The Mammoth Content Marketing Guide: Easy Ways to Promote Your Online Content

by Simon Green on June 20, 2013

ContentKing

No one who has been involved in internet marketing over the past few years can have missed the industry’s heavily overused war cry: ‘Content Is King,’ which is  loudly trumpeted at every event and conference as well as plastered across every SEO, social media and marketing website.

The online business world’s move towards inbound rather than traditional marketing, along with Google’s drive for quality content, are certainly both changes that benefit the casual consumer.  Instead of being perpetually bombarded with pushy messages and products in which we have no interest, we can slowly meander through the websites of our favourite brands, enjoying the pictures, videos and texts designed for our illumination and entertainment.

This is undoubtedly making the Internet a better place, but with so much content swamping the search engines and social media channels, it is often quite hard for the little guys to get noticed.

One example of a particularly popular content-marketing strategy is to piggy-back on whichever new phenomenon is receiving a lot of attention in the media.  This can be fairly effective with regard to traffic; however, forcing a link between your area of interest and a currently popular trend nearly always gives your post a try-hard tinge, a laboured and artificial feel.  Titles such as ‘What Game of Thrones taught me about Microsoft Excel formulas,’ or ‘10 on-site SEO techniques that I took away from Thatcher’s funeral’ seem embarrassingly contrived, although they would not be at all out of place in the current digital-marketing space.

Luckily, alongside drawing incongruous comparisons with Britain’s favourite boyband, there are a number of other ways to help your posts receive attention.  Through experimentation and research, I have picked up quite a few methods of increasing the reach and longevity of your work.  I have created a list of those that are easiest to implement.  Trying just a few of these, I hope, will help your posts to reach a larger audience.

Facebook

 

i)  The Power of Gentle Suggestion!

Facebook, to the average person, is a social rather than a marketing or content-circulation space.  You can, however, use this fact to your advantage.

Ask your friends to like and share your content.  Each new like will open it up to a range of new readers and potential sharers.  Ask your friends to send it on to anyone they think might be interested.

However, if you want to keep your jumble of ‘friends,’ I would be careful about how you ask. Being continuously spammed by your mates is up there with the most annoying online predicaments….

ii)  Brand Loyalty

Content Marketing is largely about building up your brand and keeping your clients engaged and interested.  Despite a slowly growing sense of indifference to Zuckerberg’s social network, it is still the best network to support this process, due to its style and popularity.  Building up your Facebook presence will strengthen your image and your online relationships.  If you do this well, the visitors to your site will be endless….

The recent hashtag update for Facebook gives the network an extra dimension when marketing content.  I will write a more complete post looking at the best ways to use the hashtag; until then, here are a couple of useful posts on the subject:

PerformanceIn: Facebook Hashtags:  Boosting Your Content’s Reach

ZazzleMedia Facebook Hashtags: What you Need to Know.

Here are some great guides to getting your content noticed and liked on Facebook…

Popescu: Guide to Sharing Content on Facebook

Econsultancy: Ten Ways to Advertise Your Business on Facebook

Wordstream: Facebook Marketing for Businesses

 

Google+

 

Google+ has already become the go-to social network for marketers and techies and has overtaken Twitter to become the second most popular social networking space.

In contrast to Facebook, people use this platform to create new relationships and interact with people who share their interests and while it is perhaps not as popular as Twitter & Facebook with brands and companies, it is possibly the best place for personal and professional development and marketing and is also a great place to get your work noticed.

cutest-kitten-hat-ever-13727-1238540322-17Placing your posts

Making posts ‘public’ means that anyone, whether they’re in your Circles or not, can see and engage with them.

Using appropriate hashtags will get your posts noticed by a larger number of interested people as they can be used to instantly convey the subject matter of that piece e.g. #SEO, #Social, or #CatDressedAsFrog…

 

i)  Communities

In my opinion, it was the arrival of Communities that completed the Google+  victory as the coveted ‘King of Social Media Heavyweights. Similar in style to Facebook Groups, they are essentially smaller, closed-off networks of G+ users – forums for asking questions, having discussions and sharing content with people with similar interests.

