How Content Distribution Works

“If you build it, they will come.” 

This infamous quote from Disney’s 1989 hit “Field of Dreams” has been the battle cry of free-spirited creatives for almost 3 decades. For many, watching Kevin Costner questioning the validity of this mantra echoed by a disembodied voice whilst investing an absurd amount of time and money into the creation of a baseball field in the middle of nowhere just to watch it <spoilers> actually pay off in the end </spoilers> served as an inspiration to make their own dreams a reality regardless of how unrealistic they were.

Perhaps this message was delivered at the right place and time, as the 90s would serve as a revival for independent creatives. Technology’s rapidly increasing speed and social connectivity lead to huge gains for those who knew what to build. It was a decade that birthed billionaires Elon Musk and Jeff Bezos.

Three decades later, we find ourselves in a paradoxical state where it’s never been easier to tell people about what we’ve built with content, but it’s never been harder to keep their attention. Baseball isn’t doing that well, either, but I digress.

So how do we change with the times to make sure our content gets the recognition it deserves?

The answer is effective content distribution.

Now before we dive any deeper, I want to make it clear that this is STEP 3 of a greater process. Don’t put the cart before the horse. If you haven’t done an overall brand evaluation (discussed in our livestreams) or developed a solid content strategy (see our post here), please do not start your content marketing journey with content distribution strategy.

Ok, all caught up? Great! Let’s go…

Firstly, let’s discuss the different types of content distribution your brand will experience.

Earned Distribution 👥

Earned distribution is when a 3rd party either shares your content or creates independent content discussing or praising your brand. Whether your product and/or service is being reviewed by an industry relevant YouTube channel, or someone is boastfully sharing photos of what your brand does or provides on Instagram, you’re experiencing earned distribution.

This type of distribution is likely the most effective form but is also the hardest to come by. Typically, it’s a byproduct of content, a product, or a service that is designed to be easily shared. That said, like all “word of mouth” promotion, it’s the type of content distribution where you have the least amount of direct control. And while it’s great to optimize your content, products, and services to easily earn distribution, it’s unwise to rely on it.

Paid Distribution 

Paid distribution happens any time your content is shared in exchange for compensation. Basically, advertisement and sponsorship. Whether you’ve paid for a Google Ads campaign, boosted your Facebook post, or compensated a YouTube channel to feature your brand, you’re participating in paid distribution.

Paying for advertising can be a fantastic way to boost your brand message’s signal, but it can also be expensive. If you haven’t refined your content’s targetting (both in its development and its demographic delivery), you could easily end up tossing your money into a void. We want to be sure to avoid that, which is why we should probably start out content marketing efforts by focusing on…

Owned Distribution 

Owned content distribution takes place on all platforms under the direct control of your brand. Whenever you post on your website, send out a tweet, or upload a video to YouTube, you’re participating in owned distribution.

This form of distribution provides us with the greatest ratio of cost versus control. In other words, we can use this method to create and share content most affordably and with the greatest potential for an intentionally designed end product that creates an emotional impact on the audience. For this reason, it’s the most logical place to start when it comes to distributing your content.

Which platform should I use? 🤔

It’s a good question, but finding a good answer can be very difficult. Let’s start by categorizing platforms to get a better idea of which ones do what.

One quick note: Platforms are not beholden to any one category, but generally focus on one more than another. Instagram, for example, has a primary focus on photography but also offers limited video services.

One more quick note: Your website is capable of distributing all forms of content. Websites are a fantastic tool that all businesses should utilize, but that’s a different topic for another day.

Text 

Examples: Medium, Blogspot

These platforms offer services focused on distributing written articles or blog posts.

Image 

Examples: Instagram, Pinterest

These platforms offer services focused on distributing photography and other still images.

Video 🎥

Examples: YouTube, Vimeo

These platforms offer services focused on video content.

Audio 🔊

Examples: Soundcloud, iTunes

These platforms offer services focused on audio content such as podcasts and music.

Live Broadcast 

Examples: Twitch, Mixer

These platforms offer services focused on broadcasting live video feeds.

