Important: This article is a part of my step-by-step guide on how to create a fully functioning Content Marketing Strategy that will serve as a backbone of your content marketing efforts.
Step 6) Picking the right content channels <<< YOU ARE HERE
Times change and content marketing channels that were hot five or ten years ago no longer offer the same opportunities for growth and organic reach.
In this article, I will cover the topic of choosing the right content channels for your content marketing strategy from multiple angles.
You will find out which content channels are over-performing right now and which are considered evergreen, as well as some of the best practices that can help you reach this decision.
Stick to the very end for the most valuable approach to choosing content channels out there, in my humble opinion.
Dropping content channels that aren't working for you
It's OK to change your mind about a content channel.
For example, Facebook is not a channel it used to be seven or eight years ago.
The organic reach is non-existent, the demographics changed, and instead of innovating, Facebook seems to be playing the catch-up game nowadays.
Have you been crushing it on Facebook during the golden years of growth on that platform, but not anymore?
It's hurting your business to keep focusing on that platform if you're seeing progressively worse results over time.
If this is happening to you, why not jump ship and focus your attention elsewhere?
Staying blindly loyal to what got you "there," can sometimes be detrimental to a business.
I get it, the unfamiliar can be scary.
Starting from scratch on a new platform and having to go through the "ghost town" phase all over again is unsettling.
How do you know that jumping ship is the right move?
If you own a website, you can go to your Google Analytics account and search for Acquisitions > Social > Overview.
There, you'll be able to see which social media channels are driving traffic to your site and how much of it.
Examine the numbers and trust your gut feeling.
I'm willing to bet you already have an idea which channels used to work well for you, but no longer warrant the effort.
Still having attachments to your underperforming content channels?
Keep reading and you'll learn about content channels that are experiencing an organic reach boom right now as well as a content publishing strategy that will help you get the most out of every channel you own.
Deciding which content channels to use if you're starting from scratch
There are so many content channels to choose from these days.
Obviously, you can't focus on everything all at once.
Especially if you're already sitting on multiple chairs and are stuffed with work on a daily basis.
Making a strategic decision and choosing the best content channels for your business is really important in this situation.
What criteria should you focus on when choosing a content distribution channel?
It's a good idea to choose a platform that's also a search engine.
The reason being is that content published on platforms that are also search engines has a much longer shelf life than the content posted on, say, Twitter.
How often do people search for older Tweets?
These three platforms that fit the criteria of being search engines as well as content platforms immediately come to mind:
Obviously, your blog is not a search engine, but it is indexed and featured by the largest search engine in the world – Google.
Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world and is owned by Google's parent company, Alphabet.
Google has also incorporated relevant Youtube videos in the SERPs, which is a huge plus for Youtube.
Next up, you might be surprised to find out Pinterest is a search engine too.
People search Pinterest for the information they're interested in all the time.
Plus, collections of Pins are often found in the Google SERPs, just like Youtube videos.
Another criteria to focus on when choosing a content channel is organic reach, unless you want to be paying for every pair of eyeballs on your content.
Again, I offer you three fine choices of channels that are over-performing well right now:
Now, to understand the potential organic reach of a podcast, you have to take into account three things.
One, you can upload your podcast to Youtube and use Youtube's search engine to grow your podcast audience and Youtube channel at the same time.
Two, there are many podcasting platforms you can upload your podcast to.
And three, your guests will promote your podcast and bring more eyeballs to your content that way.
When it comes to LinkedIn and TikTok, these two platforms are experiencing huge organic reach potential.
LinkedIn is no longer just a business-oriented recruiting platform.
It has become a content platform where there's more content consumption than content creation going on at this point.
And TikTok is a global phenomenon.
It's no longer a platform just for kids.
TikTok demographics are skewing toward older audiences by the day as the platform is becoming more mainstream.
Choosing content channels based on your preferences and personality
You have to employ self-awareness when choosing your content channels.
Building an audience on any of the channels mentioned so far in this article is not easy.
You will spend a lot of time creating and publishing content.
That's why it's important to take your own personality into account.
For example, many people are simply not willing to get in front of the camera and shoot Youtube videos.
Writing feels like pulling nails to others.
You have to know yourself and decide what you're comfortable with.
Keep one thing in mind, however.
You will most likely suck at first no matter what you choose.
If you shoot a Youtube video and cringe while watching it, but think it was a fun experience, don't stop.
Liking the process of content creation is immensely important.
Your first 20 videos might be terrible, but by the 100th video, you'll become competent at the very least.
Grinding is a huge part of success.
There are no secrets or shortcuts.
Action and repetition are all you need.
Audit your competition and find out what content channels work for them
Doing competitive research is always a good idea, especially if you're starting from scratch and have no data of your own to work off of.
