How To Spread Your Content


If a tree falls in an isolated forest, does anyone hear it?  

Same with your content...  You have spent the energy to write or record something.  And yet, you don't take the time to effectively distribute it to where your people are.  Who is going to see it, share it, or be impacted by it?  No one.  

As mentioned in the previous blog post (How To Create Amazing Content), the way to become a great content creator is to keep testing different pieces with people, and see what gets shared.  This requires you to share your content widely, then observe.

​If "Content is King" then Distribution is Queen...

In this blog post, I'll give you several ways to distribute your content...

​Where does your ideal audience consume content?

First of all, let's get clear on an important point:

It's not about sharing your content everywhere.  

It's about sharing it everywhere your ideal audience hang out, so you can use your time & energy more wisely.

Therefore, we first need to understand where your ideal audience typically consume content... especially, your type of content.

For example, if I'm looking to distribute this text-heavy blog post, I'm not going to think about Instagram because on Instagram, people expect images.  They're not looking to read epic blog posts.

Or, if I'm writing about spirituality as a side thing, posting it on LinkedIn (a professional platform) isn't the best fit unless my profession is spirituality.

What I will want to do first is to ask my ideal audience (starting with my ideal clients) where they enjoy receiving content like mine.

If it's been awhile since you have asked your clients, it's time to do it.  If you don't have clients yet, ask friends who are similar to your ideal client.

Send an email to 10 clients/friends and give them a few options, plus an open-ended question.  


Hi [Name], 
(For greater courtesy & higher response, send it out individually.)

I'm working on creating some free and helpful content to share my expertise & experience to [name the benefit of your content, e.g. "guide people on reaching their career purpose."]

The questions is: Where should I be sharing that content?  I would actually love to reach more people like yourself.  So it would be helpful to know: how do you prefer to consume content?

Which of the following platforms do you enjoy visiting?  Where would you expect to see my writings or videos?

[Option 1]
[Option 2]
[Option 3]
[Option 4]
[Option 5]

Just reply and give me your top choices.

If there's another platform, or way of sharing my content, that you would recommend for me, I'd love to know!

Thanks for your help!  Of course, what you share with me will be kept confidential.

[Your Name]

If you're doing a small survey, there's no need for any survey software.  Small is what I recommend in this case because asking your most ideal clients is better than asking a large sample of people who might or might not be ideal clients.  You want good, actionable data.

Plus, people are more likely to respond to a personal, email message, instead of an impersonal survey link.

​Which options should you give in the survey?

The options you give in the survey are going to bias their reply.  

​Before I give you my suggestions, it would be good for you to take a pause and brainstorm how you think your ideal clients consume content... go and do that now.

Once you've brainstormed, then come back here.  


Here are a list of options I would to consider offering... (this is a comprehensive list... you might want to just choose your 5 favorite options to offer in the survey.)
  • Email Newsletter
  • Facebook
  • ​Podcast (if you publish audio content)
  • (if you write long-form blog posts like I do)
  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter
  • Instagram (if you like sharing images)
  • Pinterest
  • Snapchat (especially for reaching millennials & younger)
  • Google+
  • Youtube (if you like sharing videos)
  • Blogs (which ones? ask your people)
  • Online groups (which ones? ask them)
  • Magazines (which ones?)

To prevent overwhelm, maybe just offer a few choices. 

Once you send your email, and you don't hear back in 3 - 5 days, consider sending a follow-up to make sure they got your email.  Say that you'd love their response.

You may be surprised by the results of your survey.

Or, it might confirm what you were expecting.  Either way, let those results guide where you share your content!

A simple, effective platform: Your email newsletter.

Imagine having 100 people who regularly think about your services, and therefore have a chance to refer new clients to you, or to become a client themselves.

Imagine having to manually email those 100 people!  

There's a better way, of course -- keep in touch via a monthly email newsletter.

You may have more or fewer than 100 email subscribers... but the point is that it's efficient and effective to keep in touch with some regular rhythm of a newsletter.

After doing marketing full-time for 7 years and coaching hundreds of businesses, I can assure you that among the most important assets for any business (that has an online presence) is its email subscriber list.  More accurately, the important thing is the relationship the business has with its email subscribers.

First you need to get permission to add them to your email list.  You can simply email someone and let them know what you'll be writing in your newsletter, and ask if they would want to subscribe (it's free and they can unsubscribe anytime.)  Or, simply add an email opt-in box to your website and send that link to people and let them join at their own convenience.  