On the plus side, unlike Facebook Groups, they seem to be fairly resistant to spam and are in general much easier to manage and maintain.

The Google+ team seem to be rolling out frequent changes aimed purely at keeping the community experience clean and enjoyable.

For an introduction to a strong Google+ Community, I highly recommend: Strategic Social Networking, one of the best digital Communities out there and one that I am fortunate enough to be a Moderator of.

The shared interest and narrower focus of Communities mean there is a much higher engagement rate. Community members will also be more likely to +1 and continue sharing.

Mashable: A Guide To Google Communites

SocialMediaToday: 5 Reasons to use Communities for Brand Promotion

ii)  G+ Posts in SERPs

G+ posts themselves can also be shown in search results.  This feature is slowly becoming more and more prominentGetting your G+ post (with a link to your blog content) listed on SERPs will obviously get it more exposure.

Ranking of this type is determined by the amount of engagement with the post, as well as an individual’s G+ authority.  Here’s an example of a G+ post listed in Google SERPS:

G+SERPs

 

I originally posted the link above which was later re-shared by Ann Tran. Despite the fact that I found and posted the material first (and received more engagement), it was her re-share that was listed in the SERPs, because she has more Google+ Authority than I have.

This basically means to reach the most people possible you should:

a)    Increase your G+ authority (through the number of Circles you are in and the amount of engagement you receive).

b)   Get your content shared and posted by as many authoritative figures as possible.

iii)   Google+ Hangouts

Using Google Hangouts to promote your work is easy.  Simply join or start a Hangout on a topic similar to that of your post.  The people who take part are highly likely to be interested in the subject.  Suggest they read it, especially if it covers any points specifically touched upon in the Hangout.  If you feel the other partakers are more advanced than you, simply ask them what they think or ask for their feedback.  Hopefully one or two of them will like or share it.

Search Engine Journal: How to Integrate Google+ into Your Online Marketing Initiative

Social Media Today:  Promoting Content With Google+

 

Twitter

 

Twitter has huge outreach potential.  It has over half a billion active users, with a further 135,000 signing up each day.  It is also the easiest social network to reach people whom you are not directly connected to.

This is because:

-All Tweets, unless made private, are visible to everyone, meaning you can interact with any other Twitter user of which there are hundreds of thousands.

-Hashtags act as labels, allowing unlimited tweets to be ordered and grouped by topic, making them easier to find.

-Trends: on the left-hand side, you can see what it is that people are most searching for/tweeting about.

-The ease of retweeting.

The most retweeted tweet to date is Obama’s re-election victory photo, which racked up more than 800,000 retweets. 

Increasing Your Reach

When tweeting about your blog post, here are a few tips that will help you reach the largest number of people:

i)  Time Optimisation

Your followers are the people who are most likely to see, engage with and pass on your tweets.  It is therefore important to find out what time of day they are most active.  This can be done with a range of analytics programs. The diagram below is from Followerwonk, an affiliate of SEOmoz and my particular favourite:

This graph shows that my followers are most active at 13:00.

FOllowerwonkTimeOfDay

ii)  Tactical Repetition

The graph also shows that even at the most popular time of day, only a small percentage of your followers (in this case 6%) are active on Twitter.  This means that when you post your link, it will quickly become lost in the Newsfeed and never seen by the majority.  It is therefore worth tweeting a link to your content a few times.

It is highly unlikely that the same people will see it more than once but slightly rewording your tweets will further reduce the chances of appearing spammy and annoying people.

According to marketing and Social Media titan Guy Kawasaki, repeating tweets four times is best.  Each one gets about the same CTR and ‘why be satisfied with 600 clicks when you can get 2,400?Most of the large tweeting sources such as CNN, ESPN provide content several times as their audiences live in different time zones, have different working hours and Social Media habits.

Set up a Hootsuite account to schedule tweets to reach people in different time zones. 

iii)  Find out what your audience is most interested in

It is worth knowing what topic it is that your audience are most interested in and engaging with the most.  A number of Wordclouds are available online, showing a range of things: ‘what people are searching for’ or ‘what people are retweeting.’

