No traffic = no conversions.
This is why web marketers work so hard at creating content hubs, driving traffic, and promoting content. And we do it by being active in three areas:
- Search Optimization
- Social Media
- Email Marketing
Our content promotion strategy is built on these areas. This post is a big list of activities, organized into these three categories.
Promotion Cycles and Feedback Loops
It takes work! But the good news is that traffic often leads to more traffic. Once we get visitors, some of them may lend a hand and help us with content promotion.
- When visitors write about us elsewhere and link back to our site, it helps our search engine rankings.
- When visitors subscribe, our list grows and future email marketing is more effective.
- When visitors follow us (or become a fan on Facebook or circle us on Google+) we gain social influence, making our social media efforts more effective.
A visitor from one channel may help us with another channel, creating a feedback loop. The idea is to create a self-perpetuating cycle of actions taken by you, then traffic, actions taken by visitors, then more traffic and eventually, leads and sales.
But to get the process started, we need to prime the pump. That’s what this post is all about.
So here’s the mother list! Try a few or use them all. As always, there isn’t just one thing that makes a piece of content (or a business) successful. It’s a hundred little things…
For the record, Orbit has either used every tactic on this list or we know someone who has. As part of our blog criteria, we never make recommendations until we have evidence of the effectiveness of a tactic.
Note: Although these tips are not in any particular order, we recommend posting the content, then promoting it for a day with social media before sending it out through email. The social visitors may leave comments, which makes the post look better when the all the email subscribers come to visit.
Connect with relevant people and engage them in conversation.
- Tweet it Make sure that no more than 20% of your tweets are self-promotional. The rest should be conversations and promotion of other people’s content. Unless tracking is especially important, try tweeting the link without using a URL shortener. Just let Twitter shorten the link and let the viewer see the domain in the link. This is good information that can build trust.
- After you tweet, follow a few people who are interested in the topic Search Twitter for people with bios that include words that are relevant to the topic of the post, then follow them. These people will see your recent tweet at the top of your stream. They’re more likely to follow you since the content is especially relevant to them at that moment.
- Targeted sharing: mention people outside your network Use Twitter Advanced Search or Followerwonk.com to find relevant people with large followings who would be interested and likely to share. Mention one or two of them at the end of another tweet. If the content actually mentions, quotes or links to a social influencer, they’ll be more likely to share it.
- Targeted sharing: mention people who already follow you As above but use the “Bio Search” button in the bottom left corner of ManageFlitter.com. This will help you find people who would be especially interested and already follow you. Mention one or more of them in another tweet.
- Tweet with a quote from the content Take a juicy nugget out of the post and use it in the tweet. If the post contains data or statistics, these make good quotes that you can use in tweets. It will increase the clickthrough rate.
- Mystery Tweet Try a tweet that doesn’t provide a lot of information about the topic, such as “I’m surprised this trick worked!” or “This post is short but was hard to write…” If you don’t reveal too much, people may click just to see what you’re talking about. Don’t overuse this tactic.
- Tweet with a hashtag …but don’t overdo it. A hashtag can make your tweet more visible, but it also competes with the link to your content. Your current followers may click the hashtag instead of the link! Plus, it looks silly to have four hashtags in a single tweet.
- Cross the streams If people like it on Facebook (or +1 it in Google+), thank them on Twitter. Pro Tip: If they share or comment on any network, thank or mention them on another network where they don’t yet follow you. They’re likely to start following on the second network, since they’re already familiar with you. This will increase the number of social connections between you and that person.
- Meta-promotion / Feedback loop If the post starts becoming successful, Tweet and post about how people seem to like it. “Wow, this one is getting a lot of comments this morning! [link]”
- Near future tweets Schedule at least four tweets for the future. Time them to the highest traffic times in Twitter: Monday – Thursday mornings (around 9am), late afternoon (around 5pm) and nighttime (around 10pm). Or use counter-competitive timing and do the opposite. Schedule a few for day two, a few more in a few days, and again in a week.
- Distant future tweets If the post is likely to stay relevant or evergreen and is not based on timely research, ephemeral pop-culture references or changing trends, schedule a tweet promoting the post for six months or a year in the future. These are sometimes referred to as “encore” or “from the archives” tweets. Pro Tip: If you write an event recap email, schedule another tweet to go out when registration opens for the subsequent event, even if it’s 10 months away.
- Post on Facebook Make sure there’s an image. Mention anyone who is in the article. If appropriate, ask friends, family and co-workers to interact with the post (“like” or comment) to improve your EdgeRank and help it appear higher in the streams of your other fans.
