You’ve just launched a gorgeous campaign with all the design bells and whistles. The copywriting is art and the experience intoxicating—so say your design and content team.
The day of launch has everyone excited. The marketing team smells a win at Cannes Lions and the sales team anticipates Glengarry-level leads. But wait, what’s that? Nothing? Nothing!
It looks like you’ve got a bad case of Invisible Content Syndrome.
Just about every marketer experiences the dichotomy of creation / promotion with an increasing focus on making the best content possible. But then what? Many time-strapped marketers are resolved to hit publish, schedule some social shares on brand profiles and maybe throw a few bucks towards social ads. But is that enough?
Back in 2012 Americans were consuming an average of 63 GB of media on a daily basis. I can only imagine how much it is today. Enough to make last minute social shares and ads a crapshoot in terms of making sure your content is seen by the audience you intend and when it’s actually going to be useful for them.
Invisible Content Syndrome isn’t a new idea, of course. Sonia Simone from Copyblogger wrote about it back in 2010 (which I just discovered this week) offering solid tips on how to beat it. When it comes to solving for invisible content, creating channels of distribution for content marketing is something I’ve been focused on a very long time—here’s a post on the topic from 2007.
Fast forward to 2018 and today’s world of information overload and the multitude of device options for consuming information makes standing out even more challenging. Content promotion can’t be effective if it’s an afterthought. Your best practice would be to make promotion part of content planning. To provide you with a helpful resource, I’ve compiled a list of content promotion ideas for you to consider during your content planning so you can be the best answer for your customers, when and where it matters most.
50 Content Promotion Tactics to Cure Invisible Content Syndrome
1. Collaborate with influencers. I have to put this one first because it’s become an incredibly effective way of delivering mutual benefit for everyone involved. Brands get exposure to influencer audiences as they promote the result of their collaboration, influencers get exposure by association with the brand and consumers get really useful content from people they trust. There are a multitude of variations on working with influencers for content promotion and you’ll see some of them further on in the list.
2. Create modular content for repurposing. Another highly effective approach is to identify topical segments of your main content and cluster them together for variations on the theme in repurposed content. If your content is about topics X, Y and Z then you can take all the ideas about X and either: publish in a different format like turning a blog post into an ebook as I’ve done down below, or add some new insights about topic X to those from your original content and publish it as a deeper dive on the subject. Repurposing has many different options and I’ll bring a few more up further in the list.
3. Ping journalists about research content before you publish. This is a great idea I learned from Steve Rayson of BuzzSumo. If you’re doing a research project, identify publications that match editorially and reach out to a relevant journalist in advance to see what questions they would like answered in the research. When the report publishes, share with the Journalists and they’ll inevitably help promote the thing they contributed to. You can sign up for services like HARO and wait for opportunities to find you or seek them out with a service like Muck Rack.
4. Republish / syndicate on a different channel. Publish the original content on your brand site or blog, then the author can republish that same content on LinkedIn Pulse with a citation and link to the original at the end. An alternative would be to republish on Medium following the same citation advice. A different channel will likely have a different audience and when the content you’re working with happens to be mutually relevant to multiple channels where you publish, why not share?
5. Repurpose the original in a different media format. A substantive video could be turned into multiple blog posts with still images used as graphics in the posts. The audio from the video might be useful in a podcast format and further screen grabs from the video could be used for social shares.
6. Deconstruct the original content and personalize for a different audience. In many types of content there are universal truths —things that are true for each audience segment or vertical market a brand is after. Strip away what’s personalized in your content for a specific audience leaving these truths. Then add in content specific to a different vertical or audience and publish appropriately. The additional content that results becomes more content promotion opportunity.
7. Survey your social networks with one simple question. Then compile answers into a blog post, citing the contributors. Announce the published content to your network and those that contributed will appreciate the attribution and help promote it.
8. Reassemble modular interviews into new content. Identify a group of 10 industry experts / influencers and interview them. It’s often best to start with just one question as mentioned above, then follow up to ask more. Make 3-4 of the questions very specific and designed to evoke tactical answers. Be sure to use SEO keywords in the questions. Publish each of the 10 interviews a week or month apart. After that, take all the answers to one of the tactical questions and assemble into a new post about that very specific topic. Add a your own insights or capture tips from a few new influencers to spice it up and don’t be afraid to publish as an infographic, motion graphic or eBook. Do the same for the other tactical questions and answers as well. New formats give you new publish and promotion opportunities.
