Content promotion

Most people think content promotion is something you do after you’re done creating it. But the reality is that you need to plan your promotion right from the beginning. Seasoned entrepreneurs don’t build a product until they know how they plan to sell/market it. Likewise, seasoned content marketers shouldn’t build an epic piece of content unless they know how it will reach a wide audience.

I decided to ask 13 content marketing experts to share their strategies for promoting content. I also got them to reveal their biggest challenge with promoting content. Read on for their insightful responses.

Michael King, Seasoned Digital Marketing & Lead Generation Consultant

1) What are some ways to plan content promotion before you hit publish?

Certainly it depends on the goals and the type of content, but one of the most common ways is to leverage Snip.ly to promote it even when tweeting other people’s content. We of course plan out influencer outreach, sharing wireframes and ideas before a piece of content is launched to get buy in and convince people to link to share it before it’s done. Additionally, we identify similar content types and the people who shared them using BuzzSumo and a number of other social listening tools.

2) What’s the biggest challenge you face in promoting content?

It’s never a question of buy-in from clients for us because we wouldn’t be able to create something if it they hadn’t bought into it. Boring industries represent opportunities to me since there’s not much cool stuff already in existence in that space. Typically the biggest challenge is lack of budget. With clients seeing content marketing as a largely Organic function, they are leery of putting paid media into it. Therefore we have to do all of the leg work through outreach of some kind. Launching content works a lot better when you have a Paid, Owned and Earned strategy to support it.

Top

 

Simon Penson, Founder of Zazzle Media

1) What are some ways to plan content promotion before you hit publish?

This is a very big question as we do a huge amount of work in the planning phase. That starts with audience research to understand, in real detail, the likes, loves, hates and interests of the people we want to build relationship with (the audience). We do that by pulling lots of data from existing marketing channels within the business we are working with and then adding to that with search and social data.

The result of this work is the creation of 1-4 personas, upon which we will design our content strategy around. This info then rolls into our content ideas process; a structured way of surfacing consistently great content ideas. Those ideas are then approved by the client and come back to a content strategist, whose job it is to pull it together into a cohesive content calendar that conforms to our rules around content flow. The final calendar is then approved and the creation process begins.

2) What’s the biggest challenge you face in promoting content?

The biggest challenge is education. Getting the client to fully buy into the fact that it is not a short term investment and committing to that investment can be tricky in a digital world that has traditionally delivered fast results. That time has, thankfully, gone for good and we must now work hard every day to achieve that success through the process of real marketing and brand building. We know it does work but the brand must have a long enough runway to allow it to work.

That buy in also includes giving the agency the ‘power’ to create the content they need to guarantee it will be taken by journalists. Often that process will cross teams so we have to work hard to gain the trust of all of those stakeholders to ensure they are comfortable with us working with them to create content that may not necessarily be what they are used to working with. Creating something with a sales message simply doesn’t work and getting over that can be tricky, initially at least.

Top

 

Debra Mastaler, Alliance-Link

1) What are some ways to plan content promotion before you hit publish?

I plan around product launches, holidays and keyword cycles. If a number of competitive websites are blogging about a certain topic, I will research different topics and/or keyword sets so the client stands out and isn’t lost in the content crowd.

If the client is getting ready to launch a new service, we’ll create content to pitch to the media and source to key bloggers for low-key viral impact. I rarely recommend creating content unless there is a promotional tie-in, things like product launches, coupons, updates, etc., really help make a piece of content link and shareable. Unless informational content is new or answering something not previously known, its success rate tends to stall without a promotion.

2) What’s the biggest challenge you face in promoting content?

Lack of budget. With competition increasing, you have to step up your game which usually means adding elements (video mostly) which makes the campaign cost more.

Top

 

Chad Pollitt, Co-Founder of Relevance

1) What are some ways to plan content promotion before you hit publish?

