However much you enjoy writing and creating content, chances are you’d rather not be doing it simply for your health. Some people hold the firm belief that if you create awesome content the people will come but this isn’t really the best way forward. Content promotion is necessary to boost your content marketing ROI and ensure a wide audience. Jordan Kasteler wrote on Search Engine Land, “There’s a definite line between getting content off the ground and shameless self-promotion.” Just remember, sharing is caring.
The first thing to remember when promoting content is that you need to start with good content. You need to be proud of the work that you’re promoting so that you feel more at ease with the process. If you don’t want to share your content, is that because you don’t think it’s good enough? But, of course, the burning question is ‘what is good content when it’s at home’?
Good content is:
- Helpful because it solves an audience problem
- Compelling because it get’s attention
- Easy to read with an interesting headline and text that’s broken up by images and sub-headings – people scan read on the internet
- Inviting because readers want to take in the whole article and learn more.
So how do you promote your awesome content?
One of the first things to consider when writing content for the web is SEO, or search engine optimisation. The purpose of SEO is to help Google (other search engines are available) understand what your content is about so that it can rank it accordingly when people search for terms relevant to what you’ve written. The trick is keyword research. Find out what people are searching for and use the same language. SEO is not the same as keyword stuffing. There’s no need to worry about keyword density, just use the keywords where they fit naturally within the text.
Promoting content is often based around sharing. You post your blog post on social media and want people to share it with their network, creating a wide audience for your content. Other web publishers will only want to link to and share good content. When content is shared on social media, the amplified reach leads to increased website traffic and lead generation, and better SEO. You should make it easy for readers to share your content by having visible sharing buttons on your website.
When using social media to promote your content you should experiment with different sharing times, and different communities to see what works best for you. If your audience is on Facebook rather than Twitter, that’s where you should be focusing your energy. Don’t forget to thank people who share your content, you don’t have to reply to each one individually, especially if you have a lot of shares, but a simple ‘like’, +1 or ‘favourite’ will show your appreciation and may mean those people are more inclined to share your content again in the future. Some other aspects to consider with social media are the advertising opportunities, which may be suitable for promoting a whitepaper or lengthy report, maximising that all important ROI.
Pin images from your content to Pinterest, the alt tag from your image is automatically the description for your pin (this can be amended), which saves you time. When someone clicks on your image on Pinterest, they are taken to the page on your site. Pinterest is a credible way of driving traffic to your blog.
Sharing your content on sites such as Delicious and StumbleUpon helps your audience to find your posts by their interests. You should avoid only sharing your own content on these sites though as that’s not considered best practice.
Google’s own social platform is starting to take off and although your audience may be on other social platforms currently, Google+ isn’t going anywhere and it’s important for SEO. Once it becomes more widely used, investing some of your content promotion time on Google+ now means that you’ll not have to start from scratch and have to play catch-up in the future. Google+ allows you to share publicly or to specific circles. If you’re not currently using Google+, take a look at why you should.
You can share your content as updates on LinkedIn as well as to LinkedIn Groups as part of discussions. LinkedIn is more suited to B2B marketing, or building your influence. Some groups have many thousands of members who are all interested in your particular niche. You should really be an active member of these groups before you start posting links because you could be considered a spammer. Once you’ve become an influencer within certain circles people are more likely to want to read what you have to say.
Tweeting about your new content is not shameless self-promotion, it’s an important way to let people know about your new article, whitepaper, interview, etc. The important thing to remember is not to spam. Only around 20% of your tweets should be self-promotion; tweeting your link 8 times a day is spam. Use the other 80% of your tweets to share content by others that you’ve found useful. You have to ask why people would bother to share your content if you never share anything written by anyone else. Social is supposed to be social afterall.
If you’ve created some killer content you might want to keep it all to yourself, it’s your baby. However, your best content could make a perfect guest blog on a leading website or blog within your industry niche. Guest blogging gives you the chance to get your name onto an influential site that may have many more readers than your own, and can drive some curious readers back to your own website. The link back to your blog can also help your SEO.
Submit to like-minded communities
Similar to social bookmarking sites, ‘social voting’ communities exist within niches, such as travel blogging. These sites allow you to share blog posts for others to read and vote for. Again, it’s not best practice to just share your own content on these sites.
An email newsletter is a popular way to share your recent and popular blog posts with your contacts. Those people who have subscribed to your newsletter want to hear from you and so are likely to be predisposed to reading your content. To make your email subscribers feel extra special and to show them your appreciation, you could consider including additional tips, tools or resources related to your blogs that are only available to subscribers. These tidbits could also be used to entice people into subscribing to your newsletter. Why not give them a reason to sign up?
Summing up, if you want people to read and, hopefully, share your content then you need to promote it. There are various channels that you can use including social media, guest posting and email newsletters. Not every method will be suitable for each type of content or for your specific audience. The key is to understand your target audience and use the channels that best reach them. This may take some experimentation and tweaking until you find what works best for your business. Content creation is just one part of content marketing, content promotion is a stage that just cannot be omitted from the process.
Please share your preferred methods of content promotion in the comments below. It’s interesting to learn what works for different niches and types of content.