Guide to Successful Content Promotion [2019 Update]

Content promotion is a key piece of your overall content marketing strategy.

What’s the point of creating a great piece of content if you don’t take the time to promote it? With eleventy-billion things on the internet (and counting), it takes a bit of flag-waving in order to draw attention to your new piece of content.

When it comes to content promotion, HubSpot says you should spend about 40% of your time creating it and 60% of your time promoting it. The more effort you put into content promotion, the better your chances of it gaining traction with your audience.

However, most of us spend lots of time planning and creating content, and then forget the essential step of distributing it.

group of young people looking at smart phone and smiling

How to Promote Your Content and Get More Views

Before we talk about the how and where of content promotion strategy, let’s start with the what.

Creating great content with a purpose is where it all begins. If what you’re putting out there is irrelevant, overly sales-y, sloppy, or off-brand, you can Tweet it all day long and it still isn’t going to get you any traction.

Content can take many different forms. It’s often written content such as:

  • Blogs posts or articles
  • eBooks
  • Downloadable PDF
  • Social media posts
  • Whitepapers
  • Case Studies

Or visual content like:

  • Images
  • Infographics
  • Videos
  • Slide presentations
  • Animated GIFs

Tips for Creating Content Worth Sharing

So how do you create great content? That’s kind of like asking – how does one become a magical baby dolfin?

Ok, not exactly – but telling your brand’s unique story isn’t always easy. If you ask me, creating great brand content is an art. For sure, it’s a long and complex topic with countless books, ebooks, blogs, and webpages written on the subject.

But let’s start with a few key points:

Create with Purpose

Every piece of content you create should have a purpose. Decide whether your image, article, video, what-have-you, will inform, create awareness, build trust, or entertain. Providing value is first, selling is secondary.

Write for Your Audience

It’s critical that every piece of content you create is targeted to a specific buyer persona. A buyer persona is a detailed portrait of your ideal customer which includes demographic information such as:

  • Age range
  • Location
  • Gender
  • Annual income
  • Occupation
  • Family status (married, children, etc.)

And other important insights such as their:

  • Goals
  • Pain points
  • Needs along the buyer journey
  • Preferences
  • Perceptions

This information helps ensure that your content is is relevant to the kind of people you’re trying to reach – i.e., your potential customers. Here’s an example:

Mompreneur Megan – Mompreneur Megan is a middle-aged woman, married with children, and lives on the southeastern coast of the U.S. (coastal Carolinas,  Virginia, Georgia). She’s a stay-at-home mom who’s building an ecommerce business in her free time. The combined family annual income is $87,000.  She’s trying to grow her business and looking for guidance.

This is an incomplete profile, but it illustrates how you can start to build a vivid picture of your clients.

Most businesses will have multiple buyer personas. Once you have developed your personas, you can create content with a specific reader in mind.

Write a Great Headline

To click or not to click – most people will decide based on the headline alone. That means you must make it enticing and clickable, not click bait-y.

A good headline:

  • Appeals to your target persona
  • Provides value or a benefit to the reader – it should hint at whey they will get out of reading the piece
  • Is emotional – headlines with positive sentiment perform best
  • Sparks curiosity in the reader – sometimes known as the “curiosity gap”

Marketers have also studied how many words and characters a great headline should have and what type of words get the most clicks. CoSchedule has created a handy list of 180 power words for writing emotional headlines.

I swear by these two free tools for testing out your blog or email headlines before publishing.

digital video camera set up with red lights in the background, capturing digital video for marketing content

Make it Visual

Studies show that ads with images and videos command much higher engagement than text ads. The same goes for organic content.

It makes sense – humans are naturally visual people and we lock onto images. A big block of text, on the other hand, and we glaze over like a Krispy Kreme. Your blog post should include multiple high-quality, compelling images or videos that are relevant to the subject matter of your post.

¡Muy importante! – Make sure you have the right to use your images. Copyright infirngement is no joke. You’ll want to either create your own, buy stock photos, or use images licensed under Creative Commons. You can also find royalty-free images on sites like Pexels and Unsplash.

Make it Easy to Read

If that statistics are right, there’s a good chance you’re skimming this article.  People tend to scan an article to see if it contains the information they need before reading deeply.

Writing for the web is not like writing for print. You’re going to have to bend some of the rules you learned in school about writing. To make your blog posts scannable and easy to read:

  • Use shorter sentences and shorter paragraphs
  • Use bulleted lists
  • Break up your text with relevant subheadings
  • Break up your text with images
  • Don’t use tiny or overly stylized fonts that are hard to read
  • Avoid jargon and “fancy for the sake of fancy” – simple language is better

Make it Easy to Share

 

pinnable image example from travel blogger operationgone
Example of a pinnable image from my travel blog at Operation Gone.

Add social sharing buttons to your website so readers can share your articles via email, Facebook, Twitter, email and more with a few clicks. It’s easy to add sharing buttons to your website via your CMS or through a plugin like ShareThis.

Not just for recipes, Pinterest is actually one of the largest search engines in the world. Top 5, in fact!

