The power of third party content distribution

In content marketing we talk a lot about owned, paid and earned media.

  • Owned media – your own content that you create and publish on your own channels such as your website and social media platforms.
  • Paid media – your own content that you pay to promote through advertising
  • Earned media – is an unpaid brand mention when your content is shared or published by a third party.

PR Newswire has a great graphic that gives an overview of the three types of media and how they work together.


An important piece that I believe is missing from the earned media component of the graphic is third party sharing of your content on their own platform, or what we at contentgroup call third party content distribution.

This is an increasingly important way to reach your target audience.

Brian Kolb a contributor to the Content Marketing Institute says that “Earned media gives you third-party credibility – someone who isn’t paid by your company believes enough in your products, insights, etc. to mention, quote, or promote your brand’s content.

“Earned media also enables your brand to reach a wider audience – an audience that may not know about you but can benefit from your content, products, or services.”

When it comes to government communications, owned and paid media, along with the media coverage component of earned media are tactics that are executed effectively.

However, third party content distribution is something generally not considered but should be in order to maximise the reach of your target audience.

contentgroup has developed a number of third party content distribution approaches as part of various communication strategies to promote government programmes, this includes the Alive and Well farm safety campaign that we implement with SafeWork NSW.

Adding this tactic to your communications programme will require some planning upfront but if done effectively it will provide considerable benefits.

Here are the three implementable actions to help you create a successful third party distribution network.

1. Build a comprehensive list of potential third party content distributors

In order to build a list that will be effective in reaching your audience you first need an understanding of who your target audience is and where they get their information from.

It is helpful to survey your audience and ask where they spend time-consuming content. Perhaps it is on their Industry Association’s website or they receive newsletters from a specific type of trade media.

Once you know where your audience consumes content, do your research on the third party. Find out what channels they use and what subjects they write about. Do they send out a regular newsletter that you could contribute to or do they write blogs that your story might be perfect for?

Once you have done your research include your findings in your list so that when you contact the third party you can tailor it specifically to them using the information you know about their platforms.

For the Alive and Well campaign, we did considerable research into the platforms that farmers used to consume content and the organisations they engaged with. Country Women’s Association, NSW Farmers Federation and Farm Safe Australia are just a few examples of the organisations that are on the list.

2. Develop a third party content pack

When connecting with third parties and asking them to share your content it is extremely important to make it as easy as possible for them.

Heidi Cohen emphasises this in her blog How to influence the influencers writing “While influencer relations can help you achieve your business objectives, understand that you need to put yourself in the influencer’s shoes and provide incentives for him to work with you.”

A content pack can be an easy way to get third parties to share your content.

The Alive and Well third party content pack includes a campaign overview, blog on different farm safety topics, images, videos on farm safety case studies, graphics sized specifically for social media and examples of tweets and Facebook posts.

As we all know from experience we are much more inclined to share other people’s content when a lot of the work has already been done for you.

3. Encourage subject matter experts to become guest bloggers

Is there a subject matter expert that can assist in strengthening your message?

A great way to get experts involved in sharing your content is by asking them to create content for your platform. Publishing content from an outsider perspective will help to endorse your programme and provide more value for your audience.

Before embarking on finding and encouraging guest bloggers to create content for you it is a good idea to have a basic strategy prepared on how you want your guest blogging to work.

The team at Curata has written an excellent piece on how to implement a guest blogging program.

Currently for Alive and Well we are working with a number of different people that are coming on board as guest bloggers including a quad bike safety expert from Tocal Agricultural College. This has worked well as the audience is much more likely to respond to a subject expert rather than a government programme.

While the thought of using third parties to promote your programme may seem a little bit daunting at first, with a little bit of time and good research you should be well on your way to reaching a much wider audience.

We would love to hear your success stories for third party content distribution so send them through!

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