Introducing the Content Distribution Matrix

I’m delighted that Dave Chaffey of SmartInsights has offered to share some of his considerable wisdom on the topic of optimum content distribution with us here. Read on, and absorb…

Ta Da! You have invested in creating the best blog content you can to encourage organic sharing via the social networks. Do you leave it there, do you trust to organic sharing or are you more proactive. Remember that ‘Content Marketing’ is two words, you have to promote it to get the most from the value in it.

This infographic, the Content Distribution Matrix is aimed at helping business owners and marketers choose the best ways to distribute or distribute their content.


What you’re trying to do is run tests to find the best media which will get you to the bottom right, where they generate both high volume and high ROI.

How to Use the Content Distribution Matrix

To get the most of it I recommend you run a content review and planning session using this 3-step approach which gives more details:

Step 1. Current use of media for content distribution

Start by marking up the current or past use of different paid-owned-earned media options for your business. Plot each media type on the horizontal axis based on its importance in the number of leads or sales you can attribute to it from a low-level of effectiveness on the left to the highest volume on the right. Next consider cost effectiveness on the vertical axis based on the time or money spent on promotion from lowest cost (or better overall return-on-investment) at the bottom to highest at the top.

Of course, using the matrix requires businesses to be already set up to measure content marketing effectiveness as explained in our guides to calculating content marketing ROI and the 7 Steps guide to Google Analytics for marketers.

Step 2. Review promotion gap against competitor or sector use of content distribution techniques

This step is easier to explain, but harder to mark up in practice. Here you review the full range of paid-owned and earned media options available to you, in particular. those you aren’t using now. You have to assess what you think they could contribute in advance of a test to prove or disprove your hypothesis.

In this step you can also consider how other businesses are using content distribution in your sector. Since you wont have access to their analytics, this can only be based on an assessment of the types of techniques you see them using and any results you hear them reporting.

Step 3. Select and prioritise new methods of content promotion

Finally, you can discuss which options could be worth trialling in future tests, based on your discussion. There will likely be several new options, so it’ a case of reviewing and setting up a schedule of what to trial and test . An additional use of this visual will be to consider new content partners who can be compared in a similar way.

You will see from our example, that there are many paid media social media advertising options now available, so this matrix can be used a reminder of what to test and if it’s not effective, then you can move on to test new techniques as they become available.

If you found the Content Distribution Matrix, or even useful, check out our other infographic, the The Content Marketing Matrix which is aimed at helping businesses decide on the best types of content to tap into the emotions of their customers.

About the author

Dave Chaffey is CEO of Digital Marketing Advice site Smart Insights, he is author of five business books and the Content Marketing Strategy toolkit – you can download a Content Strategy checklist here.


Why the Future Belongs to the Socially-Savvy Business Leader

Social Business Leaders

One thing that unites us in our love for social media is the perceived access it gives us to the good and the great. Forget six degrees of separation … All you need to do now is locate their profile and hit that tweet button.

The barriers and obstacles have fallen away, and we love it.

Of course, from a brand’s perspective this is can be a challenge, because you need to work really hard to ensure your content screams ‘p-e-r-s-o-n-a-l-i-t-y’ by way of compensation for the well-oiled slickness of your logo.

One realisation that companies do seem to be cottoning on to is that no amount of well-constructed content will outdo the musings of the digitally endearing executive.

Don’t believe me? Take a look at Sir Richard Branson’s Twitter account with over four million (yes, that’s 4,000,000) followers and compare it to that of his Virgin Twitter account with its 154,000 followers. That’s an extreme example, but hopefully it illustrates my point. Sir Richard is just more interesting, non?

The underlying message is and will continue to be … We prefer people over brands.

And if those people are charismatic, innovative and inspirational, we will follow them to the end of our battery life.

So what do these socially-fabulous movers and shakers have that makes them so endearing?

Here are my thoughts …

They’re authentic. Nobody tweets for them. Ever! They are the real deal, and it’s clear to see.

They’re likeable. It could be that your initial take was not a positive one, but to your utter astonishment and against all odds, you start to develop a sneaking regard for them. Mainly because they’re climbing down from their (perceived) ivory tower and getting in amongst it.

They’re passionate about what they do, and it’s infectious. We all need more of this, don’t we? On those sad dreary days when putting one foot in front of the other just seems like too much effort … A few brilliantly-crafted words in the form of 140 characters from a business super-icon will put fuel back in your motivation tank and get you motoring again.

They demonstrate why they’re leaders, consistently through their interaction. This is crucial. We see at first hand how they give bang for their buck, and why people listen to them.

They’re not online 24/7. On account of the fact they they’re business leaders. Some time ago I read a piece arguing the case for senior executives not needing to lower themselves to tweet. The main point of it was “they’ve got better things to do” but I doubt anyone is busier than Sir Richard Branson and Lord Sugar and they seem to do absolutely fine.

And, most importantly …

They’re social! They enjoy interaction, the exchange of ideas and debating new concepts. Whilst they may have strongly-held beliefs and convictions of their own, they happily consider and discuss alternatives. And they understand that social media is the perfect platform to do this.

