If an infographic falls in the forest and no one hears it, does it deliver any ROI?

No. No it doesn’t.

If your organization embraced content marketing in 2013, you’ve hopefully at least gotten some traction in the content creation process (and if you haven’t, give us a call!). That is a significant hurdle for all organizations – creating a steady stream of high quality content is hard work, and it’s never finished.

But we’re not talking about that here. We’re talking about getting your content noticed, shared, commented on in order to raise your profile and build engagement with your business prospects.

We’re talking about content distribution, and it’s vitally important.

After all, this is marketing. You need to be sure you’re doing an awesome job of marketing your marketing. If the awesome content you create does not attract an audience, you’re wasting your time.

In a lot of ways, what’s new is old. The best ways to build an audience for your content are tried-and-true marketing tactics. They include:

Media Relations.

When you have a really terrific blog post, whitepaper or infographic, send it to media outlets and reporters that cover your space. This is far more effective than sending a news release – a news release is almost always about your organization, but that great piece of content is about the industry (or at least it should be), and will therefore often be of far more interest to the journalist. Many media outlets will run blog posts in their entirety, promote them through social media, or use the concept of the content piece as the basis for a story they produce. Big win here – we’ve had a lot of success doing this for our clients in the second half of 2013.

Social Media.

Activating your team to promote content through their personal Twitter, Facebook and LinkedIn accounts is smart business. It transforms your organization into a social business and creates far greater reach for your company. Additionally, if your content is good, your employees will want to share it with their networks, because it makes them look smart.

Sponsored Updates.

As a corollary to your social media strategy, consider sponsored LinkedIn updates (great for B2B) and sponsored tweets. These enable you target the right audience and appear in their news stream or Twitter feed.

Email.

Email lives! Pushing your content to subscribers is a great way to make sure it reaches them. While email doesn’t necessarily work for every audience, it is very effective for B2B companies.

Guest Blogging.

PR pros have been doing this for decades; it’s just that they use to call it “placing a bylined article.” If there’s a website that you’d like to appear on, reach out and ask if they accept guest blogs. Posting your content on their site will expose you to new (usually larger) audiences. Keep in mind, many outlets will expect exclusivity, so don’t promise something to multiple outlets.

Search Engine Optimization.

As you know, Google has changed its algorithms to reward frequently updated, quality content. So your content creation efforts are helping your SEO. But make sure you’re doing it right – being aware of keywords and using them appropriately makes a difference. (This  is a good point to let you know that we’re partnering with the really sharp folks at Greenlane SEO in 2014 – contact them for SEO advice.)

Native Advertising.

It seems like native advertising may have jumped the shark already, due in part to Capital J Journalists being outraged. It’s a viable way for media companies to build a new revenue stream, but it must be done with some level of finesse; as The Atlantic and Church of Scientology found out, ham-handed attempts to trick the audience will only backfire. However, if the native ad legitimately fits within the editorial structure of the media outlet it can work. And, yes, it needs to be clearly marked as an ad.

Content Amplification Platforms.

Platforms such as Outbrain and Taboola can be a great way to expose your content to big audiences. They have syndication deals with big time publishers – you’ve seen it on popular news websites – it’ll be a widget that says “more from around the web” or “you might also like.” You can target your publications, and set a daily budget for pay per click traffic.

This is just a quick look at content distribution models, and there are certainly other ways to raise the profile of your content. Do it. Set goals, an then get aggressive with content distribution.

Because epic content is a terrible thing to waste.