To create an opt-in box, or to send email, I recommend Mailchimp (this is the service I've used for 7 years.)  Another good choice, an up and coming player, is ActiveCampaign.  Lastly, Weebly (what my website is built on) has just releaseed its own email marketing features.

To send email newsletters legally (and with courtesy), you must use "email marketing" services like the ones I listed above.  Do not use your own email and BCC people.  That makes unsubscribing (should they need to) difficult and it's illegal anyway.

Aim to send something simple to your email subscribers once a month.  

A good email newsletter would include one or more of these:
  1. Useful -- a tool, a tip, some piece of advice you think will help your audience, perhaps an "aha!" moment from a recent client session.
  2. Encouraging -- an inspirational quote or idea.
  3. Entertaining -- something you've come across on the internet that made you laugh or touched you, that would be appropriate to share with your audience too; ideally, that piece of content can be related back to your expertise.

At the bottom of your newsletter, include a bit about your services, if you'd like.  Example that I sometimes include in my email newsletters:

George Kao has helped hundreds of clients build authentic businesses, and has had thousands of marketing students.  Take a look at his services here.

Regarding graphics in an email newsletter: it's nice, but not necessary.  Keep it simple!  Your readers just want a momentary, inspirational respite, or a simple useful tool.  You don't need to send long newsletters like I do :-)

Start once a month, then you may want to eventually build up to once a week.

Here's my video to encourage you to keep it simple -- and consistent -- in sending email newsletters...
To comment on this video, click here​

​Look at the best practices of the platforms you use...

Besides an email newsletter (which is important for reading your own audience), it's also a very good idea to be sharing on other larger platforms such as Facebook.

Again, go back to the research I suggested earlier: which platform(s) do your ideal clients love?  You might want to just choose 1 platform to start with.  Once you get the hang of it, you can consider adding another platform, if you really have time.

Whichever one you decide, learn a bit about the best practices of that platform:

Step 1:  Look at what is being shared on that platform.  Pay special attention to what is being shared by your ideal audience members.  Go to your clients' profile there -- what type of other people's content are they sharing?  (Rather than just their own stuff.)  When they share other people's content, it's their subtle endorsement of that type of content on that platform.

Step 2:  Do you own tests.  For example, share the same message 3 different ways (e.g. as a text-only status update, as an image, or as a video), and see what your audience likes the most.  Especially your ideal audience: which posts are they liking?

An example of a test: On Facebook, when you are sharing an image quote, it tends to get more views if you also include the text of the quote above the image.  To see how I discovered this, watch the following video.  (Otherwise, just keep reading.)
To comment on this video, click here.
Another Facebook test I did last year showed that my audience prefers my Facebook posts in this order...
  1. Directly-uploaded Video (not sharing a Youtube link) = 26 likes, 2 shares
  2. Status Update = 22 likes, 2 shares
  3. Photo = 14 likes, 4 shares
  4. Link = 9 likes, 2 shares

And yet, another client who tested their audience showed that Link Shares got more likes from their audience, than Status Updates or Photos.  

The bottom line is that you need to test your own audience & content to see what is the most effective distribution method for your audience.

​The best distribution is Guesting...

Typically you will be sharing content with your own audience, whether it's through your email newsletter, or on your social media profile(s).  

However, to reach more people in an efficient manner, it's all about "guesting", which includes:
  • Guest blogging -- when you write an article for someone else's blog
  • Guest speaking -- when you speak at someone else's event
  • Teleclass or Webinar for someone else's audience
  • Posting content in someone else's group (be sure to follow the group's etiquette and policies re: self-promotion!)

When you "Guest", your content is basically endorsed by that influencer to their audience.  You have credibility with them right away.

There are 4 reasons why influencers might want to share your content with their audience...

Reason 1. When an influencer's audience clearly needs your help... 

This is when an influencer is getting questions from their audience, but that influencer is not herself an expert in that area (or doesn't wish to teach in that area) -- but that topic is something you love to talk about.  Can the influencer clearly see that your expertise would be an ideal complement to what they are teaching?

How would you know?  Sometimes you'll see comments on that influencer's blog, or on their social media, which are questions that you would love to answer.   Another way is to simply guess: does that influencer talk about things that are related (but not competitive) to what you specialize in? 

You might be a blessing for them, if you came along and did a free webinar for their audience, or if you wrote a guest blog for them.  

Another possibility is for you to substitute for them in some way that would give them more time.  (For example, I substituted on a coaching call for a colleague, and although I sold nothing on the call, I got a new client from it.)

