Content promotion is, in my opinion, one of the more important parts of a content marketing strategy. It’s the part that actually gets your content in front of your target audience, so people see and engage with it.
If no-one sees your content, how will it do all those amazing things you want it to, like build brand awareness, trust and authority with your audience, increase branded search volume, create fans of your business and, ultimately, convert more people into customers?
It won’t. Content without promotion doesn’t get seen. It’s really as simple as that.
Related: Our ultimate guide to content promotion is a must for any content marketer
Now, there are a number of tactics you can use to promote your content, but this isn’t what we’re going to discuss in this article. Instead, you can find that information here.
Instead, we’re going to make sure you’re set up to do the most effective content promotion you can, by looking at five things you must consider before promoting your content.
Ready? Let’s dive in.
1. Do Audience Research
To be frank, you need to do this before you even create content, nevermind before promoting it. It’s essential you know who your target audience is, where they hang out, and what ways they prefer to consume content.
That way, when you come to promote your content, you’re not wasting your time promoting to the wrong people, in the wrong places, in the wrong formats. That way lies madness.
And, sure, this step might take a while (although there are some wonderful tools like Audiense and Sparktoro that can really help you here), but it’s definitely worth taking the time to do this step thoroughly, so your content has the best chance of having the impact on your business and your audience that you want it to when you come to promote it.
Start by creating audience personas or profiles (yes, that’s plural). But, please, whatever you do, “don’t segment based on demographics used to stereotype, pander, or bias”. Instead, look to include psychographics like interests, behaviours, motivations, values, and pain points - they’re far more important when it comes to properly understanding your audience and what they want.
You should also find and note down your audience’s sources of influence (the people they follow and subscribe to, and the websites or media channels they read and watch). That way you know who you can potentially collaborate with on some content, or work with to promote it.
As Andy Crestodina says - “an ally in creation is an ally in promotion”.
Once this is done, I guarantee your promotion efforts will be a lot more successful. You’ll know exactly who you’re targeting, where you’re promoting your content and the formats that content will appear in.
2. Value check your content
Continuing with the obvious stuff here, but have you made absolutely sure your content is providing as much value as possible to your audience? Promoting a great article will be a lot easier than promoting an average one.
Although an average piece of content well promoted will often outperform a great piece of content promoted poorly. So… yeah.
For example, if you’re creating an article where the goal is to answer questions your audience typically ask, or address a common pain point, you will need to make sure your content does so both clearly and comprehensively.
Most of the time, people are after solutions and answers to problems when they hit Google search, and half-baked articles that simply regurgitate the problem without sharing practical, actionable advice just won’t cut it.
And if you’re sharing thought leadership or opinion on a trending topic, or a commonly discussed topic within your industry, then you’re going to have to make sure you’re sharing something new.
Content with a new perspective, or a new way of thinking about something, is far easier to promote than content that’s saying the same thing hundreds of people have said before.
What’s your unique point of view or take on the topics that your audience cares about? How can that opinion benefit someone, reaffirm their own opinions, or challenge them to rethink something?
Strong opinions are better than weak ones in this type of content (check out Wes Kao’s awesome article on having a ‘spiky point of view’ here), but make sure you’re being genuine.
Saying something controversial for attention is never a good idea.
3. Find the inflection points in your content
Inflection points are key places within your blog posts, eBooks, white papers or other types of content where you have the opportunity to share links to other pieces of content, marketing assets or products and services that might be relevant to your target audience.
If you want your content to drive action when you promote it, knowing where your inflection points are key. They’ll drive traffic to your website, and generate subscribers and leads, pushing any readers a little further down the content funnel.
Here's how you can identify and make the most of inflection points in your promoted content:
- Review your content and identify the key moments where you can insert links to other content assets, products, or services.
- But keep it relevant. When inserting links, make sure they are relevant to the content and the reader. Please don't insert links just for the sake of promoting your products or services. They need to add value to the reader and enhance their experience with your content.
- Experiment with different formats for your links, such as hyperlinks, call-to-action buttons, or banners. This can make your links more visible and increase click-through rates. When we add hyperlinks, we use the following format:
‘Related: Title of another article’ - you may have seen an example in this very article
- Keep tracking the performance of your inflection points to see which ones are generating the most clicks and conversions.
By identifying and leveraging inflection points in your content, you can create a more engaging and valuable experience for your readers, while also promoting more of your content to them via internal links.
4. Consider offline opportunities for promoting online content
Content promotion doesn’t have to only happen online - there are always opportunities to promote your content offline, too.
Our favourite method is to speak at events. Not only are you directly promoting the content you’ve created for that event to a ready-made audience (which could be repurposed from articles, videos or podcasts you’ve created), if you build your name as an authority in your industry and among your target audience, and deliver valuable content on stage, then people will seek you out online and consume your content there, too.
And you don’t just have to look for events to speak at, you could create and host your own, too. Meetups, conferences, networking events, panel discussions - all are valid offline events that will engage your audience and increase awareness of you and the type of content people can expect from you.
Writing content for publications is another way to boost your authority and generate interest in your online content and while, like speaking at events, it's very effective at doing this as long as you pick the right publication.
Related: Check out our ultimate guide to content promotion here
5. Always be listening
Finally, make sure that you’re always listening out for new opportunities to promote your content more effectively. Awareness of what and who is resonating with your audience is valuable, so keep your eyes and ears open.
We have a Google Drive folder set up specifically to note down anything that would be helpful to our content promotion strategy, whether that be a new tool, source of influence, or content format that’s working well with our audience.
Then we experiment with them, if our schedule allows and we feel the opportunity is valuable enough.
This is our usual method:
- Set up alerts: There are a number of tools you can use to set up alerts for keywords, hashtags, and topics related to your brand and content. This way, you can stay on top of relevant conversations and opportunities to engage with your audience.
- Monitor industry forums: Stay active in industry-specific forums and groups where your target audience is likely to engage. Look for active, thriving communities, not just the ones with large numbers.
- Keep up to date with sources of influence: Identify relevant sources of influence in your industry and follow them. Create lists on Twitter, so you can cut out the noise, listen to what they’re saying and join in their conversations to start building relationships if you see value there.
- Attend events: By going to relevant events and conferences, and joining webinars, where you can connect with others in your industry, you’ll likely discover new trends emerging and topics blowing up that you can create highly promotable content about. You’ll also meet some people that could be great to collaborate with.
By always listening and staying alert for opportunities to promote your content, you’ll give yourself the best chance at getting great results from every campaign.
Once your content is published, it’s time to promote. But before that happens, make sure you give your promotion efforts the best possible chance for success.
- Do your research so that you’re delivering the content your audience wants, in the places they hang out, in the format they prefer.
- Value check your content. Make sure you’re publishing something amazing that provides genuine value to your audience. Whether that’s comprehensive advice to address a typical pain point, or a new way of thinking about an old issue, promoting a great piece of content is far easier than promoting an average one.
- Find the inflection points within your content to guide readers to other, relevant pieces of content, keeping them engaged and providing more value.
- Consider offline opportunities. Promoting content at events, or via traditional publications is very effective when done right. And you don’t have to attend events that others are hosting - create your own if the opportunity is right and resource is there.
- Always be listening, so that you can stay on top of industry trends and topics, and identify the best channels to promote on, and sources of influence to collaborate with.
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