Creating quality content is only half the battle. You also have to promote it.
Many companies fail at this step in their content marketing strategy. They build content, click publish, and maybe share articles once on their social media. Unfortunately, this strategy won’t bring in the visitors you hope for.
Without content promotion, also known as content distribution, your amazing blog posts, podcasts, and videos won’t achieve the results you’re looking for. However, if you promote your content, you’ll start to see more traffic to your website, more shares, more leads, and ultimately more sales.
To quote Andy Crestodina, "It’s not the best content that wins. It’s the best-promoted content that wins.”
There are many ways you can start promoting your content. Each content promotion tactic has its strengths and weaknesses. Here, we’ll cover eight crucial promotional tactics and help you consider which ones are best for your content strategy:
1. Make Your Content Easy to Share
You can use website add-ons that let your visitors quickly share your content. For example, articles on the QuickBooks blog feature icons at the top of posts that users can use to share content on social media platforms with a single click.
Without nifty and convenient tools, your audience will have to copy the website URL, login to social media, manually create a post, and paste the URL into that post. Often times, the manual process is such a hassle that visitors won’t share a post, even if they want to.
However, there are little ways to help your viewers along, such as:
- Better Click To Tweet (WordPress plugin) allows you to embed a large, tweetable quote in your articles. With just one click, your viewers can share that quote on their Twitter accounts without having to write a tweet themselves.
- Sassy Social Share (WordPress plugin) enables you to place social media buttons on various parts of your blog post. Users can click on these buttons to share your post on just about any social media platform.
- The Save Button (for Pinterest) provides a single button that lets your viewers instantly bookmark your content for later use.
There are various other little tools like this; you just have to look for them. While the most important aspect of making your posts shareable is creating valuable content, you shouldn’t stop there. You should make it a breeze to share your content.
2. Send Your Content to Your Email List
One of the easiest ways to promote your content is to email your list and let followers know that you published a new post.
As an example, Trello regularly emails its subscribers a list of articles from its blog. The email includes big buttons that link directly to blog posts. This notifies Trello fans about new articles and gives them the chance to share it on social media.
The reason this strategy works is that your email subscribers already trust your brand. Not only are they interested in consuming your content, but they’re also more likely to share your content.
Add content marketing emails to your content calendar; plan not only when your content will go live, but also when you will send links out for different pieces of content. When doing this, keep a few best practices in mind:
- Don’t spam your subscribers. Be careful not to overload inboxes with constant requests to share your content. Each audience is different and you will have to test how often you should email your list.
- Write a valuable email. Don’t just link to your content. Explain why you wrote the content or what problem the content will solve for your readers.
- Make it easy to click to your content. Don’t bury links to your blog posts deep in your emails or include a ton of links to various places. Create a few clear links to relevant blog posts.
3. Share Your Content on Social Media
— Looper (@looper) June 22, 2020
One reason brands create social media accounts is to promote their content. As an example, the brand Looper, which creates content about movies and TV shows, promotes its own content via Twitter.
Social media is a natural place to promote content, since many consumers follow social media accounts to keep up to date with their favorite brands. Once you complete a piece of content, such as a blog post, share it on your various social media platforms.
- Post across all your social media accounts
- Share content quickly and at optimal times
- Remember to share content in the first place
When using social media, consider balancing your posts with non-promotional posts; share content from other sources or reshare something a customer posted about your brand. Most importantly, remember to be professional and follow social media etiquette. Even if your brand voice is a little snarky, never be rude to your audience.
4. Ask Influencers to Share Your Content
When you only apply for jobs you're overqualified for, you miss out on the type of on-the-job learning that comes with a stretch position. https://t.co/xafq2QhDAu
— Harvard Business Review (@HarvardBiz) June 22, 2020
Not every social share is created equal. Some individuals have massive social media followings and are trusted as authorities in their industries. You can ask these individuals to promote your content, which not only gives you a much wider audience, but also grants you a stamp of approval from an influencer.
In the above example, Ryan Robinson, who has more than 24K followers, retweeted an article from the Harvard Business Review. It’s a nice win-win situation. Harvard Business Reviews gets more traffic to its article and Robinson gives his audience a valuable piece of content to consume.
Typically, you would reach out to the individual via email or private message on a social media platform. As you can imagine, it’s often difficult to convince an influencer to promote your content. Here are some steps you can take to maximize your chances of winning their favor:
- Make sure your content is valuable to their audience. Influencers have their own audiences to tend to. It doesn’t make sense for an influencer to retweet a blog post about a cake recipe when their audience wants to read about investing in stocks.