The point is to frame it in your mind (and in theirs) as a service to them: You are providing a relief for that influencer, that they now have a trusted resource (you) to refer their people to.

In the early years of my business, I approached people who had audiences that wanted to learn Social Media.  (That used to be my focused area of expertise.)

I made sure the Influencer herself didn't teach it, so that I wasn't a competitor, but a collaborator.

I had several partners who promoted me to their audience of thousands, and each one promoted me several times in those first few years, because I had expertise their audience urgently wanted.

When it works well, it is a true win-win-win:
  • The audience get answers they've been looking for.
  • The influencer builds goodwill with their audience (and earns commissions, if appropriate).
  • You get an additional audience to serve.

Reason 2. When an influencer frequently publishes quality content...

Sometimes you'll come across a platform (blog, website, podcast, or social media page) that pumps out a lot of quality content.

If you notice that the content isn't always written by the owner of that platform or their team, then there could be an opportunity for you to become a contributor there.

Examples of platforms that welcome guest writing:
  • The Huffington Post
  • The Elephant Journal
  • Good Men Project
  • Curejoy
  • HeySigmund
  • (Know of another one? Let me know.)

In fact, any popular blog in your industry (or in a related industry) could fit the bill.  Take a few minutes to brainstorm!  You'll then start seeing more of them naturally.  (We tend to find what we're actively looking for.)

The reason why such platforms allow guest postings -- as long as it fits their quality standards -- is because of their business model.  They are probably earning money primarily from advertisements on their website, or for some other reason they want to attract more audience members, and to keep visitors coming back for more content.

So look for the platforms/channels that frequently have content that's not of their own making.  If your content is relevant there, it could be a blessing if you offered high quality free content for them.

Note: Bigger platforms sometimes require exclusive content, or at least that the content you post there be exclusive to their platform for 6 months, then you are allowed to post it on your own blog too.  So it's best to check with them.

Reason 3. An influencer is intrigued by your content...

Sometimes, you'll meet an influencer who is intrigued by what you do.  Maybe you're able to personally help them with your expertise.  

Their audience might not even have asked for it, but if the influencer truly believes it would be beneficial for their audience, they might bring you on to do a guest thing.

In exchange for promoting you to their audience, you could give the influencer some of your private 1-1 time (coaching, counseling, consulting), or you could offer that influencer special access to your product/service.

Reason 4. You can co-create content with an influencer...

Perhaps you know an influencer (or simply: a friend/colleague with a bit of an audience) and that you could imagine creating some content together?  For example, a conversation on a topic of interest to both of you, where you each could bring your own perspective?

I recently did a simple co-creation with my friend Tad Hargrave.  (See video below.)  As a result both of us shared it, and we were each discovered by new audience members.
You can comment on this video here.

Make "guesting" one of your key marketing activities... 

Guesting helps you reach many more people.  When you guest, you have instant credibility with a new group of people.  

It will also stretch your content creation abilities, since your partner may give you some feedback to improve your content (they want great quality for their audience!)

So resolve today to put Guesting (starting with outreach to influencers) as an important activity in your regular marketing habits!

Where to look for guest content opportunities?

Start with people you know.  

Look at your contacts list, and reach out to people who are supportive of you.  (Some may be influencers, or some may be able to connect you with someone who is.)

As you gain experience, you can branch out to people you don't know yet (think of them as potential new friends.)  
Choose channels where your ideal audience are, where your topic is relevant.

Ideas of what to look for...

  • Websites that have a prominent email opt-in (newsletter)
  • Blogs in your field
  • Blogs in related fields
  • publications (search a term there, then click publications)
  • Facebook groups
  • LinkedIn groups
  • Online forums
  • Youtube (search for channels with interviews, and lots of subscribers)
  • Podcasters (ideally as a guest post or live webinar for their audience)
  • Popular Facebook or Twitter pages (you could pay to boost those posts)
  • Printed magazines
  • Organizations, Companies, Associations
  • Google Search: [Related Topic that interests your audience] + newsletter (or any of the words above!)
  • Authors (search on Amazon) -- they might have blogs or newsletters
  • Where your niche mates are being interviewed (google it)
  • Where your niche mates are guest blogging
  • Clients of yours who have an audience
  • See what your ideal clients are sharing on social media:
    If they’re sharing someone else’s articles, videos, links,
    then those sources may be influencers you want to reach out to.

Remember the 4 reasons (that I wrote above) for why influencers might share your content.  

