It honestly doesn't matter how engaging or groundbreaking your content is if no one in your audience sees it. If the people you're trying to influence don't read, see, or hear your content and take some kind of action, it was pretty much a waste.

So you put some thought into how you're going to distribute -- which social media tools will help you streamline your efforts and which practices will help you increase social media distribution. Now, you have some ideas and plans for taking the content you've created and actually getting it in front of your audience. You've got yourself a social distribution strategy.

If you stop there, that document will do you no good. A plan by itself isn't worth anything. You have to act on it, and you can only act on your strategy if you make it actionable in the first place.

Both of these ideas are commonsensical. Content that you sit on won't help your audience, and a plan without action is worthless. Yet you could probably count on one or two hands the number of companies that consistently knock it out of the park when it comes to their content marketing distribution.

And there are a lot of companies and marketing teams that think they get it. The ideas aren't rocket science, so they think if they create content and just post it on all their social accounts, they can check both boxes: creation and distribution. But that's not how it works.

Consistently creating and actually distributing engaging content is easier said than done, but it doesn't have to be that hard. It all starts with a strategy that's realistic and actionable. Maintain your brand's online presence, engage your audience, and get the most value out of your content with these four simple tips for a social distribution strategy that works:

1. Write down the rules of the game.

Social platforms are constantly evolving. Social media trends and features change all the time, so a one-size-fits-all strategy isn't the right move. When it comes to deciding what content you publish to which platform and how you do it, it's important to lay down some rules.

If you care about your brand voice and keeping it consistent, guidelines are necessary. If you want to maximize your content and get the most out of what you share on social, guidelines are important for your team.

That's why I don't get why fewer than half of B2B marketers use social media guidelines. This is a big missed opportunity for companies to connect with their audiences and leverage social media to the fullest.

Why waste time posting the same content across all platforms when you can take it up a notch and tailor your message for each? Put together some basic guidelines for content types, topics, and messaging for your platforms, and start there.

2. Put together a publishing schedule.

My daughter has dance class every week. It's important for me to know that so my wife and I can make sure she has her stuff, take her to the studio, and support her for each new move she learns. I put it in my calendar every week and know it's coming up, so I'm able to ensure we get the most value from going to these classes. (Toddler dances are pretty fun and unpredictable, so there's a lot of value on the line here.)

We schedule our projects and activities every day, from meetings and lunches to deadlines and dance classes. Your social media content shouldn't be different.

If you're using an editorial calendar, you're off to a good start. But like I said, creating it without distributing it isn't enough. Use an editorial calendar and content promotion template to schedule your efforts and keep your whole content operation moving smoothly toward a set goal.

3. Make it a team effort.

There's only so much one person can do, so if you want to see better ROI and save yourself from going crazy trying to do everything alone, dedicate a team to your content. A team can work together to keep all your content moving forward and on time, share on social, engage with your communities, and more, which keeps all the burden from falling on one person who will inevitably drop the ball at one point or another.

Your social and content marketing team should also feel challenged to think of new creative ways to distribute content. Just because something is working now doesn't mean nothing else will. Having more than one person on the team can make it easier for testing new ideas, platforms, and content types to make your efforts stronger.

4. Always measure your efforts.

There are a ton of tools for content distribution out there, and your team can take its pick among all of them to execute a powerful strategy. But you've got to tie content metrics to goals and ensure those tools will actually show you what you need in order to gauge accurate results.

My team uses HubSpot and our custom content marketing software to show us how we're doing, but even a simple analytics template can help you get started. With tools like this, my team is able to look at site traffic and referral sources and what platforms, posts, and content are engaging our audiences and delivering return.

Remember that your social distribution strategy isn't set in stone. You will always learn more about your audience and what they love to engage with, and that should be included in your living strategy. But you can only do that if you measure.

A strategy is only as good as your ability to execute it. It doesn't matter how thorough it is, how well it's designed, or how creative it is. It needs to include specific steps for your team to put it into action, or it's not going to work. Start with these tips to turn your ideas into real value for your audience and results for your brand.