Distribution is increasingly competitive. By going against the grain, you’ll learn how to increase the reach of your content marketing.
If you hang out with content marketers, you've probably heard enough about distribution.
"It's not enough to spend dozens of hours creating something amazing—you have to spend just as much time and effort getting it in front of the right audience."
Once-reliable distribution tactics like organic social and search are returning weaker results. This means marketers must either invest more time, energy, and money into declining approaches—or find innovative and unorthodox ways to distribute their work.
For this article, we asked content marketing leaders to share some of their favorite lesser-known distribution tactics. By going against the grain, you’ll learn how to increase the reach of your content marketing with:
Most B2B newsletters these days include links to third-party content. Depending on list size, even a minor placement in a relevant newsletter can send hundreds or thousands of eyeballs to your article, eBook, or podcast.
When Fadeke Adegbuyi was leading content at Doist, she understood the value of getting links into popular newsletters. But she wanted a more targeted approach, and decided to focus on organizations that were already promoting Doist's content.
As a start, she suggests monitoring newsletters in your orbit. For Doist, this meant newsletters focused on productivity, organization, and remote work.
“I’m an avid reader of newsletters,” Fadeke says. “I subscribe to over 100 to keep a beat on what people are writing about. On several occasions, I’d find that newsletter writers included our links organically. That gave me a hint that they were interested in a certain topic.”
Whenever a newsletter organically links to your content, follow up by sending them similar pieces, suggesting the editor include those, too.
Fadeke forged many relationships with newsletter editors, building a network of supportive publications around Doist. However, even if you’re an avid newsletter reader like Fadeke, you’ll struggle to monitor every single one in your space.
To expand the strategy, replace manual monitoring with automated backlink analysis.
Start by using Ahrefs (or another SEO tool) to export all your backlinks.
If a site is linking to your content, it’s a sign that they respect your work. Search your backlinks for sites with newsletters and highlight them in your spreadsheet. These are prime targets for content distribution.
Also note what sorts of topics and subjects each site focuses on—productivity, business, finance, healthcare, and so on.
When you publish a new piece of content, filter your spreadsheet by topic. Now you have a hyper-targeted list of websites that have a) linked to you in the past, and b) shown a specific interest in the topic you’re writing about.
Next, pitch them your blog, eBook, or podcast. Your email doesn’t need to be fancy. A simple template like this will work:
Using this expanded strategy, Fadeke found dozens more newsletters, many of which she’d never heard of. Whenever she published a new piece, she had a handy list of relevant newsletters to help amplify her promotion efforts, taking her blogs, infographics, and videos to a wider audience.
Organic social reach is plummeting. Between August 2021 and July 2022, the average reach rate of a LinkedIn company page was an abysmal 5.1%. Today, most social networks operate on a pay-to-play model for businesses.
To launch an employee advocacy campaign, start by recruiting employees. Make sure the business impact is clear (see stats above) and don’t forget the WIIFM (“What’s in it for me?”).
In her advocacy program, Eugenia stresses the advantages of personal brand-building. Employees can build a name for themselves in their industry. They can unlock speaking opportunities and attract new job offers. They build their own audience of engaged peers and prospects, people they can share ideas with or ask for help.
As you recruit people to your advocacy program, create a list of employee advocates along with key demographic data:
If you’re running a mature employee advocacy program, or if you’re at a very large company, you may want more data such as job seniority, market segment, or product focus. But they’re not necessary to get started.
With your database complete, you can begin distributing content to your advocates.
Whenever you publish a blog, eBook, or podcast, use filters to identify the best-placed employees. For example, if you’re publishing a piece about sales compensation models, prioritize your sales employees. If you’re promoting news of an acquisition, select your company leadership and executives.
Along with the link, Eugenia provides a couple of suggested optional messages.
“People can create their own post,” she explains. “But our account executives and customer success managers love it as they don't need to come up with their own social media messages.”
Eugenia estimates that one-third of Haiilo’s workforce participates as brand ambassadors. Each month, their posts and shares reach 500,000 readers.
If you’re bootstrapping your advocacy program, you can message folks on Slack or use a mail merge to send out emails. While employee advocacy platforms automate a lot of the admin work, they’re not required to get started.
Most content distribution tactics focus on the top or middle of the funnel. However, content also plays a significant role in sales-led funnel stages like intent, evaluation, and purchase.
When it came time to promote a new series of thought leadership pieces by Bonusly's CEO Raphael Crawford-Marks, Laura started by sharing them on the company's Slack. Reps saw the pieces and decided to integrate them into their sales sequences.
“From what I've learned chatting with them, reps love to share content that isn't authored by 'Bonusly the brand',” Laura explains. “Prospects want to hear from the CEO.”
Operationalize this tactic in the same way you’d build an employee advocacy program. Recruit reps, ask what sort of content they want, and build a database.
Whenever you publish a new post, filter your database to show engaged reps and send them the link.
Although it’s not strictly necessary, Laura suggests including some messaging guidelines. That way, you keep your marketing narratives consistent across all distribution points. Keep your guidelines simple.
Here’s a quick example based on one of Raphael’s Inc. articles:
While this strategy works for reactive distribution—publish a piece and encourage reps to include it in their outreach—it doesn’t empower sellers to explore your content library and select older (but still valuable) pieces to share.
To make this distribution tactic even more effective, build a content library and share it with your sales team. Here’s a snapshot of what that looks like for a single post:
Here’s how it works.
Gorgias recently published a playbook on CX-Driven Growth. To learn which CX plays were working, Jordan and his colleagues interviewed 25 Gorgias customers, including top ecommerce brands like Jaxxon, Figs, Los Angeles Apparel, and Good American, and featured their advice and stories in the playbook.
After publishing the playbook, Jordan worked with Gorgias’ partnerships team to identify promotional opportunities. He knew the company had established strong relationships with several CX, customer service, and marketing podcasts.
While each podcast would happily feature one or two Gorgias employees a year, Jordan wanted more regular coverage to help promote the playbook.
"The podcast host gets a great guest, the interviewee strengthens their personal brand, and Jordan increases awareness of his playbook."
Instead of asking podcast hosts to feature his Gorgias teammates again, he began introducing the hosts to the playbook’s interviewees.
“We send our customers to those podcasts, which is great for their exposure,” Jordan explains. “We suggest they deep dive on revenue-generating CX, which is a unique way of looking at CX. And we ask them to mention that they were a part of this longform playbook that covers a bunch of other similar revenue-generating tactics, which is obviously great for us.”
Like Jordan says, it's mutually beneficial:
To run this tactic yourself, use ListenNotes or PodSearch to compile a list of target podcasts. Find shows with comparable guests to the people you’ve featured in your piece. In other words, don’t introduce a mom-and-pop operator to a show that exclusively features Fortune 500 execs.
As with all outreach, warm prospects up first. Listen to their shows and offer feedback. Engage on social media. Ideally, run your warm-up touches before you publish a piece. That way, you can introduce contributors to podcast hosts immediately after you hit publish.
The basics of B2B content distribution—social media, email marketing, organic search—haven’t changed. An effective promotion strategy still needs these channels. However, with competitors ramping up their distribution efforts, reach is falling and costs are rising.
To improve (or even just maintain) performance, marketing teams need to adopt innovative distribution ideas.
In this article, you’ve learned how to pitch content to related B2B newsletters and turn your fellow employees into brand advocates. You’ve seen how sales reps will naturally integrate good content into their outbound sequences. And you’ve learned to turn content contributors into promoters.
But what have we missed?
What B2B content distribution tactics are working for you?