You’ve created a great post, gone through the checklist of things to do before publishing, and your article is now live. Don’t just sit passively and wait for visitors to come. They won’t. Without a marketing push your content will most probably go unnoticed no matter how good it is.
This is my marketing routine. It’s what I do to draw people’s attention to my content. Overcome the stigma of self-marketing. Make it a habit to spend at least 50% of your time promoting your content.
Tailor your approach for the particular network
Before starting I want to make one thing clear. There’s a fine line between good content marketing and spam. You don’t want to be seen as a spammer. You want to create value to the people you are reaching out to. You want to answer questions they have. You want to help them out achieve what they want to achieve.
Do spend some time learning the guidelines and the way to approach each individual platform. Follow them when you are trying to promote your own content. To optimize your chances of getting shared you need to think about the audience and the network where you want your content to be viewed.
You don’t want to be platform dependent. Facebook might be big, but it’s not the only place where people interested in what you do spend their time online. Do not over commit to one platform.
Diversify your social media presence. Evaluate which of the platforms you feel can help you get the best results. Use these platforms as vehicles to reach a new audience and help you drive people to your site where you can build a large following that you fully own and control.
BuzzFeed is a good example of how to do this right. As of February 2016 the content that the company publishes generated more than 5 billion views monthly across all the platforms. They’re active everywhere from Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, to Instagram, Snapchat, Pinterest and more. They actually have a “distributed content” team of 20 employees with the job of creating content for social media.
Here’s how optimizing and tailoring the content to the network where it’s being viewed works for BuzzFeed:
A seven-step web recipe for slow-cooker chicken becomes a 46-second Facebook video, and then a 15-second Instagram clip with the instructions written as a comment, and finally a Pinterest post with two images and a link back to the Facebook video. And if it’s going on Snapchat, it needs to be shot in portrait mode as well. It’s all the exact same recipe, but “we put it on Facebook, and we put it on YouTube, and we put it on AOL and Yahoo, and all of a sudden it’s 15 different MP4 files.”
Take, for example, the series about short-girl problems: It began with an article on the website that attracted more than 8 million views, titled “30 Awkward Moments Every Short Girl Understands”; it then became a scripted YouTube video (“10 Problems Only Short Girls Understand”); and ultimately it inspired a cartoon titled Trans Girl Problems that appeared on Facebook.
Here are some things to think about:
- There are some differences between the different social networks in the way that they handle content. Content appears differently in terms of formatting for example. You should take these into account when creating your social posts.
- In general all the social networks are very focused on visual imagery so using some shareable images in your content is a great start and will result in more reach and engagement.
- Twitter only allows you 140 characters limit for your posts so you have to be smart about the way you write your copy. Both Facebook and Google+ allow longer copy so there is more room to play with. Google+ even allows you to do slight text formatting like bolded font and numbered lists.
- Each platform also has different type of audience, different expectations and even timings for when it’s best to post so optimizing for individual network is key in getting the most out of it.
Let’s get started with the list of places where you should go to seed your content.
Send to your mailing list
If you have a newsletter or a mailing list of loyal subscribers, it is worth sending some special (or even all) posts to them. These could be the first wave of visitors that help you share your new content to even more people.
Tweet it out
One of the first things I do is to tweet out the headline and the link to my Twitter followers to make them aware of the new post. Many times I also include an image as that seems to get more attention. See more on my Twitter strategy and how you can get more followers.
Post it on your Facebook page
I do the same thing on Facebook where I post the link with the image attached on my Facebook page. I find that displaying the image on my wall instead of the link thumbnail works best in terms of reach and engagement. See how to boost your Facebook reach.
Share it on Google+
Google+ may not be as popular but I also do the same process on my Google+ profile like I do on Facebook. Not only that. You should also join relevant Google+ communities, be active in them by sharing your knowledge, and then post your link once in a while as well.
Share the images on Pinterest
I submit the post image to my relevant Pinterest boards. I make sure to include a headline in all the images that I put on my site and that was mostly thanks to the increasing importance of Pinterest as a traffic driver. It makes the images look better. See more on using Pinterest for traffic.
Post it on LinkedIn’s Publishing Network
I also publish the link to my post on my LinkedIn profile. You can even post it in different LinkedIn groups or use their publishing network to host your post on the platform. See more on my LinkedIn activities and advice.
Post it on Medium.com too
This is very similar to the LinkedIn process. Medium is a community (made by people behind Twitter and Blogger) where you can join and post your content.
Syndicate your post
Syndication is similar to guest blogging in the sense that you go to a larger site where there is an audience you are looking at and give them access to publish your content.
Always make sure to link back to your original post and other relevant content on your own site in order to drive traffic to it. It also helps Google and other search engines recognize that this is just a copy of your original piece.
Here’s a list of some of most popular sites that are looking for writers:
- Business2Community – Become a contributor.
- Business Insider – How to contribute.
- BuzzFeed – Submit your community post.
- Entrepreneur.com – Become a contributor.
- Fast Company – Guidelines for submitting contributed articles.
- Forbes – Submitting an article.