Characteristics of a pinnable image:

  • Beautiful and attention grabbing
  • Portrait orientation – 600 x 900 pixels or 735 x 1102 pixels (2:3 ratio)
  • Includes text with the title of your blog post, product, or article
  • Website URL – Include your website’s URL or logo for brand awareness and attribution
  • Bonus points: Consistently use your brand colors and fonts

Add a Click to Tweet button to promote short, quotable snippets of your thought piece.

two people at desk looking at laptop discussing content promotion strategy

Content Promotion – How and Where to Share

So you’ve got your awesome piece of content and you’re ready to break the internet by unleashing it to the masses. Now what?

If you’re going to be successful at content promotion, you need to create a plan and stick to it. Assign content promotion to a dedicated member of your team or outsource to trusted marketing partner.

Content promotion requires a multifaceted approach. Remember, everyone consumes content in different ways. Don’t assume that just because you shared it on Facebook, everyone in your audience has seen and read it.

Identify Core Networks

Identify the social network or networks where your target audience spends the most time. You don’t have to be everywhere.

Write for the Platform

Each platform is different. Write a unique post for each one and tailor your images to the platform as well. Consider the following:

  • Twitter captions are short and sweet; Facebook and Instagram captions can be a bit longer
  • Use hashtags sparingly on Facebook; fair game for Twitter and especially Instagram
  • Instagram posts must be visually captivating (the less ad-like, the better)
  • LinkedIn is best-suited to sharing links to articles. Instagram does not support in-caption link-sharing.
  • Facebook bridges the gap – great for sharing both links and images

Share Consistently on Social

You created your content, and you shared it once on Facebook. Done. Right? Oh, so wrong.

Only about 10% of your audience is likely to see any given post on Facebook or Instagram. To maximize post reach, promote each piece of content multiple times over a few weeks.

Create multiple variations of the post using different captions and share them out over time. You can use questions, calls to action, quotes, and other snippets from the article to mix things up. For example, you can highlight different items from a “listicle” over weeks to keep the content fresh.

Use a scheduling tool like Gain to make posting easier. With the tool, you can schedule multiple posts for Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all at once.

closeup of computer screen with gmail open email marketing content distribution tools

Send to Your Email List

If you don’t already have an email list, start building one now. Email is still a wildly effective way to communicate with your audience. It shouldn’t come as a surprise that 99% of consumers check their inbox every single day.

And email is the king when it comes to ROI, boasting a bodacious $44 earned for every dollar spent on email marketing.

Getting started with an email marketing provider like MailChimp, Emma, or GetResponse is easy and there are package types to suit every business.

Promote every piece of new content via email. Send an email to your subscriber list and share your latest blog post, infographic, or video.

Use Calls to Action

The most effective way to get people to view and share your content is to ask. Did you know that Pinterest pins with a call to action get 80 percent more shares? And Tweets that ask people to retweet them get 51 percent more retweets than those that don’t.

Use calls to action in your social media posts such as “Click to learn more”, “Tag a friend”, or “Comment your favorite pizza toppings below!” to encourage sharing and engagement. Make sure it fits with the subject and audience, of course.

Involve Your Employees

Actively ask colleagues and employees to share your content with their networks. To test the results, you can create a unique URL via Google’s campaign builder and share it via slack or email with your team.

If you quote outside sources, tag them when sharing on social media, or send them a DM with the link and a nice note asking them to share. It’s good exposure for them, and good exposure for you.

Share to Your Personal Networks

Of course, you’re posting your new piece of content to the company’s professional LinkedIn and Facebook pages and other preferred social platforms. But don’t forget to share with your personal networks as well. It’s a super simple but often overlooked content promotion strategy.

Run Targeted Social Ads

Don’t be afraid to invest in paid ads to promote your content. Social ads for Facebook and Instagram can be specifically targeted so that they reach only the right people. What’s more, you can gain exposure to a new audience, not just your current fans.

With targeted social ads you can:

  • Control how much you spend
  • Ensure your dollars are only spent on getting your content to a relevant audience
  • Gain valuable data about which ads perform well and which don’t
  • Stop the ad at anytime

Republish your Content on Other Channels

Amplify your content’s reach by publishing it again on a third-party site. This “syndication” strategy leverages the power of established platforms which may have more traffic and higher domain authority than your own.

When considering which channels to republish your content, choose a platform that appeals to your buyer persona. Possible platforms include:

  • Medium.com
  • LinkedIn Pulse
  • Reddit
  • Digg
  • SlideShare
  • Industry blogs or forums

Collaborate

Even before your content is created, you should be thinking about how you will promote it. Collaboration is one of the best ways to encourage sharing of your content. This could include reaching out to influencers, quoting expert sources, brand partnerships, guest posts, knowledge roundups, and more.

Always offer to link back to a contributor’s site in your post. Then once the piece is complete, encourage everyone involved to share it via their own social networks, website, email, etc. You can find collaboration opportunities via Facebook or LinkedIn groups, or within your professional network.

Overall, content marketing strategy is a mix of high-quality content, an engaged audience, and diligent content promotion skills. Whether you’re just getting started or managing a team, it can be a bit overwhelming – but there are plenty of resources out there to help. If you have any questions about content marketing or content promotion, feel free to ask me! I love talking shop…

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