Content Marketing

Content Distribution: A Basic Primer

Will Fleiss
Will Fleiss

Content Distribution: A Basic Primer

Content distribution is a term that’s often thrown around in marketing circles without specifics attached. It can mean many different things, so it’s important to have a handle on all the possibilities before adding it as a line item in your budget — especially since distribution has become increasingly more imperative to the success of your content. Today, given all the noise in the content marketing space, even high-quality content runs the risk of getting lost in the crowd. Hopefully, this basic primer will get everyone on the same page, and you can dive deeper into each tactic from here. Let’s begin.

What is Content Distribution?

Content Distribution is the act of promoting content to online audiences in multiple media formats through various channels. These channels can be categorized into three groups: Owned, Earned, and Paid.

  • Owned Content Distribution: This includes distributing content to web properties that belong to you, like your blog, email newsletter, social media, or microsite.
  • Earned Content Distribution: This is when third-parties distribute your content or content about you through press coverage, guest article contributions, retweets or shares, or product reviews.
  • Paid Content Distribution: This is when you explicitly pay for content distribution. Payment could take many forms, but often works on a cost-per-click (CPC) model where the owner of the content pays a certain amount every time someone clicks through to view the content.

Content Distribution Trifecta

How Does Outbrain Content Distribution Work?

Outbrain falls into the paid content distribution bucket. Our content recommendation modules are installed on thousands of premium publications around the world. Websites like CNN, ESPN, Time Inc, and the Washington Post, entrust us to serve interesting articles and videos to their engaged audience of readers, and our algorithms personalize these content recommendations to each individual consuming content on these premium publications. Marketers pay using a cost-per-click bidding system to show up in these modules.

Content Types for Distribution

There are many types of content that you can distribute. From blog posts to case studies, infographics to podcasts, and white papers to videos, your distribution strategy is only limited by your imagination.

Content Types for Distribution

Content Distribution Examples by Industry

If you’re looking for specific examples relevant to your brand’s industry, there are several case studies describing how companies have used Outbrain’s paid content distribution and the positive results they’ve seen for their businesses.

Associations and Government

  • The Singapore Economic Development Board (EDB) uses content distribution to engage senior decision-makers. ⇒ Case Study
  • Shelter uses content distribution to educate people in housing need. ⇒ Case Study


  • Nissan boosted the visibility of a new model through content distribution. ⇒ Case Study
  • SEAT built an awareness and consideration of their three flagship models through content distribution. ⇒ Case Study

Business and Finance

  • Visa distributed video to influence decision-makers. ⇒ Case Study
  • Money Dashboard targeted mobile devices to boost engagement of their content and drive signups. ⇒ Case Study


  • Babbel, the online language learning platform, drove 4.5 million users to their digital magazine through content distribution ⇒ Case Study

Fashion and Lifestyle

  • One Kings Lane, a home decor e-tailer, reduced its cost-per-acquisition by 50% with content distribution. ⇒ Case Study
  • Lane Bryant, a fashion retailer, drove traffic through content distribution that was six times more engaged than every other channel ⇒ Case Study
  • REISS, a high-end global fashion brand, achieved order values from distributing their content that was 36% higher than results achieved through display media. ⇒ Case Study

Food, Beverage, and CPG

  • Huggies reached traffic through content distribution that spends 22% more time on their site compared to search engine traffic. ⇒ Case Study


  • 8fit, a personalized fitness app, received over 30,000 downloads per month by distributing their content. ⇒ Case Study

Public Relations

  • Fleishman Hillard, a top global communications firm, turned local press into national coverage through content distribution. ⇒ Case Study

Tech and Telecommunications

  • Trend Micro, a cloud security company, reached small and medium-sized enterprises through content distribution. ⇒ Case Study

Travel and Hospitality

  • Tourism Ireland saw a 33% drop in bounce rate, and 335% increase in dwell time from content distribution. ⇒ Case Study

Content Distribution Tools

There are many different tools beyond Outbrain that can be used to round out your content distribution strategy. Here are a few of our favorites. – Email outreach is still an effective way of getting your content in front of the right people. Manually sending new content to your contacts is very time consuming, but the personal touch is still a critical piece of this outreach puzzle. Mailshake allows you to automate certain pieces of the process that will save you tons of time. – Think about all the emails your employees send everyday. They all have some kind of standard email signature that usually includes a link or two. Wisestamp allows you to make use of that space to include links to your most recent piece of content. – Making it easier for the consumers of your content to share that content is an important part of any distribution strategy. Adding share buttons is part of it, but actively identifying portions of each piece that you think people would want to tweet is taking this strategy to the next level. Click to Tweet makes doing this dead simple. – Your employees are often the most active sharers of your content, but coordinating what, when, and where to share is a logistical nightmare and can keep your content’s reach from growing. GaggleAmp allows you to hook up all the social networks of your employees to a central hub, controlling everything about the employee sharing process in one place.

In Conclusion

Content distribution encompasses many different channels and strategies. To ensure you’re promoting your content in all the necessary areas be sure to consider channels that fall into the Owned, Earned, and Paid buckets. Read examples of company’s past success, and leverage the necessary tools to help you reach your business goals.

Visit now Outbrain’s guide to online video advertising!


Will Fleiss

Will Fleiss

Will is the founder of Shared Audiences, a social media advertising company. Previously, Will served as Outbrain’s Global Head of Content Marketing. He has also led growth and marketing at health and education startups TrialJectory, Bakpax, and Knewton. Earlier in his career he received training at renowned agencies Ogilvy and BKV. Will lives in Connecticut with his wife, two girls, and their dog. He loves podcasts and his favorite movie is Ace Ventura: Pet Detective.