That’s a loaded question! It all depends on what kind of content I want to produce. If it’s an article or blog post I want to promote I may not even publish it on one of my owned websites. Instead, I may publish it on HuffPo, The Guardian, Moz, HubSpot, Social Media Today or Business2Community. These websites have way more audience than I do so getting an article on them exposes my content to way more folks. I just make sure I include a strong call to action in the copy to download something on one of my sites. That way I’m driving leads or subscribers. After a week or so I may syndicate that content back on my site for my audience to consume.

If I publish exclusively on one of my own sites I might give a couple industry friends a sneak peek at the content before it’s published to solicit their feedback. Soliciting feedback is a soft way to pitch influencers. Once you have their feedback and agreement on the content piece they’re much more likely to share it once you ask them to. In addition, I have my RSS feed tapped into over 10 different native paid networks. That means I have the full distribution logistics infrastructure in place to ensure my content is amplified before I hit publish.

If the content is something more advanced, like a study, survey, guide, ebook, etc., I’ll likely take a different approach. I’ll put the research in and figure out who I want to write for, where they hang out online, what content is most popular on those sites, who the influencers are around that topic and which keywords are they searching for. This information is critical in the creation and promotion of the content piece. Ultimately, what I’m going to try and do is get some influencers involved in the content production (interviews, quotes, etc.), identify the problems my target audience is trying to solve and solve them, and uncover the media outlets and trade publications they read in order to pitch them later for content coverage. Any coverage I earn I’ll put some native paid amplification behind. Earned media coverage of this nature is validation that the advanced content is indeed valuable. That usually comes in the form of higher conversion rates.

2) What’s the biggest challenge you face in promoting content?

The biggest conundrum I’m facing is when to quit promotion on any one particular content piece. I guess that’s a good problem to have because most marketers aren’t even doing content promotion yet. On native paid channels I’ve capped promotion at $200 per article. However, for advanced content I spend the entire budget I’m allocated (usually between $500 to $2k). I have to request budget up the chain for each advanced content piece. There’s really no rhyme or reason other than budgetary constraints that I use caps on native paid channels.

On the other hand, earned media for content coverage really doesn’t have an expiration. If we have an ebook that was written two years ago and it’s still relevant today we’ll drop a link to the ebook in a byline, guest post or syndication if that ebook is prudent to the topic of the article written. Some of the bylines we’ve done on HubSpot are perfect examples of this. However, middle or bottom of the funnel content rarely gets promoted because it’s value is typically appreciated by folks in our sales funnel. The paid and earned channels we use aren’t typically littered with folks in our sales process.

Our email and social media broadcasting for content promotion really never stops either. As long as the content is still prudent we’ll continue to include it in our lead nurturing workflows and scheduled social posts.

Top

 

Brittany Balog, Inbound Marketing Consultant at BluLeadz

1) What are some ways to plan content promotion before you hit publish?

A detailed content calendar is crucial for me when it comes to promoting content. Ensuring new content aligns with other, ongoing marketing efforts is essential in creating a clear path for visitors. Building buzz about a topic we are already creating offers for creates a need for our resources. The weeks leading up to a new content launch are just as important as promotions afterward.

2) What’s the biggest challenge you face in promoting content?

The biggest challenge I face in promoting content is getting it in front of the right audience. It is easy to publish content on your own site; guest posts, links and mentions by industry influencers are a different, more difficult matter. However, these provide very valuable results for content promotion. Researching areas you want your content promoted, and creating a plan to appear in these places, should be a big part of any content promotion strategy.

Top

 

AJ Ghergich, Ghergich & Co.

1) What are some ways you plan content promotion before you hit publish?

I start thinking about promotion as soon at the idea is formed. If you wait until it’s time to market to start to think about promo you are setting yourself up for a disaster.

In fact, once we have a great idea for content we do some research and make sure there is a market for the content we are about to create. Once you prove to your content has a receptive audience that you can easily define/target you can move into production.

While your content is being created you need to be building custom outreach lists with tools like Buzzsumo and Followerwonk.

You should also, start to reach out to high end journalist and try and find one who will collaborate on the piece with you. If you get their feedback along the way, and offer them first dibs on the content, you already have a great launch partner lined up!