FollowwonkWordCloud

This one shows the most common phrases found in the bios of followers – a great indicator to what they are interested in and the subjects they will respond to.  Once you know in which subjects the majority are most interested, write more content around it and emphasise its relevance with #hashtags.

There’s a variety of tools which are also great for finding out what people are talking about.  Tweetronics is particularly good for discovering topics of conversation.

iv)  Using Mentions to Increase Reach

Search for Twitter users talking about a subject related to your post and suggest that they have a read with an @mention.

It is also worth discussing or mentioning brands, people and products in your blog-post content itself as you can then let them know they’ve been mentioned in your tweet.  If someone with influence in your industry retweeted your post, recommended it or simply said that they liked it, the response could be huuuuuuuge!

Due to its simplicity, Twitter has a large collection of tools and add-ons that will help you manage your outreach and increase your reach.  Here is a list of Twitter tools used by marketing professionals.

And here is a collection of social media names worth impressing:

Forbes: Top 50 Social Media Influencers

TopRank Blog:  Top UK Online Marketing Influencers & Bloggers in 2013

v)  Optimising For Retweets

The general rule for optimising for retweets is to leave enough space for ‘RT @(your handle).’

For example:  we need to leave at least 15 characters free in our tweets for: ‘RT @makeittweet.’

To fully maximise your chances for a retweet, however, leave as much space as possible.  People (particularly seasoned Twitter users or brands) like to add to and change tweets before sharing them.  If there is more space to play with, they are more likely to be retweeted.

Razorsocial: Promoting Blog Posts Through Twitter

WikiHow: Promoting Your Content Through Twitter

 

 

Internal Links

 

This is quite a simple yet effective idea to bring fresh traffic to older posts that are slowly getting forgotten.  In your new blog posts try to link to one or two older pieces as it will allow new visitors to discover older content that they would otherwise be unlikely to find.  If someone new to your blog reads and enjoys a couple of past posts, they are likely to come back and check for more, subscribe and share…

 

Reformatting and Updating Aging Posts

 

Another way to bring a new audience to older posts is simply to update and add to them.  Google likes new content, seeing them as up-to-date and current.  Update date is given a great deal of weight when it comes to rankings, as can be seen in blog posts and news articles.  Going back to old posts and adding a new paragraph or updating some stats will breathe life back into any dying post.

If at all possible, without feeling forced, when moderating your older posts try also to slip in a link or two to some of your newer posts.  This will give the visitors to your blog a more complete experience and will help each and everyone to climb through the ranks.

Example: We have gone back and uploaded photos and pics to some of our older posts and have since noticed that many of them gained a few new shares and likes on the Social Media buttons.

 

Social Bookmarking

 

A Social Bookmarking site is a service on which people can save or ‘bookmark’ a particular page, post, or even section of a web document.  From here it can be seen, re-shared and annotated by third parties.  Most of these services have a built-in voting system, with which popular bookmarks become more visible – and boring or rubbish ones, less so….

Some of the most popular examples of these services include:

Reddit,

Digg,

Stumbleupon,

Delicious

Fark

A site worth a special mention is:

Inbound.org

Although not exactly a social bookmarking site (it is described as an Inbound Marketing Internet Community), it works in a very similar way – although specific and exclusive to digital marketing content – perfect for me!

I have posted just several of my previous blog posts on there and as we can see in Google Analytics, it has brought through the third largest volume of traffic – certainly worth the time of submission!

InboundBlurredReady1

 

Niche Directories

 

Although these have lost nearly all their SEO value and, thanks to the dreaded Penguin updates, can often be more harmful to rankings than helpful, they will still bring people to your page and site.  If you are particularly worried about low link quality, keep your text extremely generic or request a NoFollow.

The more niche the directories, the more relevant and ready-to-engage the visitors will be.

 

Linked In

 

LinkedIn, ‘The Social Media network for professionals,’ aims to become the premier hub for content marketing in the next few years.

