Content promotion is not something you should only think about after you have created and published your content. PR professionals think about the promotion before they think about the content.
If you adopt that mentality, your editorial planning will go from just ‘content’ to ‘marketing content’.
Some ideas of content that can be designed for exposure
Infographics: Infographics have become a widely used method of gaining content promotion. Produce a fantastic and useful article and you may find people linking to it; but if you produce a nice piece of info-art that demonstrates some great facts and information in an impressive way, you may find your content being shared more. People can share images in more places and there are no duplicate content issues with infographics – other bloggers can simply take your graphic and embed it into their own article without worrying about what Google will think.
Gamification: You can encourage readers to interact with your content rather than just reading it. Introducing games can mean anything from a caption competition to a voting system or a treasure hunt. Some companies have gamified content across social media, such as running competitions to encourage Pinterest users to share pictures of products from the site on to their own pinboards. To achieve this, you have to have the right content planned and published in the right way.
PR or viral content: Creating something noteworthy to get some media coverage or to be shared can pay off. You can’t contrive viral success but you can create stories and put the tools in place to make them viral. I once worked on a site that used competitions as PR stories. We once ripped out our kitchen sink to install a new one, so we gave away the old sink in a competition. The Daily Star ran a story featuring the winner posing with the old sink. We also purchased the real titles Lord and Lady of Old Trafford. We found two Posh & Becks lookalikes, dressed them in Man Utd shirts with the names Lord and Lady on the back and photographed them for a press release to announce the fact that we were giving away the titles as a prize.
Now for those 10 content promotion tips
There are not only 10 ways to promote content and these tips are not the best ones. They are just a selection of the many things you could think about when promoting your content. I’m also including links to useful tools.
Add the link to your article on social bookmarking sites like Reddit, StumbleUpon, Digg and Delicious. Reddit is generally the best referrer of traffic these days, with StumbleUpon second, but there is a reason for that. Reddit is a community and, as such, intolerant of blatant spamming. You have to be an active member of the community in order to post occasional links to your own content. The best rule of thumb is that your content is more likely to be liked when it isn’t shared by you.
Sites like Pinterest, Weheartit, Tapiture, Tumblr and Flickr are driven by art. The more eye-catching the art, the more likely users are to like and share it. Think about art as much as you think about words. Images also need to meet minimum size requirements to be shareable on Weheartit and Facebook. Follow Red Rocket Media on Pinterest.
Don’t just auto-post content to Facebook and Twitter. Customise your posts when you share links to your articles. Use relevant hashtags (on Twitter and Google Plus) to reach a wider audience than the one following you; on Facebook, edit the title and description of the link as well as adding your own comment to encourage your friends and followers to pay attention and respond. Generating conversation is the best way to widen the reach of links you post on social networks. Follow Red Rocket Media on Twitter.
Create optimised videos with links back to your page. These can be shared and embedded in lots of other places. Also think about the work needed to get the videos seen, boost subscribers and get visibility. A promotional video won’t be seen by lots of people. Make videos that suit the audience, not videos that force the audience to listen to your sales message.
Use key influencers
Ensure you build and maintain relationships with key influencers. Give them the kind of things they like to share, or ask them to share things. The more people that share your content, linking back to you, the higher your domain authority will go which, in turn, will boost you in the search engine rankings.Tools like Followerwonk can help you with this.
Use email newsletters
Promoting your content to your own subscribers works. A well-designed and carefully written email newsletter can encourage repeat visits, which is good for brand reputation and customer retention. Also, don’t underestimate the importance of email over social media. All the big social networks rely on email to keep us going back to their own sites.
Promote content direct to relevant sites
There are thousands of journalists and bloggers out there constantly looking for things to write about. Many of them like to write articles based on other articles they have read. Contacting these writers direct may lead to your article being featured in another one. You could build a mailing list of other writers in a similar way to building a mailing list of customers. There are tools that can help with this, including the excellent Buzz Stream.
Pingbacks – the blogger’s friend
Pingbacks were a good idea when blogging took off. The idea of a pingback is you write an article in which you link to another blogger’s article. That blogger receives a pingback notification and your article link will appear on their article. This was invented to help bloggers help each other achieve more traffic. It is widely used by spammers and therefore not used everywhere by professional bloggers, but pingbacks can be useful when used sensibly. Writers like to know when someone else is linking to their articles.
Publish supporting content elsewhere
Let’s say you publish an article on your website that you want to push traffic to (for marketing reasons or for SEO reasons). One thing you can do is write related articles as guest posts for other blogs. Those articles can link back to your original, hence boosting the rank value of your original page, and of course boosting the potential for referrals.
PR is about getting one story out to lots of places. Unlike content promotion for one article, PR is about the story and getting lots of outlets to write that story in their own way, ideally. In some cases, a distributed press release will just be re-published with few changes, but quality media outlets will tell your story their own way.