I’m back! After a three week battle with every known communicable disease you might find in a preschool, my family is (for the moment) largely healthy. This week, I want to look at the other half of content marketing – the promotional components of getting a good blog post to the right audience.
The “content” part of content marketing is arguably the easiest. Creating content that is useful, insightful and shareable may require some trial and error, and there’s no way to know for sure if something will resonate as intended, but it’s still a singular task.
It’s the marketing part that tends to really trip people up, and for good reason. Far too often we focus the majority of our efforts on getting content just right – revising, rewriting, researching, and collaborating until everyone in an organization agrees that it’s ready to publish.
But then what? It goes up and you wait…hoping that the people in your existing audience find your content as useful as you planned it to be.
1. Link to Similar Posts on Your Site
Every blog post is a gateway to other relevant content on your site. As such, the more often you post, the more effective your content efforts will be as a whole. But you can’t sit back and wait for your visitors to figure it out. Help them by linking to relevant content both on your blog and in your product/service pages.
Not only does this significantly reduce bounce rate (by as much as 25% in some cases); it helps the reader find things they are interested in. A good rule of thumb is to include at least 2-3 internal links with each blog post, one external link to a reference you cited, and at least one CTA to a landing page or service offering. If someone reads your content, make sure they take action before leaving.
2. Create an Offer to Grow Your Email List
A good marketing offer can accompany any number of blog posts – especially if you build the content in them to support the primary value proposition of that offer. However, an even more effective way to boost the results you see on your blog is to create custom offers that match with each offer you produce.
Create content that matches the needs of that particular post’s target audience, even if it’s just a one page piece. An easy trick here to keep costs and time investment down is to use the same content you’ve already created, but build out a new landing page and copy that focuses on a key aspect related to your blog post.
3. Syndicate and Share Your Blog Post
If you write it, they won’t necessarily come. Millions of blog posts are published every day and yours is but a drop in the sea of content that your target audience has to choose from. Writing is only half the battle – now it’s time to syndicate and share.
Specifically, your blog post should be published to all of your social media accounts – including Facebook, Twitter, Google+, LinkedIn, Pinterest, YouTube (when applicable), Reddit, and any other social bookmarking sites you feel are relevant. A $5 OnlyWire account helps to streamline this process across social bookmarking sites, or you can keep it simple with a free HootSuite account to your top tier social profiles.
4. Tease and Share Like Content on Similar Sites
Syndication goes further through the plethora of channels available for sharing. An easy trick I’ve used in the past for clients is to repurpose a single blog post into all of the following:
- YouTube Video
- Audio Recording
- Free eBook Download
- LinkedIn Article
- Forum Post
- Simple Infographic
The exact same content can be reused in dozens of ways and then published to different mediums, all of which link back to your blog and the original source. Not every effort will be a home run, but when something clicks and takes off, the surge of traffic is well worth the added effort.
5. Share with and Comment on Like Content
Once upon a time, clever marketers would comment on other blogs with a link back to their content – building links to boost their ranking in Google. This is a gray area now and most SEOs agree that it hurts more than it helps. But, the branding impact of those shares and comments remains.
If you provide valuable, insightful responses to other content in the same field, reaching out to other bloggers and business owners, you can build relationships that will ultimately result in new traffic to your blog.
6. Blast Content Via Email and Other Targeted Distribution
Use your other existing distribution channels to get the word out about your blog content. If the effort put into that content is sufficient and you are publishing legitimately awesome posts, you should absolutely be blasting them to your email list, sharing through your home page, and linking from other relevant content.
A good company blog should be seen as an extension of your core marketing message – not an appendage with only some corollary marketing value. Make it part of your of identity and you will benefit more substantially from the impact of that content.
7. Combine with Like Posts for an Offer Download
Every blog post you write is one piece of a larger conversation. A good post pinpoints a key problem your target audience has and offers solutions, insights, and valuable commentary on that issue. By taking 3-4 of those pieces and combining them into a more comprehensive overview of the issue, you can build marketing offers that perform well.
This is a great way to offer a higher level of value and polish to your subscribers, and because the content is already freely available, it reduces the bounce back you might see by gating your best stuff.
8. Repurpose into New Formats for Download
A good blog post can be turned into so much more with a little work. I mentioned a few of my favorite channels above for driving traffic back to the original post, but you can also create new versions of that content and offer it for download on your site. Here are a few tricks I’ve used over the years:
- Create a Podcast – Turn your best posts into audio clips and then release them as a weekly or bi-weekly podcast. Podcasting is easier and less expensive than ever. Blue Yeti Mics are routinely under $100 on Amazon and hosting will cost you no more than $15-$20 per month for a decent audience – and the market only continues to grow.
- Build a Video How to Series – Create videos that target how-to topics that resonate with your audience. Either add those videos to existing posts or build a gated library where people can access them all at once.
- Create a Resource Library with “Retired” Posts – Turn your oldest, best posts into a resource library of downloadable pieces. That content will likely continue to drive traffic to your site organically, but may be buried from the home page so use it to your advantage.
- Create a Digital Course that Stitches Articles Together – Take your repurposing efforts to the next level and create a digital course that combines your best blog posts, offers, videos, and images into a course that walks someone through a comprehensive topic in your field.
No piece of content is ever “done”. Think of ways to repurpose, reuse and regenerate interest. Every person learns and absorbs information in their own way – by offering the same valuable information in multiple formats, you will reach as wide an audience as possible.
9. Reach Out and Ask Others to Share
Last but not least is one of the most impactful, least time consuming, and yet hardest things you can do to promote your content. Networking in general is a hugely important element of effective content marketing.
Connecting with other thought leaders in your field both online and in person at trade shows and conferences will help you build an audience that overlaps with theirs. But whether you know other marketers or not, a simple email with a link to your newest post can go a long ways. The key is to create content they will WANT to link to – stuff that helps their audience as much as it does yours (if not more so).
Changing Your Mindset to Promotion First
Good content needs to be promoted. It cannot live in a vacuum and succeed without a healthy dose of luck. For every blog post that hits it big through pure chance, there are a million more than wallow in obscurity. The solution is simple – be proactive and get it in front of the right people at the right time.
If you build a network to promote and distribute your content, you can produce a select number of higher quality pieces and build the kind of audience you’ve always wanted. It just takes a little planning.