Creating good content is just half the content marketing equation. The other half is content distribution.
Distribution tends to fall to the wayside for several reasons. First, for many marketers, so much effort is poured into the creation that distribution becomes an afterthought.
Second, when it comes to distribution, many haven’t built a subscription model and so the content competes with lead generation emails for distribution (and that’s not truly content marketing).
Third, those that do finally get around to thinking about distribution, are generally are doing all the same things everyone else that finally got around to distribution is doing too. For example, there are 266 million results for the search term “content distribution tips” and almost all of these say basically the same things:
- Share again;
- Be shareable;
- Use paid social media;
- Share in niche communities;
- Repost on Medium and LinkedIn;
- Repurpose (but don’t regurgitate);
- Update old posts;
- Suck up to Mention influencers; and
- On and on the lists go…
Some of this advice was good five years ago, and some of it is just terrible nonsense that spams up the web with repetitive muck. To be sure, it’s not all entirely bad, and I recently spent considerable time going through some of those 266 million posts — maybe 100 or so — and selected six distribution tips that are worthy of your consideration.
1) Email it again with a new subject line
What’s the open rate in email marketing? If you’re good, perhaps it’s 30% (which means your emails are en fuego). In that case, if you send out one email promoting your content – a new blog post for example – 70% of your subscribers didn’t open it. Noah Kagan suggests waiting a week and send it again to the subscribers that didn’t open it the first time. All you need is a different, perhaps better, subject line. This doesn’t take much time or effort and can dramatically improve your open rates.
2) Think beyond influencers and tell them they’ve been cited
It’s not enough to just mention people in content, you must tell them about it too. People are busy, they may not notice, their Google Alerts aren’t firing, and the pingback just doesn’t work like it used to. That’s part of the point Nathan Ellering of CoSchedule makes along with a long list of tips including “Mention influencers in your posts and let them know.” You can tag them on social media or even better send them a private and personal message or email and let them know.
I’d also encourage you to think beyond influencers. Everyone hits up the same list and the glamour of it has long since worn off unless you are writing them a check. However, there are plenty of people in every industry, that while they don’t have the same social media following, are credible, perhaps even more relatable, will bring fresh ideas, are more likely to appreciate being discovered and are willing to share.
3) Look for syndication to new or broader audiences
The social media scheduling platform Buffer “started pitching our best-performing blog posts to other blogs in case they’d be interested in republishing.” This gives you the capacity to reach a broader audience than you might have on your own – and you extend the investment you’ve already made in content.
Writer Kevan Lee notes explicitly in his piece that you should only submit your best performing posts. Indeed, a few posts from this site have had the good fortune of syndicated to trade publications like Ragan and PR Daily.
What about duplicate content? The risk is that if two links have the same content, a search engine will select one to return to a given search query. This means a site that syndicates your content could outrank your own site for related search terms.
Canonical tags are a good idea where possible but I find it’s usually not an option. Generally, I think the exposure is a worthy trade-off for an occasional piece.
4) Pitch your content for a roundup
“The premise of round-up link building is simple,” wrote Dennis Westphal of Coreda. “Find blogs that wrap up the best content over the last day, week, month, or year, and pitch your content to them for inclusion next time around.
How do you find them? With search terms like:
- “keyword + monthly link roundup”
- “keyword + Friday link roundup”
- “keyword top posts this month”
If I’d add one it would be this:
- Reading a lot and keeping an eye out for opportunities
Skeptical? Look, I see both sides of this – I do a lot of media relations for clients and I get a lot of bad pitches for this blog. Pitching for backlinks (harvested with an SEO tool and pitch template), is absurd. No credible writer will just give you a link for a link’s sake. You earn it with a good story, study or some form of useful information.
If you do the homework, read and research who you are pitching and send relevant pitches that treat people like humans and not an “opportunity,” then it is a viable content promotion technique. If you don’t, its spam.
5) Share your content in the real world too
Despite the digital era, we still live in the real world and marketing still produces and attends live events. “If you’re hosting, speaking, or running a booth at an event, you should make sure to let some attendees know about your new content,” suggests Amanda Sibley with HubSpot.
She wrote three suggestions for promoting content at live events including:
- “Have a laptop or tablet open to the landing page at your booth;”
- “Create a short link for the content and include it in presentations of speakers at the event;” and
- “Put the short link on the back of business cards you will be handing out at the event.”
I’d add that visitors that walk the tradeshow floor often still like to have some in hand to place into their conference bags. It’s worthwhile to print off some copies of your high performing pieces and have them available. Here are several other ways you can get more out of trade shows with content.
6) It’s important to build internal links
Sujan Patel underscores the importance of internal link building. “When you develop a new piece of content, go back through your archives of popular posts and add a link to the new article there,” he wrote. “Proper internal linking is great for SEO, and some of the traffic your past posts already receive will funnel into your new posts and help get them seen.”
Indeed, I did this for a former employer – and they are still benefiting from it about several years later. If you search for the term “law firm business development” the top organic link is a list of blog posts categorized under that term on a brand-owned blog. There are several terms that site ranks for that were built the same way, and it’s valuable because search terms in the legal market are among the most expensive in pay-per-click (PPC). So, consider categories of content carefully, and then do just what Sujan suggests.
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What content promotion tips have you found to be effective? If you share it in the comments, I might include it in a future post.
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