It's not enough to create great content — now you need a plan to distribute and promote it.
At his session at INBOUND 2015, part of the Hacks, Tips and Tricks speaker series, Relevance co-founder Chad Pollitt shared some startling facts with marketers on the “content explosion.” While you may not be surprised that there is such thing as a content explosion, do you realize how big it is? Check out this video of his session starting at the 5.5-minute mark.
Pollitt shared these statistics:
- There are 571 websites launched every minute (Daily Mail)
- People and brands send 350,000 tweets per minute (Internet Live Stats)
- Creators upload 48 hours of videos to YouTube each minute (YouTube)
- Bloggers publish over 2.73 million posts per day (Quora)
That’s an insane amount of content competing for your readers’ or buyers’ attention. Sure, not all of that content is a direct threat, but taken together it becomes a huge distraction.
That’s where an effective content distribution and promotion strategy comes into play. Check out these must-have tools and methods for content distribution and promotion.
Content promotion & distribution tools
1. Social sharing. Social distribution and promotion are probably already part of your strategy, but I recommend you try a social media dashboard (such as Hootsuite or Sendible) or marketing automation solution (such as HubSpot or Marketo) to do it. See if your dashboard of choice allows you to add your RSS feed to automatically share your new blog posts and content to your social media profiles. Remember: Don’t make it a “one and done” sharing event. The lifespan of a tweet is fleeting. Schedule your content via your social media dashboard for promotion multiple times the day of publication, the day after publication, and in the weeks to come. If you use a marketing automation platform, play with the content publishing or campaign options to set up automated promotion over a 30-day (or longer) period for your content. For more detailed info on how frequently you should post to social media, check out this guide from Buffer.
2. Company newsletters. There are a variety of great email marketing platforms available; PCMag highlights nine of them here. Make sure to highlight your content in each of your newsletters — link to your latest blog posts, white papers, videos and other content that your readers may not have discovered yet. Remind them of the insightful and engaging resources you provide.
3. Email signatures. Whether it’s enterprise-wide or simply your own, an often-overlooked way to share your latest and greatest content is the simple email signature. Organizations using Google Business, Exchange Server and similar solutions can create consistency among employee email signatures. Work with your company’s administrator to create an additional line on email signatures to promote the latest content. Wisestamp and Black Pearl are two add-on solutions that help you give extra pizzazz to email signatures.
4. RSS feeds for blog content distribution. An RSS feed can serve multiple purposes when it comes to content distribution. The obvious one is that people can subscribe to your blog and get it in their inbox, Feedly, or other RSS feed reader. The less obvious uses include automating social media postings and republishing your feed (titles and excerpts) to other sites.
5. Curated content hubs. Use a platform like Storify, Scoop.it or List.ly to curate other people’s content. Remember, though, that doesn’t mean you can’t add your content into the mix. Here are a few ideas for using these content curation platforms as part of your content distribution and promotion strategy:
- Create a Storify issue around topics you highlight in your content marketing efforts. Curate content from other sources as well as incorporate your content. Here’s a Storify example from the U.S. Air Force.
- Use List.ly to organize your existing content into categories. Check out the Content Marketing Institute’s profile on List.ly for examples.
- Set up a Scoop.it topic page to house your topic-specific content in a single location. Here is a Scoop.it topic example from Microsoft that is specific to jobs and recruiting.
6. Content discovery networks. Several different content discovery networks can help you distribute and promote your content. Some of my favorites include:
- StumbleUpon. StumbleUpon is a content discovery engine. StumbleUpon helps users find new content through community recommendations and voting. In addition to the free option, there is StumbleUpon native advertising that works on a pay-per-click model.
- Zemanta. Zemanta has a few of different options for content publishers, paid and free. Its paid content distribution service uses artificial intelligence to help you meet content goals. For WordPress users, Zemanta offers several free plugins that help bloggers share content and link to influencers via related content options.
- Outbrain. Outbrain is a paid content distribution network that recommends your content to major sites like ESPN, CNN, etc.
- Taboola. Similar to Outbrain, Taboola distributes your content to well-known websites such as NBC, Fox, USA Today and more.
Content promotion & distribution methods
7. Guest blogging. While you may not use guest blogging to distribute your content, you can use it to highlight and promote your existing content. Just be sure to pick relevant sites, and don’t over-optimize the links in your post for SEO. The biggest offender in link over-optimization? Exact-match keyword links that go back to your website —these can tank your rank. Check out Gotch SEO’s Anchor Text: The Definitive Guide to learn more. And of course, write for the audience of the website that’s hosting your post. If you don’t, the effort is wasted (and you weren’t a very good guest). A well-written, well-placed guest post can bring nice referral traffic to your site and engagement with your content.
8. Influencer marketing. Take the time to build relationships with influencers in your industry. If you don’t, you’re missing out on some great content promotion opportunities. A link to your content shared by the right influencer on Twitter or cited in the right story on a high-authority blog could send traffic to your site through the roof.
9. Employee advocacy. Speaking of influencers, employees may be one of your most-overlooked content distribution options. It’s not the mid-2000s anymore. It’s time to ease up on social media restrictions in the workplace. Put together an employee advocacy program that 1) trains employees how to use social media effectively for their careers, 2) creates libraries of vetted media and posts, 3) provides some easy-to-understand guidelines, and 4) makes it fun and easy for employees.It won’t be easy to set up an employee advocacy program if you work in a regulated industry, but it’s worth the effort to at least learn more and talk with your HR department and executive team about the potential ROI an employee advocacy program could yield. Check out these employee advocacy tools and resources for more details:
- Everyone Social
- Hootsuite Amplify (Disclosure: I am a Hootsuite Brand Ambassador, volunteer role)
10. Public relations. Whether it’s you or your PR team, someone should pitch content to industry trade publications and journalists. Just like with influencer marketing, a mention on a key industry website can mean increased credibility and traffic and more downloads or views of your content.
11. Repurposing. Is a blog post just a blog post? Are the ideas in your ebook trapped inside that PDF? No way — not if you know how to repurpose your content. Take your in-depth posts, white papers and ebooks and start planning ways to slice and dice that content into different pieces. Those repurposed content pieces can link back to or promote the high-value content asset (gated content).Some great ways to repurpose in-depth content include the following. Don’t forget to add a link back to the original content!
- SlideShare decks
- Live video stream discussions (Facebook Live, SnapChat, Periscope)
- A Pinterest board dedicated to a particular content asset
- Instagram images that highlight key data points in your content
12. SEO. While SEO is more about pulling in content readers rather than pushing out content to your target audience, it’s still worth remembering as part of your content promotion strategy. For each new piece of content, ensure you follow best-practice SEO recommendations. Check out Rand Fishkin’s White Board Friday video, On-Page SEO in 2016: The 8 Principles for Success. It gives you an excellent refresher on things to remember when optimizing your blog posts and content landing pages for search.
Market your content for content marketing success
When it comes down to it, content marketing becomes another product you need to market. Take time to distribute and promote quality content before rattling off the next post or video. Spend more time on creating fewer but higher-quality pieces, then take the time to distribute and promote that content to maximize its impact.
Which distribution and promotion tools and tactics have you had success with? Which ones are you going to try next? Share on social media using #ClearVoice.