People are more interesting than their organisation, company or brand, it’s as simple as that. No matter how hard the marketers work to try and shift our preferences on this, it isn’t going to change any time soon. Trust me.

And the socially-adept business leader knows this.


Redefining ‘Community’ – The Real Power of Social Media

Social Media Community

When social media landed a few years ago, many of us scratched our heads for a while before we set about sharing the details of our takeaway sushi lunch with the world. At the time it felt important, but a few weeks down the line we couldn’t help but think these platforms were designed for more than extolling the virtues of shredded ginger and wasabi.

It’s fairly typical to attempt to pigeon-hole alien concepts and ideas; we’re comfortable with labels. It’s even more typical to assume we’ve seen something very like it before so we already know how to utilise them. So the next step for many of us was to use social media as a broadcasting platform, because it was  just ‘a new name for marketing’, right? Hmmm. Not quite.

Today we’ve grasped the idea of mutually beneficial two-way communication, and social media is helping many businesses fairly and squarely get their name on the map, not because they’ve thrown loads of dosh at their marketing budget, but because they’ve tuned into what people want and what people value.

And whilst we’ve certainly made progress, we’re still a long way from having got this ‘social’ thing licked. The truth is we’ve barely even scratched the surface.

What’s proving to be the case is that people primarily want to be part of a community, because communities support, assist and, most importantly, they care. And from a marketing perspective, companies would do well to take onbaoard that we’ll take notice of our community long before we listen to a brand.

It’s the sense of belonging that people want, because that’s where they can speak freely and where they’re listened to. And it’s not about becoming weak and dependent, it’s about adding strength and resilience to the foundations of independence.

Have you seen the jocular images of herds of people staring down at their smartphones in restaurants, bars and other notably crowded public venues? We laugh at the absurdity of individuals who shun actual face-to-face contact in order to stare at their phone, but the truth is they are making contact. They’re communicating with people who have shared interests and values; they’re just not the people they’re sat next to.

Of course, there’s a line to be drawn when it comes to continually checking Facebook when you’re out to dinner with friends, but don’t make the mistake of thinking that we’re turning into passive automatons who have no contribution to make. If anything it’s the reverse that’s true.

Supported, strong communities result in prosperity for everyone, and prosperity as many of us are now realising is about far more than simply money in the bank.

And whether those communities exist on or offline really doesn’t matter.

What matters is that they exist, and that they thrive.

If social media continues to evolve as a conduit for care, compassion, kindness, support and understanding, then so be it. That’s a trend I’ll happily support.



Connect, Create, Change – Three Steps to Staying Social

Simplicity is a much underrated format. Sadly we all too often become bogged down in identifying a thousand and one ways to overcomplicate the most straightforward of topics. In actual fact ‘a thousand and one’ is probably far too low an estimate.

And in the quest to be the best, the biggest and the most popular social media user of all we can all too easily become wrapped up in analytics, data and metrics that in effect do little more than create a diversion from the simple facts … And the facts are remarkably simple.

You don’t need to pay anyone thousands of pounds to tell you what you need to do create a walking, talking social media success story.

It’s all about the three C’s …

social media communication

As soon as you and I have uttered our first ‘hello’ on social media, we have a connection. The ice is broken. We’re no longer ships that pass in the digital night.

It can be too easy to miss the opportunity to establish dialogue when we blindly make an assumption that the person in question isn’t someone we need to get to know. Don’t make assumptions that are based on nothing more than a hunch; build your connections.


Creativity plays a huge part in developing your social relationships. Purely presenting your content in the way you always have will never be enough to sustain the attention of your newfound audience because, to put it bluntly, they’ll dismiss it in favour of the next dynamic, compelling and alluring post on their timeline.

Continually producing interesting and compelling content that is genuinely useful* to the reader will ensure they come back, and maybe even pass it on to their network. The longer you do this, the more solid the foundations that bind you to your audience become.

(*Please don’t try and shoehorn your sales pitch into the term ‘useful’ here … Trust me, it won’t fit)


Have you heard talk of Twitter being over and of Facebook spiralling into a nosedive? Me too.

The truth is that both platforms are changing and will continue to do so in terms of functionality, but here’s the more important aspect to consider: users are getting bored with ‘same old, same old’ content.

If you’ve had an active presence for a couple of years on any social site and have noticed a drop-off in activity, it probably isn’t them … it’s you. Or your content to be more specific.

Social media is as busy as it ever was, but with ‘busy’ comes ‘noisy’. The savvy social animal knows they have to change how they present their content in order to get continue being noticed and heard (note that I’m not telling you to change your content … just how you present it)

Data and analytics are great to a point but never forget that social media is driven by people, not sophisticated software. When you learn to tap into what drives people, then you’re really onto something ;)


At-a-Glance Business Guide to the 2014 Social Landscape

Social media … it ain’t what it used to be.

As more platforms emerge, it’s good to reassess the sites in which we’re investing our time to ensure they’re likely to yield positive results for our business.

Here’s a useful infographic that helps define the strengths and weaknesses of the eight leading social networking sites … (click on the image to enlarge)


by johnmnelson.
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