Everything about content distribution in 2018 is fragmented. Brands are no longer thinking locally, even startups are looking to appeal to a global audience, and to do so means publishing on a number of different platforms. Different types of media belong on different channels, certain audiences can only be found on certain social media, so engaging as many people as possible with content is a multi-faceted job. An over-reliance on any one region or social media platform can be dangerous, though, and not having any solid distribution channels outside of social media is a precarious position to be in.
We asked a number of experts about their content distribution strategies, and got back a range of answers on how brands can best put together robust networks to ensure consistent engagement.
Diane di Constanzo, VP/Editorial Director of The Foundry
"It’s critical that brands think of the value exchange when offering content to consumers. In exchange for the consumer’s time and attention, the content must offer a valuable experience—which means content that's truly educational or entertaining or both.
"The bar is even higher if the brand wants consumers to share the content or give the brand personal data, like an email address. The fact is, branded content must work harder than traditional media because you’re asking consumers to trust the experience is something more than just an advertisement."
Cristy Garratt, Head of Digital Video & Social Media at CNBC International
"CNBC’s traffic has always come from a diversified portfolio of places, whether it is from our homepage, search or social. So it takes a lot more than an algorithm shift to shake us up. In fact, we’ve grown aggressively on digital over the last year. In 2017, we surpassed our target to exceed 10 million monthly international visitors by 2020; and March was one of CNBC International’s best months ever.
"Does that mean we ignore social media platforms? Absolutely not. There are a lot of people sitting on the platforms, and they provide an excellent venue to reach existing and new audiences. Our social audience grew by 132% last year – and it is already up by more than 20% since the start of this year. We’re particularly excited about YouTube right now, where we’ve already grown our YouTube subscribers by more than 100% this year, and are close to reaching 100,000 subscribers.
"We’ll continue to keep our portfolio diverse, and focus on the one thing we can control – making great content. We actually listen to our viewers and take on board their suggestions for episodes of our longest running digital series, ‘CNBC Explains’ and ‘CNBC Reports.’ We believe quality journalism and these kinds of interactions build loyalty to our brand and people, and that transcends any platform."
Philip Hemme, Co-Founder and CEO of Labiotech.eu
"We’ve always seen social media as one of the platforms where our we have many readers and have always approached them alongside all of our other distribution channels, whether it’s our website, our apps, google news, RSS feed readers etc.
"Our content being for a B2B audience, we have never relied heavily on B2C platforms such as Facebook, where most of the algorithm changes have recently been made. Actually, the algorithm change has been beneficial for us in terms of impressions and engagement as we focus on connecting with our community and providing them with amazing content."
Steve Lok, Head of Marketing Tech & Operations at The Economist
"As a periodical, we package our content, for the most part. When you subscribe to The Economist, you get a weekly analysis regardless of the medium that you consume that content in. I don’t want to say there's a theme to the week but certainly there are leaders in that week as to what we're talking about. There’s always been a lot of discussion as to whether we should break that out and look at different models, around either talking about payment or getting people to engage. Do we break the content up into smaller bits for people because today's attention span is ‘goldfish-sized’? It’s a constant question that happens, and I think that the answer changes whoever you talk to, but it also changes depending on what models exist out there for monetizing content.
"We don't operate in the same kind of format that somebody like Quartz does. We don't operate in the same format that some of these pay-per-click or pay-per-article kind of models go after, but maybe we should look at some of that. Maybe there's something to be gained from those types of models that we can learn from to evolve our business as consumption behaviors change. We want to be customer-centric around the way that people want to consume content and then honor that. I'm sure, on the other end of things, there are things to learn from the survival and success of an old, higher-end brand in publishing, in that we do just push these kinds of additions every week out there. And, if we can show that it's successful and there are ways to do this in a good way that is useful for everyone, and going to meet everyone's KPI from the company to the customer, then maybe we can learn to mix some of these things together."