaw in my business plan: Videotext as a platform wasn’t available to kids. It was an information service sold into corporations.

Parents in some cases were using it at work, but kids were playing space invaders offline on their Commodore 64s.

All those years ago, space Invaders taught me a valuable lesson, and one that is still relevant today – it’s all about knowing your audience.

Fast forward 30 years and I’m still making content for websites, and I’m intrigued when I see people make the same mistake I did at 10-years-old. People spend all their time and energy designing excellent content, only to post it to a platform where it won’t be read, or even seen, by the target audience.

With the benefit of hindsight, I should have sat down and thought long and hard about where my content was published, and how it could be found by kids. Of course, in 1985 I didn’t have many options so I’ll forgive my 10-year-old self.

But you don’t have that luxury today. It’s 2015 – we’ve come a long way in 30 years. So if you’re still making content without considering the best ways of reaching your audience, you’re wasting time and money.

In my last blog, I got all passionate about the importance of understanding your customer.  It just so happens it’s equally important to understand content distribution strategies: knowing how and where to deliver content to these same customers.

Once you know they exist, you need to know where they are and what they’re doing. Look for ways to seamlessly insert your ideas into existing conversations, rather than expect people to come to you.

Want to read more from JV Douglas? Check this out: In the beginning there was the customer

It’s a great idea to collate your content on your own website, but then use social media, and relevant forums to reach out and deliver stories, videos, podcasts and posts to your intended audience.

And unlike my 10-year-old self, you can do the research to figure out what social media resources your audience uses. You can find out who they are and integrate this information into your distribution strategy.

Ultimately you need to go out to the wild world web and look for other places your customers might be, and look for ways to put your excellent content where they will see it.

This might mean buying ad words on Google – it might mean posting videos on YouTube, or using LinkedIn to post content – it all depends on who you’re targeting and why you’re targeting them.

If you’re targeting people in their professional capacity – then LinkedIn and Twitter might be the right combination. If you’re looking at a consumer campaign Facebook might be a better option. YouTube might cover both target audiences, or the same person could be targeted in different ways through different social networks.

Part of knowing your customer is understanding how and where to deliver content to them.

The particular mix of media will be determined by your content distribution strategy, but it’s always important to have a mix of different platforms. Why? A smart approach to content marketing is giving customers the opportunity to discover you via multiple paths, and through different routes.

A recipe published on a blog might lead someone to share your content through existing social networks, which in turn might lead to a free offer, which might lead to a recommendation, and so on….

What’s needed to make this happen is a content strategy built around a distribution framework.

Going back to 1985 there was only one route – Videotext terminals. In 2015 there are a multitude of pathways and it’s important to make sure every single story is published in the right place – and connects to other content through calls to action, links, invitations and downloads.

Meanwhile, if you happen to come across a 10-year-old blogger with a slightly limited understanding of content distribution, send me their details – it’s about time I paid back the universe and mentored the future me. Chances are I’ll also learn a thing or two in the process.


In your experience, what are best ways ways to deliver and receive content? Share your answer in the comments section below… 

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