- Write a valuable email. If you’re emailing several influencers, you will probably end up using a template. Do your best to personalize it and add value to the influencer. Don’t make it an email that solely benefits you. Instead, ask yourself, “What’s in it for the influencer?”
- Mention the influencer in your content. One of the easiest ways to get a social share from an influencer is by linking to them in your content piece. If you reach out and tell them that they’re included in your article, there’s a higher chance they will share it.
- Build an on-going relationship. The ideal situation is to have an influencer that you regularly talk with—someone who becomes familiar with your brand and regularly shares your posts. It’s time-consuming to invest in relationships, but it’s often worth it.
5. Syndicate Your Content
Syndicating means republishing your content on other sites, such as publications and news outlets. Oftentimes, even mainstream websites such as HuffPost, The New York Times, and CNN republish content from platforms such as Medium.
You can identify and approach various sites to see if you can syndicate your blog content there. However, be careful to read the site’s rules. Some places accept guest posts but do not accept republished content.
Usually, websites explain whether or not they accept republished content. As an example, SocialMediaToday’s Committed Contributor Program reads, “you are able to republish any relevant content on Social Media Today from your website.”
Content syndication opportunities give you a chance to get your content in front of more people. Generally speaking, you can syndicate content cheaply or for free. However, make sure to carefully read any guidelines before syndicating content. Some sites stipulate that you have to submit a mix of original content and republished content or ask that you republish their content on your blog.
6. Share Your Post on Content Communities
There are various content communities on the web that aggregate content in one place. The classic modern example is Reddit, a place where you can find content communities and interact with posts by reading, upvoting (or downvoting), commenting on, or submitting pieces of content.
Niche content communities typically have loyal groups of readers that are familiar with your industry and are eager to consume and promote the latest content. The key to using these smaller communities is to find one related to your industry and participate in discussion.
For example, Hacker News is a website where you can read, upvote, and submit content on startups. When used correctly, content communities form a powerful platform from which you can promote your articles.
It’s worth seeking out a Facebook group, LinkedIn group, or subreddit that you can regularly post to. No two communities are alike. Some are inactive and others have few members or have very stringent rules for linking to content. However, if you find online communities that love your content, you will always have a group of people who are eager to consume and share what you create.
7. Use Paid Social Promotion
You can promote your blog posts by buying ads on social media that link to your content. In the example above, Moz runs a Facebook ad that links to one of its blog posts.
This is one of several strategies you can use in paid social promotion. You will have to consider multiple variables before trying this method, such as the:
- Target audience
- Social media platform
- Piece of content to link to
- Return on Investment (ROI)
Brian Dean from Backlinko once shared a strategy on retargeting visitors to his blog using social media. To follow his steps:
- Create an ad on Facebook that links to your content.
- Adjust the settings to target users who have visited your website in the past two months.
- Double check the price (which should be relatively inexpensive).
- Run the ad.
8. Research Distribution First, Write Second
As you consider how you want to promote your content, you should be aware that it’s possible to use distribution for content ideas; instead of creating content and then finding a way to distribute it, consider working the other way around. First, find a great channel for content promotion and see what’s trending. Then create your content.
As an example, imagine you run a fitness blog and discover that the subreddit r/Fitness is an effective way to promote your content. You can visit the subreddit and discover currently trending topics.
For instance, perhaps the most popular post at a given time asks the question, “Do I need a ‘rest cycle’ before I switch programs?” You can write a blog post that answers this question—and even include the audience’s language. Perhaps you title your article, “6 Reasons Why You Need a Rest Cycle Before Switching Programs.”
Using this method ensures your content will be relevant since it answers a question that your target audience currently has. You also know that this particular subreddit is ready to distribute any content that answers their questions or solves their problems.
By researching distribution before writing content, you are sure to create content that targets your audience’s pain points and increase the chances that your content will be distributed.
Create a Content Promotion Strategy That’s Right for You
Every company faces unique circumstances. Yours is no different, so you have to choose the content promotion strategies that work best for your situation. There are many variables to consider, such as:
- Your budget and manpower
- Your target audience
- The type of content you create
- Your industry
- The scope of your existing network
Regardless of what content distribution methods you use, it is essential that you promote your content. By itself, posting content is not enough to guarantee traffic.
Fortunately, you can easily incorporate content promotion methods into your existing content marketing strategy. Add a few promotional tactics to the end of your content calendar. This will extend your work cycle, but over time the process will become second nature to you.
With the right content promotion strategies, you’ll get more value out of each piece of content and start seeing better results.
This article was written by Compose.ly writer Salvatore Lamborn.