This week, I'm going to kick things off with a story. Picture two musicians. One is a virtuoso; the most talented musical mind since Mozart. The other is well above average, but much less talented than his peer.
You'd expect that the first musician will be the more successful of the two, right?
You'd be wrong. The former musician only plies his craft within the walls of his home. Though his friends and family speak highly of him, he's unknown in the larger world.
The latter, meanwhile, does everything he can to get his name out. He regularly performs in public and maintains a healthy presence online. Eventually, he gets offered a record deal - all while his more talented rival stays inside.
The reason I'm telling you this story is simple. For all that experts hammer home the importance of great content, many of them completely miss the other side of the coin. Simply put, your content is useless if you can't distribute it.
It doesn't matter how well written an article is, or how hilarious a video. It doesn't matter how informative your white papers, or how poignant your insights. If people have no idea your content exists, then you're shouting into the wind.
"We all know that the golden rule to content marketing is to 'provide value,'" writes Shannon Byrne at Kiss Metrics. "Many people don't realize that this is just the first part of a two-part rule. The second part is 'deliver your content to the people who will find it valuable.'"
Byrne isn't just talking about using SEO to help people organically discover your site - though that's something you should be doing. What she's suggesting is that content creators actively distribute their content to the people who'd find it interesting. What she's suggesting is that when you create content, you share it.
This is one of the key reasons social media is so important to modern organizations. Without social networks, you lack one of the most powerful methods of distribution in content marketing. You can't effectively distribute your content, because you have no means of reaching the people you're distributing it to.
There are channels beyond Facebook and Twitter, of course.
"Without effective distribution across the Internet, the efforts of content creation go largely unrewarded," writes Sky Word's Jonathan Crowl. "Each industry has its own valuable distribution channels."
According to Crowl, these could include online communities, forums, websites, and social networking groups. Paid amplification is also an option, though this can have mixed results depending on the type of content you're trying to amplify, the timing of your amplification campaign, and the locations you choose. You should definitely consider paid amplification if you've the budget, but there's also something to be said for doing things yourself.
Great content is central to the success of any content marketing strategy, but it's not the only component you need to consider. In order to actually gain something from the content you create, you have to make sure you're distributing it effectively. After all, what's the point of creating content if nobody sees it?