Best Practice

How To Go Viral

By James Carson,

Content distribution and influencer networks



We're spending much more time and resources creating content, but a lot of it is getting little engagement. This engagement problem is often related to digital distribution.

We’re dangerously tempted to focus on the content, only to think that its life is over once we’ve pressed 'publish'. This is only half of the content strategy process, and as marketers we need to be thinking about what happens once we’ve pressed the button.

Content distribution is a key component of content strategy planning models. Once we make the content live (the point of production marked by the dotted line), it is ready to be distributed – content production and distribution are intertwined.

Through reading this report, marketers should be able to better understand how to effectively plan distribution as part of their content marketing efforts, and what they need to do after they press 'publish'.

What you'll learn

Key areas covered in the report:

  • Frameworks for creating shareable content: a review of what distributable content – that is content that is readily shared and distributed – actually looks like.
  • How publishers get traffic: the techniques that publishers use to maximise their content distribution.
  • Theories of distribution networks: creating content that has the ingredients of shareability is rarely enough – we also need to consider where it may be placed to gain greater traction and who will be sharing it
  • Finding online influencers: how can we go about finding the most influential people within our sector, conversing with them and getting them to share our content?
  • Content distribution in practice: using a semi-hypothetical example based on our own experiences, the report looks at how we may want to distribute our content through a number of channels within social media and search.
  • Advanced content distribution: new platforms and techniques of distribution away from natural distribution in social and search.

Who should read this report?

The key point of this report is that if you’re producing content, then you need to distribute it, so it should be useful to anyone who has a functioning content marketing operation.

The sections are varied and will suit differing levels of content producers and marketers. Section 2 and Section 3 are most relevant for content producers, while Sections 4-7 will be most useful for marketers who specifically want to know more about how to distribute content.


We would like to thank the following for their contributions to this report:

  • James Crawford, Managing Director, PR Agency One
  • Ash Jones and Dom McGregor, Directors, The Social Chain
  • Pete Longhurst, Managing Director, 7th Chamber
  • Andreas Pouros, COO, Greenlight Digital
  • Steve Rayson, Director, BuzzSumo
  • Justin Rees, Co-Founder, Currently
  • Sarah Wood, COO, Unruly Media

Contributing Authors


James Carson

More reports from James Carson

James Carson is the Head of SEO and Social Media at The Telegraph Media Group. is one of the leading English speaking newspaper websites in the world, reaching an audience of over 100 million unique users during May 2015.

James has been involved with web content production and strategy since the start of his career, with roles at Holiday Extras, Greenlight Marketing and SEGA Games Europe. He was also Head of Digital Marketing at Bauer Media, working on SEO and social media for international magazine brands like heat, Empire and FHM.

James is a regular industry speaker and writer on digital media and content strategy, and has previously authored Econsultancy’s guides to Native Advertising and Fashion Ecommerce and Content Marketing.

You can contact him at, follow him on Twitter @mrjamescarson and connect on LinkedIn.

Table of contents

1. Introduction

  • Who is this report for?
  • About the author
  • Contributors
  • About Econsultancy

2. The frameworks for creating shareable content

3. How publishers get so much traffic

4. Theories of distribution networks

5. Finding online influencers

6. Content distribution in practice

7. Advanced content distribution

8. Conclusion


  • Pdf SAMPLE: How To Go Viral: Content distribution and influencer networks (600 KB PDF)
  • Pdf Disabled How To Go Viral: Content distribution and influencer networks (1.87 MB PDF)

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