November 29, 2014

How to Build a Case Study’s Online Distribution Strategy

How to Build a Case Study's Online Distribution StrategyContent and community are a powerful combination. Without quality content, people will lose the desire to share it, but without a community, there’s no one to spread quality content. So even if your case study is extremely relevant and informative, and speaks directly to your target audience, without a community to read it and share it, it will go nowhere fast.

Therefore, once you’ve reviewed the first post, “5 Steps to Craft a Case Study’s Content Strategy,” in this three-part blogging series, developing a sound online distribution strategy is the next step to ensuring your case study gets found, consumed and shared.

First of all, take into account your target audience and choose the media that they prefer when consuming information. Also, keep your objectives in the forefront when defining your media channels. For example, if your objective is to drive media coverage, you may consider distributing an optimized press release through a news wire to get your case study in front of bloggers and editors.

Today, small businesses have access to a multitude of media-channel strategies:  They can launch a company or product blog, set up a YouTube Channel or distribute press releases through a news wire. By using a combination of several media channels to offer information in multiple formats, your chances of reaching your audience are far greater.

So when you sit down to hammer out an online distribution strategy, consider using this powerful combination of five media channels — website, social media, social bookmarks, news wires and search engines — to help achieve your objectives.

1. Website

Use the power of your website to drive traffic to your case study, as your site should already be optimized to attract your target audience. Build a separate landing page for the case study so it will not only be optimized for search engines to get found, but also offer a direct link for companies to use on their social networks, sales collateral, optimized press releases, etc. On the landing page, include a clear call to action above the fold to drive visitors to download your case study to consume and share.

In addition, depending on the objectives developed in your content strategy, consider implementing a lead form for visitors to fill out in order to download the case study. For example, if your objective is to generate leads, make sure to require contact information. But if your objective is to obtain media coverage, you may want to skip a lead form altogether, as it could deter an editor or blogger from downloading the case study.

2. Search Engines

As outlined in the fifth step of “5 Steps to Craft a Content Strategy,” use priority keywords to optimize your case study and landing page to get found by your target audience. Include the priority keywords in your case study’s headline, subheads and body copy, and include them in the landing page’s page title and meta data. In addition, when posting links through your social networks and news releases, be sure to use priority keywords as anchor text.

3. News Wires

Send an optimized press release announcing and detailing your case study across regional or national news wires to get in front of relevant bloggers and editors for potential coverage. News wires like PR Newswire or Marketwire are great tools to increase inbound links and generate a spike in traffic back to your landing page. Though it’s not a recommended strategy for building website strength over the long run, it’s a sound media channel to gain media coverage and generate interest around your case study.

4. Social Media

Use the power of your social networks and community to spread your content. Post a link to the case study landing page on your Facebook Page and Twitter account, and use the case study to answer related questions asked on LinkedIn.

In addition, be sure to blog about the case study’s content. For example, you could blog about how you arrived at the case study, offer additional background information or simply offer a brief overview of the case study.

5. Social Bookmarking

Lastly, social bookmarks enable users to organize and share information they find interesting and/or useful, and then share it with their community. Bookmark your case study landing page on social bookmarking sites, such as Digg and StumbleUpon, to share with your network. If your community of professionals, friends and family find it useful, they will then share it with their networks.

What combination of media channels do you use to achieve your objectives? Share your experience in developing an online distribution strategy by commenting here.

7 Comments ▼

Lyndsey Frey


Lyndsey Frey Lyndsey Frey is a freelance writer and editor who has written and edited articles for Inside Business, Smart Business, West Shore's Live Well, Cleveland and Internet Retailer magazines, as well as the Cleveland Clinic and Case Western Reserve University. In addition, she ghost-wrote a business financial-planning book, "Reducing Fiduciary Liability." She spent the last two years as a PR consultant, where she advised clients on content marketing, social-media marketing, Website development, search-engine optimization and public relations.

7 Reactions

  1. This is an interesting topic, but I can’t help but feel that it comes up short in terms of usable advice.

    Simply having relevant keywords won’t get you ranked anywhere near the top of search results. This is (almost) completely driven by inbound links. I know that you mentioned using a PR service to provide these links (which I agree with, and I think it’s a good idea), but it is unlikely that you are going to get a spike in traffic just by announcing a case study (I’d love to be wrong on this point).

    Lastly (and I believe most importantly), I think that you missed a step when you jump to using social media to publish your links. Yes, this is a vital step, but you never mentioned how users can accumulate ‘followers’ or ‘friends’. Tweeting your link on Twitter with no followers is not going to provide any significant (if any) traffic. I think there is a social media developmental step that should have preceded this step.

    I love the theme of this series, but I’m not convinced that these methods will provide any tangible results. Has anyone followed through with this advice and seen otherwise?

    Thanks,
    Jason
    http://twitter.com/StartupSidekick (Follow me on Twitter for more entrepreneurial advice)

  2. Hey Jason,
    You raise some valid points and I don’t disagree. I’m not chiming in here as an editor, but as a biz owner. Sometimes, we need the basics presented and then as we dig deeper and we’re really ready to cut our teeth, we can go to the next step. I think Lindsey is presenting info so that those who feel overwhelmed and don’t know where to start can get some beginning traction. I know many of the steps and still I forget and occasionally have to be brought back to the reasons why I’m executing on a strategy. But I appreciated your input and headed over to follow you for more advice on Twitter.
    TJ

  3. Jason,
    Thank you for your input on this post. Your points are valid, but please understand this post was meant to touch on media channels that are vital to any online distribution strategy, and not a lesson on search-engine optimization and social networking. Admittedly, each step mentioned in this post deserves its very own blog, but the purpose of the post focuses on distribution, and therefore, has to assume the biz owner is already incorporating steps to optimize their site and building a following, and is taking the next step to capitalize on their powerful community.

  4. I think Lyndsey Frey has covered the basis in a good way. Now it is time for a follow-up post! :)

  5. Right on, Lindsey. I learned a bunch.

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