With more [distribution] channels, it’s important to have ‘must-have’ content and brands that cut through the clutter. -Thomas O Staggs
Deciding the ideal distribution channel for your business is extremely critical. It can potentially lead to huge profits or losses or can also put your future survival in jeopardy.
In this blog post, we will discuss guidelines on selecting the various channels on which you can aggregate your audience. Some of the most popular options are:-
- Social Platforms- Eg. Facebook, Twitter etc.
- Forums/Community Sites
You can pick and choose either any one single platform or you could choose multiple channels for the distribution of your content. However, for a small business just starting out into the market with a limited number of resources, I would suggest you stick with one channel, the one most appropriate for you, and then later diversify and expand into different channels.
In this post, for the purpose of easy illustration, we will consider and take into account three different platforms and discuss it’s advantages and limitations so that you can select the ideal content distribution channel for your business:-
Let’s get right to it then:-
Which channel will help you to most effectively reach out to the maximum of your target audience?
In terms of an industry benchmark, Email> Facebook> Twitter
Why do I make such a bold statement? Because “there are 3x more email accounts than there are Facebook & Twitter accounts combined.”-Campaign Monitor
“In 2017, global e-mail users amounted to 3.7 billion users” – Statista.com; as compared to “2.07 billion monthly active Facebook users” – Zephoria.com. “As of the third quarter of 2017, the microblogging service [Twitter] averaged 330 million monthly active users.”- Statista.com
Facebook- Think of it this way. You need an email address to sign up for Facebook. Do you need a Facebook profile to create an email address?
Twitter- With respect to the reach of Twitter, it is nowhere near Email or even Facebook for that matter. The only plus point for the consideration of Twitter in this list is due to the presence of thought and opinion leaders on this platform.
But surely email does not get to enjoy all the benefits. The disadvantage of email as a platform is that you will have to begin from scratch, just like a community forum. Social media platforms like Facebook and Twitter almost hand out their users to you on a red carpet, to be used at your disposal.
2. Content Publishing Frequency-
What kind of content publishing frequency do you expect?
Email- If you have selected email as your distribution channel, you simply cannot bombard your audience with 5-7 emails a day. You will experience an unsubscription rate like never seen before. A frequency of once a day is more appropriate to engage your audience.
Facebook-2- 3 updates a day is acceptable by users, provided that your content provides value to them and is not merely monotonous sales ads.
Twitter- Users are more than happy receiving even 1 content unit every three hours.
This is the beauty of each platform. You need to decide what kind of content publishing frequency your business demands and act accordingly.
3. Content Consumption Pattern-
How do you want people to consume your content? How do you want users to engage (take action) with your content?
Facebook- Good multimedia content like photos, graphics, videos etc. are bound to perform better on Facebook than on Email. In fact, Facebook’s algorithm favours those who publish multimedia over textual content.
Email- Images on email will not be visible in the first view and the user would need to click a separate link which would redirect them to a blog post featuring your content. Seems tiresome, doesn’t it?
Now you see that in case of email, inline consumption is not favoured while in the case of social platforms, inline consumption of content is not only favoured but appreciated and encouraged. In fact, social media platforms allow you the option to engage with your audience. Users can easily like, comment and share your content with the click of a button, which could otherwise not be done on Email.
Here is where our beloved social media platforms rank higher than Email.
4. Profiling, Personalization and Targeting-
Segmentation and Targeting is the place where Email emerges victorious once again. Even though Facebook allows you to send targeted messages to a set of users that have liked your page, email is a free platform that you have 100% control over.
It is up to you what kind of data is available to you and what kind of data you can capture.
You can actually send out an automatic welcome email to visitors who have filled out a newsletter subscription form on your website or a reminder email to those who have not visited your website in the last 30 days. The customizability is endless.
Thus, from the Profiling, Personalization and Targeting perspective, Email is a winner here.
5. Channel Stability-
Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn etc. are all proprietary platforms. They own and control every aspect of the platform and have the authority to choose who gets to view your content and who doesn’t. If you think that is not right (or a violation of your rights), take a look at their comprehensive terms and conditions; which we all supposedly read and accept.
Facebook, for instance, changes its algorithm almost every week.
In the earlier days, a content unit posted on Facebook would reach out to a significant proportion of your likes, if not all. That’s not the case anymore. In a bid to increase paid ads, Facebook has immensely reduced the reach of your post, persuading you into opting for the paid alternative to promote your post to your own likes.
A study from Edgerank Checker found that between February 2012 and March 2014, organic reach for the average Facebook Page dropped from 16% to 6.5%. Research from Social@Ogilvy, meanwhile, suggests that for Pages with more than 500,000 Likes, organic reach could be as low as 2%.-Hubspot
As a small business, this would most definitely impact you as not everyone can afford to spend lavishly on every post.
However, in the case of Email as a platform, that’s not a problem. An email sent to your audience would most assuredly reach the inbox of that users. (Spam and Promotion is a different matter entirely. In order to avoid our email going into spam, we need to focus on using the right techniques of sending an email.
The above 5 criteria are a short list of guidelines that every business must consider before opting into a particular platform for the distribution of your content.
Note that in most cases it’s not necessary to choose one single platform or two for that matter. If relevant, you can opt to go for multiple channels as well.
However, as I have mentioned before, you should focus your energy and resources on a single platform and then subsequently grow out into multiple channels.
Image Source- OptinMonster.com, Google, Business2Community.com,