Content Marketing: Now What?

You know the feeling of creating the perfect blog post. You’ve done your research and put all of the pieces together. You’ve edited, double checked, triple checked and optimized the content. You spent almost as much time coming up with a clever and catchy title as you did in crafting the blog. This post is your best work yet, it’s bound to go viral, right?

Well…maybe.

Chances are, without the right promotion and distribution, your blog isn’t going viral (no matter how great it is) on its own. Yes, sometimes it happens without any extra effort, but that strategy of wishing and hoping is not going to work for you in the long run. It doesn’t matter if you have incredible content if nobody sees it! Buzzfeed Founder Jonah Peretti has said that when it comes to content marketing, 50% of your time should be spent considering promotion and distribution.

Twitter

Promote your content by tweeting about it, but don’t limit yourself to only one tweet. Send out a link to your blog several times during the day with different copy accompanying the link. You could tweet a quote from the blog, a statistic about the blog topic, how your audience will benefit from reading the content, a catchy headline, one of your thoughts about the blog or a number of other ideas. This makes your Twitter timeline fresh while still promoting one piece of content. By attaching the same link to all of these different tweets, your blog gets more opportunities to be seen by a larger group of people. Space these posts out throughout the span of a week and test out which posts and times work best. Remember, you can’t expect to tweet a link to a blog once have your web traffic go through the roof.

Content Distribution Software

Content discovery offerings such as Outbrain or Taboola can help grow your audience by distributing your content on other sites where people are already in content consumption mode. This audience is targeted, more engaged and likely to stay longer on your content. These content discovery services have networks of publishers to give your content visibility and reach beyond what your social networks can do for you. Outbrain, for instance, appears on over 100,000 online publications and blogs, serving over 100 billion content recommendations every month. While these paid opportunities are not cheap, they send high quality and targeted traffic to your content. If you decide to go this route, remember to keep cost vs. conversion in mind to see if the money you’re spending is worth the results.

Outbrain-link-placements

Email Marketing

If your company has a weekly newsletter, make sure to add a short teaser about your content with a “read more” link. This teaser should entice the email recipients to head over to your website because they want to know more. You could also send a personal email about your content to a select list of people with a link to share. This is the most direct line of communication for you to your audience: straight to their inbox. According to the Direct Marketing Association, email has an ROI of around 4,300%! Email and content marketing go hand in hand.

Direct Outreach

Do you know who the influencers are in your niche? Create an inventory of the most influential bloggers and tweeters in your industry that are engaging, motivating, well-known, impactful and thought leaders. This list can be anywhere from 50 to 500 people. Now it’s time to engage! If you want influencers to interact with your content, you have to interact with theirs. So start by sharing, commenting on and asking questions about their content. Once you have built up a relationship with your influencers, you can start to share your content with them and hope that they share it with their audience. If you have built a strong relationship, you could even email him/her a link and ask for a share (although I wouldn’t recommend doing this frequently).

Facebook

Facebook advertising  is one of the best online marketing options available, mainly for the fact that potential profit is around two to three times better than AdWords and SEM. You can use Facebook advertising to have your content show up in the News Feed of a very targeted audience based on factors such as likes, interests, location, age, gender, education, connections and more. This will expand your reach, drive traffic, increase “likes” on your page and will help improve EdgeRank to help improve your future organic marketing efforts.

Have you found certain tactics that have helped your content go viral?

Paid Promotion & Social Media Strategy

If you know a musician, say the phrase “pay to play” to them. I guarantee they will groan, complain or roll their eyes. Pay to play means that an artist is paying the club or venue to perform, and the performer will (hopefully) earn their money back if enough fans come to see them. Of course, if no one shows up…

Last week, Instagram dropped the news that users will be seeing “an occasional ad” in their feeds. Their CEO has promised that these videos will be tasteful and light, and that they’ll only be coming from brands that have a lasting relationship with Instagram. It has been pointed out that Instagram’s video capabilities will offer advertisers commercials on 150 million screens—whether those viewers want them or not.

In a similar blog statement, Foursquare has opened up a self-service advertising platform for smaller businesses. This just seems to be the newest platform for Foursquare to try to jump into the pay to play market. Foursquare’s pitch is that small business owners will be able to tell if a customer “actually walks into their store” with simple analytics. I’m not sure how simple this approach will be, though.

Is the world of social media going to a paid promotion format? It’s no secret that promoting Facebook ads with cash helps. It gets your brand in front of more people, and even targets different demographics. It works. So, logically promoting your business with Foursquare or even Instagram (eventually) will help as well, right?

Paid Promotion is a tool. It’s just like scheduled Facebook posts and Google Analytics. Clients will come to you, frantically waving their smartphones and asking why you aren’t promoting their Foursquare presence. Keep it cool; you really need to do your homework before jumping right into pay to play. Ask yourself some questions.

  • What do I know about this? Have you researched paid promotion in the past? Have you dug into how it will help that particular brand? If not, you shouldn’t start spending money yet.
  • What am I trying to achieve with this? Paid promotions are great for getting your name in front of a lot of people. However, it won’t help you engage with your current fan-base. If you’re trying to get more engagement, consider another option.
  • How much should I pay for this? Facebook allows you to boost your posts at a variety of levels with different dollar commitments. These different levels are very important based on your fan following and size.

Make sure you also know if your client is even ready for paid ads. Are they, quite frankly, punching at that level? Theoretically, a boosted Facebook post or two could help a business at the beginning of their social media life. But once the initial flash is over, it’s time to get down to the real work of engaging with your new found followers. That means interesting, appropriate content aimed at the right people. Content marketing is heavily discussed and analyzed for a reason.

So what does this all mean?

Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom wants to see his app “on every platform, on every kind of phone and tablet and wearable…” I don’t know if all the marketing content on there will be paid for or organically created. In a world where you can see ads through your watch, it will be quite important that those ads are engaging and well-crafted either way.