content promotion guide 2019

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…

tips for better website and content marketing

8 Things That Will Instantly Make Your Website Better

In today’s marketing world, your website is the North Star of your marketing strategy. All other efforts should orbit around and lead people back to your site.

When someone does land on your company’s website, you have about 5 seconds to capture their attention. In this time, you need to clearly communicate what you do, why you do it, and for who. The best websites are well rounded – visually beautiful, easy to use and with a clear, compelling message.

Essential Website Design Tips for 2019 and Beyond

If your site isn’t there yet, don’t worry!  These tips will help you optimize your website content and design for user experience, SEO, driving traffic to your site, and more…

tips for better website and content marketing
Make your website do more for your business.

Mobile Responsive Design

You probably already know that optimizing for mobile is extremely important. You might even be reading this on a mobile device?

At least 80% of internet users own a smartphone, and users spend an average of 69% of their media time on mobile devices. No joke! Google has even started penalizing sites that aren’t optimized for mobile devices. So, the need for responsive design is more critical than ever.

Together with web development partners at Carolina SEO Consultants, I help companies create mobile responsive sites that look great and communicate value.

Focus on Benefits, Not Features

Have you ever heard the saying “Features tell, benefits sell”? It’s true!

While customers might use features to compare two similar products, what they really care about is how your product (or service) makes their life easier.

Your website copy should focus on what problems you solve for your customers, what tasks you help them accomplish, and how they will feel after using your product or service.

Customers care less about “Advanced safety restraint systems” and more about “Keeping your family safe”. They care less about a “Dual-core 1.4 GHz ARM v8 Typhoon processor” and more about “Surfing the web, faster”!

Learn how I use the Hero’s Journey and StoryBrand frameworks to tell a story of success on your website – a customer-center that focuses on the positive results of your product or service.

Speak Directly to your Audience

You probably know all about creating detailed customer personas. You’ve spent a lot of time nailing down exactly who your target customer is. You know their age, gender, geographic location, income, interests, where they hang out online – all of it. Now that you’ve figured that out, you can speak directly to your target audience.

Replace “we” and “our” with “you” and “your”.

Instead of “Our clients see great results” try “You’ll love the results!

By using second person, or “you”, you’re speaking to the customer one-on-one and allowing them to see themselves at the center of your success story. At the end of the day, customers care less about how great your brand is, and more about what’s in it for them.

Another thing – leave the industry jargon out. They don’t get it and they don’t care. (Remember that thing about benefits, not features?)

Reduce Loading Time

Slow page loading drives users nuts. It may even cause them to jump ship. Section.io reports that just 5 seconds of page load time can cause more than 20% of users to bounce. Whoa. The good news is, having faster pages can increase your website’s conversions by as much as 16.5%.

So how do you achieve a faster site? Google’s free PageSpeed tools will analyze your site, give it a score, and then offer suggestions for improving your load time on both mobile and desktop.

One quick fix is to compress all images using a tool like compressor.io before uploading them to your site. You can also set all external links to open in new browser windows or tabs. And if you’re redoing your site completely, a good web development team will make site speed a top priority.

Create Clear Calls to Action

Sign up now. Get started. Let’s chat. Calls to action like this are a critical part of driving and measuring conversions online. We’re so used to seeing call-to-action buttons, we many not even think about it. But make no mistake, they are super important!

There’s no point in capturing your audience’s attention, getting them all excited about your product, or building trust if they’re not sure what to do next. Make it easy for them to call you, schedule an appointment, or BUY your product.

Calls to actions should contain simple action phrases, and they need to stand out from the rest of the design. If your call to action is “Contact us” or “Get in Touch” it’s best to embed a contact form directly on the page, rather than forcing the user to open an email program in order to send you a message.

Include Social Proof

More and more business takes place directly on the web, without ever meeting your customer face-to-face. But that doesn’t mean people don’t need to vet you or build trust in your brand.

Social proof shows off the great things others have said about you before they book a call, sign up for your email list or click the ‘Buy Now’ button. Social proof in the form of testimonials, client or partner logos, case studies, and more work to reassure potential customers that you actually do what you say you do.

Some experts suggest sprinkling testimonials throughout your site rather than assigning them a specific location. You can add them to the bottom of the home page in a carousel feature, tuck them in around product pages, or put them on your Team page (you do have a Team page, don’t you?). People may not have time to click on a testimonials page, but they will notice testimonials as they cruise through your site.

Blog Consistently

If you want to develop a strong online presence, you need more than just a cool website – you need a website that can be found. Blogs are one of the top ways that new users find their way to a website, if they include the type of content that your potential customers might be searching for.

SEO keyword research can help you figure out what keyword phrases to focus on, and a site like Answer the Public is great for coming up with topics of interest. I’m a big fan of blogs not only for their SEO potential, but their ability to “connect us with our tribe” (thanks Jeff Bullas) and build a loyal following.

Regarding blogs, HubSpot says:

Companies that published 16+ blog posts per month got about 4.5 times more leads than companies that published zero to four monthly posts.

and

Content marketing gets 3X more leads than paid search advertising.

How often are you currently publishing to your company blog?

AnswerthePublic.com – This grumpy old man will help you come up with great topics for your blog.

Make it Easy to Read

Keep readers on your site and engaged with beautiful design – remember that 5 second rule? Along with your clear, compelling message, your site should be easy on the eyes.

Make sure your site is easy to read by including plenty of white space. Whatever you do, avoid huge blocks of text. Long, unbroken chunks of text make people glaze over and zone out faster than you can say “website bounce rate”.

Break your text up with strong headlines and sub-headers. Sub-headers (known in webspeak as “H2s”) are important tools for SEO. They also make your site easy to read or skim and find information quickly. Headlines grab the reader’s attention and tell readers – “Hey! This is important!

Other tools for great web writing and design include:

  • Bullets and numbered lists
  • Short sentences
  • Short paragraphs
  • Color and text variation for keywords, headlines and buttons

If you’re ready to improve your website’s design, readability and sales driving power (or if you still have questions), I’d love to chat!