Getting people to talk about your organization's content is where the rubber meets the road in content marketing. However, it is still puzzling how content distribution is an afterthought for so many content marketing projects. The "blog and pray" mentality is dead, and content marketers that understand how to leverage influential publishers and people are winning big.

A recent eBook explains how the IQ by Intel team thinks about content marketing--more specifically, how Intel thinks like a manufacturer and utilizes influential people and publishers as a content distribution network. This interesting perspective on content marketing utilizes earned, paid and owned media in conjunction with influencers to ensure that content marketing investments drive target audience members to convert on website goals.

Here's a brief overview of the highlights from the eBook:

Building and Leveraging a Network of Writers for Distribution

Brand publishers are often challenged to find talented in-house writers. Additionally, most brands don't already possess loyal and consistent audiences to which content can be delivered and shared from. Utilizing qualified external writers with valuable audiences can help you overcome both of those challenges.

However, it's not as simple as just asking established writers to contribute. Look for creative synergies that provide mutual benefits and, in some cases, payment may even be necessary. Incentivize performance by providing frequent reports and working with writers to review pieces and reinforce areas of opportunity. Finally, make sure editorial standards are in place to ensure consistency and quality that will lead to long-term success.

How to Bake Distribution into Your Production Recipe

Distribution is complex today. As Robert Rose of the Content Marketing Institute has proclaimed on his PNR podcast, "Years ago, there were thousands of markets with millions of people. Today, there are millions of markets with thousands of people." While paid media and post-publishing tactics are important pieces of a distribution strategy, proactively optimizing content for distribution during the production phase will allow you to get the most bang for your buck.

One way to optimize for distribution is to incorporate the influencers of your target audience into content creation from the outset. Work deliberately to earn the trust and leverage the expertise of influencers so they have a vested interest in your cause. Distribution benefits are certain to follow.

Marketers should also become accustomed to developing content to be deconstructed for distribution, as well as the practice of repurposing. Utilization of effective headlines and subheads, quotes, lists and visual graphics will allow you to break down large assets into smaller pieces that can be shared across a wider variety of channels and touchpoints. Furthermore, understanding how content pieces can be repurposed across formats and channels will increase the reach and shelf life of every asset.

The Role of Paid Media to Amplify and Optimize Content

With the current state of the Internet, content supply has outpaced demand, and noise has increased as a result. Meanwhile, consumer attention spans are diminishing and audiences are fragmenting, creating quite a challenge for content marketers. Paid media, however, can help marketers overcome those challenges by alleviating distribution pains.

The first paid media strategy touched on in Intel's eBook revolves around the true objective of paid media: converting a rented audience into "owned" subscribers. Marketers should be sure to never lose sight of that goal when paying for content distribution.

Secondly, while tapping into social media to drive traffic isn't a novel concept, brands should be well informed about current strategies and tactics for every social channel relevant to their respective audiences. These include posting frequency, content shelf life, referral rates, costs, and more--all of which are essential to the ultimate success of a content campaign.

Improving the Supply Chain: Connecting Distribution Insights toContent Development

According to SiriusDecisions, up to 70% of content created by B2B marketers goes completely unused. This situation is avoidable, however, if content marketers can learn to think more like manufacturers. Fixing a broken content supply chain takes a keen focus on the end goals: audience engagement and retention. Some tips for improving your supply chain include

  • Using content themes to drive monthly production
  • Reinventing successful content of the past
  • Planning based on objectives or channels
  • Providing transparency for all contributors
  • Tying analysis into production

Changing your content marketing mindset to thinking about distribution as a supply chain will position distribution as the primary focus of your content marketing efforts--which is exactly where it should be! Your organization's content means little if no one consumes it. Therefore, use the strategies and tactics from the IQ by Intel Content Marketing eBook to put a framework on your content marketing efforts and leverage influencers in your marketplace to distribute your branded content.

Published on: May 27, 2015
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.