You could be a long-time, decorated writer who knows all the tricks for penning valuable, shareable content. But if no one sees or reads it, then you’re wasting your time.
And that’s the $64,000 question: How do you promote your work?
By now, you can rattle off the standard answers off the top of your head. SEO content writing. Promote it on social media. Find other sites that will take your content. Reach out to thought leaders.
But sometimes that’s not enough. Article-Writing Co reached out to six digital marketing experts and posed the same question: What are some innovative ways to promote your content? The only requirement for our panel of experts was that they had to give us some outside-the-box ideas, the type of tactics you won’t find by simply Googling the topic of content promotion. Their answers might surprise you.
Vice president of customer relations for Elite Email, a Toronto-based email and SMS marketing firm
Some digital marketing experts recommend including your best (or even your latest) work in an email newsletter. Olch says it’s all about where you place those blog posts.
“I don’t recommend having your articles as the focal point of your email newsletter — you’ll lose subscribers that way. The reason is because it’s not typically what people are looking for in a newsletter. They’re usually reading your newsletter for what’s new, product news, what your company is up to and things like that. Articles and blog posts pertain to certain people and a different audience.
“However, a good way to promote your content is to include your best or your most recent blog posts within your newsletter in a separate section. A separate section that includes the headlines of your last few articles and a link to those posts will do the trick. Now, you’re providing information to people who are interested without alienating everyone else.”
Vice president of marketing at Digital Relevance, an Indianapolis-based digital marketing company that helps other businesses and sites earn web traffic and conversions
Vice president of audience for Relevance, the first online magazine dedicated to solving content visibility challenges
Pollitt says his preferred way of promoting articles is through earned media. The process he detailed below helped drive more than 9,000 leads from one link on one article in only 18 months.
“There’s three major ways a brand can promote content – broadcasting (owned media), distribution (paid media), and coverage (earned media). Together they represent the content promotion ecosystem. Ultimately, using all three channels at the same time will drive the best results.
“However, if I had to choose one, it would be earning content coverage from journalists and/or influential bloggers. They tend to have massive reach and their audiences trust them. Here’s how to go about getting your content covered and cited by the media:
- Identify your target persona
- Identify the media outlets they frequent online
- Identify the most popular content on those outlets
- Identify the writers of that content
- Develop content (ebook, infographic, video, widget, tool, calculator, etc.) that is extremely helpful and speaks to the target persona. Make sure it is worthy of being written about on the media outlets you’ve identified and aligns with the most popular content already there.
- Pitch the journalists and influential bloggers the content you’ve created for media coverage. (Bonus: if you can get them involved in the creative phase and get buy-in on the project, they’ll not only write about your content, but they’ll promote it, too)
- Make sure you have clearly defined KPIs and a way to measure success for the campaign. If it’s an ebook being promoted, then having it behind a form on a landing page to drive leads is a good way to measure the success of the campaign.”
Chief strategist for the Content Marketing Institute
Senior contributing analyst for Digital Clarity Group
Rose is a firm believer in ongoing campaigns, then blasting that content everywhere you can. And don’t forget about press releases, he says. They still have value.
“When thinking about content marketing, it’s a good idea to put as much effort into promoting the wonderful things you’re creating as much as you are creating it. For larger (read investment) pieces of content, think about creating ongoing campaigns to promote and feature this content in everything you’re doing. This could include, perhaps, a paid ad or search campaign, outreach to social influencers and even press releases. That’s right, a press release. I’ve seen (some) of the best content marketing pieces get the most traction because the company put effort into getting it covered by the press.”
Founder and author of Mind Mapping Software Blog
Frey is all about visuals. As he writes in a blog post for the Content Marketing Institute, ” … it’s getting harder to grab and hold the attention of potential customers and stakeholders.” That’s where visuals enter the picture.
“Visuals can most definitely be used to promote your content. Images that are taller than they are wide play well on visually-oriented social media channels like Pinterest and Google+. On these channels, tall images take up more screen real estate and tend to command more attention. Square images are appropriate for Instagram. Even Twitter has gotten into the act, displaying images attached to tweets. A variety of research studies show that tweets with images attached tend to get more engagement.
“You can create a variety of visuals today, using simple online tools like Canva. Image quotes are popular. So are colorful visuals that echo the title of your post, using either simple graphic designs or photographs. Simple diagrams and mind maps can also be used to generate visual interest, as long as they’re readable.
“The trick is to design your visuals to appeal to and engage your audience. Creating visuals to promote your content should not be treated as an end unto itself. Rather, they need to enhance your content, to evoke curiosity or an emotion that compels the reader to want to learn more.”
Vice president of social media marketing for Convert With Content, which helps small businesses with web marketing strategies
Frasco says social media is still a great way to promote your content, only she has a suggestion to get more traction out of it: break up your posts in chunks.
“When it comes to blogging, the best way to promote is through your different social channels. I break up each of my posts into four or five bite size snippets. That way I can share the same article in different ways and at different times. You can’t expect to reach everyone at the same time; this extends the life of a post.”
Casel is one of the top web designers in the industry, but he’s also a content marketing expert who uses a variety of tactics to generate leads, then convert those leads into sales.
“First, I’d start with some basics (because it’s surprising how many people don’t do these things):
- Send your best content to your email newsletter. That’s the best way to bring people back to your site.
- Post to all of your social media profiles.
More innovative ideas include:
- Re-post content pulled from your archives. This stuff is still valuable to your audience, so don’t post it and then forget it!
- Mention/link and/or quote other influencers in your blog posts, and then send them the link when it’s published. Chances are they’ll share it with their fans.
- Become active in online and offline communities, speaking events, etc. and include mentions to relevant blog posts.
Jake Rigdon is the executive editor at Nimble Media, a Toronto-based content marketing firm, and at Article-Writing.co, a content management firm. Rigdon has more than 25 years’ worth of experience as a writer, copy editor and manager. You can reach him on Facebook, LinkedIn, Google+, Twitter or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org.