What is content distribution, its channels & categories + Free content marketing budget template
Content marketing is a powerful tool which is essential these days for increasing brand awareness, website traffic, sales and revenue. To survive in today’s content driven world, having a strong content marketing strategy is imperative. According to Forrester, CMOs across the globe are expected to spend about $119 billion on digital content marketing efforts in 2021 . However, it is important to note that unless your content is reaching the right set of audience, merely creating high quality content is pointless. Therefore, it is key to evaluate all the content distribution channels and finalize which ones will be the best fit for your business.
If you already have an idea about the different types of content distribution channels and would like to download the content marketing budget template, scroll to the end of this blog. If you want to learn more about these channels, their impact and ROI, read below. First, let us begin by having a look at the different types of content that can be created:
Types of Content
Based on consumer expectations and demand, a business’s content marketing format may vary. As social feeds and websites are becoming more sophisticated, responsive and mobile friendly, they are able to host more types of file formats giving marketers more opportunities to get creative. All the different types of content fit into either of the following 5 buckets.
- Product descriptions
- Landing pages
- Press releases
- Long-form guides
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
- Email copy
- Advertisement copy or ad copy
- White papers
- Case studies
- Posts with imagery
- Site Mockups and Wireframes
- Video blogs or Vlogs
- Studio production/On-location video
- Vox pops
- Video interviews
- Video testimonials
- Web demos
- Live streaming
- Product demos
- Virtual reality (VR)
- Augmented reality (AR)
- Corporate promos
- Event footage
5. Social Media
- Hashtag campaigns
- User-generated content
- Social posts
- Q&A sessions
Content distribution channels can be categorized into 3 groups. It is important to get acquainted with these categories before learning more about distribution channels.
Categories of Content Distribution
Owned Media Platforms
Owned content distribution is about distributing your content via web properties you own. Examples of these can be your website, newsletters, microsite, mobile app and social media profiles.
Shared Media Platforms
Also known as ‘earned channels’, shared channels are the third-party distribution methods you use to promote your content. Any third-party platform or individual, such as a guest blogger, customer and journalist, that will share your content free of charge (which is why it is called ‘earned’) falls into the shared media category. Some of the examples to this type of channel are guest blogs, product reviews, social media shares and mentions and public relation platforms. It also includes social forums like Quora and Reddit.
Paid Media Platforms
In this category, you pay money to certain platforms to distribute your content. Cost-per-click (CPC) model is one form of paid content distribution where you (the business owner) pay a platform money for every time a user clicks on the link to view your content. Other paid forms that fall into this category are sponsored and influencer content. According to Business Insider by 2022, brands are expected to spend more than $15 billion on influencer marketing .
Now that we know the broad categories of content distribution, let us dig deeper into the various types of content marketing channels available.
Content marketing and distribution channels
Publishing, sharing and promoting content today is as imperative as creating it. Your marketing material helps your audience understand what your brand is and what it stands for. The channels you pick will help you determine who sees this content and analyze its performance. Here are 7 most important content distribution channels marketers around the world use to disseminate their marketing assets.
1. Website and blog
The content you publish on your website and blog will help you generate organic traffic. It all starts with a search query. If a user finds your content relevant to what they’re looking for, they visit your landing page by clicking on the website or blog link which was indexed on a Search Engine Results Page (SERP).
Your website and blog pages get indexed by search engines, like Google, Yahoo! and Bing, and are served to users looking for the kind of content you produce. Videos, articles, images – basically, anything and everything you publish on the internet appears in the SERPs, which ultimately gives your brand more exposure.
As per a study, 59% small businesses in Australia with less than 20 employees don’t have a website . While it is a shocking revelation, it is also an opportunity for businesses that have a website, to publish valuable content get an upper hand over competitors.
2. Email marketing
There were about 3.9 billion email users in 2019 and the number is expected to go up to 4.3 billion by 2023 . 87% of content marketers in North America use email marketing for content distribution . Moreover, email marketing has the potential of delivering the highest Return On Investment (ROI) than any other channel. According to Digital Marketing Association, for every $1 you spend on email marketing, an average return of $42 can be expected .
