What’s your social media distribution plan?

walmart distribution center

Image by Mr. Wright via Flickr

I’ve been thinking a lot about the challenges the companies face with social media and using it for marketing. There are lot to be sure but there’s one in particular that I haven’t heard anyone talk about yet; distributing your content.

In the early days (a few years ago) making people aware that you had a company blog was easy; just start one. 3-4 years ago when a major brand started a blog it was a big deal. Now starting a company blog is about just meeting the bar.

Let’s say your company has a blog (or dozens of them), now what? Apparently corporate blogs suck. But of course yours is the exception to this rule. Let’s go with that for now.  Is it enough to produce a high quality company blog that serves your customers valuable information?

The social media *experts* will have you believe that’s all you have to do. If you build it (and it’s good) they will come.

The World doesn’t work this way. The best musicians aren’t the most successful. The greatest movies don’t gross the most, I would even argue that they aren’t even the ones winning the awards. The best TV shows still get canceled. The best, coolest startups, with the best technology don’t always win (heck they probably don’t even usually win).

In the crowded space of content marketing you need a distribution plan. In order to answer the ROI question companies will need to maximize the content (and potential conversations) they create. New media is perfect for creating content once and distributing it a thousand times. (Hopefully you don’t re-purpose it that much because then it’s spam.)

Companies need to be putting just as much planning into the creation of their content as they do the creation of it. I believe this is why so many marketing efforts fail online. Marketers don’t think about the channels they will be using to distribute the content they create.

There need to be 3 parts to your social media distribution plan:

  1. Organic
  2. Viral
  3. Paid

Organic

You need to build and tap into your social networks. Your social networks become your focus groups. They’ll tell you directly or indirectly whether your content sucks or not. They will also be the channel that pushes the good content to their networks.

Viral

I know this is a loaded word but I couldn’t think of a better one. This is the content and channels that you use sometimes to just raise awareness. It’s usually off message a little (hopefully not too far off message). Usually people think that viral has to be funny or crass. Viral can also be cause oriented. The channels that you use here are often outside your immediate social network and are channels better suited for distribution. YouTube, Digg, even the main stream media.

Paid

At the end of the day there are just some channels, even newer online ones, that you can’t get into unless you pay for it. And yes I listed this one last for a reason. Use your paid distribution channels carefully because too much paid media can kill your organic and viral efforts.

Distribution will be the next level of differentiation among vendors.

2009 will see the lines between technology, platform, ad network, agency, media company blur to an indistinguishable level.  IMO the platform providers that have built in distribution will gain big ground in the Enterprise.

These are just rough ideas and this is my first stab on the topic. I’ll be writing a lot more on this topic but for now that should get the gears in your mind turning.Please feel free to shoot any holes in my theories here.

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About Tac Anderson

Social media anthropologist. Communications strategist. Business model junkie. Chief blogger here at New Comm Biz.
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  • http://schumachertileandstone.com Heidi

    As the spearheading person for a corporate blog and social media interaction plan, I really enjoyed this post. I can well believe that a company blog is becoming more of a necessity than a rarity … and I guess the main post of this blog is that I’m going to have to keep working at it! Rats, I was hoping for something easier …

  • http://schumachertileandstone.com Heidi

    As the spearheading person for a corporate blog and social media interaction plan, I really enjoyed this post. I can well believe that a company blog is becoming more of a necessity than a rarity … and I guess the main post of this blog is that I’m going to have to keep working at it! Rats, I was hoping for something easier …

  • http://schumachertileandstone.com Heidi

    Point. Main point. Sheesh.

  • http://schumachertileandstone.com Heidi

    Point. Main point. Sheesh.

  • http://www.reputationtorevenue.com Rob Leavitt

    I like your three-part model, but I also think that there is no longer much value in distinguishing “social media” distribution from anything else. For me, “organic” should include all the things you’re already doing, including live events, “traditional” PR and AR, client briefings, etc. Those are primary channels for good content, and often suffer from poor content. They also contribute heavily to Viral if the content is indeed great.

  • http://www.pheedo.com Louis Moynihan

    I completely agree but would like to go one step further. I equate Social Media in 2009 to websites in 1997. Twelve years ago, creating this crazy thing called a website was the next step after producing a CDrom. CDroms were distributed by hand and via snail mail. Websites were first promoted by 468×60 banners and email newsletters. In 2009 advertisers have realized they need to become publishers to play in the new Social Media economy, and real content is the currency. The next step is to ensure their content gets the distribution it deserves. As you point out, the most successful musicians are not necessarily the most talented, they are the most distributed. Social Media is one thing Social Media Distribution is something different and just as important, if not more so. I agree with the three categories, organic, viral and paid, but I will say, the model in how we distribute is undergoing huge disrumption as we speak. Looking forward to hearing more on this topic.

  • http://www.pheedo.com Louis Moynihan

    I completely agree but would like to go one step further. I equate Social Media in 2009 to websites in 1997. Twelve years ago, creating this crazy thing called a website was the next step after producing a CDrom. CDroms were distributed by hand and via snail mail. Websites were first promoted by 468×60 banners and email newsletters. In 2009 advertisers have realized they need to become publishers to play in the new Social Media economy, and real content is the currency. The next step is to ensure their content gets the distribution it deserves. As you point out, the most successful musicians are not necessarily the most talented, they are the most distributed. Social Media is one thing Social Media Distribution is something different and just as important, if not more so. I agree with the three categories, organic, viral and paid, but I will say, the model in how we distribute is undergoing huge disrumption as we speak. Looking forward to hearing more on this topic.

  • http://www.reputationtorevenue.com Rob Leavitt

    I like your three-part model, but I also think that there is no longer much value in distinguishing “social media” distribution from anything else. For me, “organic” should include all the things you're already doing, including live events, “traditional” PR and AR, client briefings, etc. Those are primary channels for good content, and often suffer from poor content. They also contribute heavily to Viral if the content is indeed great.

  • Pingback: New Comm Biz » What Can Corporate Marketing Learn From Digg?

  • ramseyk

    What you're saying makes total sense, companies should think about what they are going to say just as must as how they are going to say it. The message is just as important as the media its embedded on and channel that delivers it.

  • http://crossharpchronicles.wordpress.com David W. King

    Sensing a need for just such a service, we have created perhaps the first social media distribution site. By emailing us your press release, we can post your news on hundreds of social media sites. This includes Twitter, Facebook, Myspace and upwards of fifty nine other such sites worldwide, social bookmarking sites, Ning sites, forums, multiple blogs, etc.Note: We are primarily focused on providing our service to Roots musicians, ie, Blues, Jazz, Folk, and world musics. To see what we have created go online to crossharpchronicles.wordpress.com