To build the relationships that are a necessary part of content promotion, you engage with a community of existing and potential customers through your company’s blog, resource pages, and social channels. In other words, you identify the audience and then create content for it. Determining what content to create that meets the audience’s needs, however, is just one piece of the content promotion puzzle. You must also get that content to the audience where that audience already spends time online.
You have to know the answer to, “How do I promote my content?”
The Content Promotion Strategy Decision Tree is a flowchart designed to help you answer that question. Depending on your content marketing campaign’s timeframe, budget, and goals, you can determine whether an earned, owned, shared, paid, or converged media strategy makes the most sense for that campaign. You’ll also want to pay attention to which type of content fits into each strategy.
An earned media strategy is one that involves gaining online coverage through media outreach and relationships. This content is written about, or includes a reference and a link to, the piece of content you’re promoting, ideally by others outside your company – by journalists or influencers who you’ve built relationships with over time. When a journalist or influencer writes about content you’ve created, that’s unbiased coverage seen and shared by their audience. Thought leaders and influencers inside your company could write an article about a piece of content, and then you could earn its placement on a media outlet with an audience interested in that content. In either case, the point is to share information altruistically.
An owned media strategy involves using owned media content to inform customers—both existing and potential— not only of your products and services but also of the industry itself. Owned media content is what’s housed on your website: company blogs, webinars, white papers, videos, ebooks, infographics, and case studies. (An example is NASA's News page.) This is the advanced content you’re likely to promote at some point. You have complete control over it and can use it to help consumers keep up on the latest industry advancements, navigate persistent myths, and learn about the newest trends. By providing helpful content that consumers can rely on, you build trust and lay a foundation for a longer lasting relationship.
A shared media strategy uses posts, tweets, and updates to distribute and share content. Obviously, sometimes posts and tweets are created on the fly – the immediacy of social media is what makes it so powerful (check out this list to find out which companies get it right) – but that doesn’t mean they should ever be off the cuff. Social media interactions between your brand and your customers should be natural, and when appropriate, fun. However, these interactions should always adhere to brand guidelines and be professional and helpful. When you’re promoting a piece of content through social platforms, use language appropriate to the platform – your LinkedIn updates are likely to be more formal than your tweets, for example – and write out the accompanying text for each platform ahead of time, paying attention to word count restrictions.
A paid media strategy employs online advertising via sponsored recommendations, posts, and articles. Sponsored content is generally identified as such. Paid media content should be created with the same standards as with any content you create – its purpose is still to educate and inform your customer (even if you’re paying to put it in front of that customer).
A converged media strategy is a combination of earned, owned, shared, and paid tactics to promote content on a variety of channels.
Regardless of the strategy you choose, all descriptions, articles and posts or tweets should be consistent and adhere to brand messaging guidelines. And of course, that language should resonate with the intended audience.
No matter your timeframe or budget, there’s a strategy that will fit your needs and help you meet your goals. What tactics have you employed as part of the above strategies for promoting your own content?