By Tom Whatley published March 16, 2016

Content Distribution Strategies and Tools to Drive Traffic


You’re certain that the content you’ve created is valuable, so why are you not seeing the traffic and conversions?

Often the problem is down to distribution. Sure, we execute the usual activities: Share to our social platforms, send out an email campaign, encourage our employees to share. But what about new visitors? Where are they?

This problem is usually caused by the lack of a proactive content promotion strategy. We do things that will nurture our current audience, but when building new relationships, we often shy away.

I’m going to share several ways that will help you to generate fresh traffic. They involve some groundwork, but in terms of getting short-term gains they’re invaluable to any content marketing strategy. Not only that, but they’ll have far-reaching effects toward building strategic relationships and your SEO goals too.

Engage in other communities

When we talk about community marketing, we automatically think of the ones that we’ve built ourselves. We’re quick to forget about the thousands of communities already out there with engaged and active users with whom you can build influence and drive toward your own content.

Each community has its own ecosystem and way of doing things, but the overarching pattern can be distilled into three principles:

  1. Identify active communities that have a large audience of your target personas.
  1. Get involved, contribute to discussion, and become a familiar face.
  1. Provide value in the form of a discussion or thread, with a link to your original content (when permissible).

I’m going to run through several approaches and platforms that you can tap into today to generate traffic for your next blog post.


The popular question-and answer-platform has been talked about to death, but I have a unique spin that you may not have tried.

First, make sure you have a complete profile. Make the first 50 characters of your bio count because that’s what Quora displays in your posts. Include your brand name or job title.

As you follow and track topics that are relevant to your business, answer questions with your relevant, previously published content. Or seek questions relevant to your latest blog post. I recently wrote a blog post on content distribution so I searched for that term:


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I found someone who asked, “What are the best websites for content distribution?” Instead of just answering with a link to my original blog post, I added some advice – giving value up front.


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I then found the person who posted the Quora question on Twitter and sent a quick message to see if my advice was what they were looking for and if there was anything I could elaborate upon.

In most cases, the questioner up-votes my response, which I believe gives the answer more weight and displays the post above those with a higher number of up-votes.

As you’ll see, proactive outreach is key to a comprehensive content promotion strategy. In this case, it helps cut through the noise of other posters, which is especially important for more popular questions.


Reddit is a hard beast to tame, but one that can deliver a huge spike in traffic. I posted a blog post awhile back and saw this spike in traffic:


The first step is to find a subreddit that fits your industry or, at the very least, the nature of your content. Run a search or check out this list of most-popular subreddits organized by popularity.

Pay attention to the rules and become familiar with them. Moderators are ruthless, and a spammy approach won’t work here. Make time to contribute to the discussion every day for a week or so, then post your content.

As I did with Quora, go beyond just posting a link. Give some value in the post itself and include a link to the original content. Each subreddit has its own rules – some, for example, require you to post the entire article into the post. The key is to follow the rules closely.

Tap lesser-known influencers

Break down influencer marketing into multiple categories. You can tap into all the people in your market who are actively interested in your content.

BuzzSumo is my favorite tool for finding lesser-known people. Let’s say I want to promote an article on UX principles. I search that term and find the following:


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The results are ordered by number of shares. I click on “View Sharers” for one article and see a list of Twitter accounts:


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I export this list to a CSV file and select whom I want to reach based on number of followers, average retweets etc.

Then, I use to load these Twitter accounts, find their email addresses, and reach out to them. To first build a relationship, I usually send an initial email asking if they would be interested in my new article. Then I email them with a link:


Republish your content

Many media sites have huge audiences that are hungry for new content and are willing to republish existing content.


This publishing platform is hot. Thought leaders from several industries, including VaynerMedia CEO Gary Vaynerchuk and Basecamp CEO Jason Fried, are getting involved.

While there are potential pitfalls in using Medium to republish content, my strategy sits nicely in between republishing and repurposing. Instead of just reposting an entire article, I write about the original post’s topics in broad strategic terms. You also could expand on a portion of the original post.

