Until now your brand’s content strategy has probably focused on your own blog. This was almost invariably contained within your own website, where it attracted all the SEO juice you could want and helped showcase your authority in whatever area of expertise your brand offered.
The disadvantage of this site-centralised approach is that it limits your outreach and it works best if you have an existing core audience.
Sure, you might run a canny enough SEO strategy that you get inbound traffic coming to you via search either on your brand’s core keywords or perhaps on the more obscure ‘long tail’ words.
If you’re lucky enough to have existing followers, they may check back on your content because you remind them about it in a regular newsletter or via social media updates. And you might also put effort into reaching out to new audiences in various channels and referring them to your content; using methods such as popular hashtags in social media.
This so-called ‘centralised’ content marketing approach means you have to work pretty hard to bring an audience into your content. But there’s another approach that’s gaining traction in the digital community: decentralised content marketing.
It’s one of the most effective ways to bring your content to a larger audience and works by sending your content out into the world on non-proprietary platforms to drive traffic back to your brand.
Essentially, in the decentralised approach, you create content that’s stored on someone else’s’ domain rather than your own.
This decentralised approach is facilitated by content platforms such as LinkedIn and Medium, and encompasses all kinds of content besides long-form blogs.
Get published on one of these platforms and you’ve potentially got a much bigger audience than you can aspire to bring into your own website’s content areas. It’s a way to reach a wider readership very quickly, and what’s great is that it can be very effective for B2B.
A way to reach your target audience
Decentralised content can reach your kind of target audience very effectively; even those who don’t necessarily know your brand or use your existing channels. Sending your content out onto another channel is a fresh way to approach a new audience.
According to LinkedIn, an average article published on that platform reaches people working in 21 industries in 9 countries, and around 45% of readers give senior job titles such as manager or CEO.
It’s a way of showing your content outside your proprietary web presence with the aim of letting a new audience know you exist – and hopefully bringing them back to your proprietary channels.
What’s encouraging about publishing content on an external platform is that you’re assessed on the strength of that content rather than on the size of your established network.
This means a piece of content can perform very well even if you don’t have an established audience in that space.
This is why a decentralised approach works well for any content creating brand trying to capture a new audience.
Whether you’re specifically trying to enter a new global market, or just find a new set of followers in an existing one, decentralised content can help you reach out to new people and tell them what you stand for.
Channels such as Medium and LinkedIn have achieved a strong reputation for quality publishing through different means.
Medium started out as an invite-only platform; LinkedIn managed to persuade some respected ‘influencers’ such as Bill Gates, Richard Branson and Meg Whitman to create content on this platform.
On the strength of influencers that published in those early days, LinkedIn very quickly became a powerful news aggregator, with early influencer articles typically receiving around 30,000 views.
As a bonus, because LinkedIn is a professional channel any ensuing discussion tends to be positive and high-quality: probably because people are aware they are professionally visible in the forum.
Although these influencers have their own personal brand to boost the credibility and reach of their content, your brand has access to the exact same platform and publishing tools.
LinkedIn’s pretty democratic about its content promotion – you can access the content calendar well in advance, and sync your content to match whatever is their publishing theme at any particular time.
How to approach decentralised content
Although having a decentralised content marketing strategy is valuable, this approach should not be seen as a replacement for centralised content.
Your centralised content should continue to support your SEO activities and keep your existing audience engaged with your brand. This means you have to keep any existing centralised content activities running at the same time as trying a decentralised approach.
Generally, webmasters are advised to avoid duplicating content across the web as this damages any rankings it gets in search engines.
Current advice, however, seems to be that it doesn’t damage your SEO to repeat content from your own blog on LinkedIn’s publishing platform. It’s well worth getting up to date information from your search team in case this changes in future.
Although running a decentralised content marketing strategy can really help you build a whole new audience and spread the word about your brand, it’s not easy to succeed with this approach.
Creating content that’s good enough to attract users from someone else’s’ domain back to your own is challenging. Like any part of content marketing, it’s also a sustained activity rather than a one-off event.