Over the past few months, we’ve learned quite a few lessons on the importance of content distribution and have seen some solid results. As our team grows and we continue to share our findings with colleagues, we put together a cheat sheet of distribution channels — what we call “amplification networks” — that have worked for us so far as a resource, rather than continuing to repeat ourselves.
We then realized that it was unfair to keep this as an internal doc, so we elaborated a bit and are now sharing with all of you! By no means is this list exhaustive. It’s also specific to our industry and geared towards connecting with anyone interested in social media, marketing, media monitoring, tech, and startups.
If you have any to add, please leave them in the comments below.
Hacker News is a notoriously difficult place to get your content recognized, and for good reason: it’s an amazing distribution channel for only the best stuff — the really worthy links and news.
Don’t expect to do fantastically well here unless you’ve got something really great. But that shouldn’t stop you. You never know, and HN always brings at least some people — people who wouldn’t have seen your content otherwise.
Some things to be aware of with Hacker News:
- They have a really nice system of preventing people from getting 30 friends or colleagues from upvoting all at once.
- As far as I can tell, they limit the number of upvotes that can come from an IP address to 1.
- Pro tip: after you post, ask people to upvote on their phones while on 4G, 3G, E, etc.
They also don’t count any votes coming from the direct link — the “comment” link. Instead of sending this, post https://news.ycombinator.com/newest in Slack (or whatever messenger client you’re using) and tell people what number your article’s at. Even if it’s a few up or below what it says for you, it’s easy enough to spot and this will prevent people from throwing away a vote if you’d given out the direct link.
We’ve had the best experience with tech content on this distribution channel. It’s one of the reasons our post “The 5 Best Front-End Developer Tools” has done so well (the other being organic Google traffic, but that’s due in large part to the original burst of HN readers, so win-win).
Reddit is all about finding the best subreddit for your content. And don’t stress if you can’t find a perfect one, just skip posting here if you can’t. It’s really not worth trying to post something that’s not going to do well because it obviously doesn’t fit the distribution channel.
Reddit is all about reputation and you don’t want to risk harming yours by posting irrelevant content in places where people expect a certain level of good faith — that what they click will actually help or entertain them based on the expectations of the group they’re in.
Our tech content typically does well in development subreddits, but we haven’t really found the right fit for our posts on startup life and marketing tips, as respective subreddits for these usually revolve solely around asking questions and not posting links. Perhaps this is a good opportunity for someone to start a subreddit for growth or marketing tips geared for internet tech startups, hint hint.
Only consider submitting a link to Product Hunt (or even better, having a friend with posting rights submit a link to PH) if you’ve legitimately got a new product launching or some new feature that’s significant enough to warrant it.
You’ll probably want a dedicated landing page and ideally some press to go along with the launch to get the most out of how engaged and amazing this distribution channel is. In fact, consider optimizing the landing page to detect if someone’s coming from PH and direct them to a “Hello Product Hunters” page with cool little easter eggs. Famous Outfits talks about how they did that here.
Take part in the comments section and answer any questions. It’s rare when you’ll find yourself hunted, so make the most out of it!
A less obvious choice, but I’ve been impressed with Designer News by LayerVault whenever we’ve had content relating to design, like our Field Guide and Summer Reading List. Of course it’s only really relevant in these cases, but if it fits, go for this distribution channel.
GrowthHackers.com has been by far our most successful distribution channel. The reason is simple: It’s got a broad mix of content, passionate people in the community, and one solid social media strategy.
They constantly post top-performing links on their Twitter account with over 64k followers, mentioning both the author and the person who posted. I mean constantly, and it’s amazing.
Be sure that your content is relevant, and that you’re sharing more than just your own content, because you will be flagged. You can always ask a friend to post with you, but no matter what, it’s good to participate in the community and share all that great content you’re finding!
Growth Hackers has fast become one of our top referrers — and one of our favorite places to post. So much so that we partnered with Morgan Brown, part of the team there, for our first #MentionChat on Twitter.
Inbound.org has a similar audience and goal to growthhackers.com, but one that is a bit more focused on content than any growth technique. The community is smaller than GH, but fairly close and supportive. The traffic driven from Inbound.org is lower than GH, but still relevant and high quality. When deciding whether or not to submit a piece, look at what’s trending to see if it is a good fit. Anything related to content marketing, inbound, analytics, or growth case studies will likely do well
Buffer realized that their community trusted them to help them curate high-quality content, and rightfully so. So they launched a new app called Daily with content suggestions that you can add to your Buffer queue or save to read later. These selections also appear on the “Suggestions” tab of the Buffer web app, which makes it a fantastic distribution channel.
Having your content appear on Daily results in a large number of tweets (anywhere between 500 and 1,500 in our experience — read more about that in our post, “The Daily Effect: Here’s What Happens When Your Article is Featured on Buffer’s New App”), followed by a large spike in traffic. We’ve noticed a high bounce rate with these visits and that most readers drop off anywhere between half way and ¾ way through, but we’re currently looking into whether or not they come back. Fingers crossed that they do!
Suggest your content to Daily here.
The Next Web was our first content distribution channel. We were fans of the publication so we decided to reach out to see if they were interested in any of our content. This has been a great way to elevate exposure to some of our high-quality pieces that might have not seen much distribution originally. It’s a win-win for both us and TNW (and our guest contributors), as they’re provided with fresh content, and our pieces see extra exposure to a new audience.
Visits from TNW see a relatively low bounce rate (73.5%) and high time on site (1:06) and pages per visit (1.52). New visitors account for 72.6% of TNW traffic.
For me personally, getting a piece on TNW was a huge goal. Don’t take it lightly. Make sure your content process is in top form before you even consider reaching out.
We’ve yet to take full advantage of external newsletters, although we’re a big fan of them as readers. The best way to be featured in a newsletter is by simply building a relationship with the people that run them. By building a rapport, and maybe sharing some content with them that’s relevant to their audience, you will be on their radar and they can judge when a piece of content you publish is a good fit or now. Here are some of our industry favorites:
- SaaS Club from our friends at eFounders
- SaaS Weekly by Hitan Shah
- Inside Startups
- The Content Marketing Update from CoSchedule
- Community.is from Loyal
Lets hear it, what are your favorite distribution channel?
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