Why content promotion is a necessary part of content marketing to attract and reach target audiences
As important as it is to create great content to articulate what your brand is about, excite audiences and generate sales, it’s pointless doing this without thinking about content promotion. In fact, it’s fair to say that this is the most important aspect of the work.
The advent of digital and social media has meant brands, businesses and individuals all have the ability to make themselves heard. And they are and to such an extent that there’s now more content being generated than we’re ever likely to view or read. This is being called ‘content shock’ – and Mark Schaefer who coined the phrase, suggested for *some* businesses, it will become so expensive to compete with content that the strategy may eventually be unrealistic.
It’s essential before simply starting to generate content that you look at the information density in the sector. A strategy is vital to not only create content but to do so informed by what is happening within the sector as well as the ease or complexity of promotion and distribution.
Any brand marketer must be more creative and tactical in terms of distributing their content than ever before. This blog is intended to support and aid the thinking required.
The basics of content promotion
Whatever the business, there’s a basic need to create and ‘own’ your audience wherever they choose to connect with you, be that via a mailing list, website or social media.
Having an engaged audience in these channels helps you get your message or content out. However, whether you’re developing a blog or posting in social media, you have to be mindful of how these channels operate – and in digital, these are apt to change regularly.
For example, 2018 saw both Facebook and Instagram change their algorithms, meaning how content is now surfaced to users has changed. For brands, these are increasingly pay-to-play channels so even if you want to reach your own audience that you’ve accumulated over the years, you’ll need budget to ensure they see what you’re creating. However on the positive side, it might ease the pressure of having to develop a huge flow of content and assets.
Online content promotion
As a brand, it’s fair to say you’re going to need to reach much further afield than just your own channels.
But you may also discover that some tactics recommended online don’t necessarily fit with brands of a certain stature or for ones that are not fronted by people – in which case brand marketers have to be more inventive in terms of content promotion.
For example, ‘comment marketing’ whereby you build authority by commenting on third party sites or guest posting where you develop blogs and posts for third party sites, suits driving traffic back to an individual’s online profile rather than a brand’s (assuming your brand is an ‘expert’ brand in the first place).
Brands will need to be particularly clear who they’re targetting with their content promotion, in which channels these users are likely to congregate and which messages are relevant to them. We’ve explored this topic further in how to create a good content strategy.
Below are tactics and approaches brand marketers can use as well as a handful of tips and tools selected by our inhouse teams to make the process easier.
The debate around influencer marketing has been raging for the past few years. The thrust of it being how authentic is an influencer if they are being paid to promote your product?
Whatever side of the fence you sit on, it’s unlikely that this form of marketing is going to disappear but instead just become more sophisticated. There are basic factors to getting it right however, including relevance to audience and reflected value.
Tip #1: Social media listening tool Pulsar allows you to not only isolate key influencers but visualise the relationships between them so you can ensure audiences are more likely to see content.
Tip #2: Tribe is influencer marketing software focusing on micro influencers and takes the hassle out of the whole process.
Tip #3: Weave influencers into the actual content creation – you can use Buzzstream to access details of influencers within a specific sector.
Blogger outreach program
Similarly, you may wish to look to build relationships with media and bloggers in order to get them to write about your brand.
Historically, this has been the remit of PR teams and the focus can be brand-wide or service/product focussed, generally requiring early access to information, exclusives or offers.
Tip #1: Contact people who have shared similar content and see if they’ll do the same for yours: you can search for the links on Twitter.
Research using social media and listening tools
Social media will play into the above tactics to various degrees. For example, you can use social channels to reach out to journalists or bloggers, sharing content or co-created content.
But you should also consider using tactics like hashtags to ensure your content can be discovered as well as social media tools to ensure it’s being seen at the right time.
Tip #1: Use Ritetag (or social media listening tools) to discover which are the hashtags users are actually using.
Tip #2: Encourage your inhouse teams to share it on their relevant social media channels like LinkedIn. Or set up Sigstr to allow you to add relevant links to inhouse email signatures.
Recycle and redistribute
You want to get the most out of any piece of content, so ensure that any content can be broken into various elements and recycled. This may not only work in the short-term, but you can also add to the original content in time and then re-promote it as ‘new’.
Similarly – and again, this is about ensuring you have an effective content strategy set in place but you may also wish to ensure you can rinse the value of your content across other channels with platforms like Slideshare, Pinterest or even Anchor.fm.
Tip #1: Similarly, you can re-promote what’s been your ‘most successful content’ or aggregate third parties comments and feedback as content in its own right.
Tip #2: Use a tool like IFTTT which allows you to set up unique algorithms, for example, if you post a picture to Instagram, it then automatically gets reposted to Pinterest.
Content Distribution Tools
And of course, there are various tools that allow you to facilitate a lot of this ‘heavy-lifting’ work, Respona being one. Respona amalgamates a variety of tactical needs including content discovery, backlink checker, author email finder and brand mention monitoring.
Paid content promotion
Most brands are used to the concept of having to assign budget to assist with content promotion and in the digital space there’s a variety of approaches that can help. Again, there’s a basic need to be very clear on targets and appropriate messages to drive traffic and ensure you’re not wasting money.
Tip #1: StumbleUpon has a paid discovery service, allowing you to reach a discerning audience.
Paid social media
We spend a lot of time on social media, so it’s key in being able to provide the targeted data and information brands need to distribute content effectively, whatever the aim. Here you’ll need to think about testing and trialling different approaches including changing the messaging, the type of campaign or when you run it to find the best approach to content promotion. Just be clear about what you’re trying to achieve before you start.
Tip #1: Edgar is a social media scheduling tool that also automates and reshares older updates.
Paid search and SEO
Paid search or search engine marketing requires a similar ‘suck it and see’ approach to ensure the right audiences are seeing your content (though this should also have been thought about pre-content creation). Negative keywords can play a large role when creating campaigns as it can help ensure your ads are only served to users with the right intent.
Tip #1: We recommend using messaging that encourages audiences to take a specific action like signing up for a free trial or downloading a resource.
Tip #2: Avoid running word-based adverts through the Google Display Network as they will underperform.
Read our case study on SEO content for Zoopla for more insight into creating optimised content for search.
Promoting content with display advertising
Display advertising allows you to put ads in a wide variety of formats across the web using an advertising network like Google Display Network. Accessed via Google Ads (formally known as Adwords) it allows adverts with banners or videos to be created and served across the Google network.
Banners ads are often used in retargeting, allowing you to chase users around the net – depending on the relationship your advertising network has with various sites.
Content distribution networks for content promotion
Content distribution networks service the reading recommendations often found at the end of articles labelled “if you like this, then read…” or “you might also enjoy…” run by businesses like Outbrain.
Some of the content may appear spammy, nevertheless you can distribute yours widely or target specific audiences.
Tip #1: Use a site like Quuu which surfaces and promotes content to influencers who’ve signed up for relevant content feeds.
Similarly, you may wish to work with third party sites of relevance, authority or with your target audience to syndicate your content.
The key to making this work is to ensure your content is a) brilliant and valuable and b) that you tackle SEO appropriately to ensure you’re not penalised by search engines for creating duplicate content.
Tip #1: Turn the content you’ve created into a Flipboard magazine to reach audiences within that channel.
In digital media, to create great content and expect it to be found is increasingly no longer an option. However, it’s an area where many brands and businesses have historically struggled simply because it’s an area that requires subsequent thought versus the pressures of creating content just to fill hungry social channels.
But in 2019, it’s clearer than ever that content promotion and distribution should be assigned the same weighting as the content itself.
If you have any further questions as to how you can promote your content further, please get in touch with our team.