Multimedia 

Examples: Facebook, Twitter

These platforms offer services that offer to distribute all of the previous types of media.

As you reflect on this list, realize that my intent in drafting it was more inspirational than explanatory. If you’ve taken the appropriate steps to define your brand and content strategies, this list should start to make it abundantly clear which platforms will suit your content best. That’s fantastic!

Now let’s consider one more important factor…

Time.

Each platform establishes a different rate of turnover for the content distributed on it. This somewhat predestined lifespan will directly impact a brand’s ability to impact its audience. The design of not just our content, but the process that creates our content, must take this timeframe into consideration.

High Turnover Rate 

Examples: Twitter, Instagram

These platforms demand a much higher volume of content than others. Twitter is exceptionally notorious, with a feed that easily washes away a tweet that doesn’t inspire a retweet or two…hundred. Content distributed here can’t be low effort, but must not require an extensive amount of time to keep content flowing regularly.

Medium Turnover Rate 

Examples: Facebook, YouTube

These platforms allow content to survive almost indefinitely as long as people continue to share it, or their search engines place it prominently behind a search term with extended relevancy. Content that survives longer on these platforms tends to be both high quality and high effort. It must be noted, though, that your brand must continuously post content here to remain relevant to the platform’s distribution algorithm.

Low Turnover Rate 

Examples: Just kidding!

That’s right, low turnover rate platforms simply don’t exist. Sure, it’s possible to create a video on YouTube that maintains a high search ranking related to something that will always remain relevant, such as getting the number one search result for “baked chicken recipe” with your cooking tutorial. The problem is that new competition is constantly flocking to every major content platform. Unless your channel is continuously pumping out tutorials that elicit a positive response from YouTube’s users, YouTube’s algorithm will eventually lower rank.

What I’m trying to say is that consistency is what really unlocks the doors of content marketing. With that in mind, it’s important to understand your brand’s bandwidth with regards to content output. Reference your content strategy to ensure that whichever platform you choose aligns with your desired content schedule.

It’s also important not to try and dominate too many platforms at once. Only choose a number of platforms you think you can handle (2-3 is a good place to start for many brands), and try to choose two that have an appropriate synergy. If you like to livestream and then edit those videos into compilations, consider getting on Twitch for the live broadcasts, YouTube for the edited videos, and Twitter to update your audience when you go live or have uploaded a new video.

Platform Hacks 🛠

Once you’ve chosen your platforms, it’s important to try to discover any special tips or tricks each one has that you can leverage to gain your content greater distribution. These are typical features of the platform such as user tags, search engine optimization (SEO), or hashtags.

Hashtags (#) link your content to a list of other people’s content using the same hashtag. Platform users take advantage of these lists to find new content that’s relevant to their specific interests.

These technical bits of platform-specific info all tie into a much greater (and more abstract) concept…

Content Optimization 

This is basically the principle of using every tweak and tactic available to us in order to squeeze every last drop of value we can out of our content without putting in an amount of effort that actually decreases its value. It’s a tenuous tightrope walk that requires a level of expertise or guidance in order to be pulled off perfectly. That said, a working knowledge of content optimization doesn’t require you to be a master in order for it to be effective.

Generally, content optimization draws on knowledge tied to either the craftsmanship behind the creation of the content itself or an understanding of human psychological behavior and response. Some examples might include tips like…

Asking questions of your audience is a great way to build engagement.
People engage more with photos featuring human faces.
Bad video quality is forgiven by the audience much easier than bad audio quality.

There are lots of resources for learning about how to get your audience to respond the way you want them to your content, but to attempt to list a bunch of tips/tricks here would defeat the purpose of the article. Content optimization has much more to do with content production than distribution, but you should be aware of it before you start uploading frequently.

What platforms are you currently using and to what effect? How often do you post and what are you posting? Share in the comments below

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How to Respond to & Solve Business Problems

How bad could it be?

Most branding authorities prefer to focus on the positive side of establishing and delivering your unique value. They’re not wrong to praise the outcome of a well designed and delivered brand identity. It’s hard not to get excited at the prospect of customers that literally love what you do. After all, we all desire validation beyond the monetary exchange between producer and consumer.

