My marketing journey was born out of SEO roots, where the priority of content promotion has always been high in order to create the kind of accountable marketing performance that matters. In contrast, I see a lot of brands putting the majority or all of their investment towards content creation without qualitative or quantitative effort towards the promotion of that content.
An imbalance of content creation and promotion is not only frustrating potential marketing performance, but it’s wasting the investment made in creating great content. What good is that great content if no one sees it?
Below are 10 content promotion tactics that have stood the test of time and go beyond email blasts, social ads and simple social sharing on brand channels. When promotion is included in the content planning and creation process, it becomes part of a content marketing system that drives the kind of relevant, useful and engaging content customers are looking for.
1. Make Content Worth Sharing – While this seems obvious, in practice, many marketers are creating content to satisfy an editorial plan assignment like X content assets about topic Y per month vs. tapping data sources that can reveal what will actually resonate. Those data sources can be front line staff like Customer Service or Sales as well as social, web analytics and industry news. Insights about frequently asked questions, trending topics and provocative ideas can go a long ways towards creating content people actually want to consume and share with others.
2. Master the Headline – Without question we live in a fast moving world of short attention spans, Many people will only skim headlines so it is essential to make the most out of content titles. Email marketers already know this with subject lines and content marketings publishing blogs, ebooks, articles, microsites, campaign assets and social content should ensure headlines are relevant, succinct, imply urgency, are meaningful and show action. There’s a world of difference between “10 Essential Promotion Tactics” and “10 Essential Promotion Tactics That Drive Results”.
3. Optimize for Share – For those that do click through to view content, make sure what they find is easily shareable. Blogs do this with social share icons and easy to share click to tweet messages. Reports, ebooks and any other digital content can be formatted for easy sharing as well.
4. Co-Create to Activate Influencers – What better way to reach relevant audiences that are ignoring ads than through relevant industry experts? Collaborating on brand content with the right influencers can inspire creative promotion to audiences that trust individuals more than brands. With more people turning to online sources of information, influencers can add credibility and reach to digital brand content.
5. Repurpose for Exposure on New Channels – Modular content uses templates to make republishing parts of your content on different channels or in different formats much easier and effective. Doing so deconstructs more robust content to specific elements that can be published for exposure. For example, we’ve been experimenting with having blog posts converted to infographics and then posting them to industry websites.
6. Create Distribution Channels – Email subscribers, social network connections, groups, and communities are all opportunities to attract and engage an audience around your shared interests. Each becomes a distribution channel for your content where you can share useful information and also do the kind of community content crowdsourcing that inspires active sharing.
7. Optimize for Attraction – There is no substitute for being the best answer for your customers at the moment they need the information and solutions your brand offers. Search Engine Optimization is not always a robust part of the content marketing process beyond keyword research informing content topics. An ongoing effort to optimize new content and optimize existing content for better performance on search engines can provide highly productive exposure at the very moment of need.
8. Publicize – Whether you contribute editorial to various publications opportunistically or secure recurring contributions to one publication, earned media can be a great way to connect your content with audiences that are interested. PR and media relations come in many forms ranging from someone actively pitching for interviews or story ideas about your brand to creating newsworthy experiences and content that is most likely to be covered by industry publications.
9. Syndicate – Something as simple as cross posting blog posts to author LinkedIn profiles, to a Medium account or to industry association websites can help your brand’s content reach new audiences. Just be sure to link back to the source to help Google understand which to rank.
10. Create Conversations – Whether on LinkedIn or Facebook, video livestreaming is a great way to tap an existing social audience and instigate conversation around topics connected to your content. Recorded video is another option to create conversations and cross publish as Josh Nite and Tiffanie Allen have done for several years with our news posts and video on YouTube.
It should go without saying that content should be promoted, but after so many years of observing what brands are doing with content marketing, the imbalance between creation and promotion continues, especially when you consider stats like blog posts get an average of 8 social shares (BuzzSumo).
The key is to make content promotion a priority by including it in the planning process, setting content promotion goals and identifying the corresponding KPIs and by getting help with creating and implementing balanced content creation and promotion that actually works.
Outside of online advertising, what content promotion tactics have you found to be most effective?