Approach influencers with a combination of confidence (if you truly believe you can help their audience) as well as humility (don't assume they should say Yes... be gentle, and let them decide.)  

​If it is truly a good fit, you won't need to cajole them into it.  They will want it.

Keeping track of your content...

Over time, you'll wish that you have some way to track the important content you've posted: which of your pieces have done well, what topics you are neglecting to share.

My recommended way is to use a Google Spreadsheet.  It is free and easy to use.

Columns you might consider having in your spreadsheet:
  • Date shared or Date last shared 
    • Sometimes you'll share a piece of content only once; but sometimes it's a good idea to share some meaningful or popular piece of content every few months.
  • Subject Line
    • You'll notice over time that the subject line (or the first line or two) is especially important, and can determine how much it gets liked & shared.
  • Overall Idea / Keywords
    • Here's where you concisely/briefly describe the piece of content.  You might include some keywords so it's easy for you to search the spreadsheet and find that content again later.
  • Link
    • ​What's the link to that piece of content?
    • On Facebook, Twitter, Google+, you can get the specific link or URL for a piece of content by clicking the timestamp of that content.
  • Topic
    • ​Over time you'll come to some kind of standardized way to describe what topics you generally create content on.
    • Advanced Tip: Make separate columns representing various major topics that you create content about.  The data to put into those cells is some number from 1-5 representing how advanced that piece of content is; a beginner piece of content would get a 1, and a highly advanced piece of content would get a 5.
  • Where you shared it
    • Whichever platforms you've decided on, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, as well as Your Blog, Your Email Newsletter.
    • Advanced Tip: Instead of a single column, this might be better as separate columns, and the data to put into each cell would be the # of likes for that piece of content after 1 week.  To track this, start a weekly rhythm for yourself -- one day each week, you'll log "likes", looking back on content that is 1-2 weeks old.  Typically a content will get most of its likes (if any) within the first week of being shared.
  • Optional Columns:
    • Importance of that piece of content to you (no matter how popular it is)
    • Frequency (how often -- in months -- you would like to reshare that content, e.g. 6 would be every 6 months, 0.5 would be every 2 weeks.)
    • "Next" -- this is the date that you would like to share again that same piece of content.  Formula: Frequency x 30 (days) + Date last shared.
    • Date you last reached out for help in sharing that piece of content (Yes -- if it's a piece you're proud of, it may be worth individually reaching out to a few friends/colleagues, to see if they like the piece and might be willing to share it forward.  Some of your friends won't even know you posted it, until you individually let them know.)

NOTE: If you find yourself not using your spreadsheet, it may be too complex.  Remove (or hide) some of the columns to make it more simple!  What's more important than making a perfect tracking system -- is to track consistently.

Create a rhythm of content sharing that works for you...

Just about every well-known content creator has some kind of rhythm or schedule for creating & sharing content.

One hero in the content world is Seth Godin, who has consistently blogged every day for years.  If you look at his amazing archive of posts, it took 2 years of consistent blogging before his posts began to find a few people who wanted to share them.  

It wasn't until about his 8th year of consistent blogging, I noticed, that his blog posts starting getting popular!  

Today, he is known by many to be the go-to person for how to do marketing in a more thoughtful, generous way.

How might you have that kind of staying power?  Keep reminding yourself of the purposes of your content.  And remember what's possible by thinking about people like Seth Godin.  Keep a consistent rhythm that you become accustomed to.  

"Habits are cobwebs at first, cables at last." (Chinese proverb)

My weekly content rhythm goes like this:
  • Monday: post a Client Story (you can see the archives here)
  • Wednesday morning: post a new video on my Facebook Business Page
  • Wednesday afternoon: draft my latest blog post
  • Wednesday afternoon send email newsletter
  • Friday morning: edit, publish, and share my latest blog post / module

It took me several months of experimenting with different schedules, before I settled on this rhythm.  

Also, rhythms change.  For part of last year, my rhythm was to make a new video every weekday.  Once I got to video #100, I scaled back to doing 3 videos a week.  Then 2 videos.  ​Now, just 1 video a week, because my commitment (and energy) is to create these epic blog posts / modules instead. 

So what about you?  

​What rhythm will you experiment with now?  

Stick with your rhythm, until you feel the need to tweak it.  Once you tweak it, stick with that new rhythm for awhile.

​Keep coming back to the purpose of your content so you can stay inspired... until your content rhythm becomes a habit!


All of George Kao's content, including this post, is in the Creative Commons: CCBY license.

If this blog post made a difference for you, or if you have an questions, I warmly welcome your comments here.

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