The very nature of the network means that the work posted and shared is, in general, going to be of a higher average standard than most other places on the web.  People are looking to impress prospective employers and build a reputation, rather than (as is the case in so many other online arenas) gain a few easy likes, comments or followers.

While this unwritten rule helps to keep the general level of content up, it also means that it takes time and investment to gain any recognition (and therefore traffic, comments and shares).

You will need to spend a bit of time posting useful content related to the niche in which you are trying to gain traction. Ask questions, comment and, wherever possible, answer questions.  You must get involved!  Bumbling into a Group and posting a link to your content after no previous engagement is unlikely to lead to any responses at all.

Take your time with LinkedIn, always being humble and Helpful.  While it may not be as good as the other Social Media networks for generating straight-up traffic, play the game well and you will build something much more valuable – your professional reputation which will, in turn, bring you a huge number of visitors.

How to Use LinkedIn for Marketing from HubSpot All-in-one Marketing Software

Mashable:  The Beginner’s Guide to LinkedIn

Social Media Examiner:  How to Network Using LinkedIn Groups

Social Media Examiner:  5 Ways to Generate More Business From LinkedIn

 

Video

 

i)  Youtube

To really cash in on internet-marketing capabilities, using video is essential. Youtube is the second-largest search engine in the world. Four-billion hours of video are viewed each month, while more than 72 hours are uploaded every minute, which translates into a mind-blowing decade each day!  This is a source of traffic that you simply cannot afford to miss out on.

All of the really effective online & social brands are on Youtube.  Have a look at some of these channels and the number of views they’ve attracted.  Some of these you (or I, at least) would not associate with strong video content:

Coca Cola

Burberry

Starbucks

This is perhaps my favourite digital marketing channel: MozHQ.

Having strong video content will strengthen your blog’s brand and will help people to find your other blog content.

Before I started as an internet-marketing intern, I was looking for lectures covering SEM & Social Media on Youtube.  I discovered Whiteboard Fridays on the aforementioned channel, and now SEOmoz blog is by far my favourite internet-marketing resource – proof that strong video content will bring people to your content.

Search Engine Journal: Optimising your Youtube Videos.

Opentimez: Creating Highly Shareable and Viral Video Content

ReadWrite:  A Look at the Top 10 Performing Channels in Youtube

Moz:  How to Leverage Videos to Build More Links

ii)  Videos Appear higher in SERPs

Videos will usually appear higher in SERPs than written content, even if they are covering the same information.  This is because Google, over time, has realised that they get a higher CTR – people prefer them.

The best way to use this to your advantage is to create an original video, embedding it on your blog, while also indexing it within Youtube.  Make sure you let the viewers know the address of your blog and the subjects it covers, whether in the clip itself or in the ‘About’ section below (preferably both).  This post explains how to create logos to improve your video marketing efforts.

A great example of someone using this effectively is Martin Shervington.  One of my favourite posts:  Search Engine Optimisation Using Google Plus

 

Comments and Forums

 

WARNING: This technique has to be used very carefully as these days it is considered to be the height of spamminess, the very worst of black-hat techniques.

The method involves placing a link to your post in a comment or forum.  The difference between being a black-hat and a helpful Internet surfer is that you have to place these links only where they are truly relevant and helpful to those who will come across them.

Blog Comments:  Find a blog post covering a similar topic to your own and post a link to your post, suggesting that people might find it interesting.  Ask them for their thoughts.

Forum Comments: In similar vein, find a forum thread relevant to your post and simply post a link to your content.

A forum that asks a question that your post answers would be ideal.  A forum thread dealing with the subject: ‘How do I promote my blog posts?’ would be an ideal place for me to promote this particular article.

Bloggeries, is a good place to start locating likely blogs, while this post goes into more detail about using forums to promote your work.

 

Slideshare

 

Slideshare is a site that hosts slideshows.  With the growing demand for varied content, particularly visual, the service has become more and more popular over the past few years, now receiving more than 65-million visitors a month.

In order to use it to market your content, create a slideshow outlining your main argument or perhaps delving into a complex issue touched upon in your post.  Place a link in the slideshow back to your blog.  When people discover it through Google or Slideshare they will hopefully follow the link back to read the original post.

