Many people view it as the most neglected of all the activities marketers perform on contents.
Yet content distribution plays a surprisingly important role in marketing reports. In fact, it can have a major influence on the content strategy’s costs and returns.
It all depends on how contents are distributed. What about you? Do you just sling them out or use a boomerang system? Spoiler: only one of these two methods is effective for your business!
- Defining digital content distribution
- Sling distribution
- Boomerang distribution
- The best approach to digital asset distribution
- The marketing report chameleon
- Which approach to asset distribution should you choose?
Defining digital content distribution
The distribution of a content is the bridge between creators’ work and the user experience in your digital channels.
Leaving aside poems and aphorisms, distribution is how you publish images, videos, audios and information on a brand’s touchpoints: web and e-commerce sites, newsletters, digital catalogues, and so on.
It is one of the steps in a content’s lifecycle, which dawns with the creative brief and ends with its use on the web by your stakeholders and the analysis of its performances by the marketers.
Many marketers view it as a burdensome phase because it takes a long time and is repetitive, with low added value.
The same sequence is repeated for every new content:
- a dedicated copy is created for each channel
- files are saved in the company’s database or shared via file sharing tools
- a new copy of the asset is downloaded locally
- another copy of the asset is uploaded into each channel’s media gallery.
We call this “sling” distribution, because once the content has been approved it is just thrown at its users. And it remains in their hands until the next one-way transfer.
Although not actually wrong, this approach has some serious limitations.
Not only does it require a great deal of energy but it also makes strategic use of distribution impossible. This is enabled, on the other hand, if contents are distributed in boomerang mode.
The main aim of boomerang distribution is exactly the same as with sling distribution. Here again, it is important to ensure that users always have access to up-to-date contents.
What changes is the approach.
After the brief and its realisation, the content is published on the various channels with two big differences compared to the sling approach.
Firstly, publication is fast and requires no manual work. What’s more, assets’ performances can be analysed, studying how users interact with them and identifying their purchasing intentions.
This type of content distribution is typical of the best DAM Platform.
The boomerang metaphor fits this method because it describes the track of the content, which is sent out to its audience of reference but then returns to its starting point. With great agility, and bringing a set of data of use for improving the content strategy.
The best approach to digital asset distribution
Spoiler: compared to the sling method, boomerang distribution is far more effective for distributing digital assets. In operating terms, it is made possible by DAM Platforms, Digital Asset Management solutions that manage contents’ entire life cycle, from creation to analysis, and take the greatest care over their distribution.
The best DAM Platforms centralise the creation, approval and storage of assets in a single hub and distribute them on each channel automatically, without copying them onto every platform.
Physically, there is therefore only one copy of the asset, distributed to all the touchpoints directly from the platform, which automatically adapts its attributes and format during publication.
Moreover, if they include content analytics functions, these tools gather valuable insights about contents’ performances and the types of users who have interacted with them.
This is why the term “boomerang” is appropriate.
A content’s useful purpose does not end when it is viewed, clicked or listened to by the user; instead, it lays the basis for data-driven strategies and becomes the starting-point for the creation of new content.
The marketing report chameleon
Distribution might be described as the marketing report chameleon.
It may blend into the background and fail to catch the eye like striking copy or attractive design, but content distribution can deliver real added value. If it is done properly, of course.
In our view, there are at least four reasons for this.
- It streamlines operations. Correct distribution means distributing straight to channels. In other words, the time otherwise wasted creating ad hoc versions of a content for each channel and updating web and e-commerce sites and digital catalogues by hand can be invested in higher-value activities.
- It improves the user experience. Correct distribution enables a quality, omni-channel user experience. Consistent communication on every touchpoint reinforces brand identity. For an e-commerce site, this means fewer abandoned shopping carts and more conversions.
- It shortens the time to market. Correct distribution ensures that communication intentions are immediately converted into real communications. Once the right form has been found for an asset, it can be published instantaneously on every channel, shortening the time to market. Harvesting the fruits of the content strategy at once.
- It creates personalised user experiences. Correct distribution enables every asset’s performances to be analysed. By tracking and studying every user’s interests, they can be offered personalised browsing and purchasing experiences, increasing the number of conversions.
Which approach to asset distribution should you choose?
In the final analysis, without good content distribution it is difficult to get the right return on the creativity and skill of graphic designers, copywriters and strategists.
Never take your assets’ distribution for granted, because depending on how you manage it, it may have very positive or very negative impacts on your content strategy’s ROI.
What’s more, bear in mind that, exactly because so many – but not all – people underestimate it, top-class distribution can generate a competitive advantage.
It is clear that the boomerang approach is the ideal one for you and your customers. It brings countless advantages and only needs one thing: a DAM Platform. And, of course, not just any DAM Platform.