Gini Dietrich

Content Distribution: Eight Ways to Gain New Readers

By: Gini Dietrich | January 27, 2015 | 

Content Distribution: Eight Ways to Gain New ReadersBy Gini Dietrich

This whole digital world is a funny beast. Just when you think you have it figured out, it changes.

I am often asked, “How do I promote blog posts and distribute my content?” because what worked in 2010 no longer works today.

Of course, the answer is often “it depends,” which is a crappy answer, but one size does not fit all.

You definitely have to test what works for your audience and keep evolving as it changes.

That said, there are some good rules of thumb you can follow, particularly when it comes to content distribution.

The Basics of Content Distribution

One would think, in 2015, this wouldn’t have to even be said, but the number of blogs I come across that don’t do these few basic things is rather astounding.

  • Social Share Buttons. I told you. It’s basic. But the social share buttons are not on every blog. I recently was in meeting with a very sharp CEO. She said, “We think we have the content thing down, but we can’t figure out distribution.” When we looked at her blog, they didn’t have the social share buttons or comments enabled. It’s hard for people to share when you don’t make it easy for them. I like AddThis and Simple Share Buttons (we don’t use a plugin here; they are embedded in the code).
  • Enable Comments. Yes, I know there is controversy about whether to enable comments, but I fall firmly on the side of “you can’t build community or distribute your content” (particularly when you’re starting out) if you don’t have comments open. Danny Brown is testing Google+ comments on his blog (which I like and it’d be interesting to hear his results) and you can also test Facebook comments. I prefer Livefyre.
  • Make the Shares Easy. This is a mistake some of even the most seasoned bloggers make. Make it easy for your readers to share! This means you should set up your plugin to have your Twitter handle in it and an easy way to grab the headline. Adding a button, such as Buffer, will also shorten the link for you (which is very, very necessary). For instance, if I click on the Buffer button here for Lindsay’s post from yesterday, this comes up: Newsjacking: The Good, the Bad, and the Superbowl by @belllindsay via @Spinsucks. It has the headline, the author’s Twitter handle, the link, and our Twitter handle. Super, super easy for someone to share. I just tried to share someone’s blog post the other day and it said, “VOTE_TITLE  via @sharethis.” Not easy for me and doesn’t help you at all.

We recently submitted a proposal for a new business prospect and, in the email I sent with it attached, I said, ‘Even if you don’t hire us, please take this advice. Set up your social share buttons and enable comments. This is an emergency!”

This is not a nice-to-have. It is necessary. If people find you (which we’ll cover next) and you make it difficult for them to share, your content distribution will suck.

Content Distribution

Now it’s time to think about how to help people find your content.

This is not a “build it and they will come” campaign. You have to build it, go find them, and (in some cases) drag them kicking and screaming until they realize you have something of huge value to them and they end up staying.

  • Email. I always chuckle to myself when people say, “I love your newsletter!” The reason I laugh is because we don’t have a newsletter. This blog goes out in email once a day and people call it our newsletter. Whatever you call it, get your content out when it is published. If you publish once a week, get it out in email at the same time on the same day every week (you can schedule it, just like you would any other email). Help people find your content where it is easy for them.
  • RSS Feed. Some of your readers will be more sophisticated and won’t love getting more emails, but definitely want to see your content. This is why you’ll set up an RSS feed. Those people (like me!), will use a tool such as Feedly or Flipboard to get their content delivered to them daily, but without the hassle of filling their inbox. You can do this through FeedBlitz or Mailchimp.
  • Social Media. Social media definitely is not one size fits all, so I will tell you what works for us and you can adapt.
    • Twitter. On the day it is published, we tweet the link four times (three hours apart). On day two, it is tweeted twice, and once on day three. Rich Brooks and I just had a conversation about how often to share older content and I admitted (on air, none-the-less) that we don’t do a good job of it beyond Twitter. So that’s a goal for us this year.
    • Facebook. We share the blog post on the Arment Dietrich page only once a day. I’m super picky about what I share on my personal page so it might go there once a day. Typically, though, I only share the Spin Sucks Inquisition and Gin and Topics on my personal page. If I were ready to evolve and test some more, I’d post every Spin Sucks post on my personal page for a couple of weeks to see what happens.
    • Google+. We share each post on Google+ once a day and everyone who works here shares it on their personal pages, too. While it isn’t a great social network for, well, being social, it does wonders for search engine optimization. Don’t neglect it!
    • LinkedIn. LinkedIn is only once a day on our personal accounts, as well. And we share in any groups we belong to. We also share to the Arment Dietrich page and to the Spin Sucks showcase page. I also am testing (just started last week) sharing other types of content on our company page to see if that will increase engagement there. And Lindsay Bell-Wheeler is using the publishing platform to see if that increases our distribution.
    • The Others. It’s important not to ignore StumbleUpon, Reddit, Pinterest, Digg, and some of the others. Test posting in those spots just once a day and see what happens. For instance, we know Pinterest is the number six driver of social referrals and StumbleUpon is number eight.
  • Comment on Other Blogs. For those blogs that have comments enabled, comment on them! Start a conversation. Say something smart. Respond to a comment someone else has left. Do all of this with “latest blog post” active so the link to what you’ve recently published shows up. While not everyone reading comments will click on that, if you do it often enough, it will begin to send you some readers.
  • Tag People. Eleanor Pierce does a great job of tagging people when she shares our content. For instance, today she’ll share this blog post on Google+ and then, around noon, she’ll go back in there and say, “I love what Rob Biesenbach said about content distribution” and will tag him so he sees it. This encourages him to comment on the post there and share it with his circles, as well.

