The Content Distribution Game Is Changing. Here’s How It Impacts Publishers and Brands

by Anna Zhao

The Content Distribution Game Is Changing. Here’s How It Impacts Publishers and Brands

Ask a group of leading marketers, and you’ll find consensus that high-quality content is essential to a successful content marketing strategy. But there’s a new riddle perplexing today’s brands: if you publish a great piece of content online and no one reads it… does it really exist on the internet at all? Producing strong content is no longer enough: distribution (including earned, owned, and paid distribution) is crucial to the success of any comprehensive content marketing strategy. To ensure success, a piece of content can (and should) be tailored to your distribution method and channels. Particularly as key players in the distribution game (looking at you, Facebook and Google) make algorithm changes, brands are facing new hurdles in getting their content in front of an audience.

While these algorithm changes and upgrades are usually made with user-experience in mind, they can pose challenges for publishing and marketing professionals. From small shifts that may just require a tweak in your content workflow to algorithm updates (Google calls these “core algorithm updates”) that may require a full rework of your strategy, content distribution is always evolving. The key—and the fun of it—is to keep up.

The content distribution game has evolved in the past few years—and it’s not slowing down. Here are three recent changes you should know about to stay ahead of the curve and maximize your content’s discoverability.

Customized Headlines, Descriptions, and Images are No Longer Available for Organic Facebook Posts

The rationale: This algorithm change was spurred by cases of misrepresentation in advertising, as well as the ongoing debate about fake news and propaganda surrounding the American election.

The impact: This change forces brands to do their due diligence in ensuring that SEO best practices, such as providing proper title tags and meta descriptions, are followed when publishing content (which is certainly not a bad thing). With that said, choose wisely when filling in the metadata on your articles, because the headline, description, and image will all automatically pull into Facebook.

The workaround: If you do need to adjust your article metadata, pull out your wallet. The edit features remain for paid promotions. Overwhelmed by the Facebook Ad Manager? Hire an expert.

Google Has Started to Use Mobile-First Indexing for Search Results

The rationale: As mobile browsing is now the primary way users access the web, desktop-first indexing could cause frustration for the majority of users.

The impact: Having a functional mobile home for your content is no longer optional. This is the latest of many changes Google has made in recent years that prioritize smooth mobile search experiences.

The workaround: Think mobile-first. Mobile-first indexing isn’t yet the standard, and it isn’t affecting your search rank any more than before—but it’s on the horizon. Consider this your warning, and start prioritizing your mobile site.

Publisher and Brand Posts are Being Deprioritized in News Feed Rework

The rationale: Mark Zuckerberg says the new design (still in the testing phase) will prioritize “meaningful social interactions” over content promotion.

The impact: Non-promoted (meaning non-paid) posts are being moved into a secondary news feed, where it’s possible they’ll reach fewer users.

The workaround: It’s likely that “meaningful social interactions” denotes Facebook posts from friends rather than from brands or publishers. Using this logic, comments, tags, and likes will serve to push your content into the primary news feed. Genuine engagement has never been more important—adjust your content strategy accordingly to provide real, appealing information that your readers will want to share.

Luckily, some things never change. Good SEO isn’t going anywhere. A diverse content distribution strategy will always provide the best return for the least risk. A modest amplification budget for Facebook or Google Search will serve your content well. But as algorithms evolve and channel criteria expand, effective content distribution adapts. Content marketing was once a science: incorporate some keywords, distribute across your channels, and reap the rewards. The changing landscape of distribution means that now, more than ever, content creation has become an art. It’s about providing meaningful, useful, and accessible information to your readers and customers, in the proper channels and within the given parameters. Proper content distribution ensures that whatever tree you’re knocking over, your target audience hears it loud and clear.

Understand how Quietly can help play a role in your content marketing efforts.

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