So you’ve written an epic blog……It’s more useful than a car in a bear chase. It’s more relevant than your mouth when you’re smoking a cigar. And it’s funnier than the bald guy out of Aqua.
All you need to do is publish it, and the sheer power of your genius will result in gazillions of reads, likes and shares, right?
Well…..maybe. But probably not.
The thing is, even for great content, you will need a content strategy for promoting and sharing it in as many places as possible. Not only will this result in getting the maximum number of readers, but it will also improve the longevity of your content, enable you to reach new audiences and ultimately increase conversions on your website.
This blog will be useful if you want to understand:
Content promotion: it rhymes with locomotion. But what does it mean?
I like Grow and Convert’s ultra-simple definition of content promotion:
“Find[ing] places online that contain a lot of people in your target audience so you can share your content with them.”
They are themselves a content marketing agency, who established themselves using content marketing. Their headline claim to fame is that they grew their blog from zero to almost 33,000 readers in just five months, using no paid advertising. Their approach was to use content promotion via communities.
What this entailed was firstly identifying who their target audience was. They did this really thoroughly – putting extensive thought into working out exactly the type of people they were trying to reach.
They then carefully thought about what information (content) their target audience was interested in, and made a point of only providing that information.
Then – and this is key – they looked for places online where their audience already were, and set about sharing useful content with them. Note, this does not mean spamming them with all your content, but sharing just the most relevant stuff with them.
They found these places by searching for them (not just via Google, but also through Reddit, Google+, Facebook, Quora and LinkedIn). Sometimes they asked questions in specialist web forums in order to find them.
Other options where your audience might be found include online magazines, blogs, or forums.
Learn the locals’ customs
When you’ve found the digital dive bars where your people hang out, the next step is to get down with their lingo and customs.
Don’t just share your content and leave it at that. Your efforts will be much more effective if you spend some time understanding the ‘etiquette’ of groups, add your own insight and analysis on other’s content, pose questions to others and make use of influencers.
Unleash the raw power of influencers
Find and reach out to industry experts and influencers - ask for their opinions and encourage them to share your blog post with their peers if they found it useful.
Influencer marketing has been a big hit in B2C – the best-known example being famous vloggers who review products. In a nutshell, their fans pay attention when they say something is good.
In B2B, endorsements are less blatant, but the principle of using a respected ‘expert’ and the rapport they have with their audience can still be applied.
Building relationships with experts in your field, and asking them for their thoughts on your soon-to-be-published blog is a good starting point. With their (hopefully insightful) quotes added in, there is a good chance they will then share the finished product, handily exposing your blog to their audience.
Make the most of content sharing and amplification platforms
Content amplification platforms will extend the reach of your content, as a paid tactic. They allow you to put your content (still retaining your branding) in front of your target audience across multiple channels, including websites, social media sites, and other properties.
- StumbleUpon - A discovery engine that finds and recommends content to its users. It allows people to discover and rate content that is personalised to their interests.
- Flipboard - A content aggregation platform that allows you to create a custom ‘magazine’ that users can find, share and subscribe to. Include a mixture of your own content and articles from external sources.
- Outbrain - A content amplification platform. Articles are promoted to relevant websites based on the topic of the article. Outbrain’s algorithm finds the best sites to position your content to ensure the maximum number of conversions.
- Perfect Audience - A content retargeting platform. Use Perfect Audience to build adverts that appear on other sites once your visitors have left your website. As part of your blog strategy, you should aim to create an advert that relates to the original article but contains a relevant content offer.
- Inbound.org - An online hub bringing together content and ideas on inbound marketing from all over the world. A great place to get feedback on what you’re doing.
Syndication, the drug of a nation
Actually, syndicated content has no narcotic qualities as such. But who doesn’t enjoy a good rhyme in a blog subhead?
Syndicated content, which is another paid service, can be seen at the bottom of website pages under headings such as ‘from around the web’. Basically, syndicating your content means that you are paying to form alliances with partners who have high traffic, therefore hopefully putting your content in front of relevant audiences and extending your reach.
Repurpose with purpose
Tweak your blog posts to make them suitable for LinkedIn, Medium or other relevant sites and you can squeeze a few more miles out of them. You don’t have to do a total rewrite – just adjust to fit. For example, if you are posting to LinkedIn Pulse, you may want to shorten your post and provide a link to the original. Some other good tips about writing for Pulse can be found here.
The secret of worthwhile content promotion on social media is to make sure that you take the time to understand what works best on the various platforms. You could just use them to share all your content, but you will get better results if you take a more strategic approach.
Instagram has high rates of user engagement with brands, but 90% of users are under 35, so this platform is probably only worthwhile if your target audience fits into this demographic. You can pay to promote your content, and there are lots of targeting options, including by job title. An obvious but-still-worth-mentioning-point is that Instagram works best when your company has a well-defined visual identity, because it will bring some coherence to your posts.
Facebook also allows narrow targeting, but is not always effective for B2B marketing; do some research first to check whether it could be of use in your sector.
LinkedIn –There is a lot to know about getting content promotion right on LinkedIn, and it is worthwhile reading an entire blog about it, such as this one. One feature that needs a special mention here though is the site’s SlideShare tool, which is great for packaging up content in an easy-to-digest format.
Twitter is a competitive platform, because of its high-volume low-value traffic. Your posts disappear fast – with a median lifespan of 18 minutes according to Moz. That might make you want to re-use each tweet multiple times, but your audience will pay more attention if you keep them fresh.
According to this useful blog, you should only spend 30% of your time creating content - and 70% promoting it. That sounds like a lot, but BabelQuest’s own experience is that promotion works – it is not difficult to double your blog views, and you could do much better than that if you put the time and effort in.
As this blog has discussed, there is no shortage of options available for promoting your content. But it is also true that there are no hard and fast rules for making this promotion successful. Unless you are awash with team members and cash, you probably won’t want to try all the options at the same time - it will more likely be a case of trying some of them and seeing what works best.
The cardinal rule, though, is to do some persona research and focus on the platforms which your audience are most likely to actually use. Narrowing your focus in this way will maximise your chance of success, and also give you more time to do content promotion properly.
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