How to Perfect Your Earned Video Distribution Strategy

We’ve talked about owned and paid distribution and the effect they can have on your video’s success. While they’re the most common ways to distribute your video, earned distribution can be one of the most powerful weapons in your distribution arsenal. Are you taking full advantage of it?

What Is Earned Distribution?

Earned distribution is when others share your work for you. Though you may work with other companies or influencers to share your posts, earning this distribution means you’re not paying them to do so. Earned distribution also means you’re not sharing your content on any of your owned properties.

It’s arguably the most important form of video and content distribution — and also the hardest to get. You can’t control earned distribution as easily as you can control your owned and paid, and you can’t control its potential reach. But get picked up by the right partner and it could make all the difference in the success of your content.

And that’s part of the magic of video: It’s a lot easier to share than other types of content. Whether you make a video about your specific product or service, or your industry as a whole, it’s more visually stimulating and engaging than a typical blog, meaning websites, bloggers, and influencers are more likely to share it with their own audiences.

Top 5 Types of Earned Distribution

Let’s take a quick look at just some of the most common types of earned distribution you can use to help boost your video’s performance.

  1. Social Shares

Social sharing is probably the most popular type of earned distribution there is and the easiest to come by. Most often, it stems from your owned distribution: You post your content on your social media channels, and your users share it on their personal pages.

You can even strategize a little beyond that. When you create an amazing video, reach out to influencers in your industry and ask them if they’d be willing to share your video on their social media pages. You could return the favor, giving them a shout-out or linking to their content on your blog or website. This sharing, though prompted, can add credibility to your brand and give you a strong social boost.

  1. Product Reviews

While you can pay someone to review your product, the best reviews are those that come organically. Paid reviews are great — and sometimes necessary — but they can be insincere and transparent. Instead, send your product or a free trial of your service to an influencer. Let them keep it for free in return for a product review, or simply provide prepaid shipping so they can return the product. Then, let them post their honest review. If you’ve got a great product, you can be sure about the glowing review you’ll receive and the positive word of mouth that comes along with it. Plus, they’ll enjoy the boost in their view count and the positive association of being backed by a company like yours.

  1. Traditional PR

Depending on the video you create, your brand can benefit from more traditional public relations promotion. If you’re launching a new product or service, updating features, or promoting a new partnership, announce it via press release with a link to your video and submit it to any relevant trade publications. Small business associations, tech and startup websites, and even magazines sites might publish your video and introduce you to an audience you hadn’t even considered! Just be sure to include a newsworthy angle.

If you’re in a more niche industry, like food, fitness, healthcare, or professional services, this form of distribution can be especially impactful.

  1. Non-Sponsored Blog Posts

Like other forms of distribution, you can pay for sponsored posts, or you can also earn them. Ask bloggers or influencers to write up a piece about your brand or product and then return the favor. This is a common tactic used in nearly every business and industry that gains you not only a bigger audience, but stronger search engine optimization (SEO) and organic page ranks. If you can, ask for them to embed your video naturally in their blog post.

  1. SEO and Page Rank

This is the most uncontrollable factor of all, but oh-so-crucial! While embedding your video on your website or blog is an owned form of distribution, its effect on your search engine ranking is earned. This is a ranking that can change from day to day and one that’s influenced both by your owned efforts, as well as your earned efforts. Getting published on industry websites, being reviewed by influencers, and earning backlinks are all major contributors to your SEO, so work on all of these at once to really boost your earned distribution. After all, 93 percent of online experiences start with a search engine, so you want to do everything you can to end up on that first search engine results page.

Do You Really Need Earned Distribution?

OK, so the answer to this question isn’t black and white. Whether or not you really need earned video advertising and distribution depends on a number of factors, including your goals, your video, your resources, and the performance of your other types of distribution.

Sometimes, you absolutely need earned distribution. If you’re a relatively new or unknown brand, if you serve an especially niche market, or if your earned and paid distribution efforts just aren’t paying off, you need earned distribution. Things like strong SEO and organic social shares are crucial to exposing your video content to a new audience and spreading digital word of mouth. Sometimes, you just can’t ignore that.

Sometimes, you can skip (only certain) intentional earned distribution efforts. Video in particular has the ability to garner earned media whether you try to or not. If you see your views and reach growing without any particular effort, that means you’ve made an incredible video for a product or service with high demand. Congratulations! That doesn’t discount earned distribution altogether, it just means you don’t need to necessarily push it as your top priority.

Depending on your industry, very specific earned efforts (like influencer outreach, for instance) may be unnecessary. Imagine trying to reach out to influential Instagram stars in the world of stem cell research. It’s a tough sell, and you shouldn’t form forced connections where there aren’t any.

But it’s free, so why not try? Ignoring earned distribution totally may not always be a recipe for disaster, but it takes a very low amount of effort and has a high amount of payoff. Why not give it a try? It’s one of the last steps in your video marketing strategy. Something as simple as an email or an organic social media mention could forge a relationship that could bring in huge dollars. Isn’t that worth the effort?

Laura Cueva

Laura Cueva