This is what works for us, but remember content distribution is all about testing and figuring out what works for your readers. And it will change. So you have to keep trying (like I’m doing with LinkedIn right now).

I have one more section on using offsite marketing for content distribution, but I’m already at close to 1,500 words (and I’m 13 minutes late in publishing), so I will save it for tomorrow.

I leave the comments open to you now. If you tell me some of the things you do for content distribution, I’ll include them in my post tomorrow.

photo credit: Shutterstock

About Gini Dietrich

Gini Dietrich is the founder and CEO of Arment Dietrich, an integrated marketing communications firm. She is the author of Spin Sucks, co-author of Marketing in the Round, and co-host of Inside PR. She also is the lead blogger at Spin Sucks and is the founder of Spin Sucks Pro. Join the Spin Sucks   community!

  • Nothing frustrates me more than not finding social share buttons. Except maybe searching and searching and searching for them, only to find them in some bizarre spot on the blog, so small you need a microscope to see which platform you’re clicking on. Come on folks! If your content is great, we want all of our friends to know!! 🙂

  • belllindsay Right!!? The other thing that drives me crazy is having to search for your social media icons so I can tag you when I share your content. I’d be willing to bet I’m on the few who will actually take the time to try to find them before tweeting something.

  • ginidietrich I do it if I know the person. 🙂 But, that’s so counterproductive to whole point of social sharing. If I *don’t* know you, it’s even more important that your social info is on that post, right?

  • belllindsay Yes! It drives me crazy.

  • Gert- your posts have really been firing on all cylinders in the recent past… are you feeling ok?

  • Todd Lyden Clearly not.

  • belllindsay yes this! And worse still, after looking with a microscope you find all but the one you are looking for. Agh!

  • Believe it or not, my #3 traffic source (after anonymous google and facebook) is Pinterest. So I would add to this “create a pinnable image to your posts and pin them”.

  • Good post we all need reminders about the basics.  I’ve had surprisingly good luck on Reddit.

  • rwohlner Did you really? Reddit scares me. Tell me more!

  • KristenDaukas I believe it, for your audience!

  • ginidietrich rwohlner Gini I actually don’t understand Reddit so I can see why it might scare you.  All I know is that when I add a post to Reddit I more often than not get a ton of traffic from there for the next couple of days.  A tip from a fellow blogger a couple of years ago.

  • rwohlner ginidietrich Verrrry interesting!

  • LSSocialEngage HAHAHAHA! Exactly!!

  • EventsResearch

    Always such pearls of goodness. And so early in the morning too! Pet peeve and suggestion – blogs that you can’t subscribe to. Really? Personally I don’t want to mess with an RSS feed – and a few don’t even  have that. Isn’t that the point?

  • EventsResearch

    Question – why Livefyre over Disqus for comments?

  • I see what you did there.

  • RobBiesenbach 🙂

  • EventsResearch It’s probably just a personal preference, but they were doing some of the things I like (tagging in the comments, live blogging) way before Disqus began doing them.

  • EventsResearch It IS the point.

  • rwohlner They’re so mean on there! I have participated in a few of the PR subreddits and it’s vicious.

