In this week's #Semrushchat, we talked about content marketing promotion hacks with our community and guest Gail Gardner. As we all know, not all businesses have a large budget for content promotion, so we asked the audience some questions that consultants often hear from business owners that need help with content ideation and content promotion.
Below we have some great promotion hacks, content tips you can use, content marketing resources, and videos from experts that will show you how to create a plan that will help you promote content across multiple platforms.
Our chat participants have given insights into the following:
What to Consider With Content Promotion vs. Organic Reach
Time — organic reach can take a lot of time and that reach 100% depends on how it ranks and if the keywords you optimized for are the same words your target audience will be using to search. Organic reach is not always easy, so you really need to start with promotion and pay attention to what people are saying in response. Based on feedback from promotion, you may need to adapt content, optimization strategies, and audience targeting.
Promoted content now will help you meet your immediate goals, while organic can help with long-term goals. You can always repurpose your content for multiple social shares and to reach audiences in different ways (text, video, images).
We had some different viewpoints on this one. Let's see the first:
Brian Kato — “It's possible, but rare. Why rely on a 'guesSEO' or 'spray and pray' approach. I don't like taking chances like that. Make your own opportunities and promote your content!”
Jairus Mitchell — “Maybe eventually? But content shouldn't just exist in a vacuum. You have to link and post it places. You need it to show up in your sitemap. These things might be part of an automated process or a zero-effort system, but it's still promotion.”
Gail Gardner — “No matter how amazing your content is, it won't promote itself because people have to see it somewhere to read and share it. If you don't get it out there, how will they see it? You need a list and collaborators and to build relevant audiences.”
Mark Gustafson — “NO! It takes work. A strong brand with a strong following will have an easier time BUT that’s because they did the work upfront. If you send it out to a large email list, large social following, etc. it might seem easy but building that audience was the hard part!”
Stevie Howard — “It is possible but not probable. There are so many factors that have to be jjuuusssttt right for there to be little to no promotion and still have it drive great traffic. Even if it is #1 on Google, that's only a certain % of your audience.”
And some different viewpoints:
Alexis Katherine — “I feel like I’m going to be alone in this, but Yes. Because organic search is important and part of the definition of 'amazing' should be 'optimized.' If your content ISN’T promoting itself in search, it’s not that amazing.”
BaerPM — “If the content fulfills a need (such as answering a question), it can seemingly support itself by standing out to consumers, who in turn, will share it, talk about it and help it grow without you needing to put more work into promoting it.”
The video below will show you how one company increased organic traffic with 6 simple steps you can replicate.
Have a Plan for Mobile and Desktop Visitors
Your website and each piece of content should be designed to make sharing easier for users — on both desktop and mobile devices. Website users will not work harder than they have to, so make sure you have made it easy for visitors to share on all social platforms at a minimum.
If you have friends or family that are not overly tech-savvy, ask them to look at your site or a piece of content; see if sharing is easy for them. If it isn't, adapt your pages to make things easier for all audiences.
Also, you also want to include things that people will want to share. This means planning and having a good strategy for meeting different kinds of audiences with diverse content,
Share-Friendly Tips by Experts
Ann Smarty — “Eye-catching visuals, tweetable and visual quotes, social sharing buttons!”
Dean Brady — “Build it with sharing in mind. Short quotes, tweet-ready stuff. Make sure your nut graph is on-point and early.”
Kelsey Ray Banerjee — “Strong visuals, great headline, social media prompts like 'pin it' or 'share this'. Make sure you have short sentences that can easily be shared on social. Even better: add a contest or UGC component.”
Ryan Bennion — “Make great content by solving problems or answering questions users have. If it's helpful and solves a problem many have, it's easy to share. I also think putting thought behind your content is HUGE. Basically, avoid self-promoting posts, ain't nobody got time for that.”
Alizée Baudez — “In a nutshell: ACCESSIBILITY. Content that answers the users' question. Nice shareable media embedded in the page to be shared on social media easily. Human-readable URL. I'll add that people are more likely to share your content if they feel it will make them look smart. Vanity on social media has a lot of leverage, so I'd suggest researching your audience's motivations and needs thoroughly.”
Bentley University — “Added Value. Unique insight. Share buttons. Great headlines. Great visuals. Clear CTAs. Click-to-tweet quotes. Easy URL. Easy to read.”
Create Once, Publish Everywhere: COPE
This video shows you how Ross's agency plans on promotion for each piece of content. If you don't have a huge budget, Ross's process will show you how to avoid randomly posting things, and how to plan a distribution strategy that will help you reach your audiences on multiple platforms.
