6 Killer Platforms for B2B Content Distribution
The B2B content marketing competition is heating up. If you have any doubts, just consider that 58 percent of B2B marketers plan to increase their content budgets in 2014, according to the Content Marketing Institute.
Indeed, there’s a wealth of content being created by B2B brands, and they’re not just competing with each other for attention spans that are getting shorter and shorter; they’re dueling with traditional publishers as well.
Over the last two years, I have been working for more than 20 B2B brands and experimenting aggressively with platforms for B2B content marketing—including managing a profitable, multimillion-dollar paid channel advertising budget. It taught me something invaluable: The brands that are winning are the ones with a solid distribution strategy.
What I learned (the hard way) is that success in distribution starts with understanding your company’s unique conversion funnel. Are you looking to build awareness, drive leads, or facilitate reengagement? The answer to this question is critical for audience-building and reaching prospects at exactly the right time in their purchase journey. Here are six platforms that can pay big dividends.
1. Sales and account management teams
Customer-facing teams provide a direct line between your business and the outside world. Your sales team can help identify the questions that potential buyers—a crucial audience—are asking. Your account management team can also tell you what pain points your current customers are facing. That can be significantly helpful when it comes to crafting a content strategy, but a strong relationship with those teams can pay huge dividends in regards to distribution as well.
If you’re creating high-quality content, you want your sales and account management teams pushing that content to prospects and customers in your sales funnel and post-sales funnel on a weekly basis. It’s a great way to generate (1) new sales and (2) up-selling opportunities.
You may have a wealth of technology at your fingertips, but remember—people are the ultimate distribution engine.
2. Facebook Sponsored Posts
Within the last year, Facebook ramped up its advertising game, giving Facebook advertisers access to a wealth of psychographic data. You can use their Custom Audiences feature to target users based on their engagement with your website. For instance, you can reach out to free trial subscribers who have not yet converted into paying customers.
Content marketers can also create Lookalike Audiences of their existing users—audiences who fit the same psychographic profiles of your most engaged customers. Facebook Custom Audiences and Lookalike Audiences are valuable for mid- to lower-funnel content marketing activities (e-books, white papers, and case studies). The success of your program will depend on the quality of leads that you’re able to generate.
There are three valuable content distribution opportunities for content marketers on LinkedIn:
- Sponsored Updates, which can be targeted based on a user’s exact job title and employer
- Groups (such as the Content Marketing Group)
- Publishing, as LinkedIn now allows users to publish posts directly onto the platform
The groups and publishing features are, of course, free. Sponsored Updates are expensive compared to other social media platforms, but LinkedIn’s professional audience targeting is unparalleled. It’s the perfect place to distribute lead-gated content, such as a white paper, where an email address is the price you pay for a download.
4. Inbound.org and GrowthHackers.com
If your B2B team is looking to reach user-acquisition and customer-acquisition specialists, be sure to promote your content in these two small, mighty, and highly engaged communities. And don’t just distribute your own work; be a good community member and share anything that you think would be valuable to fellow marketers on the site. It only takes a few minutes out of your day, but the benefits—expanding your readership and network—can be huge.
These platforms curate compelling, business-focused content for the entrepreneurially minded. Your success in each of these communities is particularly contingent on your involvement and “karma” within them. Reddit is particularly tricky and users are sensitive to blatant self-promotion—as a general rule, for each piece of your own content that you share, share ten pieces of other people’s content.
6. Content recommendation platforms
You’ve probably seen the “related links” widgets on the bottom of sites like Slate, Forbes, Investopedia, and Business Insider. These links are actually pay-per-click channels that are powered by companies like Outbrain, Taboola, nRelate, Disqus, and Gravity. These paid traffic networks are valuable for attracting inexpensive, top-of-funnel traffic. If you’re looking to drive a specific user acquisition goal (like leads), you can talk to your account rep about implementing a conversion pixel—a cookie that enables you to optimize your campaigns for specific user actions.
Final Thoughts: Test and Iterate
Success in content distribution requires constant trial and error, especially as new platforms emerge and evolve. Don’t be afraid to test a paid network at a small budget—but make sure that you have realistic expectations about your conversion funnel and marketing goals.
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