  • I think LinkedIn is pretty interesting as a publishing platform – at least for the moment.  I’ve found that it’s principal charm for me has been to make clear to my existing, and especially my long-term, contacts exactly what it is I do.  My last two proposal requests  for branding projects specifically referenced my LinkedIn posts (which often play off – with a new perspective and copy – my work on Branding Magazine… so you can use LinkedIn as one of your multipliers, if you’re willing to not just cut and past.

  • creativeoncall You should write a blog post for us about this!

  • JohnMTrader

    Great post, thank you Gini.

    I will add that since my content distribution strategy is global, it’s important to establish some sort of presence on non-U.S. social channels (Weibo, Orkut, etc.) to reach my audiences. I think that when you demonstrate an interest in reaching people outside of traditional US social channels, people appreciate that and it pays dividends.

  • ginidietrich could be just you Gini.  Seriously I’ve really never participated in any discussions there and I’m probably a horrible user, I just submit my stuff and other interesting pieces from other sources and hope for traffic.  I know this is a horrible way to participate in a social media channel.

  • Great post! Sometimes it’s helpful to just break it out in a straightforward list!

  • Much like belllindsay, I pull my non-existing hair out whenever I land on a piece of content, love it, go to share… and there are no effin’ share buttons!! How hard is it to do (especially if you’re on self-hosted WordPress)?!?
    Not only are you not making it easy to share your content, you’re losing out on a lot of valuable data (check your email, ginidietrich!!) with the likes of Filament and their Insights Engine.
    With regards the comments (it’s actually a mix of Google+ Comments and Inline Comments), it’s early days but results are encouraging. Page views are up about 3,000 so far (compared to previous period), and around 70% is attributed to extra awareness on G+.
    I’ll be writing a post about metrics in the next few weeks, and will be including takeaways from the experiment. 🙂

  • ginidietrich EventsResearch Additionally, I always find Disqus to have frequent load issues, especially on mobile. For anyone for whom site speed is important (hint: that should be every content creator), these load issues are a major no-no.

  • ginidietrich Speak to amyvernon about Reddit, too. 🙂 rwohlner

  • JohnBentz

    Superb post.  This one’s a keeper.

  • “I love what said about content distribution” ….Thanks, great tips!

  • ginidietrich creativeoncall I would be super interested in that!  LinkedIn has become a secondary RSS feed for me – never thought to really look at it to find specific vendor experts, but……………

  • HeatherTweedy ginidietrich creativeoncall Ditto!

  • patmrhoads

    Our organization is exploring the possibility of launching a blog, and content like this is so good and so timely. Thanks for the great ideas, ginidietrich.
    OK, I know that previous paragraph was super cliche’ and corny, but I just couldn’t think of a better way to express my thoughts. I need to go harass one of my colleagues now, and exercise my sarcasm muscle. 🙂

  • EventsResearch

    Danny Brown ginidietrich Well that’s a big bad – thanks for that insight – am just retooling for maximum responsiveness so we’ll change that at the same time.

  • Danny Brown belllindsay ginidietrich You don’t have any hair, Danny. Is that why you don’t have any hair???

  • JohnMTrader Great point!!

  • Digital_DRK HeatherTweedy ginidietrich creativeoncall I’m currently playing around in there, testing a few things out. Getting some positive responses to posts, etc.! And yes, Chuck, blog post!!!

  • patmrhoads Just wait til we meet in person. I have all sorts of ideas for you!

  • Digital_DRK You’re very welcome!

  • JohnBentz Woo hoo!!

  • Danny Brown Whoa. That’s REALLY interesting. Is it good traffic?

  • jonmikelbailey What do you want? Why are you commenting on my blog? WHAT DO YOU WANT?!?!

  • JohnMTrader I just had a very nice email from someone in Switzerland who said she loves our blog. But I think that’s still reaching those who speak English and through the normal tools. We don’t have any readers from Asia, for instance. So this is a great point!

  • Danny Brown rwohlner Mr. D LOVES it. But I see how people behave there and it scares me!

  • ginidietrich jonmikelbailey Is this where I get all the top notch advice? I’m looking for advice. Excuse me miss, you, no you, no the woman behind you, no, the other one in the pants suit, is this the place?

  • I was told last week that share buttons aren’t useful because no one has time to read any more.

    I swear if I had that on video I would post it because I still can’t believe they said it.

  • ginidietrich Is pants suit one word or two? So stupid, jeez!

  • patmrhoads

    ginidietrich  🙂 🙂 🙂

  • Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes Someone really said that?!? Come on!

