Audience-Building B2B Content Distribution Playbook

Steal our audience-building B2B content distribution playbook, complete with a video walkthrough you can replicate.

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Victor Eduoh

Lead Strategist, VEC

Welcome to the second part of our two-part series on B2B content distribution. In Part I, we showed how we incorporate distribution into content marketing strategy designs. This part unpacks our actual content distribution playbook, from briefing to drafting and creating excerpts for different channels. 

It All Starts with the Brief

…or StoryBriefs & Outlines, as we call it around here. 

You may be thinking, why not the normal ‘content brief?’ 

Here’s why. 

Often, the phrase ‘content brief’seems to have the acronym ‘SEO’ invincibly attached to it. Leaning on that, most B2B content marketers over-obsess over keywords… and SEO. 

No doubt, SEO still has a place in organic content distribution. But blindly relying on it doesn’t align with how B2B SaaS tech buyers are now discovering products through content. 

We noted this in Part I of this guide. 

To refresh your memory: 

Based on these stats, when distributing content, our goal isn’t only to score a point for appearing on people’s feeds. Neither is it to increase traffic numbers for the sake of it. We aim to earn attention and get target ICPs to actually want to read the piece distributed to them. Two questions we keep at heart to achieve this are: 

  1. How can I create content that’ll get the target ICPs to stop scrolling, go on to click, and read more? 
  2. How can I make content so valuable, busy tech B2B execs will actually read and remember to share it with peers? 

The answer to both questions is content that resonates so well with target ICPs. We achieve that by StoryBrief-ing the creation of content focused on solving ICPs pain points (not trying to outsmart SEO).

Before I explain how…

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How StoryBriefs & Outlines Enable Content Distribution

Recall in Part I, we shared two crucial things to tackle in the content marketing strategy design phase: 

  1. Who will your team create content for? 
  2. What channels do those you’d create for hang out? 

Building ICP StoryScripts addresses both questions. As stated as we in Part I of this guide, the goal is always to pick and write for a specific ICP at a time. This ensures you’re crafting a piece fit for the channel(s) that particular ICP hangs out. 

With that out of the way, your team can: 

  1. Define a goal for each piece.
  2. State the ICP for the piece and their likely journey stage.
  3. Use a storytelling arc relatable to the ICP to articulate why they would read the piece if distributed to them.
  4. List 2-3 of the ICP’s pain points the content will address.
  5. Sort keywords and queries based on those 2-3 pain points. 

The ‘StoryBrief’ section of StoryBriefs & Outlines actions ICP StoryScripts by tackling the five (5) steps above. To illustrate, here’s the StoryBrief for our published piece, “Write for One ICP at a Time:” 

The ‘Outline’ section follows. 

Essentially, it entails using everything in the ‘StoryBrief’ section to outline and craft pieces worth distributing to target ICPs. This is how we’re able to create excerpts for distributing each piece on the channels target ICPs hang out:

Learn how to create StoryBriefs & Outlines here

VEC's Content Distribution Playbook

StoryBriefs & Outlines, as explained, helps us create story-driven briefs for crafting story-driven, distributable pieces. The actual distribution playbook begins after a piece passes final edits.

Our distribution playbook covers:

  1. Owned media
  2. Earned media, or
  3. Paid media. 

Let’s delve in. 

Owned Media

Owned media channels are those that a company has total control over how it uses them to distribute content. Examples include your site, blog, social accounts, newsletters, webinars, and podcasts. 

We optimize crafted pieces for organic discovery and create excerpts for distributing them across owned media channels, such as: 

  • The company’s social accounts
  • The CEO (and other key executives) social accounts
  • Newsletters. 

For instance, for the client draft below, after final review, we created excerpts for distributing it via: 

  • LinkedIn
  • Twitter threads
  • Newsletters: 

I showed how we do this below:

Click here to watch the video walkthrough. 

It doesn’t end there. 

Most site visitors, especially new ones, won’t go straight to your blog in search of newly-published pieces. So even after optimizing a piece for organic search discovery, once published, we advise clients to: 

  • Feature it on their blog page
  • Announce the piece on their homepage

Here’s an example for one of our clients, Cyber Sierra

We also use podcasts, an owned channel, to distribute content. To this end, we often create question briefs for clients to host an episode further discussing pain points a piece addressed. In some cases, we do the same to help clients repurpose content into a live webinar. 

As we did for the first part of this guide: 

Watch the webinar replay here

Earned Media

Earned media, as the name goes, are channels a company doesn’t own or have control over how content gets distributed. Examples include user-generated content (UGC), features by other companies, media coverages, mentions, and shares by third-parties.  

Since one can’t directly control content distribution via this channel, we do our best to influence it in two ways: 

  • Crafting content that is so good to read, target ICPs will remember to share it with others in online communities. 

Proof that our pieces achieve this? 

Here you go:

  • Including insights of thought leaders into the content. With this, we create excerpts for distributing it to them for a chance of them re-distributing it to their network: 

Let me demonstrate this. 

In our “Owned Media Funnel Framework” guide, and for every other piece we craft, we supported our arguments with stats and insights from select thought leaders.’ Once we published the piece, we did two things to influence distribution. 

1. Cold email the published draft to them and got this reply:

2. Created social excerpts and tagged them. As they engage with the post, our target ICPs in their network saw the content: 

We do this for every piece we create for clients. It is how we boost earned media distribution and give each content we craft more targeted exposure. It is why, for the 5-person content team we assemble for every client, someone is dedicated to outreach: 

Paid Media

This one is pay to play. 

It involves paying to get your published content on channels your target reader frequents. But making the most of whatever paid channel one uses is no different from others. The first step is creating content that people –your target ICPs– will actually want to read. 

That’s even more crucial to paid media. Because, while paying can force your content in front of target readers, you can’t force them off external platforms... 

…unless they find it valuable. 

So begin by creating high-quality content your ideal customer profiles will genuinely crave. Once we’ve ensured that for each client draft (using our Content Quality Checklist), we also help by: 

  1. Identifying the right channels where they’re likely to get the most for their content distribution dollars. It could be search or social PPC, newsletters read by target ICPs, etc. 
  2. Creating the promotional copy for distributing the content on the selected channels, so they can focus on other things: 

Effective Content Distribution is Hardwork

…with no shortcuts. 

If you just want to share links of published content and call it a day, be my guest. But that rarely works, and here’s why. Most channels kick against shared links, as everyone is trying to keep people on their platforms. Target readers, on the other hand, aren’t scrolling about waiting for you to share links to your content. 

They are there to consume content on their feeds.

So best to shred each content piece into distributable excerpts that deliver in-feed value on the channels you distribute them on. Amanda Natividad rightly calls this Zero-Click content

At VEC Studio, we embrace this. 

Take this client-approved draft: 

As shown, the approved draft was a little over 1,800 words. By the time we created all distribution excerpts for the same piece of content, the word count more than doubled. 

Over 4,300 words, to be precise:  

It takes hard work to do this and do it well. 

But there’s no other way. It’s how we ensure each excerpt we create delivers in-feed value across the owned, earned, and paid channels used to distribute a piece. This is at the core of our content workflow. It’s why a draft of ~1,800 words ended up at over 4,300 words after we created its distribution excerpts. 

Not everyone has the time for this level of hard work. 

That you?

We'll, it’s why we’re in business.

Let’s talk.

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Victor Eduoh

Lead Strategist, VEC

Founder, Lead Strategist @VEC. Thinker, reader, words-crafter, and husband to Omosede. Besides crafting product-led stories, I love scouting and grooming rare marketing talents.

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