- Post on Google+ Similar to Facebook: post, make sure the image appears, mention anyone relevant, and stimulate initial engagement. If you have a business page and a personal page, I generally recommend posting it to the business page first, then share it from your personal page.
- Update your LinkedIn Status Link to the post in your status update.
- Share it in LinkedIn Groups If appropriate, share the link within a group with which you are actually engaged. If the group includes some high-value connection, plan ahead and get engaged with them before you publish and promote the content.
- Post on Reddit Post it and tag it.
- Post on Digg Not what it once was, but still around…
- Pin it on Pinterest This works best if you have highly visual content (like an infographic) or an article with a great picture.
- Post on StumbleUpon The link to submit is on your profile page in the bottom left.
- Use Twitter to test possible email subject lines If your following is big enough, if you track the clicks from Twitter, and if you schedule multiple tweets to remove time-of-day and day-of-week as variables, you can A/B test two possible email subject lines in Twitter. Whichever tweet gets the most clicks becomes the email subject line.
- Bookmark it on social bookmarking sites Use Delicious to bookmark the content and add a few tags. Connect with a few people while you’re there.
- Q&A sites: LinkedIn Answers, Quora.com, Focus.com See if anyone is asking questions that your post answers. If so, write a sincere, thoughtful comment and link to your post. Be tactful.
- Post a summary on niche social sites If you have accounts on any smaller membership sites, forums, association sites, networking groups, and anywhere else you can post content, use only a short summary or excerpt and then link to the article. Include an image to make it more visible. Don’t ever post the entire version on another site or readers won’t visit your site. You’ll also risk confusing Google and getting penalized for duplicate content.
“Send timely, targeted, relevant, valuable emails to people who asked for them.” – DJ Waldow
- Email Send a summary with a link to your email list. Use the URL Builder to add tracking code to the link. Use a compelling subject line (have a hook) and a human sender name (not just the brand), and send at a time that works for them. Research suggests early mornings, but test until you find the best time for your list. Consider sending on the weekends, avoid Tuesdays.
- Send an “In case you missed it” follow-up email Three days after sending, send it again to everyone who didn’t open it the first time. Use a different subject line.
- Personal, manual, one-at-a-time emails If you have a few very high-value connections, such as prospects in the pipeline, it is absolutely worth it to send each of them a personal email with the link. Few people do this. Many people should.
- List growth: subscription box Make sure the signup box on your site is prominent. Give people a reason to subscribe; indicate the value of the content and the frequency of the emails.
- List growth: personal invitations If you meet someone who may be interested in the topics you write about, tell them about what you publish and offer to subscribe them but without pressuring them in any way. You don’t want subscribers who don’t want your content.
- Prevent list shrinkage: LinkedIn Watch your bounces. If you get a hard bounce, the subscriber may have changed jobs. Find them on LinkedIn, restart the conversation, then offer to add them your list again.
Search Engine Optimization
Indicate your relevance so Google can help people find you.
- Align the post with a keyphrase Use the Google Keyword Tool to research possible phrases. Select a keyphrase that has good search volume (lots of people searching for it) and low competition (the sites that rank for the phrase aren’t famous sites with powerful domains) and is highly relevant to both the post and your business. Use the phrase at the beginning of the title, in the header, in the meta description, and up to four times in the body text. Read this quick guide on how to research keywords.
- Link to the post from other posts This could be a link under “related articles” at the bottom of some of your other popular, related posts. Or it could be a link within the body text. Either way, make sure the text within the link includes the keyphrase you’re targeting. This both helps visitors navigate to it and helps to indicate relevance to Google.
- Make it a guest blog post on another site If the site has more visitors than yours, the post will be seen by more people. If the site has a more powerful domain than yours (more high-quality inbound links), the post will rank higher. If the site has a more engaged audience than yours, the post will get more comments and shares. When you guest blog, your bio should include a link back to your site, which increases your domain’s authority and helps all of your future content rank higher.
- Google Authorship Linking and tagging between the post and your G+ profile will make your face appear in search results when the post ranks in Google. This will increase the clickthrough rate by up to 150%.
If you truly believe in the content you’ve produced and you truly believe it will be useful to your audience, there is nothing spammy or unethical about anything on this list, including the more aggressive tips. If you don’t have faith that your content is really worthwhile and will be valued by your audience, you have bigger problems than content promotion!
All of these content promotion tips are worthless if the content stinks. But great content is equally worthless if no one see it. Combine great content and great promotion, make sure it all works within your digital strategy, then sit back, pop some popcorn, and watch your Analytics jump.
What’d we miss? Help your fellow readers by leaving a tip in the comments below.