9. Write guest posts for industry blogs. Take the main theme of your content and customize a story for relevant industry blogs. Tools like BlogDash can be helpful for finding the right blogs. The contributed blog posts need to be written in a way that linking to your original content makes sense as a reference. This is most meaningful when your original content is not a blog post itself, like a video, report, ebook, infographic, microsite, interactive experience, motion graphic, etc.
10. Pitch industry publications with exclusive stories. With bigger content assets and especially those involving research or truly newsworthy information, it pays to identify industry publications and pitch story ideas. With enough advance notice, you can see the upcoming themes for a publication in their editorial calendar. If a staff journalist is unresponsive, research contributing authors with story ideas. Your story is the content—but you might also be able to link back to useful resources that support the facts of the story. The more unique, robust and engaging, the more likely a relevant resource on your brand site will be linked to by the publication.
11. Pitch for podcast interviews. Podcasting is growing fast and while I’ve never used a pitching service myself, they do exist. You can also search iTunes and other sources of podasts for relevant shows or use a service like RadioGuestList. Then reach out to the owner with your idea for an interview. As above, the more unique, robust and engaging a relevant resource on your brand site is, the more likely it will be linked to by the podcast.
12. Share with communities. Tap into smaller community websites or forums to share your content. However, don’t just arrive, drop a link and leave, expecting the community to respond. You’ll need to invest time in finding the right communities and then build credibility before sharing links to your content.
13. Make content sharing easy. Nothing scales social sharing like making sharing easy. Use click to tweet links in PDFs, reports and blog posts to make it easy for people to share with a single click (or two). Also format your content with quotes to make it shareable.
14. Add your last article to your email signature and out-of-office messages. I learned this one from Jason Miller at LinkedIn. Below your contact info in an email signature, include the title and link to your latest blog post or content project. Do the same with one, two or three in your out of office message.
15. Make a video on LinkedIn announcing your content. Ann Handley did this recently when she announced the keynote speakers for B2B Forum and it had tens of thousands of views.
16. Use Facebook Live to announce you’ve published new content. This is a smart tip from David Zheng. When you start Facebook Live, a notification is sent to all your followers and fans. Then you can show a featured image and talk about the key points of the post. You can also ask viewers to head to your site to finish reading it or to implement the tactics you talked about. A related suggestion is to create an Instagram or Snapchat story to announce your new content and why it’s useful.
17. Send an email to your email list. Of course you might already be using an RSS to email service with your blog, so this is not that. But if you have a general email newsletter sent on a regular basis, a dedicated email announcing something new and relevant can be very effective for visibility of the content you want to promote.
18. Monitor social networks for questions and answer them with your content. When a question pops up that could be answered with content you’ve created, you have a legitimate reason to share a link. You can set up notifications with services that scan social channels like Twitter or specific forums.
19. Track competitors for inspiration and opportunities. Services like RivalIQ help identify breakout social posts and content from competitors so you can see what they’re doing that’s working. Social media monitoring tools that track competitors can help you see opportunities to promote your content as an answer when a competitor is involved in the discussion. This can be tricky, so be careful and be relevant.
20. Twitter Chats. You can either create a Twitter Chat yourself or start participating in relevant industry Twitter chats. The question and answer format is ideal for sharing relevant and helpful links to your content. Just don’t overdo it. Also, curation of Twitter chats are a great source of content you can publish on your blog with links to the promotable content you want to share.
21. Start a podcast. If you’re not having luck getting picked up by other podcasts, maybe you should start one. I’ve been saying for many years, “If you want to be in the media, become the media.” A podcast can become just that: a platform where you can showcase useful insights and content, including your own.
22. Start a blog. Many of the tips already posted here assume you have a blog, but if you don’t, then start one! There are several blog platforms to choose from including WordPress, Tumblr or Medium. On your blog, you can curate other content as news when you’re not publishing yourself. The blog and your useful content can become a hub for your content marketing efforts to create and promote useful information that inspires your audience to do business with you.
23. Tap your community. Active engagement amongst a community means permission to share what’s important to you – including your most recent amazing content. It matters less where the community is—social networks, forums, private groups or a Slack channel and more that you are creating value for the community be sharing relevant and useful content. If they like it, they’ll share it.
