Content Marketing: Creation vs. Distribution

The Growth Report #47

Happy Friday!

It’s getting pretty international in here. Another forty of you from all over the world joined since last week.

Meaning, I should probably start to tone down the lame Swiss weather jokes a little bit. 🤔

To make up for this tragic loss, here a (sadly) funny comic that I posted last week on LinkedIn:

But now, let’s get started with…

...Today's topics

📈 Marketing Strategy:
Content Marketing: Creation vs. Distribution

🧰 Tools of the Trade:
Educational Resources and Inspiration for Marketers

⛑️ Reflections from the Trenches:
What games are you playing?

📈 Marketing Strategy

Content Marketing:
Creation vs. Distribution

When a company decides to do content marketing, they often focus heavily on creating new content. They jump right in, set up a content calendar and publish regular blog posts, podcast episodes, and videos. That's great. The energy is high, you are excited.

And then? Crickets.

Your blog becomes a graveyard, only visited by the occasional lost soul who clicked on the wrong link in the footer. Your YouTube channel and podcast is buried by algorithms before they ever had the chance to shine.

What they haven't told you

"Build it and they will come" doesn't work.
"Publish and hope for the best" is not a strategy.

And don't get me wrong, I am working in content marketing for well over eight years now and I fell into this trap over and over again. I get it.

Most people love creating content. But promoting it all over the internet? Not so much.

But the harsh truth is:

Nobody cares how good your content is if they never get to see it.

So we need to have a strategy in place on how we distribute that content effectively. In fact, over the years I have come to terms that at least 60% of my content-focused time should be spent on promotion and distribution.

How and where can I amplify my content?

There are dozens of different content distribution channels out there. Here are a few common ones you can explore.

What distribution mix you use, heavily depends on what kind of content you are producing. For some help on what kind of content you should produce check out this article.

Example: Get Started With Organic Social Distribution

Let's say you focus mostly on opinion leader content and want to establish yourself as a brand who drives the conversation in your industry. So how do we start out promoting our content effectively? → Use the content you already have to kickstart your distribution strategy.

Very basic, I would go about it as follows and start with social media:

  1. Pick ONE (seriously, only one!) social media channel you know your customers hang out on. Now learn the ins-and-outs of this channel. What kind of formats are being posted? What works? What doesn't?

  2. Collect all of your best content that you have in your library. Blogs, Podcasts, Webinars, Videos etc. and list them out on a spreadsheet.

  3. Next, screen all of these content pieces and think about ways you could extract quotes, insights, graphics, lists (or whatever you identified works) into stand-alone micro-content for the chosen social channel.

  4. Important: This is not about promoting your products or getting customers right away. All you are here to do is providing value. My rule is: For every 10 social posts on LinkedIn I put in one promotional post.

  5. Finally, you fill up that publishing calendar and if you've been producing content for a while you'll have social posts for months. You won't see immediate results, but after a while people will start to trust you

  6. Bonus: If you can get your CEO (and 1-2 employees) to go all in on this and share this content (let me know, I can give you a few additional tips on this), you will carve out a brand in your clients minds faster than you imagine possible. Especially if no one else in your niche is doing it.

Takeaway Message

I have barely scratched the surface with this one. I hope to expand on this topic in future newsletters. But the message I want to leave you with is this:

If you already create content for a while, start shifting your focus towards distribution. All the content in the world does not matter if the right people don't see it.

And not only does it give your content more visibility, but it also teaches you what formats, content and topics work well and which don’t. So you don't create 100s of hours worth of content while tapping in the dark if your customers care about it.

Would love to hear from you on how you handle (or don't handle) content distribution? 🤔

🧰 Tools of the Trade:

Educational Resources and Inspiration for Marketers

💬 Quote of the week: On Delaying Action

"Many people delay taking action because they hope to avoid suffering. They keep searching for a path that won’t involve tradeoffs. But some form of suffering is always inevitable. The process of taking action is the process of choosing your pain.

- Charles Cooley

👨‍🎓 Marketing & Leadership Education

  • Create a Content Playground - From the blog of last week’s podcast guest, Peep Laja. The traditional funnel seeks to rush people to a purchase with as few touchpoints as possible. But the content playground seeks to create a seamless, non-linear journey across all touchpoints.

  • The Right Way To Build Personas - Also from a recent podcast guest: Rand Fishkin. A bad persona can detract from the effectiveness of your product and marketing efforts. It can nudge you, your team, or your client to make bad decisions. Given the choice between no personas and bad personas, go with none. But, if you absolutely need to build them, this article arms with the tools to do it right.

🤩 Brands and (digital) Products that caught my eye

  • Luma - A landing page builder for your live events. Instant fan!

  • No Bullshit Marketing Resources - Louis compiled all the marketing resources ever mentioned on his podcast Everybody Hates Marketers and ranked them by how often they were mentioned. In other words: The best of the best.

  • Ruby - You know I love funky direct-to-consumer brands that make you look twice. Well, Ruby is one of those delights!

📚 Interesting reads

  • Happiness - Naval is the most influential philosopher of our times. He influenced my thinking more than any other modern thinker. This is another one of those gems.

⛑️ Reflections From the Trenches

What games are you playing?

I recently had an enlightening conversation with a long-time friend.

He is currently in the process of selling his second company.

He told me he is unhappy. He told me he feels emotionally stressed out by internal politics and the constant pressure from investors to put growth before everything.

"I'm tired, but that's the name of the game", he said.

But I remember, that's precisely what he said when he sold his first company.

And now? Now he is already well under way to launch the next one. Here we go again..

Hold on. What is happening here?

There's a Choice to Be Made

It happens so often in our lives that we end up in situations where we feel trapped. We observe what the people around us are doing, then ask them for advice or simply copy their behavior.

And then a few years later we end up in a mess of a situation and ask ourselves where we took a wrong turn? (oh no worries I received my own fair share of messy situations!)

But what we don't realize is: There is a hidden web of millions of existing games being played in our society at any given time.

And when we sit down at a new metaphorical poker table and want to join in, we are giving our silent consent that we accept the rules of the game that's being played at this particular table.

BUT: We have a choice which tables we want to join. So before we sit down and join a game, let's examine the rules first.

In the example of my friend starting companies and ending up unhappy: He started out loving the traditional startup game, raising money from VCs and hiring a big team feels good.

The ego loves that shit.

But after a while, he realized that he sold a substantial share of his company to a fund (aka VC) that has only one interest: Make as much money as possible. You just entered their game.

And so if you have different motivators for starting your company that is okay, but at least you need to know what you are in for and prepare accordingly.

Choose Your Games Wisely

So how can we choose more deliberately?

If we take a step back and decide the rules (or principles) we want to play by FIRST, we can then choose the game that best reflects them (or start our own games if we dare).

In case of the startup:

  • Do you value freedom? -> Bootstrap, don't get investors on board.

  • Do you want to optimize for free time? -> Hire freelancers (employees are players too and they want your money, your time and a fulfilling job).

  • Is money your big driver?

  • Or do you want to make a big impact in the world?

Whatever you want, define it before you start.

Before we started GrowthBay we thought long and hard about this. We've had similar experiences like my friend and felt burned out. So we wrote down a set of such rules and principles (I'll share them another time) whom we try to live and work by. One of them comes straight out of Naval Ravikant's playbook:

Play long-term games with long-term people.

For us this is a lens through which we evaluate new projects, clients, partners, freelancers, before we engage with them.

Our world's changed once we started to be more deliberate in choosing the games we want to play and the players we want to play them with.

Choose wisely.

That's it for this week.

Enjoy your well-earned weekend 🏡

See you next week,