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Content Is King, But Distribution Is Queen And She Wears The Pants

by Dino Reese



The title of this article is a direct quote from Jonathan Perelman of BuzzFeed and was featured in Ryan Skinner’s article, “Great Content Is Not Enough,” on the Forrester blog. The article features takeaways from Ryan’s most recent Forrester report called “Put Distribution at the Heart of Content Marketing.” The report is a great read for today’s marketing and public relations professionals and explains why only 36 percent of marketers who use content feel they use it effectively.

The False Debate

This year has seen many thought leaders chime in on the quantity versus quality content argument. Marketers are trying to find the right balance. The more time they spend on quality, the less time they have for production. Seems like a fair concern, right?

Here’s the problem: 64 percent of content marketers feel they don’t use content effectively. That represents a whole lot of campaigns. It’s likely that some of them are focusing on quality while others are primarily focused on quantity. Neither approach guarantees results. However, the end goal is the same: publishing great content that gets shared on social media and ranks high in the search engines.

The amount of content being published online is growing exponentially and content marketers are partially to blame. In June of 2000, there were fewer than eight million websites. Today that number is greater than 750 million, according to, and shows no signs of slowing down. This means that it will be harder and harder for marketers to cut through the noise in order to get their content read. Great content goes unread everyday on the Internet.

Google is helping to fuel this debate, too. With its Panda, Penguin and Hummingbird algorithm updates and the “Freshness” indexing update to Caffeine, Google is essentially telling marketers to publish as much content as possible and to make sure it’s extremely helpful to the people that read it if they want to do well on the search engine.

Unfortunately, the debate itself blinds content marketers to why their campaigns are performing poorly. Some may add another layer of editing and/or ideation in an attempt to boost the quality of their campaigns. Others may decide to ramp up production to get the results they’re lacking. Neither of the two tackles the real problem—lack of a distribution strategy.

The Right Debate

Rather than trying to produce more or better content, marketers should focus on their distribution plans. It should be part of their overall strategy. However, it’s likely just an afterthought for most of the 64 percent of marketers who feel they’re not using their content effectively. So rather than debating quality versus quantity, marketers should be debating on how much to spend on promotion.

Here are a few remarkable findings featured in Ryan Skinner’s article:

  • Brands can actually step down content production and step up distribution to get better results.
  • An ecosystem of vendors have cropped up to help marketers drive distribution of branded content.
  • The most effective promotions often come from doubling-down on past successes.
  • Better distribution improves content’s quality, as the feedback cycle accelerates.

By focusing on distribution using paid and earned channels, content marketers can hasten their traffic, conversions, subscribership and regular readership.

Paid Content Distribution

There are many services available to help marketers with their content distribution endeavors. Companies like Outbrain, Adblade, aNEWSme and OneSpot are all paid services that distribute content in a native or advertorial manner. These services can place a company’s content in front of millions of eyeballs.

Earned Content Distribution

Content marketers can take a page from traditional public relations by reaching out to the media in order to earn coverage which will assist with distribution. The alternative is to rely on luck. Unfortunately, luck isn’t very predictable. This article itself is earned media for Forrester’s blog post and report earned via luck.

By proactively reaching out and pitching influencers, editors and journalists, marketers can get their content organically featured in some of the most populous corners of the Internet. This one example shows how earned media coverage from one popular online media outlet drove over 1,200 business leads in just a few weeks.  The Inbound Marketer’s Guide to Earned Media takes a deep dive into how to use the media to help with content promotion.

If 2013 is the year of content marketing, let’s hope that 2014 will be the year of content promotion. Too many marketers are forgetting about promotion; instead, they believe the answers to their content marketing woes are to produce more and better content. As mentioned above, everyday great content goes unread. Without a promotion strategy like the ones previously described, the vast majority of content being created and published by the brands across this country will continue to go unread.

What you need to know about current SEO

by Dino Reese

Google Hummingbird:  New Algorithm & What You Need To Know 

For the past few weeks I'd seen a pattern repeating itself across the board with most of the clients that Ido SEO and content marketing for, small drops in Page Authority and Domain Authority for every domain I was monitoring. I also observed some big leaps up the SERPs for content that was previously ranking poorly.

On September 26 2013 Google admitted that a new algorithm had been up and running for the past month. Panda and Penguin were updates which changed part of the algorithm, but Hummingbird has replaced the old algorithm and it’s the biggest change in 3 years. It’s not just a major update or refresh, it’s an entirely new ranking algorithm.

This news comes  on the heels of Google’s announcement that in future, all searches will be secure and as such, keyword data will no longer be available in Google Analytics. Not only this, but many website owners have spent the last few months dealing with the effects of the major Penguin refresh which hit earlier this year and had far reaching effects, making ‘bad’ SEO not just unsuccessful, but ensuring guilty websites were actively penalized.

Hummingbird aims to deliver results which are precise and fast.

Whilst specifics are still somewhat patchy, Google has confirmed that Hummingbird focuses on ranking information based on more intelligent and naturalistic search requests. In short, Google is getting smarter and is now better able to understand the relationships and relevance of words and phrases, instead of just considering individual words.

Google Hummingbird At A Glance

•Many of the existing rules and weightings still apply, so don’t stop doing what you are doing if your activities are based on Penguin pleasing, sustainable and ethical content focused techniques

•About 90% of all searches are likely to be affected by Hummingbird.

•Known as Semantic search, more naturalistic or ‘conversational’ search terms (which tend to be long-tail in their nature) are now more important than ever

•Google still wants to return the most relevant, accurate and useful search results to its users.

   Hummingbird provides a more sophisticated means for Google to deliver this

•There is now less emphasis on individual keywords and more emphasis on their collective (semantic) meaning

•PageRank remains an active ranking signal and Google claims that there is nothing massively different that SEOs need to be doing or worrying about


If you’ve not noticed any significant changes in the last month, then it looks like you’ve escaped unscathed. Some of the effects we’ve seen have been small however and could easily be missed, including small losses in Domain Authority and drops down SERPs for some previously highly ranking content, while other, less obvious content has risen up.

For some time now, the emphasis has been upon providing useful, high quality content on websites and blogs and upon optimizing content towards long tail keywords. This simply means that future SEO activities will be more focused on longer, semantic search terms. In real terms, for those who have already adapted their content marketing and SEO following the Penguin update earlier this year, very little is likely to change.

S R Bryan Social Media Today


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