Content marketing is nothing without good promotion. There are a lot of people out there, furiously writing great blog posts, spending hours a day, hoping that an insane amount of new customers will magically find their content and purchase their app, solution, merchandise or something else. Unfortunately, it doesn't work that way. Promotion was important before content marketing became hip, and it'll be important long after we move on to the next big growth strategy, waiting to be used by those that truly want to succeed, by those that truly want more business. In order to maximize your content marketing performance, here are some tools that will help you promote your content.
I use BuzzSumo for three things. The first is the Top Content tab - I can put in a competitor blog URL into the search bar and quickly find out what the best content is for that blog, content that my ideal audience is sharing. Then I can write an even better article.
The second thing I love about BuzzSumo is the ability to quickly find who the top influencers are for a certain subject and use that to create a list of people that I want to mention on blog articles or try to connect with. I'll promote some of their content and try to get on their radar - then ask them to promote something for me. This usually works really well if you take the approach of being a genuine human being.
The third thing I love about BuzzSumo is the ability to keep track of when each new article goes live and how many shares it gets. It seems a little more real-time to me than using Google Alerts, and it gives me a lot more information about who shared it and where it was shared.
If you write a really solid article, chances are you linked to a few other really great articles written by really great people - ideally, you even mention them by name. If you've ever written a great tool roundup piece, then you have a whole host of people and companies that would probably love to share your content - they just don't know you mentioned them.
Right now you probably have some spreadsheet with their email address, Twitter handle, or a link to their contact form, then you go to each one of them and let them know you just mentioned them. This is great (if you aren't doing this - you need to start), but if you are doing this, then you know how tedious it can be, how long it takes, and how infrequently you get the response you want.
ContentMarketer.io lets you paste the URL of the article you wrote and seconds later it gives you a list of all the email addresses, Twitter handles, and contact forms for you (which saves you hours of having to manually find them). It then enhances that even further by providing you with proven templates that you can load, customize and send out to everyone, all at once. I've used it a few times and it's taken promotion from a few hours to a few minutes, all while increasing my response rate.
This tool is currently still in alpha - but this is probably the most exciting tool I'm using right now. You can request early access and get on the list so you can know when it's available.
Disclaimer: This is a project of Sujan Patel, my former boss (and friend) at When I Work - so I used that connection to get into the alpha testing. Writing about this though is entirely voluntary because it works like some kind of amazing magic (he'll probably be surprised to see this article go live).
I started using Buffer early last year and I can't believe I ever tried to run social media without it. My favorite things about Buffer are that I can add all my social media profiles to the account, and when I add something to share, I can select which accounts to share it too. So instead of having to share it 10 different times, I can upload it, and have it shared on 10 places at once.
It obviously gets so much better than that though. I can program the times that it shares the content for each channel so that I can have it share things on Twitter seven times a day when my audience is more active, and only twice a day on Facebook when I know my audience is more responsive there.
The last thing I love about Buffer is that it tells me which of my posts did the best and I can automatically add them back into the queue to be shared again - saving me a ton of time. I haven't upgraded to get the full analytics yet, but when it makes sense for me financially, I'll do it in a heartbeat.
Zapier is great. You can connect several programs together to automate what they do. I use both Zapier and IFTTT for different things based on which one does it better for the task I'm looking to accomplish.
One of my favorite things I have set up on Zapier is a way that allows me to automatically add things to my Buffer when they're tagged correctly in a Slack chat group. For instance, if someone adds a link to a Slack chat I'm in, and they add #share at the end of it, Zapier will grab that and load it into my Buffer as the next scheduled update to share. This helps me promote my friends even if I'm busy working on a project that day and can't check Slack until later on.
There's a lot of crossover with Zapier and IFTTT, so you'll have to browse around and see what elements you like from each service. I have a TON of IFTTT statements set up (you can see some of them on another post I wrote called, Automate Your Twitter Account Today, Finally), but my favorite one is when I post a picture on Instagram, instead of having Instagram tweet it out as a link, IFTTT grabs the image and tweets it out as an image - which is much more appealing and increases engagement big time.
No matter how big or small your blog is, you want more traffic and you want that traffic to be qualified. Zemanta's one of my favorite paid tools for content promotion. You can add your articles to their feed and they promote them on contextually relevant sites, blogs, other articles, and help find places where your customers are hiding. Zemanta has a really big network and can work with you to find the right nooks and crannies that fit your audience and budgetery needs.
7. TWITTER ADS
Twitter ads are so easy to set up. If your audience is on Twitter, you should seriously consider using Twitter ads. You can segment who you serve those ads to based on a keyword, hashtag, someone that they follow, and so much more. It gives you the ability to really fine tune your audience so you can find hyper-relevant people to see and share your content for a great price that's completely flexible and determined by you.
8. FACEBOOK ADS
Facebook ads are still one of my favorite places to share quality content. I typically get Facebook ads with a cost under 10 cents per click, and often as low as 5 cents per click. Facebook also pretty much knows everything about everyone, so you can create a hyper-relevant audience just like with Twitter, and probably even better. Target people that you know will like your content and Facebook will give you a "Relevance" rating between 1 and 10. The more relevant you are, the more Facebook will promote your content, and the cheaper it will be.
Outbrain and Zemanta have a lot of crossover, but you really get the most bang for your buck when you use both of them together. Essentially, you let them promote your content on their network of over 500 million people each month, as related articles on highly relevant blogs and news sites. Outbrain can drive traffic to your site from some really high profile websites - giving you more qualified traffic. When I worked at When I Work, we added our blog's RSS feed so that we could pretty much just leave it on autopilot.
StumbleUpon is a great service that we sometimes forget about as marketers. I've had good success with both the paid and free versions. In fact, a recent article we published about Brushless Motors received almost 2,000 visits on our small blog.
It's very easy to use - you log-in, add a page, select the category that it's relevant for and submit. The rest of the work is done by StumbleUpon and their awesome users as they stumble onto your article and recommend it.
I love HelloBar for two reasons. My favorite reason is that it's so incredibly easy to set up. It took me less than five minutes to set it up on my WordPress site and have it connected to my MailChimp account. The second reason I love it is because it's still one of the most effective ways to collect email addresses without being a pop-up. If you do content promotion, then you know how valuable email list is - and you know that you need to have good tools to capitalize on every visit to your blog.
The thing that impresses me most about CoSchedule is the repeated sharing of blog posts. Don't waste all your energy on promoting content once, and then moving on to the next blog post - continue to promote it for the life of that article. Promote it more frequently on Twitter, a channel that doesn't care too much if you promote the same piece of content 3 times in one day, and promote it less frequently on Facebook - where people will hate you if you post the same thing repeatedly. Instead of having to figure this out all on your own, use CoSchedule to help you figure out the ideal posting times for each channel - and then automating it to simply be done for you.
There are a million more tools out there for Content Promotion, these are just the ones that I love and use. The key thing is to find the content marketing stack that works for you and figure out how to maximize your reach with those tools. It's a blend of figuring out what to post, when to post it, how to promote it, and how to keep that momentum going.
I know you probably use a few other tools and I would love it if you could tell me what those are in the comments below.