Are You Using These 33 Ways to Promote Your Content That Most Marketers Overlook?
The latest content marketing trend our PR agency is seeing is the move toward less content creation and more content promotion. Having counseled clients, such as GNP Company, The National Theatre for Children (NTC), PeopleNet and RBA, through content marketing campaigns, and developed a few of our own for the Maccabee agency, my team often hears that big sigh of relief after a piece of content is marked "final." You're done! It's ready for primetime! Or is it?
In that rush of adrenaline to immediately promote your new e-book or video ASAP, content marketers risk the opportunity to be creative with promotion. In 2017, let's all agree to maximize the ROI of our writing efforts by focusing equal efforts on distribution. Here's how:
33 Content Marketing Promotion Ideas
For content marketers seeking to generate leads from that new blog post, white paper, case study, event, infographic, research report, or webinar, here are 33 ways to ensure that your content is found, downloaded, clicked-on and consumed.
If you're new to content marketing, read "How To Get Started with Content Marketing" now.
- Landing Page - Maximize the web visibility of your content with a dedicated landing page. Landing page basics include: 1) Does your page look great on a mobile device (where many of your visitors may come from)? 2) Is there a clear call-to-action (CTA), as in, do visitors know exactly how to access your new content offer? 3) Is there persuasive text? and 4) Can visitors SEE what they'll get for entering their email address? Show them a photo of your content offer—and bonus points if you explain it in a video with the author. Here's an example of our client NTC's e-book landing page.
- Website – In addition to a dedicated landing page, make sure your latest content offer is easy to find on your website through simple navigation or, better yet, on your homepage with a CTA button. This may seem a bit self-evident, but, in our experience, can be easily overlooked in the rush to start content promotion.
- Resources Library - Amp up your web devotion to content marketing. If you've produced a handful of content already, create a dedicated web space for your thought leadership pieces. Here’s an example of how HubSpot maintains a library of its marketing resources.
- Blog - If you maintain a blog, craft a post (or two) that relates to your new content offer with a call-to-action button at the end inviting readers to your landing page. Expand on hot button issues, recap key statistics or trends, or continue the narrative with new facts or tips.
- Launch Email Campaign – You are six times more likely to receive a click-thru from an email campaign than you are from a tweet, according to Campaign Monitor. Email is vital to a content marketing campaign. So, on the day of launch, be ready with an email campaign that targets the potential customers for whom you have email addresses—encouraging them to check out your new content offer. As well, make sure you have marketing automation such as HubSpot, Marketo or Pardot set up to ensure your new leads receive prompt Thank You emails. One final tip: Be sure your emails are error-free by always proofing for typos and testing links.
- Future Email Campaigns - In addition to your initial, out-of-the-gate email blast, consider how your e-book or white paper could be incorporated into future email campaigns. Don’t forget to put in a plug for your new content offer in your company e-newsletter, if you have one!
- Email Signature – We help our client GNP Company produce an annual corporate sustainability report. Each year, members of the communications team add the words, "Check out our Farm to Fork Report," to their email signatures to help spread the word.
- Marketing by the Author - If there's a byline on your content, make sure the author serves as an advocate. Encourage them to share a link to the landing page on their social channels. Another common tactic is for the author to share an article about the content offering on his or her LinkedIn profile through LinkedIn Pulse.
- Customer Communication - While your new content may be targeted to potential customers, consider whether your new expertise could also add value to your current customers. If so, you could share the gated content with them or, to make it easier (since you already have their contact information), share the actual PDF or Word document of content in advance of it being distributed to outsiders.
- Sales/Internal Champions - Make sure your entire sales department and other internal champions of your content know when it launches. Send a dedicated email with encouragement for your employees to share it with relevant contacts, and on their social media channels. Insider Tip: If you have a large employee base interested in promoting your content, explore a social media service like GaggleAmp or PostBeyond that enables employees to share approved brand content with their personal social networks.
- Earned Social Media Posts - Here's an idea: Set up a series of social media content that can be posted to your company or brand social channels. Move beyond the standard “We launched a new e-book” post, and challenge yourself to talk about the content in three, four or five different ways. Plus, if you craft evergreen posts (that is: posts that are not time-sensitive) you can pepper them into your social media content calendar for the next few months or even year. Social media services like Edgar can help you reuse your best social posts to bring in more views.
- Dedicated Social Profile Headers - You have control over the images on your social media profiles, so why not promote your latest content piece in a dedicated header graphic on LinkedIn or other company profile?
- Paid Social Media Ads - Don't forget that boosting social media posts about your new content offering can help increase visibility with new audiences. We recommend that our clients advertise on at least one of their social channels to their target market. For business-to-business (B2B) campaigns, we almost always recommend LinkedIn and Twitter advertisements to reach business influencers and decision makers. For business-to-consumer (B2C) brands, Facebook and Instagram tend to be the most powerful channels. Here’s an example of how our client Just BARE chicken promotes a new article from its brand publishing platform, The Good Plate, on Facebook.
- Facebook - Depending on your social media strategy, consider how the new piece of content might resonate with your Facebook audience, which for some companies is more about workplace culture and boosting employee morale. Here's one way: Spotlight the in-house expert who authored your content piece.
- YouTube – Marketers know that 2016 was the year of the online video with, according to Venture Beat, Americans spending an aggregate of 8,061 years on YouTube each day. Create a short video to promote your next content offer with a clickable link in the YouTube description box that takes video viewers right to a download of the content described in the clip.