Once you have a substantial email database of individuals and businesses that are interested in receiving more content from you, sending out email newsletters is a great way of distributing exclusive, personalized and gated content along with exclusive offers. By curating email campaigns, you cut through the noise of the entire web and connect with your audience on a personal level. Optimizing your email marketing strategy and newsletter lists according to types of readers, accounts, intent, buying stage and industry can help you in content distribution with accuracy, boost traffic on your website, increase brand loyalty and ultimately, generate more revenue.
3. Social Media marketing
Companies of all sizes across the globe use social media to project their brand personality. Having a presence on all social media platforms might be overwhelming. In fact, it is not even ideal. What’s important for your brand is to figure out where you can find your target audience which can turn into prospective customers.
Social media platforms like Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, can be used to share a link of blogs you’ve published, visual format posts (images and videos) and connect on a deeper level with your target audience. These platforms also bestow you with the power of addressing the queries and complaints of your customers at the earliest. You can see how many people have viewed the content you’ve shared and measure engagement in real-time.
A recent Sprout Social report found that 89% of marketers use Facebook for content distribution. It also found that about 66% users Like or Follow at least one brand on Facebook . Instagram has about 1 billion monthly active users on its platform and about 90% of these users follow a business. Social media is an extremely versatile content distribution channel that also allows you to promote your products and collaborate with influencers in your domain to increase your brand recognition.
4. Link building sites
Link building is the process of getting backlinks or hyperlinks from ‘high authority sites’ to your own website. Getting quality backlinks from these sites helps in improving your website’s Google ranking. The process can be time consuming, in fact, 51% marketers say that it takes anywhere between one to three months to see results of link building efforts . Surprisingly, only 2.2% of the content produced in the world get backlinks from multiple sites. However, if you do manage to get backlinks, it would have a great positive impact on your Google ranking and organic traffic .
Links from credible and high authority sites can be achieved by doing the following things:
- Creating unique, relevant, statistic-oriented and well-researched content that is worthy of getting backlinks
- Publishing your own studies and researches that do not exist anywhere else on the internet
- Submitting your website and blog links to web directories and article submission sites. Some of the credible web directories are Best of the Web (BOTW), About Us, Blogarama and Google My Business. A few reliable article submission sites are hubpages.com, ehow.com, ezinearticles.com, articlecube.com and tumblr.com
- Guest-posting on high domain authority websites that are famous in your industry
The key to link building in content distribution is publishing your content and putting it in the right hands (sites). The ‘link juice’ that you’ll earn from the high authority domains and credible websites will give a boost to your site’s rankings.
The world is going through a podcasting revolution at the moment. Despite being a newer content distribution method, it has gained massive popularity. It is a great distribution method for audio content, which if used wisely, can make you sound like an industry expert. Why are podcasts gaining popularity? It can be listened to while doing anything, be it while on a long drive, commuting to work, doing chores, working out or cooking a meal. In Australia, podcast listening has soared from 27% in the year 2019 to 32% in 2020 .
There are various platforms that can be used to distribute your audio content such as iTunes, Spotify and Apple Podcasts. Amongst all the podcasting platforms available, Spotify is the one that’s growing the fastest. Today, it has more than 299 million monthly active listeners across the globe and has a presence in 92 markets, according to its official website. Since the beginning of 2019, their podcast audience has almost doubled and it is the 2nd most popular platform in the world for listening to podcasts, after Apple Podcasts.
Spotify gives deep insights about who your listeners are and which of your episodes are being streamed the most. The music and podcasting platform allows you to take a deep dive into episode details, like how long people listened to an episode, where they began and at what point they stopped. It also tracks your follower growth along with gender and age of your followers.
Spotify purchased Anchor, a podcast creation platform, in 2019 for $140 million. This empowers podcasters with podcast creation tools and features for free. Spotify is committed to helping artists on its platform get discovered. They release editorial and personalized podcast playlists (such as This Week’s Top Podcasts and Your Daily Podcasts) which helps in budding artists, podcasters and creators get discovered. Additionally, they are continuously focusing on developing more ways of helping creators like you grow your audience.