24. Activate employees. An email or platform notification sent to your employees about a recently published content masterpiece is a great way to provide them with source material for their own social sharing. Your staff also represent a potentially effective distribution channel for your content as well.
25. Link to new content from content already published. When new content is being created, part of the process should be to research what has already been published on the topic. Redundancy is no good for people or search rankings after all. But complementary content does make sense to link up. Link to your new content (as a related topic) from on-topic content that is still getting traffic from search, social and links to provide a little positive lift.
26. Mention new book authors, analysts, influencers and journalists. People in the game of exposure appreciate being mentioned in relevant ways on other websites. The monitoring/alerts those mentions will create can result in clicks to inspect the source content. Because your content is amazing and you have cited the individuals in the most relevant way, there’s a good chance they will share or even link from their own blogs.
27. Upgrade the competition.Find the most popular online content on your topics of interest and create something even better. Go deep and invest in the design of the information. Link to the content you want to promote from this robust deep dive on the topic.
28. Paid social promotion. Organic is great, but sometimes paid is better. The audience targeting options with major social networks can help you direct qualified traffic to your content. For that, use Facebook or Instagram Ads, Promoted Tweets, Sponsored LinkedIn Content, Sponsored InMail or Text Ads to promote your content to exactly the audience you want to reach.
29. Retargeting. Use a service like AdRoll to tag your content so when people visit and leave, you can display retargeting ads to them for your content as they visit other websites.
30. Promote with native advertising. Another way to pay your way to exposure is to use a service like Outbrain Amplify to get your content recommended on premium sites, including CNN, People and ESPN.
31. Paid search. The vast majority of all research online starts with a search engine. Find the right keywords for your content and PPC ads could provide the right amount of lift in visibility.
32. Create or buy a niche site. Returns require an investment and sometimes the long game means investing in a niche microsite or even purchasing an existing niche site that is focused on the topic you’re after. Along with the past content is a community of subscribers that you can tap into for exposure to your content.
33. Update and optimize old content. When we do content audits, one of the things we look for is to identify content that has potential – the right mix of maintained search popularity and and opportunity to be updated. When you find those candidates for updating, optimize them for search and social shares.
34. Creative interactive experiences. Create a quiz, poll, calculator or similar input/output experience using a platform like SnapApp or Ceros that can create interest and then send visitors to your content to dig in deeper to the topic. We worked with Ceros to create an interactive infographic for a research report and both the referrals and the conversion rate to download the report have been amazing.
35. Tap into event streams. Find relevant conferences and their hashtags to follow. Create, or better yet, repurpose content specifically for the audience attending the event. During the event, share your useful and on-topic content with the the community following the hashtag. Don’t overdo it and your shares must be on-topic and relevant.
36. Optimize for organic search. Of course, this is the slow burn of content amplification tactics, but if you are smart and diligent about making your content both Google and people friendly plus you are publishing regularly, you can increase the frequency Googlebot visits and crawls of your site. That means new content you publish can show up in search results within hours.
37. Partner marketing. Identify other companies that are non-competitive but share similar audience objectives. Incorporate your content with theirs in a joint venture whether it’s a webinar, research study or and online / offline event. Each of you will gain exposure to a new audience in a credible way.
38. Create an answer engine. Mine your site search for questions visitors search on and develop content that answers those questions. You can use other sources of customer questions like feedback forms and tools like AnswerThePublic.com, BuzzSumo and StoryBase. Q/A format content that follows a specific topic can be do well in organic search. Link to your new content from those pages where relevant. You can also seek out questions on sites like Quora and answer them citing and linking to your more in depth content on the topic.
39. Affiliate program. Give niche and microinfluencers an incentive to share your content by offering an affiliate program that rewards them for the completion of each goal action, whether it’s a download, subscription, inquiry or transaction.
40. Sponsor blog posts. Find blogs that accept sponsored content or a sponsorship message (properly disclosed of course) and include nofollow links to the content you want to promote.
41. Remarketing for influencer audiences. Target those who visit your website from a tracking link shared by an influencer. Few convert on the first visit, so retargeting those visitors with your relevant content can be an effective way to promote and inspire them to take the next step.
42. Reshare the content that has performed the best. Use social share metrics from BuzzSumo or other data like pageviews, leads or sales attributed to your best content to decide what to re-share days or weeks after it was published. In fact, I’ll often query what the top content of the quarter or month has been and schedule a reshare with modified text.