You should also have your paid social media campaigns queued up and ready to go with customized targeted lists. Also, make sure you/your client have emails ready to be set to their audience/newsletter.

On launch day you and your team should personally reach out to “friends” and influencers you know who would be interested in the content in parallel to your outreach campaign.

I am over simplifying this a lot but hopefully you get the idea that promotion goes hand in hand with and through production.

2) What’s the biggest challenge you face in promoting content?

I think scale is something we all struggle with. It’s not that hard to produce a great piece of content here and there and promote it. However, it is much harder to do that X times per month for yourself or clients month after month.

You really have to plan our your promotion so you don’t burn out your outreach contacts. This why I like to setup content schedules to hit different sectors of niches each month so I can skip certain sectors for a few months before circling back.

You don’t want to promote 5 pieces of Social Media Marketing content at the same time ☺

Top

 

Steven Sparber, SEO Associate at Seer Interactive


1) What are some ways you plan content promotion before you hit publish?

Content is planned through a combination of research and reflection. The research is what’s tangible – What are people discussing today in your industry, and can you measure the popularity of those discussions? The reflection is what’s intangible, and perhaps more potent than research – What do you find interesting that others may connect with? Where do you see the discussion headed? Original, creative observations will generate content that resonate with people.

2) What’s the biggest challenge you face in promoting content?

The biggest challenge I’ve faced in promoting content is motivating clients to adhere to a schedule and stay organized. Processes and strategies have been created, but cooperation is needed for them to actualize. You must respectfully convey expectations, but more importantly, continually revisit why expectations are in place. What are the goals and projected results? Ultimately, the why is the common purpose between you and your client.

Top

 

Casie Gillette, Director of Online Marketing at KoMarketing

1) What are some ways you plan content promotion before you hit publish?

The nice thing about writing content for ourselves and/or our clients is we have a solid understanding of who the target is and where those people are. That means that before we even start writing the post, when we are simply creating the topics, we’re already thinking about who the people are we want to get that content in front of.

For example, we have a client who targets those in the HR industry. When an HR related post is set to publish, we’ve already identified which groups we may want to promote it in (LinkedIn or Google+), which hashtags to use on Twitter, and if we are paying to promote it, which segments we want to hit in which network.

The idea is you aren’t reacting when your content goes live. You have written a piece of content with a specific audience in mind, and now your job is to get that content it in front of that audience.

My colleague Ryan Young actually just wrote a great post about this and the different tools we use to identify people.

2) What’s the biggest challenge you face in promoting content?

I’d say it’s time. Many of our clients just don’t have time to go and promote it in the right places. They don’t have to time to go and build up their presence in social networks or build out the relationships that are required to successfully promote a piece a piece of content.

Often, it’s publish then simply promote everywhere, without regard for whether or not they’re reaching the right audience.

 

Craig Sutton, Search Engine People

1) What are some ways to plan content promotion before you hit publish?

Before publishing content our Social Team at Search Engine People likes to create editorial calendars to plan content for the months ahead. Editorial Calendars allow us to plan content around promotions, events, holidays, etc, helps us in planning to find outside content that will support the clients content and allows the client to give us feedback and support materials ahead of time. A big benefit is this allows to get approval and buy-in from the client before content is written and it gives us the opportunity to take advantage of seasonal search trends.

We also create snackable bits of information around a piece of content that we can use to promote one piece of content in multiple ways. Say the client has a blog our team pulls any tips, facts, stats, from it and creates graphic tips, eBooks, whitepapers etc related to content we will be publishing. This allows us to post on multiple platforms multiple times without looking repetitive.

2) What’s the biggest challenge you face in promoting content?

BUDGET! It can be very hard to convince some clients that there is strong ROI in social media. Often they don’t understand the effort and costs involved. There are many working parts: you have to create the content, have content to support it, pay for promotion and have someone managing it. Many clients don’t see the benefits or need for a paid promotional budget on platforms like Facebook- they believe just creating the content should be enough; even when we tell them that the average organic reach of content on a Facebook brand page is only around 6%. (http://social.ogilvy.com/facebook-zero-considering-life-after-the-demise-of-organic-reach/) and that even $5/post will go a long way.

