Site design isn’t the only thing that draws people into your site. You also need high-quality content, and the right kind of content, to draw your targeted audience of users and prospects into your pages and keep them there.
In order to attract those users in the first place, you also have to promote that content, ideally through a variety of channels. Writing the content is no longer enough, if it ever was. It’s now essential to boost your content’s reach by promoting it in smart and strategic ways.
And yet content promotion is far too often nothing more than an afterthought for many small business marketers. This is understandable, if you think about it. After all, creating a regular flow of high-quality content is hard work and it might feel like “a bridge too far” once the piece in question is published.
However, if you want members of your targeted audience to actually see the fruits of your content-creating work, you need to start thinking about promotion right from the beginning—even while you’re still just planning that content.
Let’s look at the basics of content promotion and why it’s so crucial to your sales funnel.
The Multi-Channel Approach to Content Promotion
Most small businesses use a handful of digital strategies and channels to promote their content to targeted audiences. It’s important to use multiple methods for content promotion because your audience doesn’t always congregate in a single place on the web. So it makes sense to spread out your efforts to reach a wider potential base.
At a minimum, your promotion channels should include social media, email list messages, and influencer outreach. It may also include paid promotion (i.e., Facebook ads or other platform-specific ads), syndicating your best content, and repurposing content into a different (preferably visual) format for additional exposure.
Let’s look at each in more detail.
When it comes to content promotion, social media is at the top of many digital marketers’ lists. It’s free (as long as we’re talking about organic social media content as opposed to paid ad programs), and there’s quite a bit of leeway when it comes to the substance of the message.
Yet simply tweeting out a link or posting a quick share on your Facebook page won’t do you much good. Follow these tips for better results:
- Once is not enough. Most social media shares simply don’t last long. By some measures, the half-life of a tweet is only around eighteen minutes. As a result, you’ll need to share the content multiple times on Twitter, and possibly on other platforms as well.
- Schedule your shares. Look at your engagement statistics for your profile and base your schedule off those statistics. When are your followers most active? When do you get the highest engagement rates on your posts and content? Plan to share your links across one to two weeks (or possibly more, if you’re promoting a more substantial piece of evergreen content) at those times.
- Share other relevant information, too. Use social media to augment the information provided in your original content. Are there tools you can suggest or deeper dives that can explain more about the topic? Share those as part of the promotion plan.
- Be smart about hashtags. Far too many users abuse them, and audiences can become blind to them as a result. Do some research to find out which ones are used in your field and try to follow suit, without getting too cutesy. One or two hashtags on Twitter are sufficient, while multiple hashtags are more commonly used on Instagram.
- Be brief and clear. Generally speaking, the more succinct your social media shares are, the more engagement they’ll get (likes, shares, retweets, etc.).
Email List Messages
Do you have an email subscriber list? If so, get in the habit of sending out a blast message to the entire list every time you publish new content. Keep the message short and succinct, and provide both a text link and an embedded one to make sure your subscribers can click and visit your page quickly.
If you don’t have an email list yet, you’ll want to set one up and start collecting subscribers’ email addresses through a sign-up form as soon as possible. Companies such as MailChimp, Constant Contact and others provide email marketing services, including the ability to set up autoresponder sequences as well as “blast” messages (i.e., messages to the entire list).
One of the most effective ways to connect with influencers in your field is to first quote or cite them with approval in your content, then let them know that you did that.
You can also reach out to them before publishing the article in question to ask for specific input on the topic. Everyone loves to be seen as an expert, and being asked specifically for an opinion on an important issue tends to make folks kindly disposed towards the person asking for that opinion. But more importantly, it helps you augment your audience by drifting off the influencer’s community. This is especially true if the influencer shares your piece once it’s published.
Other Forms of Promotion
While these are the three most commonly utilized (and least expensive) options, you can also use other methods on occasion to help promote your content.
Paid digital ads, either through social media platforms or search engine and display networks, are usually thought of in connection with ad campaigns. However, you can also use these methods to promote individual pieces of content. Facebook and Twitter ads are probably the most commonly used forms of paid promotion, with Facebook offering a number of ways to boost your organic reach for content shares. Highly segmented targeting options help you maximize your budget and reach just the right people.
Syndication of your most popular or strongest content pieces is another option for promotion. Acquiring this kind of deal requires content that’s exquisitely well-written, free of typographical and factual errors and highly persuasive. Syndication deals are not necessarily easy to come by but if you can persuade a digital publication to republish your earlier work, you can drive more traffic back to your website.
Finally, consider repurposing your strongest content pieces into other formats. This is particularly effective when you can repurpose a written post or article into a visual format, such as a video, screencast, infographic or even a slide presentation. Repurposing your content in this way helps extend the audience and the useful life of each piece, reaching and engaging even more members of your targeted audience.
Promotion isn’t optional anymore, not if you want people to actually visit your site and read your content. Use the methods that make most sense for your brand and your prospective customers. Be consistent with each strategy you use for the best possible results.