Slideshares are also extremely easy to embed within your posts and they help to break up the text and keep things varied.

Social Media Examiner:  Using Slideshare to Market Your Business

SEO.com: How to create an epic Slidshare deck.

http://www.slideshare.net/slidesharepro/how-marketo-uses-slideshare-for-inbound-marketing-and-lead-generation

 

Emailing and Newsletters

 

Why not include a link to your latest blog posts in any subscription, periodical or mass email?  A small link in your email footer advertising your ‘latest post’ will hardly be offensive.

Clients:  If you work with businesses, promote your posts to those with whom you work.  We have recently done a couple of White Papers on Insurance SEO & Paid Search, two research pieces that we recommended to some of our finance-related clients.

 

Outbound links and mentions

 

Particularly in the digital marketing sector, website owners will run frequent checks for links pointing towards their website so they can check their link-profile diversity, domain authority and sabotage any efforts of competitors to perform negative/black-hat SEO techniques.

Building links outwards to relevant and authoritative websites in a useful and constructive way will mean that when they perform these link-profile checks, they will discover your blog post.  If your content is good, it will be in their interest to share it….

SEOmoz:  6 Ways to use fresh links (Whiteboard Friday)

 

Pinterest

 

This social network is fairly new, yet has soared through the ranks, enjoying a 1000% growth rate throughout much of 2012 and is now one of the largest traffic drivers out there, beating out Bing, Twitter and even Yahoo, according to TechCrunch.

It is a particularly good place to spend time marketing your work if you have a lot of visual content.  This, of course, lends itself to particular industries, notably retail, which naturally delight in showing off beautiful photos of their latest and most expensive products.

The best way to promote your blog posts on Pinterest is to create and utilise an original picture (preferably more than one) that conveys your message and makes your blog more visually appealing. This is more engaging for today’s consumers anyway.  An example of a blog doing this very well is Social Mouths, one of my favourite SMM blogs.

A Couple of Tricks:

- Larger images take up more space across the Pinterest page and are therefore more likely to catch people’s eyes.

- Hashtags are searchable so pop a few relevant ones in the description box!

i)  Community Boards

Another great tip is to pin to Group/Community Boards.  These act in a similar fashion to Google Communities and will get your pictures more exposure.

Jeff Bullas:  How to Use Pinterest’s Group Boards to Get More Exposure for your Business

MCNG: 8 Steps to Grow Your Pinterest Community Board

ii)  Building Your Brand

While Pinterest is not the best place to market specific blog posts, it is, like Facebook, a great place to build your brand reputation and fanbase, which, if maintained over time, will bring large numbers of visitors to your blog.

 

Images

 

i)  Google Image Search

Google image searches used to be a viable way of bringing traffic to your site.  Recent changes to the search engine have forced this method, as an SEO technique, into almost total obsolescence. This is basically because people can now view (as well as save/copy) the full-size, high-quality image within the search engine itself.  There is no need to click through to the original site.  Google’s increasing domination of the web is grating on many, and this particular instance has been described by some as content stealing, which in a way it is….

@shahzadabbas of Define Media Group tells us that some publishers suffered a decline in traffic of up to 80%.

Still a Viable Method?

You can still bring a small amount of traffic from Google Images, but it is no longer an exact science.  Using interesting and compelling original photos and diagrams, along with highly descriptive alt tags, will hopefully pull through a small but highly relevant audience.

ii)  Infographics

Creating infographics is a great way to get your blog seen by a larger audience.  There is a huge number of infographic submission sites out there to utilise.  Here is a good place to start.

Sociable: 10 Ways to Promote an Infographic

 

Screen Shot 2013-06-19 at 14.55.47iii)  Social Media

When sharing a link to your post on the Social Media networks, posting it alongside a photo or diagram, with an accurate & engaging description as a comment, achieves a much higher CTR than a pure-text post.

The picture to the left is an example of the kind of post people like to see.  It has varied text, some of which is in bold and italics, as well as nice big picture.

Here is a link to the original post.