Now, there's a huge caveat when it comes to competitive research.
Don't simply copy what your competition is doing.
There's always a chance they don't know what they're doing which could then lead you astray if you decide to do exactly the same.
If you're still set on finding out which content channels refer traffic to your competitors' website, go to similarweb.com.
SimilarWeb is a free analytics tool that lets you take a peek at some of the relevant data points.
This tool isn't perfect in the fact that it doesn't register smaller sites, though.
But if a website you're trying to analyze has been indexed by SimilarWeb, you'll learn a lot.
For example, let's take a look at searchenginejournal.com, a website in the SEO niche.
In the Traffic Sources section of SimilarWeb, you can see and analyze the exact percentages of where SearchEngineJournal's traffic is coming from:
- 25.02% Direct Traffic
- 2.12% Referrals
- 65.84% Search
- 5.04% Social
- 1.96% Mail
- 0.02% Display
This tells yout that SearchEngineJournal's primary 'traffic source' is their blog.
Which means that SearchEngineJournal's main 'content channel' is blogging since the vast majority of their traffic comes from Google and visitors who are coming to the website directly.
Social media platforms also drive a significant portion of the traffic and are worth investigating further.
In the Social overview, you can see that their main social media channels are Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.
From here, let's open their social media accounts and take a look at what kind of effort SearchEngineJournal is putting into their social media posts.
Well, no surprise there…
They're posting high-quality content 10-20 times per day on Facebook and repurposing the same content and posting in on LinkedIn as well, which is clever.
Taking a look at SearchEngineJournal's content channels definitely demonstrates the importance of content repurposing.
More on content repurposing later on in this article.
Doing this kind of research on your own competition will certainly inform your decision, even if you take the results with a grain of salt like you should.
Content channels that are over-performing right now
Knowing which content channels are over-performing at the time of your decision will save you a lot of frustration.
Because you're going to have a hard time organically reaching and building up an audience otherwise.
Take a look at Facebook, for example.
Outside of Facebook Groups, your posts are destined to reach very few people organically.
Depending on who you ask, Facebook's organic reach is somewhere between 2-6% of the page's total likes.
This tells you that Facebook could still be a worthwhile content channel for established pages with big followings but new pages don't stand a chance of organically reaching a significant enough audience to grow.
But let's not waste any more time on Facebook…
Let's talk about the content channels that are performing exceptionally well right now that you should definitely take into consideration.
There are over 100 million podcast listeners in the US alone with a tendency of that number growing to over 160 million by 2023.
54% of podcast listeners are more likely to consider buying an advertised product.
So, not only are podcasts exploding in popularity, but they have engaged audiences that consume the content and are willing to buy the advertised products.
Combine that with the fact that podcasts are a fantastic networking tool and you'll realize how well they're worth your time.
The beautiful thing about podcasts is that they're still largely an untapped market for a lot of industries, especially taking the local factor into account.
For example, odds are that you can still be one of the industry pioneers in your local area even if you've just started your podcast.
Create one and start inviting other business owners on as guests and make connections that will impact your bottom line.
Over are the days of LinkedIn being exclusively a business-oriented recruiting platform.
LinkedIn has 15x more content impressions than job postings.
LinkedIn's 675 million monthly active users are responsible for over 9 billion content impressions.
Yup, LinkedIn has become a content platform.
Nowadays, you don't even have to gear your content towards business type crowd.
LinkedIn's audience is so vast that any kind of content can find its place on the platform.
Content consumption on the platform is outpacing content production so the algorithm is generous when it comes to sharing content organically.
Even if you just created an account and made a post, it'll get views.
Everything I just said about content consumption and organic reach on LinkedIn is nothing compared to what's happening on TikTok.
TikTok's monthly active users are estimated at 800 million with the app being downloaded 1.5 billion times so far.
While it's true that TikTok's audience skews towards younger demographics, it's getting older by the day.
The chart above by MarketingCharts clearly shows that the platform has a significant number of users in every age group.
And notice the 37% of users that have an income larger than $100k per year.
"But… I'm a lawyer and my audience is not on TikTok!"
Yes, they are and if you don't take advantage of this monstrous opportunity for organic growth on the platform that's going on right now, your competition will.
Evergreen content channels
We can't talk about choosing the right content channels without mentioning the evergreen platforms that have been working well for years and will continue to do so for many years to come.
I already mentioned these platforms earlier in the article, but I feel like they warrant being mentioned in a bit more detail.
Content from all three of these platforms can be found in the Google SERPs as relevant results.
On top of that fact, two of them are search engines themselves.
This is very important because what do people do with search engines?
They use them to type in queries and actively look for solutions to their problems.