Another reason for the gap in understanding how much time and resources it takes is that they typically don’t understand that using social media as a selling tool is different from the effort they put into posting on their personal social media profiles.

Top

 

Allison Boyer, Content Marketing Consultant

1) What are some ways to plan content promotion before you hit publish?

I actually go through an entire checklist before I hit publish to make sure I’m setting my content up for good promotion, but my biggest tip by far is to use CoSchedule. This handy tool allows you to get your social promotion lined up before you even hit publish, and you can see the entire editorial calendar to make sure you have a comprehensive content publishing and social schedule ready to go.

The other monster promotion tip I have is this: when planning content, think about topic “hubs” you can create. Whenever you publish a massive blog post, guide, or other long-form content, make sure you have several shorter, detailed posts set up to support it. I think of them like spokes on a wheel, with the huge resource being the center hub. It’s great when other people promote your content, but set yourself up to be your own best promoter with robust internal linking. As a bonus, these shorter, detailed posts make great guest posts. Most bloggers link to their blog home page in a guest post bio, but you’re often better served linking to an individual post directly related to the topic at hand.

2) What’s the biggest challenge you face in promoting content?

Great promotion takes time, and it’s always a challenge to help clients understand that.

First, you need to actually devote time to doing the promotion. Often, I’m hired to just do the writing part of a project, and when a client comes back to me unhappy about the results after publishing, 99% of the time it is because they didn’t do any promotion of the piece beyond an auto-tweet when it first went live. The “if we have great content, readers will find us” model doesn’t work.

Second, you need to give a content time to perform well. Sometimes, content takes off right away. But these initial traffic spikes rarely lead to conversions. It’s the long-term traffic you need to watch. Is the post still getting social love three months later? Have the backlinks to the post brought in a ton of search engine traffic once it was indexed? Can older posts be revived through internal linking and repurposing? Clients often don’t have a plan for long-term content promotion – they just want new content created. Changing that way of thinking, so people see how their content can work for them over the course of months or even years, is my biggest challenge. We all love immediate gratification. But with smart planning, I’ve seen a single blog post bring in MILLIONS of new readers for relatively small niche blogs.

Top

 

Devin Harper, Nifty Marketing

1) What are some ways to plan content promotion before you hit publish?

I don’t know how many content guys are doing this, but Reddit is an extremely insightful polling platform. Before I push content, I want to know if it will stick. So part of my planning usually involves me checking out different subreddits to find upvoted questions and other stuff. It helps me gauge what is popular in a client’s niche and steers me in the right direction when brainstorming content ideas. If you can bear the distraction of surfing the front page of the web, you can always find some inspiration there.

2) What’s the biggest challenge you face in promoting content?

My biggest challenge with content is making it sticky. It requires wit, humor, creative genius, imagery, utility, good timing and client approval. None come easy. It’s when these elements all come together that the content promotes itself!

Top

 

Krystian Szastok, RocketMill

1) What are some ways to plan content promotion before you hit publish?

We have a structured template for promoting one off pieces. More importantly though we plan things in advance so that the pieces of content complement each other and allow anyone to access the content in a few ways. Another crucial element in the preparations is the pre-outreach, I will talk to people and ask what they think about an idea, and then about the first draft/mockup of a piece of content and ensure there is interest. Then at a later stage I’ll make my ‘ask’ and see what actual help on the day of launch I can count on.

2) What’s the biggest challenge you face in promoting content?

The biggest challenge is definitely breaking through in the noise. There is so much content produced at the moment that having buy-in from the audience in advance of publishing anything is crucial.
Also the attention to detail – content has to have the right design, headline, concept, data, outreach, budget – everything, to succeed, in the old days it was a lot easier and you could get away with less detailed proposal.

Top

 

Harry Gardiner, Content Marketing Executive at Koozai

1) What are some ways to plan content promotion before you hit publish?

I’d recommend having a detailed content promotion plan before any content is created. Use an editorial calendar to ensure your content follows trends and that there is a relevant audience available for when it is published. This way you’ll also be able to take advantage of specific dates, events and news stories to aid your promotion process.