Posting a photo alongside your link increases the CTR by around 50%While the accuracy of this stat may seem dubious, it is absolutely unquestionably true that visual posts receive more engagement.

 

 

 

Guest Posting

 

Besides the usual author link back to your blog or social media profile, one of the main reasons guest posting is such a popular marketing technique is that it gets your writing and ideas in front of a new audience, hopefully drawing a number of them back to your site.

Tips:

- Choose a subject you are very confident on so that you come across as an impressive authority.

- Pop in a few links back to a few of your best blog posts. If there are a few you are especially proud of, with subtlety, steer your guest post towards the subjects in question in order to link ‘naturally’ to them. This will increase the rankings of these, as well as bringing direct and relevant traffic to therm.

- Promote yourself!  Whether in your author bio, in the footer or even in the post itself, tell this audience why you are a great writer in this niche and why they should go to your blog after this and read what you have to say.

 Try BlogDash to help you find target sites in your niche.

 

Word of Mouth

 

In this digital age it is easy to forget about some of the more traditional methods of promotion.  When you’re at a conference, a staff or client meeting, or even out with friends, ask them to read your post, give their thoughts and share it with third parties. In terms of reach, all publicity is good publicity.

 

Some Final Thoughts….

 

So there is an nice batch of easy-to-implement techniques that will help you to reach a wider audience.

Some essential points worth remembering:

Just one person sharing or retweeting your link, particularly if he/she is interested in its subject matter, could well start a chain reaction and lead to a hell of a lot more shares.

No matter how effective your marketing techniques, if your content is poor it is unlikely to be shared far and wide.  The first and most important stage of content marketing is content creation. The less time you spend on this this, the harder and less effective all of the methods, outlined above, will turn out to be.

Happy Marketing!

Some More Useful Resources 

Social Media Today:  How to Create Shareable Social Media Content

Content Marketing Institute: 42 Content Marketing Ideas for 2013

Justin Briggs: Technical Hacks for Content Marketing

Jeff Bullas: Promoting and Marketing Your Blog Post

Econsultancy: How to Write for the Web

Mashable:  A Collection of Posts on Content

Jonathan Colman:  The Epic List of Content Strategy Resources

Social Media Examiner:  5 Creative Ways of Driving More Traffic to Your Blog

 

If you can think of any other quick and easy methods of marketing your content, please let me know in the comments below.  I look forward to hearing from you!

Simon Green

About Simon Green

Just a Content and Social Media Manager from London. When I'm not delving into the digital, you may find me cooking, eating or buying food. I'm a big fan of books, films, beer and loads of other things too...

{ 7 comments… read them below or add one }

Vincent Ng June 25, 2013 at 5:55 PM

Simon, you could have made this into a white paper. That was thorough and provided some great resources. I really appreciate you linking to my article about building community boards. Greatly appreciated!

Reply

Simon Green Simon Green June 28, 2013 at 10:38 AM

Not a problem Vincent, it was a useful post and well worth sharing. Thanks for your comment and glad you found it useful!

Reply

How to know September 3, 2013 at 4:52 PM

Hi colleagues, its impressive piece of writing about teachingand
entirely explained, keep it up all the time.

Reply

Simon Green Simon Green September 9, 2013 at 9:29 AM

Thank you, glad you liked it! Come back and see us soon!

Reply

badoo hack free credits.rar September 8, 2013 at 3:19 PM

Hello There. I found your blog using msn. This is a really
well written article. I will be sure to bookmark it
and come back to read more of your useful information.
Thanks for the post. I’ll certainly comeback.

Reply

Simon Green Simon Green September 9, 2013 at 9:28 AM

Thanks very much for your comment. Please do come back! We’ll have some more content live very soon.. Regards,

Reply

dog safety November 22, 2013 at 5:47 PM

Just wish to say your article is as surprising. The
clearness for your publish is just excellent and that i can think you’re an
expert in this subject. Well together with your permission allow me to seize
your RSS feed to keep up to date with forthcoming post.

Thank you 1,000,000 and please carry on the
gratifying work.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: