Promoting your content is like bringing your military troops in front of your enemies. It’s either you lose or win the battle. Whatever the result will be, you have to prepare yourself before entering into the war of content marketing.
Part of the preparations is creating your own solid following base. This comprises your own troops and your allies. Designing your content strategy in this approach would help you build a competitive advantage over your enemies because some of them focus only on building low quality links (blog networks, low-quality guest posting, buying links, etc..) which would only bring down their chances of winning the battle (especially now that Google is targeting sites that are engaging in aggressive webspam tactics).
Content that is designed to satisfy user’s intent is what matters most in today’s online marketing. However, creating a content piece does not guarantee your victory. You have to get in front of your target audience with the content that you have and entice them to take necessary actions for your brand (signing up for your newsletter, follow you on social networks, buy your product/service or whatever conversion goals you’ve setup beforehand). This makes content promotion evenmore complicated given that there are lots of effective promotional tactics that your competitors might be using for their own content strategy.
How to Promote Your Content Using the Four Core Principles
In this post, I cover the four principles of a robust content promotion that will differentiate you from others and will certainly enhance your brand experience towards your target audience (customers and influencers).
1. Content Optimization
Content that is not optimized both for search engines and end users would leave you behind the battle. The reason is that people would not be able to find your content unless certain web elements are present on it. Some of them are:
Using your target keywords in your page title would help your content improve its performance on search rankings. However, you should not optimize it for the sake of keyword density. Rather, ensure that your content matches to the keyword you’re targeting for by satisfying your user’s intent on clicking that page.
Applying actionable page title is also one of the best implementations you can do for your content because this can entice searchers to click through your content as they see it on search results (people are now looking for “how to” content pieces rather than the “what and why” of a topic).
Google is now favoring pages with authorship markups on them as they are more likely to indicate credibility and authority on the web. Making sure you implement authorship on all of your content pieces would give you a cutting edge over your competitors. This can also increase your social following on Google+ since people can directly click your Google+ page right on the search results.
Linking to your site’s other pages would retain users on your site given that you’re giving them reason to read more of your other content pieces. Using a well-planned anchor text strategy for your internal linking would also help improve your site’s performance. Longer anchor texts are more receptive to clicks from users than the usual strategy – exact match anchor text. The reason is that it looks more natural for the users to see longer phrases/terms that link to your site’s other pages.
Substance of Content
The more useful, significant and comprehensive your content is, the more likely your users would want to share or link to it. Bloggers want to link to comprehensive content pieces on their articles as these can give more value to their readers.
Another strategy you should now start implementing for your site/brand is the use of freshness for your content. Rand Fishkin discussed this topic in his recent Whiteboard Friday. He noted that freshness is one of the ranking factors that Google is now using to give favor to content pieces that are up-to-date and high quality. Using this for your own advantage would help your content get easy wins in the battle.
You can do this by simply entering your target keyword in Google search. By looking at the dates of each content listed on the search results, you now have an idea if freshness greatly impacts ranking results in your niche.
For more useful tips, you can check out this post on Kaiserthesage on how to optimize content for search engines.
2. Alliance Building
If you are a small brand, you cannot win the game without the help of content allies. Building an allied force would not only indicate a strong brand community but would also help you amplify the reach of your content. Each social share by your ally would significantly affect your content’s performance on the web (especially if your ally targets a strong group of people whom you can become your followers in the future).
Here are some tips to build your own allied force:
- Create a list of mid-level bloggers whom you think are targeting the same type of audience as yours. Understanding how they write their content (length/form) or how they interact with their readers would give you a feel of what approach you’ll be using to penetrate to their community. A list of bloggers on a spreadsheet that also contains their contact details and/or some information about their blogs is a good starting point to alliance building.
- Outreach to them with the intent of giving them value four times of what you’ll be getting from them (link/share).
- Consistently engage with bloggers and provide valuable content on social platforms. Promote others’ content pieces on social. Show appreciation to someone who shares your content (whether or not he’s included in the spreadsheet).
- Include other bloggers’ content asset (article, slide presentation, video, etc..) on your own content piece. Always give attribution to the content creator by linking to the external source. Pitch the blogger and let him know that you mentioned him in one of your posts.
— Venchito Tampon Jr. (@venchito14) October 1, 2013
- Promote other bloggers’ content by creating a newsletter. Nick Eubanks is doing a great job in listing content pieces in his weekly newsletter (Nick’s Links). He is able to promote others’ content assets and build a solid following base (allies) as well.
So where’s the content promotion by building your allies? If you started to build relationship with the blogger, it would be easy for you to promote your content. Asking for a link/share to someone you’ve started to build relationship with would not be as difficult as to asking for a favor to a stranger. This would increase your email response rates every time you do your outreach.
3. Influencer Outreach
It’s difficult to reach out to influencers because they have their own agenda and they get tons of emails in their inbox daily. They do have their own spam filters to determine whether or not your email has the right get a reply. This makes it difficult to be on their radars (and get them following you on your circles).
Before you write personalized emails to your influencers, you need first to identify them (to lessen the difficulty of finding influencers who are not related to your niche). Who are they and why are they worth following to?
How to Find Industry Influencers?
This is one of the effective methods to find influencers who are working in the same niche as yours and have a huge social following on Twitter based on social authority.
Type in the niche that you are targeting on the Followerwonk’s search bar and sort the results based on social authority. The reason you want to sort it by social authority is that you want to get a list of influencers that have a decent amount of Twitter followers and who get a lot of retweets in their recent tweets (this is how social authority is calculated).
Getting in touch with highly social influencers would help your content to get in front of a larger audience and obtain tweets and/or retweets over time.
Type in your industry in the search bar of GPlusData and you will see the top 10 Google+ influencers (based on the number of followers and the engagement they’re doing with their circles.
I’m sure that there’s at least one solid group interview in your industry. Find those group interviews by doing Google search and typing any of these search queries:
- “your industry” + share their most
- “your industry” + share their best
- “your industry” + group interview
- “your industry” + expert interview
You can also use this to find influencers in your niche. Just type this search query (inurl:/list site:Twitter.com + “your industry”) and you’ll be able to see great list of influencers.
Pages that rank higher on search results
Type a keyword on Google search. You will see tons of results (from page 1 up to the last page). Use the search settings and filter the results per page by 50 or 100 so you when search for a keyword, you’ll get plenty of results right on the first page.
Get all the needed information to reach out to the owners of those websites listed on the first page. Collect their contact information, country where they are living in (so you know the best time you can send them emails) and form/type of content they usually publish. (You can use the same spreadsheet I shared above, just rename the document title with “influencer outreach”).
When you do your outreach to influencers, you can apply any of the above tips on alliance building. The most important tip in the list is to give value to bloggers you want to get connection with.
Let’s look at what you can offer to people.
What value can you give to mid-level bloggers and/or influencers?
Create an audio version of a group interview
There are tons of group interviews you can see out there. Some of them are long form text-based content which is boring to read (especially if there are no quick links on it and you have to scroll down the page to read each answer). You can use this as your angle to pitch to bloggers who do group interviews. Tell them the reason why it’s important to have an audio version of the group interview (it would be easy for readers to just listen to every answer in the interview rather than read each of them).
In exchange for your service, you can ask for a link pointing to your latest content piece (which should be relevant to the topic of the group interview) or a description about your website or any of your offerings (product/service).
I’ve found this value on Pointblankseo’s list of creative link building. There’s an audio version of the group interview which you can download and listen to it in your most convenient time.
Transcribe a video or audio
Offer this kind of help to bloggers who created content in a video or audio format. This angle would increase your response rates when you pitch them given that most of the bloggers don’t have much time to create a text version of their content asset.
Create an infographic version of an existing content piece
Turning a content piece into different versions is a cost and time efficient strategy given that you don’t need to do a lot of research to find resources/data for the content (which would give you more time to do your outreach).
It’s important that you find an existing content asset that is already ranking for related industry terms/keywords that you targeting. The reason is that earning links/shares for your infographic would be easy given that you can pitch the linkers of the existing content piece and ask them if they can link/share to its infographic version.
You can find a high-performing content asset in your industry by getting on the radar of authority sites. Adding their blogs on your RSS feed (Feedly) would help you track pieces that are gaining natural links and are receiving positive feedbacks/comments from the community.
Offer to promote their service through your mailing list
If you have a weekly/newsletter or you are using a mail service provider, you can make this as an angle of your pitch. Ask your prospect site owner if he wants to promote his product/service through your newsletter/mailing list. Mention in your email template that you have a large number of email subscribers and promoting their offering(s) would give a boost to its promotion.
It’s important that you don’t ask immediately for a link/share to your content piece. This would only give them a reason to ignore your pitch. Wait for a few weeks to ask them for a favor.
Help Authorship Markup
If you’re working as an SEO professional or you know someone who is an expert in the field, you can offer to help bloggers implement authorship markups on their sites. This tip came from Jason Acidre’s post about alternative approaches to improve blogger outreach. You can also check that out after reading this post.
To obtain higher response rates for your outreach, you have to include in your pitch the importance of installing authorship markup on a site (increase in click through rates (CTRs), improve their site’s search rankings as Google is now giving favor to brand/site with installed authorship markups). By mentioning this in your pitch, it will surely catch their attention, seeing that there’s a value in it – enhancing their site’s performance.
To find blogs that haven’t installed authorship markups, simply do a Google search (type in “your industry” blogs or inurl:/blogs + “your industry”) and build a list on a spreadsheet.
Asking bloggers to become your affiliate marketers
David Sottimano wrote an awesome post explaining the perception of bloggers today towards pitches from SEOs. In his article, he surveyed less than 100 food bloggers and asks them the first question, “Do you make money for your blog”. Eighty-five percent of the respondents said yes to that question, which only means that there are several blogs that earn money through selling affiliate products, or advertisements (e. g. Google Adsense).
By asking a blogger to become your affiliate marketer, you give a chance for your product to get a review about it or be included in the resource page of the site. Jon Cooper wrote a product review for Buzzstream in one of his posts. It does not only describe the features of Buzzstream as an outreach tool for link builders but also make it as a useful resource for those who are looking for guides for blogger outreach.
You should include in your pitch the value that they’ll be getting from promoting your product. You can mention the commission rate that they can earn once a person buys the product using the referrals on the site (product review or inclusion in the “resource” or “useful links” page). To encourage your blogger to accept your offer, you can increase the usual commission rate an affiliate marketer earns from your product (e.g 3 % to 6 %).
The advantage of using this approach is that it is not a one-time promotion you commonly use as an angle for your blogger pitches (e.g. product review), which means that the blogger can continuously include your product in one of his content distribution efforts (e.g. guest post). This would bring your product into its longer promotion on targeted sites given that product reviews are sticky when they are included in a “tutorial” page/category or the product itself is embedded on an advertisement above or below the fold of the page.
Using the above list of approaches for your outreach can significantly affect the results of your content promotion campaign given that bloggers would not ignore benefits/values that you will offer to them.
4. Content Distribution
Consistently promote your content piece into your different content distribution channels would help your brand/site to become known to your target audience. Here are some content distribution channels where you can mention/promote your content piece:
If you have built authority in your niche, you probably receive interview requests from bloggers, where you can take advantage of. Reference your content on the interview where it is appropriate (the topic of the interview is thematically relevant to your content piece).
Participate on high-traffic online communities such as forums and blogs where you can mention your content as a resource. Don’t spam every blog post on authority sties but add value to each conversation so you can get clicks going to your site from blogs where you contribute insights to.
Never underestimate the power of guest blogging as one of your content distribution channels. By creating a high quality post on someone’s blog and including your best content pieces on it, you do not only get a link and traffic from the target site but may also increase your conversions (which would vary depending on your goals).
Tip: Use long tail keywords on your guest posts. The moment your post rank high on search results for a certain long tail phrase, the chances of being mentioned by other bloggers and brands on their sites/blogs are higher.
I wrote a guest post on Search Engine Journal few months ago about building a strong brand identity. This post is still ranking for the keyphrase “how to build a brand identity”. This also got some attention from brand owners particularly those who are searching for industry guides (how-tos) to use as external sources for their content.
Last month, the post was mentioned in one of the top (offline) newsletters in Minnesota, USA which brought brand exposure for my site.
This is only one of the opportunities that are possible to attain when you contribute high quality guest posts (articles where people can learn and get value from).
Do you still remember the list of influencers on your spreadsheet? Use them to promote your content.
Below is an email template that you can use to promote your content to social influencers (make sure you offer an awesome content).
Hey [Site Owner],
[Personalized this part]
By the way, I published a group interview this week entitled, “The 38 Creative Ideas I’ve Ever Seen” – it’s a compilation of creative content examples from famous content marketers including Rand Fishkin and Neil Patel.
Here’s the link to the interview – [Url]
I know that your readers/followers would love to see this great content piece.
Please let me know your thoughts,
There are several niche-specific newsletters where you can contribute your content to. Contact the newsletter owner and give him a shot of your content piece (you can use the above approaches to give value to these newsletter owners).
Promoting your content is not as difficult as you think it is. You just have to connect with the right people and give them value more than what you can get from your content promotion.
Feel free to add your content promotion techniques below. Email me at venchitotampon [at] gmail [dot] com if you have any questions or suggestions for my future posts.
If you liked this post, kindly share it to your circles/networks and follow me on twitter @venchito14.