You have diligently read this column and heeded my advice about crafting compelling content.
You have noted the challenges of getting attention for content – and used all of the tricks and techniques that I have shared to boost the odds that yours will rise above the noise. It is aligned with customer interests, optimized, colorized and multi-screen sized.
In short, you have that YouTube video, blog post, article, whatever, crafted that is sure to set your audience on fire – and now want to get some results from the %@|^& thing. What do you do next? What are some ways to get attention for your content and campaign?
Use Inbound and Outbound Tactics
While it is all too easy to think of blasting, or distributing content, any good strategy involves a mix of in and outbound tactics (plus, no one likes to be on the receiving end of a mass blast). This means finding ways to get the word out, but also drawing people in, via links and SEO, for example, to bring them back to a hub such as your website, micro site or landing page – where you can capture their info and convert them, or at least nudge them along to the next step in your sales cycle.
The most effective campaigns combine the power of online content and social media marketing; they spring from content that is compelling and optimized for online, and use social media as a way to reach your customers.
Find Out Where The Customers Are – And Where They Go For Info And Advice
I have explained how to align your content with the interests and hot topics of your customers to lay the foundation. Hopefully, you have done this, and are now ready to take a similarly-customer-driven approach in promoting the results of your efforts.
It is easy to get to customers and prospects that you already know about, via a marketing database, email software, and marketing automation software. Social media and the Web can help you reach that larger, untapped market. To do this, start by asking: where do your customers spend time online today? How is this changing? E.g., while Twitter was once the domain of the techies, it is now mainstream. Facebook was once mostly for consumers, but B2B marketers and customers are jumping on board in growing numbers.
In some cases, the answers may be obvious. If you are not sure, do some research to find out about the online publications your key audience is reading, blogs and news sites they’re visiting, and networks where they hang out and buzz. What influencers do they look to for advice?
This may sound very complicated but it doesn’t have to be; for example there are many ways to search Twitter, blogs, news sites, etc. to see if your company, competition, or related topics are being mentioned.
Learn who holds sway in your / your client’s area of specialty. There are tools (e.g., Klout and TweetLevel) that point you towards the social media influencers in your space, i.e. the ones with the big followings and who are topically aligned (although heed my advice that influence is more than just a number).
Use the Right Tone and Carrier for Your Message
Knowing where your customers gather will clue you in about how to best reach them. The specific tactics that will work depend on your audience and type of content you’re promoting; e.g., is it an article, a video, or Instagram?
In general, you want to maximize reach – but not as the risk of relying on forums or methods that can tarnish the brand.
This means being careful not to spam – which can happen when you lazily and automatically post the same thing across multiple networks, or retweet the same link too many times, as examples. Also, haphazardly syndicating content can backfire too, as having it appear on sketchy sites – even though it is getting in front of a wider audience – may make people wonder why your company is mixing with those crowds and question your credibility.
Also, I have written about the importance of making sure your content is relevant and interesting, and not overtly promotional. You do yourself no favors if you heed this advice, but then hit people over the head with an overly aggressive tweet or email to try to alert them to the content.
Using the right wrapper and distribution mechanism can be critical. For example, calling your content “news” and issuing a press release over the wires can have a dramatic impact on how the information is received and where it is featured. But using a third-tier, or free distribution service, to carry your news sends a message, too, and not necessarily a good one. On the other hand prime media placement – that is, getting your story featured as editorial content on a respected website or blog – builds the brand and positively influences consumer perceptions.
So, it is important to tap not only owned media channels, but get the kinds of validation and reach that can be gained by having others feature or mention the content.
Work the Social Channels
Content marketing often involves longer form content, and inbound marketing tactics, e.g. the art of bringing people back to a website or hub. Social media marketing tends to take place across the networks, and often involves shorter form content and conversational updates. As I said in my very first column here the two can be a powerful combination – and should be used together to get the best results for your content marketing campaigns.
Hopefully you and/or your team have mastered the social media channels that you will use and have built some equity or influence – now is the time to use it. You can alert people to your long form content by working the social channels such as sharing links via Twitter or Facebook.
Use reciprocation to your advantage; if you have been helpful in sharing the content of others, now is a good time to call in favors. While not everyone likes to be goaded into sharing, people do want to know when you have content that is relevant to them and their followers.
Hopefully, you have found the above tips to be helpful; I finish this column with the following miscellaneous suggestions, and by asking: can you share content promotion and distribution tips that you have found to be helpful?