If you followed our series, you now should understand the value of long-form content (LFC) and have examples of brands who kick butt at creating them. You also should have more perspective on how to write a creative brief and a stellar piece of pillar content. Now for the finale: We’ll take you through the final step, which is how to successfully promote ebooks and other LFC assets.
Publishing an ebook, white paper, case study, 2,500+-word blog posts, or other sizable content asset is no small task. It takes weeks and sometimes months to ideate, research, draft, route, optimize, design, and perfect a pillar piece — even if you hire an ebook writer. Please don’t waste your efforts by halting after hitting “publish.” Let your content be seen and take the time to promote. Your content means nothing until it has eyeballs on it from your target audience.
Here are some surefire strategies to create the most shelf life out of your ebook or long-form content assets:
But, before you begin… Pre-promotion, define if your content will be gated or non-gated. If gated, make sure you create a landing page. If not gated, you should link directly to the content asset.
Strategy #1: Promote it within your website.
One of the most accessible ways to promote LFC is creating “owned” content assets (i.e., content you can control). Sprinkle LFC promotion within your owned assets (on your website) in places like:
- White-boxed pop-up banners
- Calls-to-action on blog posts
- Lead gates on blog posts
- Sidebar callouts
- Dedicated landing pages
- Customer login pages
Here’s an example of ebook promotion on the right sidebar as well as a white boxed pop-up from BabySleepSite.com:
Aim to intersperse at least three CTAs for your LFC to maximize its exposure. These CTAs can live on your website until you have another content promotion, event or major brand announcement to replace it.
Strategy #2: Write a supporting SFA (short-form asset).
Repurposing content isn’t cheating. It’s brilliant. An easy way to repurpose and promote LFC is to create a supporting blog post promoting the content. The post can summarize key points or entice readers by going in-depth on one subject. Either way, the goal here is to create a clickable avenue to lead readers to your remarkable LFC.
And then readers will give more information about themselves so you can send automated, triggered email messages. As the relationship continues, convert them into happy customers. Sounds like a relationship made in heaven, right?
Bonus pointers: Remember to optimize the post for keywords related to the LFC subject, and then magnetize leads to your asset with a bottom-of-the-post CTA or popup! Similar to above, the lifespan of the CTAs on blog posts should reflect your brand’s editorial calendar.
Strategy #3: Socialize it and enlist influencers’ help.
“If you don’t know the positive effect social media can have on your content, you’ve been living under a boulder for many years,” says Wishpond.
At the most basic level, create a series of sequential messages on every relevant social channel. Create an editorial calendar to schedule the social messages, and vary the message based on each network.
Each post should provide value to your followers by making them think or providing them with beneficial information. Sharing pithy, insightful text, a link to the asset, and a supporting hashtag is a great way to create interest and exposure to your “marquee” piece.
But promoting content doesn’t mean just spraying a promotional message into the abyss. It’s far more than that. Sure you can (and should) link out to your LFC landing page (or if non-gated, directly to the asset), but there are other (more advanced) tactics you can try on for size, like:
Direct outreach: While it seems like a mountain of work to personalize each message, it could result in gained exposure of your content. Connecting with individual social accounts (brands, influencers, consumers, brand partners, etc.) and ask them to read, review, and share the asset. (Always state the value of it and its relevance to them.) You might even have the best luck with direct outreach if you give the accounts contacted an advance (pre-public) look on the book. That makes people feel special and they may be more likely to take notice of your content.
Bio links: Think you need to keep a stagnant homepage URL on your “About Us” section of your social profiles? You are mistaken. Try switching up the status quo and link to your LFC asset or gateway to it.
Stories: Post Instagram and Facebook stories, or Snapchat snaps with featured tips or quotes.
Twitter chats: Host a Twitter chat on the topic covered.
Strategy #4: Leverage your already opted-in network.
Your ebook or LFC asset isn’t for just new customers’ eyes only. Promoting a major asset can help strengthen your relationship with existing subscribers or clients, manifest your authority, and improve trust. Connect with email subscribers by offering them the valued content.
“It’s no secret that everyone consumes content and information differently,” says ClearVoice contributor Lindsay Tigar. “While some are prone to scroll through Facebook or Instagram, others are more reliant on their email.”
Tiger suggests to “use the long arms of email to weave stories unique to your company, your personal brand or your goals.”
Strategy #5: Host a webinar on the topic.
Not all people like to read. Some want to consume information by hearing or seeing.
To further promote the content, host a webinar on the topic or subtopic. The host can be a thought leader, brand leader, author of the asset, or even a well-spoken person from within your team. Just try to choose someone based on social clout because it will attract their own tribe of influence.
Webinars compound the value of your asset and have the following benefits:
- Your brand can deliver content with a human face or voice, making the subject matter of your ebook or LFC asset more relatable, accessible, and digestible.
- You have a two-way communication mode — and can take audience questions, comments, and feedback.
- Your audience gets to know you better, which humanizes the brand and leads to greater trust.
Bonus tip: Like with any promotion, your webinar should end with a call to action to download the content asset.
Strategy #6: Advertise on Facebook.
Many brands maximize the exposure and reach of pillar content through advertising on Facebook. It’s an effective way to zone in on a targeted demographic — those who actually care about the subject you’ve invested in producing content about. With Facebook ads, you can target people based on the subject of your ebook or content piece using keywords to find the best audience.
You can choose any Facebook ad format to promote the ebook to you a defined audience. Set a daily or lifetime budget so you stay within scope of your resources, and the ad is shown to Facebookers based on the selected number of leads.
Customize for greater success.
Similar to other marketing strategies, pillar content promotion should be customized and holistic strategy. Think long and hard about your ideal reader and where you can hook them, then cherry pick the strategies that will best reach your target.
Another word to the wise: Don’t cut the promotional window too short. Plan to promote your pillar piece for weeks or months, not just a few days after it’s published. Also know that you can always revisit, repurpose, republish, rebrand, and re-promote it. Long-form content has a long shelf-life that translates to long-term value.
Ready to start creating a remarkable ebook or content asset? Make sure to hire the right freelancers for your project.