But what about when the  hits the fan?

I wish I could say that proper planning and deliberate execution was a panacea for disaster, but it’s not. Life has a way of bucking us off the horse even when we’ve taken all possible precautions. It can be exceedingly defeating when it happens and we watch our hard work seemingly fade from view as we are washed away in a circumstantial tide. 

So what can we do in these situations to get things back on track? There are a few things you can keep in mind.

Was it really out of your control?

As contradictory as they are, denial and self-ridicule are both relatively standard reactions to negative circumstances. Regardless of what feeling comes first, an objective evaluation of how and why a situation transpired can help us come to terms the problems at hand. Knowing whether or not you could or couldn’t have done anything to prevent the problem will give you valuable information moving forward.

If you could have done something differently, do not use this as an opportunity to dwell on your failures, but as an opportunity to grow and develop as a person. If the situation was unavoidable, you can take comfort in knowing you were doing your best. Your mindset will partially determine how effective your work to correct the situation will be, so be deliberate in your work to gain understanding. Lay the groundwork necessary to rebuild with even greater strength.

What can you control?

When things fall apart, we’re generally left with a messy pile of miscellania. The mere thought of such a hellish heap can cause anxiety.

Take a deep breath.

Now let’s take on this miserable mound one step at a time. Take an inventory of all the items make up this pile. What could you do something about right now and what’s too deep in the much to be moved? Once we come to terms with what is and isn’t possible at this moment, we can mentally compartmentalize the things we can and can’t change right now.

Once you’ve thoroughly considered the problem, you’re finally ready to execute. If we move forward without doing so, we run the risk of putting the cart before the horse, incurring a great deal of wasted time and energy. The last thing we want to do in a time of crisis is to allow the problem to claim anymore from us than it already has.

What problems are you currently dealing with? How have you handled problems in the past? Share your experience in the comments.

 

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Tools Don’t Make the Brand. You Do.

 “YOU CAN REACH BILLIONS OF PEOPLE FOR FREE WITH A SOCIAL MEDIA PLATFORM!” 📢

We’ve all likely heard similar pitches from countless sources praising the benefits of the prominent social media platforms. Facebook alone boasts over 2 billion users. Instagram’s growth has been insane. Twitter allows you to strike up conversations with like-minded people across the globe. The claims of these social media gurus are factually correct. You can, feasibly, reach these people more easily than ever before in human history.

For some, a crash course in any given social media platform’s fundamentals and advanced tactics can be a fantastic value with the potential to ignite a brand’s earning potential. For others, buying into a course like this can be a classic example of putting the cart before the horse. 🛒↔️🐎

Don’t get me wrong: you NEED avenues to share your message. The more that you can handle effectively, the better (emphasis on EFFECTIVELY). The issue comes when brands that haven’t fully conceived their message and/or refined their targeting invest lots of time (and sometimes money) into promoting a product or service that doesn’t land with the audience.

Even worse, sometimes your social media efforts can set you back! An embarrassing miscommunication can lead to people sharing your content for all the wrong reasons. Need proof? Just search for “funny infomercials” on YouTube. Remember when we discussed how not all publicity is good publicity? 

Sure, the Shake Weight made tens of millions of dollars, but the BRAND is primarily a joke at this point, with the product’s effectiveness being questionable at best. The lack of SINCERITY in Shake Weight’s “success” directly contributes to their lack of staying power in the market. After the gag gift effect wears off, their brand can be summarized best as a flash in the pan.

Is that the legacy you want to leave behind? 

If you’re wondering how you can get it right, Tactical has a bunch of great articles and livestream archives available to help you learn how to best develop your brand’s messaging and targetting. Aetoric Design also offers brand identity and strategy services. Comment below if you’re interested in a free initial consultation!

What social media platforms are you working on currently? Have you laid the appropriate groundwork beforehand? Are you second-guessing your efforts as we speak, or are you ready to go? Let us know in the comments below.

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What’s Your Emotional Impact?

