Content promotion is the missing link that most marketers forget about or perhaps simply don’t understand.
We have been listening to SEOs and marketers cry for nearly a decade about the importance of creating killer content. Yet I still can’t go a week without seeing a blog post about why no one notices your content. Theories that range from bad timing to boring topics. I had a client tell me that they are open to anything and everything to grow their business except content marketing. This, coming from an extremely proficient writer with over 10,000 informative posts in a popular forum. He has been producing content for too long without seeing results.
What’s the missing link? The missing link is content promotion. Creating great content is only half the battle. Getting it in front of the right people is the more important piece of the puzzle. In fact, when you work backwards and use your content promotion strategy to influence what content you create, you are a step ahead of 99% of the market. You really need to spend time…a lot of time… thinking about who you are really trying to reach, and what their informational pain points are at the perfect time to reach them, and where they go to find the information they need. Once you know the who, only than can you produce the what and figure out the how.
Want to know how to find their informational pain points? Start with your search query data in Webmaster Tools, Analytics and Adwords and see what questions people are posting. In fact, there is a great shared custom report in google analytics that pulls all the relevant questions that drove visitors to your site. Just log into Google Analytics, Click on Customization, well, you know…just follow the steps in my Look Like A Genius in Only 4 Clicks post.
So, what’s the secret sauce? How do you get your content in front of the right people at the right time? Well, that’s a combination of relationship building and content advertising. That’s right, advertising your content is a key component to getting your content in front of the right people. Most proficient content marketers will invest at least as much as they spent on creating the linkable, shareable asset as they would on promoting that asset. Where do you promote content? Well, you can start with native ads across places that people consume content. For example, Stumbleupon has a great and affordable ad network. Whether you believe in it or not, promoting your post on Facebook is probably a good idea. Especially if you know the tricks Shoemoney shares in this blog.
There are also great native ad networks that showcase content on popular news sites like NRelate, and Outbrain. There are others as well. In fact, I wrote a post a while ago about how using a small ad budget can help you figure out which content is worth investing the real time and energy it takes for the more important piece of the puzzle, outreach! The second and more important piece of the puzzle is outreach. There are lots of tactics, but the basic idea is to compile a list of ideal places to get links and shares from like key bloggers and influencers in your space, and nurture a relationship with them, so that when you produce great content they will hopefully like and share it.
Shoemoney has an excellent post I reference all the time about getting press and exposure. This is a long term play and is usually a non-scalable but compounding effort that can eventually snowball into tremendous success. You can start by simply leaving meaningful comments on relevant blogs. Most bloggers out there notice who leaves meaningful comments on their blog. More importantly, other people who read that post will want to know who you are. Community is your secret weapon. Blogs are communities led by the blogger and include you and anyone else with something relevant to share.
Did you ever notice the hive mentality on Reddit. These guys feel a deep sense of affinity to their “community” and will defend it, and police it, and connect with each other. In fact, a sense of community is what drives most successful startups, blogs, forums, and websites. People want to feel included, feel needed, feel appreciated, feel like they matter. So, join a bunch of communities. Contribute to them on Linkedin, on Facebook, on Google+, in Forums, On Blogs, and anywhere you can find like minded people. When you connect genuinely, you build an audience of fans and friends, and when you contribute, they want to reciprocate. Or you can try a shortcut for outreach that I have seen some people do.
One strategy is to identify two similar pieces of content to your own, and sending a cold email to a popular blogger saying, “Hey, I see you write a lot about XYZ, here’s a few articles I thought you would appreciate seeing.” Of course one of these is your own, and the other two are competitors or related articles. Still, regardless of your outreach strategy, you really need to know which content is worth pushing out to your existing network. Advertising your content is the quickest, simplest way to test this. Google Adwords has a little know feature that is really not meant for content promotion but can work very effectively.
“It is called dynamic search ads and basically what it does is dynamically creates ads for your site based on its content including which keywords it targets.
This feature is really meant for large ECommerce sites that don’t want to create ads for millions of pages.
It tries to show you for keywords your content would rank for organically if your site was credible enough. You write the ad description and they dynamically create the headline and choose which page to show.
You can even group your content by category or keyword to have different ads. For example you can only show a certain ad and target keywords for pages on your blog that mention PPC Advertising, etc.