LinkedIn Pulse

Pulse works in a similar way to Medium. You can use your proprietary content as the basis for a new post on Pulse or republish your original content article in full. Some people opt to post a teaser on Pulse with a link back to the original.

If you see potential in LinkedIn Pulse, it’s worth testing different approaches and seeing which gets you the most engagement and traffic.

Media outlets

Bigger media outlets like Huffington Post, Elite Daily, and Mashable are all examples of large publications that accept republished material. Once you’ve found a publication that is a good fit for your content, you need to craft a great pitch to entice the outlet to republish your content. Make sure to encapsulate what your content has that the media outlet’s audience wants. (Get more tips from Sumo’s Sarah Peterson on her approach to republishing.)

If you are concerned about the SEO impact of duplicate content, the best fix is to include a canonical link at the top of the republished article to indicate to Google which version is the original.


These techniques and approaches still work incredibly well within competitive and saturated markets. If you’re operating in a more niche market, you’re even more likely to propel your content past your competitors.

Each technique will change with time, but I believe they always will be strong methods of promoting and distributing your content.

What content promotion techniques are you testing at the moment? Where have you seen the most success?

Please note: All tools included in our blog posts are suggested by authors, not the CMI editorial team. No one post can provide all relevant tools in the space. Feel free to include additional tools in the comments (from your company or ones that you have used).

Want to explore how to get your content in front of and shared by influencers in your industry? Download the CMI tool kit, The Complete Guide to Influencer Marketing: Strategies, Templates & Tools, which walks you through a simple 10-step process and provides three customizable templates.

Cover image by Joseph Kalinowski/Content Marketing Institute

Author: Tom Whatley

Tom Whatley is a content marketing specialist with seven years’ experience in the digital marketing space. He's the creator of 7 Day Content Marketing and shares actionable content marketing strategies and techniques for entrepreneurs on his blog.

Other posts by Tom Whatley

  • Minerva Copywriting

    Great article, Tom, and some good tips. Reddit has always seemed a strange one to me; what is your opinion on the quality of the traffic it generates? Do you find a lot of engagement or is the bounce rate high/time on site low?

    • Alice Thwaite

      Hi Minerva – Reddit works well for us. It’s important that you are publishing niche quality content which is interesting for the readers there though.

      • Minerva Copywriting

        Thanks Alice. It’s definitely something we’ll have to re-address in the future and try to incorporate into our own strategies. All the best.

  • rogercparker

    Thanks for not only listing resources, but sharing tips and examples for each one!

    • Tom Whatley

      My pleasure Roger, glad you found it useful 🙂

  • Georgia Mihalcea

    Good points. Thanks.

  • Hannah Tecott

    Hi Tom,

    Great list of techniques here. Huge fan of BuzzSumo so glad to see it made your list! Another tool to add to the list would be Content Director ( to enhance your content distribution. It’s a complete content marketing solution with a new Promote feature that allows you to leverage smart, organic content distribution to maximize your reach. You can read more here: Would love for you to check it out!
    Cheers, Hannah

  • Egan Montgomery

    Thanks, Tom. Very useful info for an aspiring content marketer!

    • Tom Whatley

      Glad you liked it Egan, keep learning and executing. It’s a fun area to get involved in!

  • Hannah Tecott

    Awesome! Let me know if you have any questions! 🙂

  • Olga

    Solid list 🙂 I would also add Triberr. I’m just trying it out at the moment, but I hear on every corner how great of a channel it is for content distribution!

  • Claire Carradice

    Thanks for sharing. There are at least two methods you’ve listed that I am going to try…

  • Jade Loussedes

    Thank you for the article Tom! I love it – especially “Tap lesser-known influencers” section, explaining your process was extremely helpful to me. I’m new to the content marketing platform so I’m going to try some of these.

  • Eric Vadeboncoeur

    Great tips on this list, thanks!