Olle Lindholm sits down to chat with David Larsson, who works as a distribution director at Trickle. We discuss smart tactics, common ...

How to work with content distribution

Olle Lindholm sits down to have a chat with David Larsson, who works as a distribution director at Trickle. We discuss smart tactics, common distribution mistakes, and how a company should evaluate its distribution options.

This is the first part of the Trickle content distribution series. In this series, we explore smart social media tactics and other ways to make your content fly and get the attention and impact your marketing deserves.

Over to David…

What are some common pitfalls with content distribution?

In most cases where content distribution’s failing, it’s a mix of:

  • not the right people,
  • not the right time,
  • not the right message.

It’s so easy to buy media today that sometimes it can happen without giving it the required extra thought and care.

At other times, it’s disregarding the possibilities. Paid distribution allows you to have several different customer journeys/perceptions of a brand active simultaneously, but remaining clear for each group or segment. Basically connecting a key message with a key target group.

It’s such a luxury, when our social media feeds are on the brink of information overload, to add timing and finesse into the mix. To succeed, you must first do your research: define the target group, calculate the budget, and write down expected outcomes.

Of course, you also need to evaluate the tactics, iterate and optimise as you go along, which, I won’t deny, is hard work – but utterly gratifying and exciting.

What mistakes have you seen brands make in paid social?

Most advertisers lack a framework for documenting insights and optimising their marketing efforts in social media or digital marketing tools. As a result, they miss out on learning opportunities. This mistake is more common than what you might think, although you may not be able to tell it just by looking at a certain brand’s ad.

At Trickle, we approach distribution as a science. It’s one of the things we take great pride in. We often see brands “spray and pray”, i.e. shooting wide and hope that somethings sticks. That costs a lot of money, especially if the ads aren’t working!

I’d like more ad budgets that test specific assumptions, based on data and tactics. Ask yourself:

  • How many people are in our core segments?
  • How can we build relevance and frequency within them?

It doesn’t make sense to just strive for impressions and reach anymore, as long as you don’t have millions of dollars in your ad budget.

How should a company evaluate its distribution options?

The social platforms have opened up alternative ways of reaching audiences. Instead of, as in the olden days of mass media, scream the loudest we have the ability to interact with groups, subgroups and even sub subgroups.

In fact, it’s favoured both by user and platform to connect stories and content and provide a personality and offer an opportunity for genuine connection. So, in terms of evaluating options, this is something I’d be real excited about if I were on the client side.

Of course, one shoe does not fit all, and neither should it. Some businesses could in theory work with organic, earned and shared (if you’re a media outlet, for example).

For most businesses, however, it has become increasingly hard to earn reach, even among your own followers. This is due to one logical reason: the larger social platforms want to make more money. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, since we know that organic reach is rarely the deciding factor which affects the overall business goals (such as conversions, purchases, leads, etc.).

“Instead, smart paid distribution together with story planning and customised content tends to yield the best results.”

A major aspect is measurability. If the digital infrastructure is in place and implemented in your campaigns, you can deter where the first lead came from and why. More often than not, the results from the digital campaign also help to understand the offline sales funnel.

“Trickle, don’t spray”. What does that mean?

It’s related to the “spray and pray” tactics above.

Too much existing distribution is trying too hard to disrupt customers. Instead of spraying, we trickle through the cracks.

We believe in focused targeting, finding key moments and then making sure we achieve maximum impact. That’s when communication and content can go from good to great.

In practice, we work a lot with story planning. This is a tool we use to master the mix of messages, channels, precision and timing. In short: being relevant with content, for specific audiences, when the audience is most likely to relate to it.

Delivering valuable content at key moments increases both vanity metrics and traffic. More important, it increases conversions and adds value. It’s by its very nature less disrupting since it fits so well with the buyer’s journey.

What’s different about Trickle’s approach to content distribution?

Tackling the distribution tactics for the whole decision journey, rather than isolated parts of it. Our philosophy, with story planning and moments, plays a key role in this. We work with smaller, more focused target groups, sometimes at higher impression and link costs, but these are far superior in conversion rates and lifetime values.

Furthermore, we take data and tactics very seriously.

  • How can we segment audiences?
  • What possibilities are there to for example create lookalike audiences of certain customer groups?
  •  Should we even retarget people who tend to bounce when visiting the site on desktop?
  • … and so on and so forth.

One other luxury is that since we’re part of Real Agency Group, we can incorporate distribution thoughts into the content production at an early stage, which allows for a higher relevancy and connection between message and target group.

Finally, our framework for documenting insights allows us to learn how to best optimise and leverage the feedback we receive in real-time. You can learn so much about your customers when you work systematically with how you plan your media spend and analyse the results. You may even acquire unexpected knowledge, which you can use to improve your business.


When we test assumptions and document how that particular optimisation tactic did (or did not) work, we gather insights useful beyond our client’s communications strategy, sometimes even for the business as a whole. This is true both for when things work and when they don’t.

A huge part of optimisation is tackling things that aren’t yielding results, which I think is one of the more rewarding aspects of our line of work.

This is the first part of the Trickle content distribution series. You can access the second part here:

How to engage an audience and get more leads.