You put way too much work into your content to just throw it into the ether and hope people find it. Search and social media today are so competitive, it takes a clever content promotion strategy to get your best content in front of the right people, in the right format, on the right platform.
Ideally, you're already planning for promotion right from the start by creating top quality, relevant and shareable content. You're using your analytics, research and audience insights to drive the creation of content you know people are going to want to read or watch -- but you need to get it to them.
You need a content promotion network. Here are 4 ways to start building yours:
Syndicate Your Best Content
Syndication is a great way to promote content to new audiences, but any agreement should be entered into with a complete understanding of attribution, linking, and duplicate content issues.
You won't have to learn something entirely new to get into paid syndication, either. Outbrain is a lot like paid search -- you submit your content, Outbrain makes an ad to display on network sites, and you pay per click for traffic.
Paid syndication can be pricey though. Smaller companies may want to try submitting your RSS feed to relevant sites that republish content in this way. Or, you might choose to partner with other websites. If you do, make sure their content strategy, audience, and linking policies make sense for your business.
Guest Blog on Relevant Sites (It's Actually Not Evil)
Guest blogging got a bad rap because people abused it, but serving as a guest columnist or blogger on a relevant site can be hugely beneficial for both parties.
Your success in guest blogging depends on how you go about it. For example, I guest blog here at Social Media Today, and a recent post got over 1500 shares. If you're writing just to push traffic back to your website, you're probably not going to be a favored author on many sites at all.
However, it is going to win you a lot of new fans and even more guest blogging opportunities if you focus on producing interesting, high quality content. Your goal should be to be so helpful, funny and interesting that people can't help but follow you to see what you'll write next.
To get started, contact editors at some of the blogs you're already reading and pitch them a few article concepts. Because you're already familiar with these publications, you understand the types of stories they cover. You follow them on social media networks and may have interacted with them before. They'll recognize your name as an active member of their community because you share your thoughts in comments on their articles.
(Note: if you're not already doing any of the above, take a few steps back and ask yourself why you think you deserve to be heard if you aren't actively listening yet!)
Keep it brief -- send an abstract (a paragraph or two summarizing your idea) and ask if they're interested in publishing the built out column. Don't get discouraged if your first ideas are rejected; you may just need to work harder at ensuring your ideas are a good fit for the publications you're pitching.
Paid Social Promotion
This is probably my single favorite, must-do tactic for building your content promotion network. If you can't manage to get started with any of the other steps right now, at least set some budget aside to promote your content with social PPC.
See, there's this amazing snowball effect when you give your best content an initial boost with paid social.
I usually give each piece a few hours to see how it's doing on its own. If a blog post really resonates with my Twitter followers, I'll promote it to give it an extra boost. The awesome thing is that you'll earn paid impressions and interactions, but those spread out to the networks of those people and earn more organic activity, as well. I explained how this works in a recent Social Media Today post on Twitter Quick Promote.
You can get really creative here, though, by promoting across your networks.
On LinkedIn, for example, I can get massive views and interactions if I can get featured in LinkedIn Pulse for a relevant topic category. If I do a Promoted Tweet advertising a new LinkedIn Post, it generates a flurry of activity on LinkedIn that tells the platform, "Hey, this is really relevant and popular." They include it in Pulse and I get results like this:
Over 13,000 views! A lot of these people then choose to follow your profile, just like they do on Twitter. The difference here is that every time you publish a new post to LinkedIn, all of your followers actually get a notification.
Over the last year, I've grown my LinkedIn following to 17,804 people by making a concerted effort to better promote LinkedIn content using social PPC.
Get Serious About Organic Social
One of the biggest mistakes I see people making on LinkedIn is protecting their connections like there's some kind of state secret behind their acceptance wall. Why are you hiding? It's time to start treating LinkedIn more like Twitter and building out your connections.
Really focus on your Twitter strategy and optimize content to get the maximum retweets possible. Probably the single most impactful effort you can make on Twitter is to use more engaging images, like this one:
Tweets with images get 18% more clicks, 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets. There are so many easy to use tools out there now to make the process of creating images for social stupid-easy -- Canva, ShareAsImage, Pablo (by Buffer), Skitch and dozens more.
Nurture Your Content Promotion Network
It does take time, energy and a concerted effort to build your content promotion network, but the good news is that you eventually reach this tipping point where you actually become influential across these networks.
Your contacts become fans.
Your network becomes an audience.
Commit to building out and nurturing that network over time and the results will amaze you!