Creating and syndicating quality content has become a top marketing priority for businesses large and small, regardless of industry. Marketers are constantly working toward the right content balance, one that strikes the right tone, provides the correct information, and engages the audience while meeting their expectations. With so much focus on production of content, however, the distribution of finished content can often become secondary. Content has no purpose if your audience can’t access it. Having a content distribution plan is almost as important as the creation of the content itself.
Centralized or Decentralized Content Distribution
Content distribution considerations include not just what content is available, but also where it can and needs to be syndicated. Choosing the right content distribution model depends largely on an organization’s omnichannel presence. Do you have a primary global site that houses the majority of your organization’s content? Does that content need to be distributed to secondary sites? Are external sites also receiving content from the primary site? Or are many secondary sites sending content to other secondary sites in a peer-to-peer content sharing network? Most organizations will fall into the following distribution models: Centralized or Decentralized.
Centralized Content Model
A centralized content model is also referred to as a hub and spoke model. In this scenario, one primary site sends content to a network of secondary sites. This is ideal for a large organization that is looking to share corporate marketing materials across their network of sites and channels, while maintaining consistent brands and campaigns. One site serves as the anchor, distributing content out to global sites, product sites, etc., but it can also pull content back in from those edge sites as needed.
A perfect use case for the centralized model is the United Nations. The UN has a primary website, as well as 160 country sites that each have their own marketing teams and content. If there is a new global initiative or important information that needs to be shared, new study results on malaria for example, a marketer at the UN’s global headquarters could distribute information to all of its secondary sites in addition to publishing the content on the UN’s primary site. In this centralized scenario, content is being pushed out to secondary sites from the primary site.
Sometimes, however, the most interesting, relevant, or important content exists on secondary sites. It might be the case that a primary site imports content from a secondary site, so that it can then distribute that very same content out across the broader organization to other secondary sites. The primary site in these two examples is the center of the organization’s content distribution model - a centralized content model.
Decentralized Content Model
In the absence of one main website to distribute content out to additional sites, a decentralized content model can be adopted. This means that content is shared through a peer-to-peer content sharing network, where many independently-operated sites share content with each other.
For example, a sports network may be made up of many different regional sites. If a team from Boston is playing in Seattle, the Boston affiliate may want to reuse the Seattle affiliate's coverage of the game on their own regional site. Collecting news and reporting in real-time used to be a hassle, and relied too heavily on email. If you were the Seattle affiliate, you’d have to ask if anyone in the network wants updates on the game and email your coverage to the interested parties. This process was cumbersome; you would have to check email, remember the schedule, rely on other affiliates for updated stories, make sure you were providing updates to everyone that wanted them, and then copy and paste any content shared. Today, there are ways around relying on email to distribute and reuse content in a decentralized content model.
One thing to keep in mind with a decentralized system, is that a master content repository can be extremely useful to help control the content chaos that might exist when sharing content across multiple sites and systems.
Selecting and implementing the right content distribution model is critical for success; your content model will play a role in determining what content and when content gets distributed to your sites, and more importantly, to your customers. Content production shows no signs of slowing down. The only way to streamline the process and work as effectively as possible is to make content distribution a priority.