All too often we distribute content the easiest way, or the fastest way, or the way "we always have". If your goal is to merely distribute the content then these methods are perfectly acceptable. However, if you goal is to get the content in front of the audience, to educate and inform and share knowledge then the aforementioned methods/reasons are ineffective and in my opinion unacceptable.
I have spoken earlier in this series (Step 2) about understanding your audience so that the content you build will have an impact on them. What a tragedy it will be if you build great content but do not get it in front of anyone because you did not understand where they go for information or how they receive information. It is not hard in today's world to do this well. Between email, micro sites, CRM, intranet portals, extranet portals, blogs and forums, I am certain that you can find the right place and the right time to distribute the content.
The key to successful distribution is the audience. To be more specific, the key to successful distribution is in knowing your audience. Here are some guidelines for you to think about when planning your distribution.
Push vs. Pull OR Both
When is the right time
Is it convenient
1. Push vs. Pull Or Both
Should we send it via email (Push) or should we post it on a portal (for example) and bring the audience to the portal (Pull) Or should we do both in order to reach an audience that we know has diverse interests and behaviors. It does not matter if you are selling, marketing or training these are the key decision paths for you to go down. Again the key is in understanding the behavior of the audience. Will they open an email? Will they read it? Do they visit a common web site? Are they spending all their time in the CRM? When it comes to marketing and selling, we can ask another volume of questions related to segmentation - which is important but too much to cover in this entry. I will be speaking about this more specifically in future blogs on email marketing.
When is the Right Time
Who is your audience? What do they do? Where are they? These questions don't seem to be connected to time and yet they are, because you need to understand when the best time to communicate to your audience is. Don't market to Benefits administrators during enrollment season. Don't send a critical product announcement to your partner channel before a three day weekend. Don't send a newsletter to your customers on a Sunday night unless you know Sunday night is when they are most likely to see it. The key to good timing is to understand the audience, who they are and what they do. If you know they see clients all day and check email in the evening, then send the message at the end of the business day.
Is it Convenient
Convenience is not about you, the distributor, it is about the audience. If you consider your audience's time, then you will be likely to get more of it. Sending the message at the right time is a part of making it convenient, but the other element is content format and message timing. The content format or medium that you use to communicate can be more or less convenient, and therefore increase or decrease the success of your communication. Live online events can be very effective, but not for a sales person when held in the middle of the day. If your channel partners move quickly and have a lot of end users who need to understand your product quickly, then perhaps a 10 page document is not convenient.
Message timing is about the length of time required to understand the communication. It may seem basic, but don't send a 15 minute learning module to an audience that does not have 15 extra minutes. Send them 3 - 5 minute modules so they can digest at smaller intervals while also fulfilling their primary assignments. If the Salesforce has been equipped with MP3 players, then send them podcasts and make it simple for them to download. On-demand communications like Brainshark are convenient because they can be viewed at the time the audience is ready for the message, in a format that requires nothing special to download and then closed and opened as many times as necessary to get the entire message.
Remember that distribution is about understanding your audience. If you don't know who they are, then start to find out. Make your communication considerate and convenient and you will have a Sharktastic Day!