2) What’s the biggest challenge you face in promoting content?

Whilst a client’s budget may stop you from promoting content on a larger scale, the restrictions also help you become more creative in the way in which you push it to your users. Free promotional techniques such as news jacking and Social Media updates are often very successful in their own right.

Top

 

Ryan Young, KoMarketing

1) What are some ways to plan content promotion before you hit publish?

One of the golden rules as a writer is to always keep the audience in mind. Nowhere else is this more important than in content marketing. A successful content promotion strategy needs to be a team effort that’s planned well ahead of clicking “publish.”

Identifying the audience is step number one. This can be done through buyer persona development and asking yourself questions like “what is my audience looking for?” “How can I catch their attention?” “Where will they see this post?”

When generating a topic, I work very closely with the social media team to get their input on what sorts of things are buzzing across networks within the target industry and to identify the “styles” of posts that seem to drive the most social interaction. The most successful posts are set up to be easily shared on social media. One of the things I like to include when writing are little “nuggets” of information that can be turned into quick and easy social updates (use a “click to tweet” feature embedded within posts).

With all of this being said, let’s not overlook the importance of “promotion” in the classic sense (after the product has been created). Once again, working with the social media team is very important here. When pushing out content through social channels, it’s critical to have a strong presence and strong relationships. While communities like LinkedIn Groups present prime opportunities for highly-targeted exposure to content, being a “first timer” that enters a group simply to self-promote will do more harm than good.

Lastly, learn from the past! This may seem like a no-brainer, but don’t be afraid to model future posts after others that have seen success.

Top

 

Evgeniy Garkaviy, SEO Consultant

1) What are some ways to plan content promotion before you hit publish?

For me it is always one of the most important parts when I’m working with new post. I usually try to mention some popular blogs or website owners in my posts. It brings me good social activity. For example when I’m writing about SEO or social media, I can mention some quote of Brian Dean from Backlinko and then inform him via social networks that I included him in my recent post. They have very good and active social profiles so then I’m sure that my post will get more social activity.

For example recently I was working with a post for TravelFriendz.com website and when was doing this interview, as you may see, I added a question “What travel blog(s) do you read?”. It helped me to get some good social engagement from authoritative travelers.

You may also try to include your post in the “Best posts of the week/month” series. It is not difficult to find a site/blog that regularly publish a roundup of the best articles in a single niche. Get in touch with website owner and offer your post to their attention. I usually review the niche before my post is published and then I’m trying to make my topic more relevant to the sites I found.

2) What’s the biggest challenge you face in promoting content?

The biggest challenge for me was a niche that not very related to what I’m doing. In this way you must be ready to spend good money on promotion [don’t forget that Neil Patel spends $20,000 on his blog every month] or spend a lot of time engaging with the people from not your niche.
Also it is usually difficult to find really nice resource to promote your content. For example if it is Twitter then you must have good number of followers from that niche. If it is reddit, then you must have good karma, etc.
But what I can say exactly is that even if you write good content but do not pay enough of attention on promotion, then it does not matter how good your content is. There are millions of sites online and each niche is competitive so you should work on promotion even more than on content creation.

Top

What are some tips you have in promoting content before you hit publish? And what would you consider your biggest challenge in promoting/distributing content? Share them in the comments below.

  • http://www.silkstream.net Silkstream

    Struggled with getting 20 experts then? (The URL lol)

    Great article though! I’ve gained some really valuable tips from that. Really. Thank you :)

  • Nick Carranza

    Lots of great insights here. Thanks for posting.

  • Pankti Mehta

    “Second, you need to give a content time to perform well. Sometimes,
    content takes off right away. But these initial traffic spikes rarely
    lead to conversions. It’s the long-term traffic you need to watch. Is
    the post still getting social love three months later? Have the
    backlinks to the post brought in a ton of search engine traffic once it
    was indexed? Can older posts be revived through internal linking and
    repurposing? Clients often don’t have a plan for long-term content
    promotion – they just want new content created. Changing that way of
    thinking, so people see how their content can work for them over the
    course of months or even years, is my biggest challenge. We all love
    immediate gratification. But with smart planning, I’ve seen a single
    blog post bring in MILLIONS of new readers for relatively small niche
    blogs.” —- Very true. Unfortunately my company doesn’t understand this :(

  • AlisaMeredith

    Now, what are you thinking posting this fab article without a great pinnable image? Hmmmm??? I am going to have to go make my own.

