Gavin Hirst - Monday 22nd June 2015

Content is King but who is Queen?

The saying ‘Content is King’ has been around for years but more recently, we have started to see a footnote added to the statement which usually refers to the Queen.

So what exactly is Queen if content is King?

Well, some argue that context is Queen and there can be no denying that content without context is pretty worthless to your business. If you’re in the thermal plastics industry and you suddenly start putting out content about car repairs then this is not going to add much value to your business and is probably going to confuse the hell out of your customers.

So we can agree, context is pretty crucial but is it really the Queen?

Well, here at Digital Hothouse, we agree with Buzzfeed’s Jonathan Perelman in thinking that the Queen to content’s King is distribution, or outreach or whatever it is that you call the activity of spreading the content you have created.

Image of a quote from Jonathan Perelman from Buzzfeed - Content is king but distribution is queen and she wears the pants

Content outreach

A great analogy we like to use here is that creating great content and then just putting it up on your website and expecting people to comment, share and engage with it is like creating an amazing shop, with the best window display, fantastic products and killer prices and then sticking it down a back street in Whangaparaoa (not that there’s anything wrong with Whangaparaoa, it’s just not going to get you any traffic!)

When planning any piece of content, whether it’s a blog, video, infographic, videoscribe etc before you sit down and get to work in the content, you should have a very clear plan for how the content will be distributed. You should be asking yourself some important questions:

  • Is there a demand for the content?
  • What else is out there that is similar?
  • Who is the target audience for the content?
  • How will you reach them?
  • Is there scope to involve your target audience in creating the content?

You should have some pretty solid answers to these questions before you even start work on creating the content. That is going to make engagement once the content is completed much easier and much more likely.

Content planning

We wrote a blog a couple of months back about the importance of content planning and it is at this stage that we think about the outreach work that is needed for our content or for content we are creating for clients. We ask ourselves those crucial questions above and if we are coming up with blanks to any of those questions, we go back to the drawing board to refine the content to make sure there is a demand and we know how we are going to meet that demand.

How do you carry out content outreach work?

This will vary for each piece of content but some of the main methods for ensuring your content reaches your target audience and encourages engagement include:

  • Social sharing (using your key platforms to share the content)
  • Email
  • Newsletter (online)
  • Engaging your audience beforehand to get input into the content
  • Building relationships online (tagging people in to social shares, following people on LinkedIn, email correspondence etc)
  • Joining relevant discussions on forums and blogs and posting content (where appropriate)
  • Use tools like Buzzsumo to see who are the influencers around the piece of content
  • PR distribution sites (for PR stories)
  • Find relevant bloggers who are likely to be interested in the content

These are just some of the techniques we use – there is of course more to it than just dropping someone an email and asking them to do something with your content (link to it, comment on it, share it etc).

Content outreach doesn’t stop after step one

One thing to remember is that sending out an email, or tagging someone into a Tweet is not content outreach. It is just a part of the process. Make sure you monitor who you have reached out to, record any responses and set follow up dates. Also, make sure you are engaging with these people throughout the year and not just at the times when you need them.  Successful content outreach is based around building relationships and these should be nurtured – don’t be the person that just rocks up when they want something and scratch other peoples’ back if and when appropriate.

Good quality content will always perform well but it does depend on you getting it seen in the right places by the right people. Unless you’re a huge brand, people won’t just be browsing the web looking for your content so make sure you get it front and centre so people can’t ignore it – if it’s good, then the rest will take care of itself.

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