You can promote your content in a thousand different ways. Ads can work, but there are more proactive methods you can use to build buzz, extend your reach and motivate your readers to visit your pages.
Here are my ten favorite methods for doing just that.
1. Engage on Social Media
Many of the following tips will be related to posting on social media and focus on preparing bulk posts in advance. But before we get into that aspect, I want to take a moment to remind you that actually socializing on social media can be a great help in promoting your content, too. When you send out a Twitter or Facebook post and it’s shared by a fan, say, "Thanks." When readers and fans ask you questions, take a second to answer them, especially if they’re compelling!
If you are a business, make it a priority to respond in a timely manner. For example, at imonomy, I insist on answering questions in 12 hours at the most.
2. Social Media Snippets
When you’ve got a new article or other piece of content to publish, you want to pique the interest of your followers. While posting a title and link is a good start, you can take it a lot further than that. I personally like to review the finished content and highlight twenty or so juicy snippets of information. These snippets can be titles (or parts of titles, or variations of titles), intriguing quotes or statistics, and so forth.
You can also formulate unique snippets that reference the material, like posting questions which the content answers. For example, I might tweet, “What are some truly effective ways to promote your new content?” along with a link. Having a good stable of snippets for each article means you can give it a shoutout regularly on social media for a decent period of time without turning your followers off with duplicate, spammy looking links. Plus, if one tidbit doesn’t tempt them, the next one might.
3. Name Drop — Sources, not Celebs
When you collaborate with other experts, extrapolate from their content or cite them in your content, you’re broadening your audience to include theirs. And if you’re publicly giving them credit via your snippets (naturally, you’re already doing that in the article), you’re also creating the opportunity to build a relationship with them.
Facebook tag them, give them a Twitter mention, you get the idea — it’ll capture their attention as well as that of their fans, and it’ll also give your audience a great impression of you. Following simple courtesies can be an incredible promotion tool when done right, as our next tip will show.
4. Contact Your Sources
Obviously, if you’re citing your sources, reaching out to them in email is no more than a professional courtesy, right? Actually, it’s a bit more than that. While you don’t need permission to cite a source, you’ll benefit from any relationships you’re able to build with other movers and shakers in your industry — and if you’re using them as a source, they’re probably a mover and a shaker, right?
This goes for those you criticize, too. While giving someone a heads up that you’re going to debunk their article or work might seem like asking for trouble, it’s great promotional hype. Your readers and fans are going to be intrigued, and if your opponent reaches out and responds to your content, their fans are going to be eagerly reading your words as well.
5. Get Your Sources On the Record
Quoting a source’s online content is one thing, but if you really want to tap into their online influence, get a live quote specifically for your content.
Let’s say you have a fantasy book review blog and you’re reviewing "Game of Thrones," the first book in the series the HBO show is based on. You have a certain take on one of the schemes in the book that differs from that of a popular forum owner that fans of the series look up to. You can reference his point of view in your article and wonder how he might respond. Or, you can contact him pre-publication and ask for his opinion on your insight into the story. This can give you even more material for snippets, and no matter what he says (whether he loves your piece or thinks it’s nonsense), his fans will be very eager to read any original content with his original quotes.
6. Don’t Rely on Email Alone to Contact Sources
Landing in the inbox isn’t as easy as it used to be. And with popular, influential personalities it can be nigh impossible.
Shoot influencers an email, but don’t leave it at that. Hit them up via direct message on Twitter or LinkedIn, send a Facebook message or open a chat. Join LinkedIn, Facebook and Google+ groups they belong to. Obviously, you need to exercise a bit of tact — don’t overwhelm your source with requests and messages. Simply seek out a way to communicate with them directly online, and don’t take the idea that they’re reachable via email for granted. Just because they don’t respond to an email doesn’t mean they’re ignoring you; inboxes get easily overwhelmed.
7. Create Video Versions and Supplements for Text Content
Text is where it’s at in terms of building up a long-term fan base, but video isn’t far behind. Not only that, but video viewers, in many cases, can represent a whole new audience.
Creating a video version of your core content can be a great way to get the attention of new fans. Plus, it gives you even more to promote in your snippets, more influential personalities and experts to contact, and expands your reach significantly. There are those who will retweet a video link, but wouldn’t bother with an article; those who will stumble on your video that might never make it across your blog, and so on. Finally, it allows you to create more, meaningful, engaging content without researching new material.
And, FYI, this goes for you vloggers, too — a companion blog with complementary articles can be a wonderful way to promote your core material and expand your own influence.
8. Create E-book and PDF Versions and Supplements for Your Content
PDFs and e-book compilations of your content are another fantastic way to extend your content while providing value for your readers. There are all sorts of ways you can go about this, given you plenty of options for choosing the method that’s best suited to your content. For example, you can create a collection of “best of” posts and articles. You can compile information into a new form (using your previous content and research to write a guide to doing something, for example). Collect the information you want to include, and then, if you’re not an e-book designer yourself, hire the services of one. (You’ll probably find going with a freelancer is more affordable if you’re only making one book).
9. Back to the Future — or at Least, Current — Content
Check out your site analytics. There’s likely to be a page or post that you’ve created in the past that’s outperformed everything else. For some reason, and you may never know what it was, this particular content piece is getting shared and linked and is coming up in searches. The most convenient place to advertise your new content is right here! Link from your old content to your new content and give yourself a bit of free advertising.
10. Guest Post
If you’re a blogger, guest posting on other blogs, and having other bloggers guest post at yours, is an exceptional way of reaching new readers. It’ll help your fellow bloggers, too, and help build your own reputation as an influential source in the community. You’ll each be promoting one another, and both of you will have the opportunity to gain new fans in the process.
Do you have any other suggestions for promoting content?