😁😍😮Emotional Impact😤😢😭

All of us strive to provide our audience, customers, and users the best possible product that we possibly can (if we’re being sincere). Sometimes in our endless quest to create the perfect product or service, we get tunnel vision.  In doing so, we start to lose focus on something else that may be even more important than how these offerings can solve a person’s problems: how we make people feel. The ability to leverage the emotional impact of our brands is invaluable.

Humans are prone to impulsive or reactive behavior when certain emotions are triggered. While this reaction can sometimes be harmful, it’s an evolutionary trait that has served us well for thousands of years. The feeling of fear may alert us to danger that we should flee from. The feeling of lust may drive us to courtship and reproduction. The feeling of anticipation may cause us to become increasingly analytical in our preparation for an upcoming event.

Modern brands are already leveraging this, but many of the examples that may come to our mind first may feel manipulatively coercive. Fashion ads invoke feelings of inadequacy in order to motivate sales. Ads for alcohol may make people feel as if they’re missing out on a great time by not imbibing.

But there’s another side to this. Emotional impact can be used not just to lure the unexpecting, but to decorate a customer experience to elicit delight, in turn, increasing their satisfaction and building customer loyalty.

If you want to start utilizing emotional impact in a sincere and meaningful way for your brand, draw out a timeline of events an individual might go through before, during, and after the process related to your product or service. Then evaluate your customer’s emotions during each step of the process.

How do they feel when they finally realize they need your brand’s help?

If they’re sad, it’s important to use a comforting tone which is nonjudgemental, especially considering how they may be judging themselves at that moment.

How do they feel during the process?

If it’s not an easy thing for them to do, such as an exercise program or a type of therapy, consider how you can point out a client’s successes at regular intervals to encourage them and reaffirm the value you’re providing.

How do they feel after the process is over?

If you offer a service that is typically perceived as unremarkable, a handwritten thank you card afterward can make the experience unforgettable, transforming an ordinary customer into a brand evangelist. 🙌

In doing this, you’ll start to develop a user experience that’s attractive and supportive, creating repeat customers for your business.

How do you leverage emotional impact? Do you have any questions regarding your audience’s emotions?

Consider sharing your feedback in our Facebook Group, Tactical, a community with daily content for business owners, marketers, and designers developing brands.

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How Much Does DIY Cost?

“If you want something done right, do it yourself.”

There is definitely some truth to this statement. The subjectively quality of the word “right” lends itself to independent action. Without getting too philosophical, we all exist with the capacity to define for ourselves what is right and wrong in this world.

Before using any tactic to accomplish our goals, though, we can benefit greatly from thoroughly evaluating what exactly that method will entail. The immediate draw for doing everything yourself is generally the absence of spending on labor costs or the time it takes to train or build consensus with said labor. The overhead associated with these human resources is typically dismissed as cost prohibitive.

Now that we’ve looked at the costs you’re saving on by going solo, let’s take a closer look at what costs you’re actually incurring by going solo. “But I thought doing it all myself was free?” As you’ll soon be reminded, nothing in life is free.

Let’s talk time. 🕒

Here’s an itemized list of all the business activities that are now going to require your time…

  • Product/Service Development
  • Accounting
  • Marketing & Sales
  • Legal Responsibilities
  • Product/Service Delivery
  • Customer Support/Service

Now let’s look at each item on this list and try to imagine all of the different actions your business must take to make one effective. In order to have effective accounting, you must develop inventory systems, track expenses, and project income. To have effective marketing and sales, you’ve got to generate leads, create content, and close sales. Helpful customer support requires empathetic, thorough, and easily understood communication with dissatisfied patrons. Then let’s not forget actually executing on our product/service offerings. After all, I thought that was the whole reason we were in business to begin with!

So let’s say that this actually excites you, and you can’t wait to dive in and become a master of all these domains. There’s likely one more area you’re going to be investing time into…

Education. 👩‍🎓

Sure, we could pay for coaching or courses, but thankfully, the internet exists. It’s a magical, digital world where all of the world’s knowledge exists for free! There’s a caveat, though. First, you’ll have to find it. For avid Googlers, this may not seem so daunting, but I urge you to remember what it was like when you first started using a search engine frequently. Finding just the right wording to access just the right information is a skill in and of itself that has to be developed before you can crack the code to access gold. 

