Trends #5: Distribution Channels8 min read

Welcome to Trends, where we try to find the next big idea by discussing the trends that are going to shape the world of blogging in the next 5 to 10 years.

Today’s topic? Distribution channels. Specifically, how to take advantage of the vast ecosystem of distribution channels.


There’s an entire ecosystem of strategies, frameworks, platforms, and tools to help us grow our audience. From SEO plugins to content aggregators, from referral programs to social media platforms, there seems to be an abundance of ways for us to distribute and promote our content.

Because of this, I often say that while content is still king, distribution is queen.

The Curious Case of Content Saturation

With over 70 million new blog posts being published every month, the old advice of “build it and they will come” fails lamentably.

While the barrier to entry is still low enough to make blogging accessible to anyone with a stable internet connection, the same can’t be said about actually growing an audience.

Stellar content is no longer enough. Now, more than ever, we must focus our time and energy on effectively distributing our content across multiple channels, thus enhancing our reach.

Problems

  • With hundreds of millions of blogs, readers are becoming weary of exploration. They want to either stumble upon quality content or subscribe to a reputable source.
  • Most bloggers are overcrowding the bottom of the food chain, simply because they aren’t willing to invest in the proper distribution of their content
  • Building relationships with other bloggers and leveraging their audiences is becoming more crucial than ever before.
  • Email marketing is becoming more and more important, both as a way to reach subscribers directly, but also as a way to “own the platform.”

The Future

  • Effectively distributing content will become an integral part of a blogger’s schedule.
  • Platforms that don’t allow you to own your list will become less relevant, as more and more content creators focus on building email lists.
  • Repeated exposure will become necessary, thus nurturing relationships and leveraging them will become essential to propagating one’s brand across the web.

How to Build the Future

  • Strategy is necessary. Even a simple list of jobs to be done after one clicks the publish button.
  • Networking and capitalizing on relationships are essential. Being curated, mentioned, quoted, and linked to will help promote your blog, while guest blogging and being interviewed/featured by those with similar audiences will help you reach out to your target audience.
  • Build an effective funnel to convert first-time visitors into email subscribers

Tools and Platforms

The 3 Types of Distribution Channels

All distribution channels fall into one of three main categories:

  • Owned Channels— You own the platform, the subscribers, and you have access to their email addresses. You can easily export your subscribers or switch platforms.
  • Rented Channels— You only “rent” the opportunity of reaching out to your subscribers. You don’t have access to their email addresses, and you cannot reach all of them in any direct manner. Your content is also at the mercy of algorithms you cannot control.
  • Borrowed Channels— you are using someone else’s platform for a limited time, with the intention of attracting a percentage of their audience.

The channels you own are the ones you have the most control over, while borrowed channels are…

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