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The Hook

Is paid distribution the future for content marketing?

If you needed further proof that content was the way forward, take a look around the interwebs. Every second website has a bar at the bottom that looks like this:

This little bar is all you need to know about how far content marketing has come – and how important a player it is in terms of SEO, social sharing and the new marketing paradigm that gives before it receives.

We’ve been banging on about content since the dawn of time (or at least the dawn of this blog), so we’re pretty certain that it’s the way forward.

It’s exciting, then, when we see something like paid distribution taking content marketing to the next level. For those who are fuzzy on what this means, let us elaborate…

What is paid content distribution?

In terms of content, paid distribution is having your content – or at least your headlines – displayed on other sites where viewers might be interested in finding out more about what you have to offer. In terms of advertising, this is nothing new. But in terms of formatting, we’re seeing content, rather than brands, being shared online.

The above screen grab was taken from Mashable. The column on the left is made up of headlines from stories that appear elsewhere on the site, all relating to the main story. The column on the right, however, features headlines from stories all around the Web – content marketing exercises in their own right.

Why does paid content distribution work?

The effectiveness of paid content distribution is threefold:

  1. It follows Seth Godin’s principle of Permission Marketing, meaning it delivers content to people who want to get it. The content is targeted, and the delivery is dependent upon the consumer seeking it out by clicking on the headline.
  2. It delivers first. With content marketing in reverse, brands need to start delivering quality content to engage with consumers before the consumers have engaged with them. Content as bait, if you will.
  3. It is brilliant in terms of SEO for companies. Spreading content throughout the Internet is like planting seeds in a forest – the more you plant, the more impressive the forest will be.

Potential problems?
It is possible Google and its unmerciful algorithmic hand may strike if it sees paid content distribution as breaching its search rules. With an increasingly intense focus on social sharing, content that has paid for its positioning (rather than having found it organically through ‘likes’ and other online sharing) may end up being penalised.

On the other hand, if you create good enough content, it will be picked up and shared this way anyway. It’s important to remember that paid distribution is just the hook – your content has to be tasty enough bait for a whole lotta fish.

One thing is for sure, we’ll be watching eagerly as the world of paid content distribution evolves…


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