6. Display advertising
Display ads are paid ads that are showcased on websites, mobile apps and social platforms. Once a user visits your website, they are assigned a cookie (a piece of code) which helps you in tracking their trail of brand interactions. After the user leaves your website, your paid advertisements may be displayed across the websites, apps and social platforms they visit.
Digital advertising spend in Australia is projected to reach $7,562 million in the year 2020 . You can use some of the best pieces of your content or design content especially for a display ad which will be displayed as a banner. These banners can comprise text, videos, images and buttons. It is a form of distribution channel that helps you stay in front of your audience as they surf the internet.
7. Content Syndication
Content syndication is a content distribution channel through which web-based content is re-published by a network of third-party websites. Blog posts, infographics, videos or any other form of content can be syndicated. Syndication allows your content pieces to gain more reach and appear in front of readers. It is sort of a barter deal in which you get the exposure to the audience of the third party website while the third-party website gets free and relevant content. However, most content syndication networks or platforms are paid services and there is no way of telling if the quality of the traffic they provide you with is 100% authentic.
Content marketing expenses
There are tons of cutting-edge tools available online that allow you to get started with your content marketing strategy. Even if you are opting to start slow and go for the free content distribution channels, eventually you will need to invest in tools to help you grow your business. Following are a few expenses that need to be taken into consideration which calculating your content marketing budget:
- In-house or full time content writer(s)
- Freelance content writer(s)
- Graphic designer(s)
- Email marketing campaign creation and management tools
- Social media campaign management software
- Digital marketing consulting
- SEO services
- Google search ads
- Display ads
- Collaboration with influencers for promoting content
- Sales funnel development
The most successful B2B marketers spend and recommend spending 40% of the total marketing budgets on content marketing . Though 40% is recommended, you decide what’s best for your business. Now that you know the different types of content, categories of content distribution and the various channels for the same, it might be easier for you to get started with your content marketing strategy. Here’s a content marketing budget template for you that’ll help you with the same.
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 Forrester (2017) “US Digital Marketing Forecast: 2016 To 2021” [Online] Available from: https://www.forrester.com/report/US+Digital+Marketing+Forecast+2016+To+2021/-/E-RES137095# [Accessed December 2020]
 Insider Intelligence (2019) “The Influencer Marketing Report” [Online] Available from: https://store.businessinsider.com/products//the-influencer-marketing-report [Accessed November 2020]
 GoDaddy & YouGov Galaxy (2019) “Study reveals why 59% of Australian small businesses don’t have a website” [Online] Available from: https://au.godaddy.com/blog/study-reveals-why-59-of-australian-small-businesses-dont-have-a-website/ [Accessed November 2020]
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 Sprout Social (2020) “The Sprout Social Index, Edition XV: Empower & Elevate” [Online] Available from: https://sproutsocial.com/insights/data/2019-index/ [Accessed November 2020]
 AIRA “The Impact of Link Building” [Online] Available from: https://www.aira.net/state-of-link-building/the-impact-of-link-building/ [Accessed November 2020]
 Backlinko (2019) “Here’s What We Learned About” [Online] Available from: https://backlinko.com/content-study [Accessed November 2020]
 Analysis & Policy Observatory (APO) (2020) “Podcast trends and issues in Australia and beyond: global perspectives” [Online] Available from: https://apo.org.au/node/308947#:~:text=In%20Australia%2C%20podcast%20listening%20has,%2C%20and%20sport%20(7%25) [Accessed November 2020]
 Statista (2020) “Digital Advertising in Australia” [Online] Available from: https://www.statista.com/outlook/216/107/digital-advertising/australia [Accessed November 2020]
 Content Marketing Institute (2018) “B2B Content Marketing” [Online] Available from: https://contentmarketinginstitute.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/2018-b2b-research-final.pdf [Accessed November 2020]