If there’s one thing I’ve learned during my long tenure with PR Newswire, it’s this: distribution matters. However, the ways brands distribute messages has evolved. It’s no longer an exercise in pushing a message for audiences to consume. Content we “push” is now fine-tuned to audience interests in terms of subject, and we take care to build in links and multimedia to more fully explain, engage and inform. We’re also relying heavily on the “pull” good content generates over time, as audience share content with their peers and social networks, and as the traffic and interest the content has generated morphs into a signal recognized by search engines. Distribution is no longer one-way in nature. It’s more like a traffic circle.
It’s important to keep all of this in mind as your finger is hovering over the button on your computer that will send, post, publish or share a piece of content, because if you’re relying on a single channel, you’re selling your message short.
Derived and aggregated content – the starting points
Distributing content across multiple channels can be simple or more complex, but there’s a common element – multi-channel distribution is based upon content that is either derived from the core message, or aggregated to support it.
Here’s an example.
Last week, PR Newswire issued a blog post highlighting some of the top performing press releases for 2012. However, we didn’t stop there. Instead, we created several more pieces of content to illustrate and convey the message. Here are all of the assets – and channels – we used to promote this messaging.
- Blog post: Content We Love: 2012 in Press Releases
- Multimedia press release: PR Newswire Highlights Noteworthy Press Releases of 2012 in New “Content We Love” Feature
Distribution is the special sauce:
We could have just stuck with the original blog post. But by adding the video illustrating the top releases, including links to the releases within the post, deriving from that post the multimedia news release – and then distributing all of these elements via our press release and syndication networks, plus social channels –resulted in the message garnering almost 15 times the average number of views one of our blog posts usually generates.
Why does this approach work?
There are a host of reasons why the multi-channel approach to content publication and distribution works.
- More channels, more eyes. Sharing and distributing different content elements across channels ultimately reaches larger audiences. The opportunity increases exponentially when you derive content from your original message. For example, the blog post, video and MNR we did for “Content We Love” provided me with separate opportunities to tweet, share and post content related to our core message.
- The opportunity for relevance. Different channels serve different interests. YouTube is a great place to demonstrate key points of your message visually, especially if you’re showing examples or how-to tips. SlideShare, on the other hand, has a lot of utility for those doing research, and can be a great way to showcase data that won’t necessarily translate well to video. The point is, keep each channel’s utility in mind and fine tune your content accordingly.
- Search. Search engines are obviously crucial divers of visibility. And by creating multiple content elements, you give search engines more things to index and serve up to interested searchers. It’s also worth noting that YouTube is also the second largest search engine in the world, and offers important search benefits in its own right.
I’ll be digging into the topic of leveraging content across channels to deliver business results on a webinar co-hosted with the Online Marketing Summit folks next week, and then again in person at the OMS in Feburary, where I’ll be hosting a workshop. Here are the details:
Webinar (January 23): Leveraging Converged Media’s Impact on Content Marketing
Author Sarah Skerik is PR Newswire’s vice president of social media.