As online marketers we spend a lot of time coming up with awesome content to drum up publicity, social buzz and, ultimately, links for our websites. But how much time do we actually spend promoting that content?
It’s entirely natural to concentrate all our energies on the creation side of things – after all, only good material will get you noticed – and, once that content treadmill starts turning you don’t want to slow it down. So the tendency is to fire and forget; to publish your sweet, sweet content and then move on to the next piece right away.
Unfortunately this approach leads to your epic content – over which you sweated for many an hour – hardly making a splash in that big ocean we call the internet. Instead it undeservedly sinks without trace, all that potential lost forever (or at least until James Cameron turns up with a submersible and a camera crew).
So how can we ensure that our lovingly-wrought content delivers all the attention, buzz, social and link love we imagined it would get while we were forging it?
The answer lies in the five following steps:
1. Make promotion a part of your planning
You should be thinking about how to promote your content before the creation phase has begun. The best method of promotion will depend on who the target audience for the content is and similarly the best format for the content will depend on how you’re going to promote it – elements like titles, graphics and videos will all have different effects and attract different click-thru rates in different channels of promotion. For the best match of content, form and promotion you need to be thinking about all three aspects from the get-go.
2. Know who you’re targeting
Before you start writing that blog post, authoring that white paper or building that infographic you need to know who your target audience is. It doesn’t matter if you’re building the content bespoke for a pre-determined audience or if you just happen to have a great piece of data that you think will be of interest to a particular group – what matters is that you know who you’re aiming at and how they use the internet. This will help you determine which channels are most likely to get a response and thus which are your main channels for promoting this piece of content.
3. Start promotion before you publish
Movie studios don’t start advertising their new releases on the day they come out. Instead you get the rumours, then the confirmation, then the casting buzz, then the first photos of the set, then the leaked teaser trailer, then the teaser trailer, then the real trailer, then the billboards, then the talk show interviews and then the content, er movie, is released. Take a lesson from the masters. You don’t need a million dollar budget, just a little imagination and a sense of how to pique the curiosity of your target audience.
4. Recycle and repurpose
Different forms of content work for different people. While you may have identified your target audience accurately and promoted the heck out of your content on their favourite platform you may still find that only a tiny proportion have taken an interest. Maybe it’s not that the content isn’t of interest to them but that it’s in a form that they’re not used to or that doesn’t naturally capture their attention. The lesson: go full spectrum.
If you’re publishing a white paper you’ve probably based it on a great chunk of data or a survey or a painstaking study. An infographic will similarly have a great deal of information behind it. Don’t let all this sweet content juice go to waste: make a video that walks people through your study, write a blog post that explains the infographic, host a web chat on the complicated issue that your content is exploring. In short, get your content in front of as many people in as many forms as possible.
5. Hold your content’s hand
You conceived it, you carried it around inside you for months, you gave birth to it painfully, you raised it and nurtured it. And now you’re going to send it off into the big bad world all alone? How could you? Why wouldn’t you protect your content? Why wouldn’t you support it and stand by it? Why wouldn’t you be proud of it?
Follow your content’s progress and, like it was your own child, big it up. If people are talking about it then get involved in the conversation, if they attack it then defend it (nicely), if they want to take it home then check that it’s going to a good home. If your content needs a letter of introduction then give it one (and don’t be afraid to follow up on it).
All the steps above are about making sure your content gets noticed and gets you the brand awareness, social mentions and links that your hard work deserves. Why not – instead of cranking up the content mill to a higher setting and risk burning out – concentrate on getting the most from the content you’re already producing? Your brand, and your content writers, will thank you for it.
Jamie Griffiths writes, edits and thinks for Approved Index – A UK’s B2B marketplace and directory for SEO companies and website developers