The vast majority of marketers are creating more content now than ever. The bar is rising on content quality too, with the lines increasingly blurred
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CEO at TopRank Marketing – Digital Marketing Strategist, Author, & Speaker
The vast majority of marketers are creating more content now than ever. The bar is rising on content quality too, with the lines increasingly blurred between information and entertainment through an influx of video, interactive and sensory rich content experiences being created by brands.
Just look at examples from companies ranging from American Express to Whole Foods, Adidas to Zappos and you’ll find no shortage of amazing content to choose from.
The thing about many of these large brand content examples is that they’ve spent millions developing audiences and brand presence in the marketplace to attract attention. Many can rely on their own distribution channels plus deep pockets for advertising to attract audiences to their great content.
Just say no to, “Build it and they will come”
Even then, it’s often not enough. The examples found at the links above are amazing and personally, I hadn’t heard or seen more than a third of them.
Far too often, companies think all they have to do is raise the bar on content and the customers will come. Content promotion is frequently an afterthought or limited to shared messages on company social channels.
The problem with an underwhelming promotion strategy or a “build it and they will come” approach is that competition is greater than ever for customer attention. We are living in a time of “information overload”. Just to remain sane, customers are ignoring most of the media pushed at them on a daily basis.
An example of that is that social sharing is way down. BuzzSumo has reported that 50% of content gets 8 shares or less. Can you imagine only getting 8 shares on a blog post or a campaign you spent 2 – 3 hours researching, writing, editing and perfecting?
Don’t Let Your Content Be Invisible
Of course social shares are only one, often superficial, way for customers to engage with content. But it’s the lowest threshold of interaction. If they’re not even sharing content, are they clicking through, reading, being informed and persuaded to buy?
Instead of treating content amplification as something you only do after the content is created and published, marketers can incorporate promotion strategies into the content planning and creation process.
If you want your content reach to be great, ask your community to participate.
To really capitalize on the investment in higher quality content that can better attract, engage and convert new customers, here are a few content marketing tips that you can incorporate at the start of your content planning from a few of the most credible experts in marketing:
“Wrap your content in context wrapping paper. Your content marketing is a gift you give your audience. But now: make sure you wrap it first, using Context as your gift paper. In other words, share not just what the content is… but why it matters to you and your audience. Why did you write it/produce it/film it/publish it? What about the topic is particularly relevant to this audience on LinkedIn/Twitter/Facebookstagram? What news item does it relate to? What’s so special about your take on it? Wrap gifts individually for each distribution channel. Context = the best kind of content gift wrapping paper.” Ann Handley, @marketingprofs Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs – more >
“I call this the “Core 20″ rule of promotion. In my experience, there are generally 20 people in your universe that will highly benefit from the content you create. If you do your homework correctly, those 20 individuals have loyal audiences themselves. Get those 20 people involved BEFORE you create the content. Insert their wisdom into the text, the video, the podcast series, the event. Consider these 20 your executive committee. Keep them updated as to how your content is progressing and when it will be released. Then, ask them to do one thing. Possibly an email to their audience. A few tweets…a FB post. Email is always my favorite. In this way, you have built a content promotion team that does not just rely on your own distribution.” Joe Pulizzi, @JoePulizzi Founder of Content Marketing Institute, Co-Founder and Board Member at The Orange Effect Foundation – more >
“Secret Tip? While the content is being created, have influencers create anticipation about it before it even comes out, like a teaser of what’s to come. That way, their audience will be hungry for it. And that’s when the value of an influencer kicks in. They can take your promotion strategy for that piece of content to the next level with their reach across multiple social platforms.” Ursula Ringham, @ursularingham Head of Global Influencer Marketing at SAP – more >
When marketers think about and plan for promotion in advance through being thoughtful about context, pre-promotion and collaborating with influencers, they can begin to open the doors of attention for customers in a sea of information noise. Keeping promotion in mind with content planning means making sure your content is visible to better attract, engage and persuade new customers.
What else can you do to promote content?
Here’s an approach I’ve used many times for big increases in content reach and engagement:
Extend Content Reach with Modular Content Ingredients for Repurposing. When planning your content, deconstruct the main themes and elements into modular components or ingredient elements. Organize these content ingredients as they are created into themes or topic clusters for ease of use when repurposing.
This way, if you have a content campaign with one big idea or universal truth, you can customize that content for each vertical market or industry you’re after.
You can also cluster content ingredients according to topic and assemble them in new ways that are personalized according to media formats, topics, and channel preferences of discreet audiences.
A modular approach to organizing ideas relevant to the content discovery, consumption and engagement preferences of your audience can extend content reach and effectiveness. With topic clustering, you are also adding value to your search engine optimization efforts to attract customers at the very moment they are in need. Taking it a step further would be to incorporate keyword relevant microcontent from relevant industry influencers in your modular content approach. Content that is optimized, socialized and influencer activated is easy for buyers to find, highly relevant and credible.
Not all content is prime for a modular approach to repurposing, but when implemented with the right type of content mix, it can improve the success of a content marketing effort without a huge increase in resources or budget.
Get even more great advice on content promotion from 7 more top content marketing pros in the industry including Mike Stelzner, Larry Kim, Carla Johnson, Andrew Davis, Mike King, Cathy McPhillips and Sujan Patel: Cure Invisible Content Syndrome with These 10 Tactics from the Pros on the LinkedIn Marketing Solutions blog.
Get content promotion smart with a Content Marketing World workshop. I would also encourage you to check out the workshop I’m giving at the Content Marketing World conference on September 4th: Rocket Science Simplified: How to Optimize, Socialize and Publicize B2B Content where I will be diving into some of my best advice about optimizing owned, earned, paid and co-created media.
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