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From choosing the right social media platforms to matching the right content with the best audience, creating a content distribution strategy takes time, effort and analysis. — Getty Images

The old philosophical question, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?" rings just as true for your content marketing. If you create great content, but no one sees it, does it make a measurable difference?

Great content is only half the equation. A small business’s content distribution strategy is imperative to make sure your blog posts, videos, e-books and/or podcasts are being consumed by your target audience. Every business needs a plan for how to make sure their content is seen. Here’s where to start.

[Read: A Complete Guide to Content Marketing]

Identify which platforms are best suited for your content

Your website is just one space where you can distribute the content your company creates. Depending on the format of the marketing materials, there are other spaces where you should share your content. Distributing your content can help boost SEO and raise awareness of your brand with minimal overhead expenses. Here are some channels to consider:

[Read: How to Measure Content Marketing Success]

Assess what channels you own (like your business’s Facebook page) and what channels you think would be willing to promote your content for you. Sometimes a city’s Facebook page will feature a “business of the week.” Or an email newsletter might be looking for information on a topic you’ve recently covered in a how-to video. Then, narrow down your key distribution channels to where your customers congregate online.

You know your followers are likely to be interested in the content you provide, so find out where your key customers are already browsing online.

Research where your customers are already browsing

The next step, once you’ve cast a broad net, is to get more targeted. Of course, your company’s social media channels and email newsletter are great distribution options. You know your followers are likely to be interested in the content you provide, so find out where your key customers are already browsing online.

Sites like Reddit and Quora can be good places to share your content, but be careful. Users on these channels dislike being overtly marketed to. Your content must be relevant and of high quality to get the response you’re seeking. LinkedIn groups that are specific to your industry may give you a better return on your effort.

Alternately, find sites that have a strong following and pitch them your content. For example, let’s say you own a hardware store have an article on “5 Easy Ways to Decorate Your Lawn for Halloween.” A quick Google search on “Halloween preparation” can pull up sites with similar articles. Reach out to those sites directly to see if they would be willing to share your article with their audience. Offer to share their content in return for a mutually beneficial transaction.

Develop a content calendar

Now that you have a prioritized list of channels where you can share your content, it’s time to plot out the “when” of content distribution.

There’s some finesse to when and how often you should distribute your content, especially in relation to social media. Aim to show your content when people are able to sit down and engage with your work. Some people will find your content on your site, but otherwise, you are reliant on a social media algorithm to show your content in someone’s feed. Tools like Hootsuite, Buffer, and Mailchimp can offer insight into when your audience is most active. Schedule your posts to distribute when you know people will be online and engaged to get the best result.

CO— aims to bring you inspiration from leading respected experts. However, before making any business decision, you should consult a professional who can advise you based on your individual situation.

CO—is committed to helping you start, run and grow your small business. Learn more about the benefits of small business membership in the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, here.

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