  • jonmikelbailey Pant suit. Pantsuit. Hmmmm… hang on. It’s one word!

  • ginidietrich jonmikelbailey But, aren’t they pants with the suit? So, it would be two S’s, right? And is that the proper way to say S’s or would it be esses?

  • jonmikelbailey Pantssuit. Pantsssssuit.

  • ginidietrich jonmikelbailey No need to be mean. Now my feeling is hurt.

  • jonmikelbailey You have just one feeling? And I hurt it?! YAY, ME!

  • Gini Dietrich

    It’s funny because it’s true!

  • ginidietrich

    nscibetta Thanks!

  • ginidietrich
    They think the Internet is over valued and that people don’t do more than skim things they read online so providing share buttons is silly. I might have politely suggested they relied too strongly upon their personal bias and that it was a foolish position to take.

  • JohnBentz

    Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes ginidietrich Dead right on, Joshua Wildner.  It is personal bias.

  • Yesterday I put them to rest underground with a tombstone. The reason anyone with a big name is social media closes comments is because 1] no one is commenting anymore 2] people are exposing them as frauds and they prefer not to have that on their pages. Those are the only two reasons to do it. Remember most of the biggest names in social media from 2008-2012 have big egos They loved people fawning over them. They loved the attention. When that disappeared it hurt them emotionally. And by closing comments they can continue to keep a perception of importance.

    To prove that someone who was once here for a Q&A for a book launch not only has removed comments…..BUT share buttons to. So now no one can see how little this top 10 A lister of the past is having their content shared.

    Desperate times call for desperate measures ginidietrich !

    Very high quality informative post. You get an A+!

  • Joshua Wilner/A Writer Writes Uh, yeah.

  • Howie Goldfarb Really? I don’t get it. Share buttons, too?

  • ginidietrich I was wrong new websites I block all java script and have to unlock each new site and his after fully checking again still has them Considering his network size and how many shares he got…hiding them would be smart.
    Someone with hundreds of thousands of followers should have more than 28 FB 170 Twitter and 11 Linkedin shares. Especially after the book he wrote and what he has promoted as reality the last 8 years.

  • Howie Goldfarb I just found out you can fake your social shares. Did you know that?! Apparently in some of the plugins, there is a “fake shares” box that you can fill in. Say you want to start at 500. You put that number in and then have 670 tweets show up in the box. Makes me shake my head.

  • ginidietrich WOW! You would think someone like that would fake it just because LOL

  • ginidietrich For the majority of it, yes. They’re the ones that will check out other pages, as well as share more (versus, say, a Facebook share). Like I say, early days, but makes me wonder if G+ is having a bit of a renaissance now Google is fragmenting it, and making the actual G+ experience more focused.

  • belllindsay I can’t help but notice the correlation of my hair getting greyer, and the time I worked with you… ginidietrich

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  • Danny Brown ginidietrich We get terrific traffic from G+ groups — if there are groups in your niche, on G+, LinkedIn or other places it’s a MUST for content sharing.

  • Suzy Chisholm

    Ok, I am outing myself as one of the people who made the “newsletter” comment above.  But let’s face it, at least it gave you a chuckle.  And more importantly, you did reach me!

  • Danny Brown belllindsay ginidietrich HA!! I’m fatter…can I blame you for that, Danny??

  • belllindsay No – you can blame that on all the free beer you drank from the beer fridge. 🙂 ginidietrich

  • Danny Brown belllindsay ginidietrich Mmmmm….beers.

  • belllindsay Not just any old beer – FREE BEER! ginidietrich

  • Suzy Chisholm No way! I just had to go look. LOL!! I didn’t even notice. I think I was so floored at your super nice email that that slipped past me.

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  • LOVE that you have comments, Gini.  Allows me to not only share your great content, but feel like I get to know you personally each time I read a post, share my thoughts, and get a response.  Couldn’t agree with you more on this–and the other points you make above too!  SOLID.  Thanks! ~N

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  • Great post as always, Gini! I’d add that when making it easy to share, think about how your audience likes to share. If your blog readers are older adults, it’s EMAIL. Our “Social, Silver Surfers” research found that the email-a-friend widget is the #1 social sharing tool for boomers and seniors.

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  • Ambercarl

    Useful info.
    Fortunate me I found your website unintentionally, and I am surprised why
    this coincidence didn’t happened in advance! I bookmarked it.

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