  • http://bloggerjet.com/ Tim Soulo

    Awesome questions were asked and awesome advice was given!

    I can’t help but give my own answers to these questions :) Even though it massively interferes with another article of yours that I’ve just commented.

    1) What are some ways to plan content promotion before you hit publish?

    That is an amazing question by itself. Most people think that promotion starts AFTER you hit publish, but that is not effective and they end up getting poor results.

    Your promotion can only be successful if you plan it BEFORE your content is even written.

    So here’s the plan:

    1. Once you have an idea for your article, go find every related article there is (with Buzzsumo that’s not a problem)

    2. Leave a thoughtful (make sure it really IS thoughtful) comment on this article (this comment is an example btw). And then share this article where you can.

    3. If the’s more awesome content on the same blog (relevant or not) – go check it and leave a few more comments & shares.

    4. Reach out to the owner of the blog. Say thanks for everything you’ve learned from him and say you’re writing a related piece. You may even ask him to point you towards other relevant content on this matter or possibly share some of his vision, which you can then use in your article.

    Actually this step #2 is a two-part process:

    a) Put yourself on the radar of this blogger by communicating with him and sharing his stuff.
    b) Once you’re on the radar, try to get blogger invested (even a little bit) into the piece of content you’re going to create. Even letting the blogger know about your upcoming piece of content is already an investment from his side.

    Once you do all that – take your time to write your article and publish it. Then…

    5. Contact everyone you’ve reached out to and let them know you’ve published that piece you were talking about.

    So this is it.

    By this comment of mine you can tell I’m in the process of outreach before writing my own article on the topic of outreach. :))

    But here’s the thing. I don’t plan to write this article anytime soon, because I have too much other stuff on my plate.

    But since I know that I’m going to be writing my own an article about outreach someday and I’ve stumbled upon this awesome post – I decided to leave a cool comment and get noticed.

    I can then come back here anytime and let the guys know that my article finally went live, and I’m sure they will be interested to at least check it, because this comment of mine is big and valuable.

    So here’s another strategy:

    Keep up with awesome content in your niche (Buzzsumo can help with that) and make sure to leave awesome comments and reach out to bloggers. And then, once you’re writing your own article on the matter – you’ll always have a big list of people to reach out to. And they all know you from your comments.

    So that was it 😉

  • http://tanthienphung.com iembok

    Wow, i have a lots of coffee to read this ! thanks your posting

  • http://invisume.com/ Pauline B. Johnson

    Great share you have here! After going through the process of writing content, the next step is to make sure that the content gets exposure because no one will read it otherwise. I agree that in writing your blog post, it is very important to give something back to those who contribute to your research, link and socialize with fellow bloggers.

  • marco01

    i love what brittany says over here .. and inbound.org has alwasy been a favorite website of mine..thanks for the great content about promoting content .i always create big posts ..but forget to market it

    cheers jeff
    http://www.makewebsitetoday.com/

  • http://www.Ameerrosic.com/ Ameer Rosic

    Great write up Henley. Question mate… When deciding on doing a round up article like this. Do you have any metrics and or KPI per article you want to hit? Content marketing is great, but I do see too many not being strategic about it as in “just doing it” and also not having a team around them as I wrote here http://www.ameerrosic.com/5-tips-and-tools-for-hiring-an-all-star-marketing-team/.

    So.. I would love to know your back end metrics you aim for 😉

    Thanks Henley

  • Michael

    Wow! great post! I’m a advertising manager and because I’m newer it’s very difficult for me to promote sites like online casino (e.g. casinonsvenska.eu). Anyway it’s my job and I have to do it. Are there any tips?