Low-Budget Content Promotion Tips
If you don't have a big budget, these suggestions can help.
Ann Smarty — “Share it yourself TAGGING everyone you mentioned, ask your friends to share (those you know well), research and use hashtags.”
Ashley Ashbee — “I'd probably know before writing it that I wouldn't have a budget, so I would do a Q and A with people who I know would share it and have an interesting network and incorporate quotes from it in the post (with permission).”
ThinkSEM — “First, ALWAYS link to new content from your old stuff (where relevant). Yes, it exists in the overall structure but you HAVE to include it in the 'road system' of your site/blog. Internal links are the easiest free forms of SEO/promotion you can do.”
Lily Ray — “Post it on applicable message boards/groups, such as: Relevant subreddits, Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups and public LinkedIn with proper hashtags, and any other relevant message board.”
Jessica Levenson — “Optimize it for discoverability, including linking to it from older, more powerful content. Share it where my audience is — social platforms, groups. Link build. Craft a social strategy including custom graphics/infographics/quotes, etc. to use for promotion.”
Brian Kato — “I'm probably going to be in the minority here, but I'd architect social automation mechanisms, such as @buffer or @ifttt. Done properly, these can be considerably more efficient use of time when if comes to content promotion.”
Choosing Content Promotion Platforms
Every platform is different and the audience varies by platform. You need to start by finding out which platforms the audiences you want to target are using. Then you need to study those platforms for a while and see what works and what does not on each of them.
You also need a different marketing plan for each platform. What users expect on each is different, and the kinds of content that excel on each is different. You don't want to start using a platform and then offend their users.
Reva Minkoff — “Look at your data! What sources are driving the best, most engaged people? Focus on those.”
ThinkSEM — “The best ones on which to promote your stuff are — drumroll — ...the ones where your ideal audience is ACTIVE! If you're promoting everywhere, you're just spraying & praying. Don't throw effort after foolishness.”
Mark Gustafson — “There is not one answer here. Consider: Where is your audience at? Where will they be receptive to content like yours? Do you understand the norms & expectations of this platform DON’T JUST SPAM. BUILD RELATIONSHIPS.”
David Cohen — “The best platforms to distribute content are the ones where people care enough to stop what they're doing, redirect their attention, focus on you, and then do the next thing you ask them to do with it. Attention and action is what builds fast demand to share.”
Julia Rose — “Wherever your target audience is active! Use your data and analytics tools. Learn Google Analytics as a free resource that you could later utilize as a paid ad tool to reach them. Do NOT blindly market! Market with purpose.”
Resources for Using Social Platforms Successfully:
- How to get 10,000 views on LinkedIn in one month
- From 0-20 Million Views On Quora And How I Did It
- Reddit Guide: How to Build an SEO Strategy and Promote Your Business in 5 Steps
- How to Rank on YouTube
- How to Use Reddit for Keyword Research to Amp Up Your Content Marketing Strategy
- How to Use Quora For Content Marketing and Keyword Research
- How To Generate Leads From LinkedIn
See Jason Barnard breakdown content platforms options:
Don't Destroy Your Business Over Bad Content Promotion
The best way to hurt your content marketing efforts is by promoting it the wrong way. More importantly, you can destroy your brand's reputation by making mistakes in promotion on social platforms.
You need to avoid spamming and overselling — both are a great way to lose your audience.
Below, we have some fantastic recommendations that will help you avoid major problems when promoting content.
Chris Thames — “DM'ing content, hijacking hashtags, pushing products or services on people without establishing a relationship, shaming others to click, click-baiting — you can tell if it's working by establishing an upward trend.”
MC Rodin — “Avoid the viral trend of the moment unless it is really truly relevant. It gets lost in the noise instead of reaching your specific audience, it's corny/insincere, and it immediately dates your content.”
Dean Brady — “Don’t invade. Don’t assume your audience will like you showing up in their community space pushing content. Find, Observe, Plan, and then Act.”
Amy Middleton — “Don't start a conversation and then not engage! People who post and bail have low response rates compared to those who continue the dialogue.”
Alizée Baudez — “Spamming everyone with re-heated news and solely having auto-promotion content won't take you very far in the long run. It's working if it fulfills the goal you have for this content in the first place whether it's page views, conversions, etc.”
Tamara — “Don't JUST promote the content, promote the value behind it — Don't spam your audience with a piece of content promotion — Be engaging when you promote. Don't set it and forget it — Don't promote to those the content is not relevant to — Don't be sales-y.”