- Slideshare - If you're not familiar with this document-hosting social site, read our "6 Business Benefits of Slideshare" post and then create a company or author account to which you can post a distilled version of your content. For example, when our agency's content marketing campaign targeted at marketing and PR decision makers was slow to generate new leads, we reinvigorated it by turning our downloadable content (a LinkedIn marketing infographic) into a PowerPoint and posted it on Slideshare. It has since received nearly 10,000 views and directed more traffic – and new leads – to Maccabee. Insider Tip: There is relatively new lead generation capability on Slideshare. It allows you to embed a contact form into a Slideshare file and, for a few dollars per contact form submission, you can gain email information of new leads.
- Twitter - A few pointers for using Twitter to promote your content: 1) Don't be afraid to tweet about the content multiple times. 2) Make sure your tweets have enticing images featuring your content. 3) Leverage hashtags and tag the contributors who helped with your content to maximize visibility.
- LinkedIn - LinkedIn is a powerhouse for B2B marketing. Did you know 80 percent of leads sourced through social media for B2B marketers come from LinkedIn? Be sure to post about your new content piece as a company update on your LinkedIn page, and work with your internal experts to do the same on their personal LinkedIn pages and in relevant groups.
- Pinterest - Pinterest can be a great way to drive inbound links to your new content, especially for B2C brands, whether that be a recipe, blog post or content landing page. Per the Online Marketing Institute, 80 percent of Pinterest activity comes from repins, so be sure your content can be found on the medium. Pin all your landing page URLs and blog posts to encourage sharing of them!
- Instagram - Create an Instagram Story and full-color photo series about your content that encourages your followers to check it out and, better yet, share your content with their friends and followers.
- Google Plus - Fact: There are still some very active groups on Google Plus; it's worth checking if your niche audiences might be among them! Wise content marketers can consider participating or even creating a Google+ Community. For example, the Home Improvement Community might be a good fit for lifestyle and DIY brands, suggests Sprout Social.
- Quora - This question and answer forum can be a good site to pillage for relevant questions about your company's service offerings to which your expert could answer with a link to a related e-book, blog post or other content offering.
- Slack Chat Groups - Is your company on the new internal collaboration tool Slack? Slack can also serve you as a marketing tool, as there are industry groups on Slack that you can take part in whether or not your company uses the tool. From #FemaleFounders to UI/UX Design Talk, the community of open Slack communities is growing – and open to comment and link sharing!
- Media Relations - Is your e-book authored by an expert? Does your white paper offer provocative new viewpoints on an industry topic? Don't overlook the potential of strategic media relations/publicity outreach. Your new content offer can be a good reason for you to "check in" with key business or trade media, showing what your company has been up to—with an offer to interview the executive responsible for your content insights.
- Guest Author on Blogs – Explore industry-leading blogs in your space to find out if they accept guest posts or blog submissions. Online blog posts can drive direct traffic to your landing page, like this recent example from our technology client, RBA, whose expert wrote about the digital workplace topic addressed in the e-book. Also, our agency has found success in syndicating our authored articles on industry sites, such as the Bulldog Reporter Thought Leaders blog.
- Podcasts – Your new content gives your company a platform on which to talk. For potential customers on-the-go via mobile, check out audio podcasts as a powerful way to discuss and drive traffic to your new content. Podcasts allow for informal conversations related to your latest content offering. For example, Twin Cities communicators Arik Hanson and Kevin Hunt produce the Talking Points podcast, which often cites blog posts and research reports—and direct links to them in Show Notes.
- Medium - This San Francisco-based website that curates articles from all kinds of authors is a great venue to publish ingblog posts. Your company could set up its own account to publish smart content and POVs that link to the landing page. And it doesn’t hurt that Medium has 57M monthly unique readers, according to a recent presentation by Medium's Holly Lou Murphy at the 2016 MIMA Summit.
- Sponsored Content on a Specific Blog or News Site - Increasingly, brands and companies can pay for articles to be published in traditional media such as magazines and newspapers. For example, you can now pay to have your own article posted as “sponsored content” on the website of our local business magazine, Minnesota Business.
- Content Amplification - Consider working with a popular content recommendation service like Outbrain or Taboola to drive traffic to your landing page and website content.
- Google AdWords - Google offers pay-per-click advertising that can match potential customers with your content based on optimized keywords for which they are searching.
- Collaborate with a Trade Association - Add credibility and third-party credentials by partnering with a trade or industry group to distribute your content. For example, Maccabee helped RBA share its e-book with the International Association of Business Communication’s Minnesota members by way of a MN IABC e-newsletter ad. Here’s an example in which the hyperlinked logo drives association members to the landing page for a free e-book download.
- Boost Content at an Upcoming Event - Print physical copies of your content and give them out to VIPs who attend an upcoming speech by the author or share them at your trade show booth.
- Webinars - Create a webinar dedicated to the topic of your content. Digital marketing expert Brian Carter explains, “Webinars are one of the most effective content marketing strategies…. [that] can lead quickly to sales, and thus short-term ROI.” The webinar format allows for interaction with potential customers, including asking questions for a back-and-forth conversation.
Though it takes time and resources to distribute your content for maximum ROI, you’re doing yourself a service—and helping your content stay competitive in a busy internet space. Content marketing guru Joe Pulizzi opined: "Five years ago, enterprises were spending 80 percent on content creation and 20 percent on content promotion. I believe this ratio has switched, with successful enterprises creating differentiated content and putting some advertising and promotion muscle behind it." Read his "The Biggest Content Marketing Trends in 2017" post for more.
Which of these content promotion ideas was new to you?
Share your undiscovered tips in the comments section, below, for all to see!
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Christina Milanowski is vice president and social media director at Minneapolis-based Maccabee, a strategic public relations and online marketing agency.