While the advent of on-demand printing services and dropshipping have lowered overhead to all-time lows, many of these businesses struggle to stand out offering products that already exist on other platforms or offering unique products on platforms that require homogeneous sales pages. These businesses are faced with unique challenges with regards to developing standout brand identities that offer customized solutions for searching buyers. If you’re considering this business model, you can expect to at least double the time you’ll be investing in marketing and sales.

Now let’s talk money. 💰

Maybe you feel you’ve got plenty of time and that money is the only barrier to entrepreneurial entry. While I’d be inclined to argue that everyone’s time has an undefined limit which we can’t rely upon, that’s not the angle I want to approach this from. Instilling the fear of death in people isn’t really “on brand” for me. 

Most business requires some sort of financial investments in physical supplies or virtual services. Drop shipping or print on demand businesses may be somewhat exempt from this, but we’ve already taken some time to address their unique challenges. So how do you assure your investments are going to yield returns?

If you’ve got no one to consult with, it’s all on you. Go back and factor in some more time for consumer research, which means sifting through countless reviews and mulling over specifications until you muster the confidence to add it to your cart. Then what if you were wrong? There’s no one to blame but yourself at that point. It’s a horrible feeling to attempt to use what you’ve purchased just to realize it’s not right, especially after you tried so hard to prevent it.

It’s possible you’re starting to realize just how valuable an expert in any of the aforementioned business duties can be. If you’re building a sincere brand, you’re likely an expert at what your primary offerings are. Your customers come to you because they are self-aware enough to admit that they aren’t an expert in your field. Maybe it’s time to learn from your patrons.

What are you doing yourself right now? What responsibilities have you started to outsource? What pros/cons are you experiencing in either situation?

Consider sharing your feedback in our Facebook Group, Tactical, a community with daily content for business owners, marketers, and designers developing brands.

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Are You Being Authentic?

Do you fear when keeping it real goes wrong? 🤦‍♀️

That’s a fair concern. We’ve seen time and time again in popular culture over the last few years just how damaging the unintended effects of realness can be. Celebrity tweets can quickly lead to a sudden decrease in work for said twits. If we look closely, though, we can also find a lot of examples of realness bolstering some. Good ole Kanye West’s latest album, “The Life of Pablo,” is the first streaming-only album go platinum despite continuous outbursts on Twitter and walkouts at his shows.

So how do these brands, personal or otherwise, succeed despite the controversy? The obvious answer might go with the old adage, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity,” but as I’ve stated earlier, we’ve seen time and time again how the wrong information can seemingly destroy someone’s career.

A better answer may be that the difference is CONSISTENCY. It may seem oxymoronic to say, but even erratic behavior can feel familiar. Some of us may relate to this if in our dating lives, but I digress.

The counter to this is when people keep up a certain image and a circumstance or statement occurs that’s contrary to that appearance. That dissonance can quickly sour an impression, especially if the circumstance exposes a difference in values between the audience and the subject. The level of surprise attached to the conflicting behavior can also impact the level of severity. Again, we are more likely to tolerate shocking behavior if it’s coming from a source we expect to shock us. A man with an ax following you is a thrilling scare at a haunted house, but much less welcome on your way home from the bus stop. 

During our latest livestream, a new community member, Jesse, started to describe what he thought of MY brand. I was surprised, thankful, and relieved that his impression was very positive. As I read his description, I found at least 90% of it to align with what I had come to define during my brand audit for Aetoric Design. If you’ve joined us for any of those (every Sunday night at 6:30pm EST! </shamelessplug>), you may know that I’m improvising much of what’s said and that I tend to speak my mind. I’ve crafted my brand in such a way that allows me to be who I am.

How are you keeping it real? Do you have any concerns that you may not be presenting your most authentic self? What measures have you taken to get clarity on who you are?

Consider sharing your feedback in our Facebook Group, Tactical, a community with daily content for business owners, marketers, and designers developing brands.

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