In other words, being present on these content platforms is an opportunity for your content to be found organically.
Blogging has been around for close to three decades now.
Small businesses that blog get 126% more lead growth than those who do not.
61% of consumers made a purchase after reading recommendations on a blog.
Sure, blogging has changed and, dare I say, evolved.
But it's still very relevant.
The #1 advice for blogging success used to be to publish as many 500-word articles as humanly possible, which no longer works.
Relevance, comprehensiveness, authority, and expertise rule the roost now.
Google's search engine algorithm has become much more sophisticated with time and can consume and interpret content on a human-like level these days.
Semantic search is pushing out tactics like keyword stuffing, etc.
Also, there's fierce competition anywhere you look.
After saying all that, you'd think that the conclusion of this segment would be something along the lines of "run for the hills."
But no… blogging has never been more relevant when it comes to driving business results than today and has proven its status as an evergreen content distribution channel.
Owned by Google, Youtube is the second largest search engine in the world.
Youtube has crossed the 2 billion monthly logged-in users back in 2019.
Those 2 billion users can't all be watching cat videos, right?
Over 50% of Youtube's users say they use the platform very often to figure out how to do new things.
People watch Youtube videos to help them fix their car, learn new languages, stay on top of the news, make educated purchases, and so much more.
If you're having a problem, odds are there's a Youtube video ready to help you solve it.
And this is not going to change anytime soon, making Youtube one of the evergreen content channels.
Pinterest's 322 million monthly active users might seem small compared to the numbers platforms like Facebook and Youtube are commanding, but Pinterest is a powerhouse content channel in its own right.
A third of all users on Pinterest use the platform to follow brands and companies.
8 out of 10 weekly active Pinterest users say they purchased a product based on brands' content on Pinterest.
Even more importantly, users on the platform are actively searching for solutions to their problems.
Pinterest has a built-in search engine that processes over 2 billion searches every month.
Not to mention that collections of Pins are often found featured in the Google SERPs as relevant results especially for visual-oriented queries.
Pinterest, surprisingly to some and not so much to others, has definitely earned its place among the evergreen content channels.
Choosing content channels based on content repurposing opportunities
If you're one of the people who are willing to do anything to get the absolute most out of their content channels, I have great news for you.
There's a holistic approach to choosing content channels that you'll love.
Remember the SearchEngineJournal example from earlier in this article and how they repost their Facebook posts to LinkedIn?
This approach is that, on steroids.
Let me explain.
Content repurposing means posting essentially the same pieces of content on different platforms and milking the content for everything it's got.
Of course, you always want to respect the platform nuances and add platform relevance to content so it won't always be "exactly" the same.
Let's go through a hypothetical example to paint the picture.
Let's say you have a podcast that you also film.
In this situation, most people just upload the new episode on their podcasting platform and that's it.
Meanwhile, they're missing out on so many opportunities to create dozens of pieces of content from this single podcast episode like:
- Upload the podcast to five podcasting platforms instead of just one (there are dozens of them) – 5 pieces of content
- Upload the entire podcast to Youtube – 1 piece of content
- Transcribe the podcast and create a blog post out of it – 1 piece of content
- Take a photo with the guest or make a graphic and post it to your, let's say, 3 social media profiles – 3 pieces of content
- Chop up the video into topical segments and upload them to Youtube – at least 3 pieces of content
- Upload the same videos, or slightly modified to fit the platform, to LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram – 3 videos times 4 platforms equals 12 pieces of content
- Post interesting thoughts or ideas that came from the podcast episode as brief textual content on three platforms – 3 pieces of content
That's 31 pieces of content right there and it's just a conservative estimate of what you could get out of a single podcast episode if you were strategic about it.
I know this is all hypothetical and it sounds like a lot of work, which it definitely is.
But look at it this way – is your competition posting dozens of pieces of content per day or even per week like that?
Imagine how far ahead you would get if you were doing this habitually.
Gary Vaynerchuk swears by this approach and you can check out his article on how to create 64 pieces of content in a day where he goes through his method step-by-step.
If you decide to follow this approach, lay down all the content channels from long-form to short-form platforms and decide which ones you want to use.
I recommend a similar path to the one I just described.
It offers a great variety of long and short-form content platforms and allows you to be present in all the major content channels effortlessly.
There are plenty of viable options when it comes to choosing the right content channels for your content marketing strategy.
It's important to have up-to-date information and the right perspective on the channels available.
Following the best practices and choosing the content channels that are considered evergreen, as well as those that are over-performing right now, is generally a good idea.
Don't forget that you can and should repurpose content while respecting various platform nuances and get the most bang for the buck out of every piece you create.
Which content channels did you choose?
Let me know in the comments!