43. Sponsor an influencer’s channel. Some influencers are publishers and make available their channels for sponsorship. Usually the influencer creates the content and there’s a disclaimer that a brand has sponsored an individual piece of content. But with the right influencer, it could be a full day or even a week.
44. Purchase an ad in an email newsletter. Ads are everywhere and one of the most effective is email. Research ad opportunities within industry email newsletters and buy a placement that directs visitors to your useful content. Ads can be spendy, so it might be worth focusing on niche newsletters.
45. Syndicate to Industry Associations. Acronymed organizations are always looking for useful content to share with their members. Find the right associations for your brand and reach out to see if they would be interested in sharing your relevant content via their email newsletter or posting to the organization blog.
46. Get visual with video. If a picture is worth a thousand words then a video must be worth millions. Spice up your content with a video sidebar or summary and it will increase the likelihood of sharing and receiving links substantially.
47. Comment Marketing. This is an area that must be tread carefully, but if done well, can be very effective. Find content that matches the topic of your content to promote and seek out opportunities to share useful, on-topic comments that include a link to your more in-depth resource. Don’t limit your comments to blogs. Consider mainstream business publications as well – especially those that accept new authors eager to get comments about their contribution.
48. Link building. Find the top ranking content on your topic, then research who is linking to those URLs. Reach out to the link sources and invite them to link to your robust content as well. This approach is too often used and poorly executed, so wins will be few and far between. But it doesn’t take too many links from reputable sources to have a positive impact on the visibility of your content.
49. Sponsor events. Many events will provide opportunities for sponsors to share more than a log0 – content on the conference blog, via attendee newsletter or even in print included in the schwag bag.
50. Make a big ass list like this one! Comprehensive, useful resources often represent content that is worth sharing and linking to. Hopefully readers will feel that way about this post.
Besides this fine list of content amplification tips, I’ve also put together an eBook of recommendations from 10 top marketing influencers and professionals including: Ann Handley, Mike Stelzner, Joe Pulizzi, Mike King, Cathy McPhillips, Sujan Patel, Ursula Ringham, Larry Kim, Carla Johnson, Andrew Davis. That’s right, walking the talk!
If you’re attending the Content Marketing World conference in Cleveland during the first week of September, you’ll want to see if there are any spaces left for this workshop.
I will be covering:
- How to use a “Best Answer” strategy to activate content integration
- How to use keyword & question research to ignite content planning
- How to use Power Pages and SEO best practices for organic liftoff
- How to use the magic of repurposing social content for promotion
- How to use outreach tactics that will fuel blog and media coverage of your campaigns
Basically, much of what you need to know to make sure your content is visible and not just good looking.
Wednesday, September 5th I will be giving a presentation for B2B marketers on influencer marketing:
The Confluence Equation: How Content and Influencers Drive B2B Marketing Success.
What’s the secret formula to scalable, quality content? Find out how B2B brands, big and small like SAP, Dell, Cherwell and DivvyHQ are able to create more awareness, engagement and pipeline with the confluence equation. In this presentation you will:
- Learn the Influencer Marketing Maturity Model and where your brand fits
- Explore how a modular approach to influencer content can fuel cross-channel campaigns
- Learn how to get the best of both worlds: campaigns and always on programs
- Understand which technologies are available to facilitate influencer identification, engagement and performance reporting
Joining me at Content Marketing World is Ashley Zeckman, Digital Strategy Director at TopRank Marketing. She’s going to be busting some influencer marketing myths in her presentation.
Thursday, September 6th:
Influencer Marketing is only for B2C Brands (& Other Lies Your Parents Told You). Here’s what you can expect from Ashley:
- A dive into 3 stories of successful content and influencer marketing in action.
- Steps for creating a stellar experience for your audience and your influencers.
- Scrappy ideas for collaborating with influencers when you have limited time and resources.
- Bonus: Formulas for determining content and influencer marketing ROI
But wait, there’s more! We have more TopRank Marketing team members attending the CMWorld conference including Account Manager, Jane Bartel, Senior Content Strategist, Nick Nelson and Content Strategist, Anne Leuman who will be on hand attending sessions and live-blogging. Be sure to follow us on Twitter at @toprank and check out our live conference coverage here on the Online Marketing Blog.