- Harvard Business Review – Contributor guidelines.
- Huffington Post – Submit your pitch.
- Inc. Magazine – Contributing to Inc.
- Mashable – Submit news.
- Moz – YouMoz community guidelines.
- New York Times – How to submit an op-ed article.
- SocialMediaToday – How to post.
- TechCrunch – Submit your post.
Share the article on Tumblr
I keep an active Tumblr account with the main objective being for it to be a traffic driver to my site. I post any new article on Tumblr adding the relevant tags. I have explained this strategy in this article.
Post the picture on Instagram
Instagram is a bit different as you don’t have an option to add a link, but it is still an interesting platform. People on Instagram can be more engaging than on other platforms and you can catch their attention by using some stunning imagery and lead them to manually type in and visit your site. See more on Instagram marketing here.
Share it on Reddit
Some of the articles I publish fit well in certain subreddits on Reddit. Reddit has the potential to drive thousands of visitors to you so it is definitely worth exploring if you have a relevant article to submit and you can find a relevant and popular subreddit.
Post it on Quora and other Q&A sites
Quora, Yahoo Answers and other Q&A sites. If you’ve done research before writing your post you’ve probably found a question people have and answered it in your post. Now you can go directly to different Q&A sites, look for people asking similar questions and help them out while at the same time indirectly promoting your content.
StumbleUpon your article
Stumbleupon is still a nice source of traffic and I aim to stumble all the posts that I publish in hope of getting some visitors from there. See more on how I drive traffic through Stumbleupon.
Outreach to bloggers and influencers
I send personal tweets and emails to certain bloggers and other influencers that I think the post might be interesting to in hope of getting them to share it with their networks. I also reach out to anyone that I have mentioned in the post. Don’t beg for retweets, let the quality of content speak for itself. Here’s how you can get your emails read.
Put some internal links on your old posts
I try to include the link to my new post in internal links where it is relevant from certain posts in my archive. See more on how you can optimize your internal linking.
Comment on other sites
I comment on the most recent posts of relevant sites that have good traffic numbers. Here’s a 5-step plan to follow to drive traffic to your own site through comments without spamming anyone:
- Find sites related to your content. Search Google or explore Twitter and other social media. Subscribe to the relevant sites, follow them in social media and explore their content. If possible try to make sure the post has and will have a lot of visitors. To drive traffic you must comment on a high-profile site that normally has lots of visitors. Keep this in mind when selecting sites to comment on.
- Comment early. Most comment areas list their comments from first to last. You must comment on the post soon after it has been published. If you do that you will expose your comment to thousands of people who are going to read the post. The earlier you are, the more people will see your comment.
- Brand your comments and make yourself easily recognizable with a globally recognized comment avatar from Gravatar. Don’t use a keyword rich description in the name field. Use your own name instead. Make sure to include the URL of your site within the URL field to have a clickable link pointing back to your site. Promoting your site is essential, but you do so by simply commenting on other sites and letting readers click on your URL on their own, not by flooding other people’s sites with “COME VISIT ME” please spam.
- Don’t just comment for the sake of it. Make sure that your comment provides value and helps people. Only write a comment if you like the post and if you have something relevant and interesting to say. Write a quality comment that creates value and grabs the attention of readers. Add something substantial to your comment. Add your thoughts about the post, provide additional information from your personal experience or from a post you have on your own site. Some comment platforms allow people to vote up and down on comments and this will contribute to your comment being votes up and being listed higher up the page.
- Stay connected to these sites. Get involved in discussions multiple times over the next few days, don’t just post one comment and never return. This will get the attention of the content creator and will help you build a connection and a relationship.
Become a guest poster
I can even write and submit guest posts to relevant and popular sites in which I would include the link to my new post. More on how I submit my guest posts.
Go to niche sites, forums and other communities
Depending on the niche you are in there will be several community sites and forums that allow you to submit content. Sites like Hacker News.
Flipboard is another interesting community. Post your articles to a Flipboard magazine.
Go to Facebook groups
Almost a billion of people use Facebook Groups every month and they’re highly engaging properties. Find the relevant groups to what you do. Add value to the group by interacting, sharing knowledge and answering questions. As you start building trust and relationships with people in the group, you can start sharing relevant content that you’ve posted on your site.
Repurpose your content in other formats
There’s a lot of potential in reusing and recycling your content in different formats on different platforms. Here’s an example of what you could do with any of your posts:
- Create a PowerPoint presentation with the main points from your article and share it on Slideshare
- Do a live stream where you present the main findings from your article on Periscope or Facebook Like
- Record the live stream and share the video on YouTube
- Record the audio from the live stream and release it as a new podcast episode
- Check out more options for recycling and repurposing your content.
Use social media paid advertising
It is increasingly difficult to get reach and clicks on social platforms such as Facebook and Twitter. Investing a bit of money in strategically important posts can give you a great boost and get your content in front of a larger audience. Majority of platforms mentioned in this post also accept paid advertising in order for you to boost your content to a larger audience.
Repeat the push
Aim to repeat the push on selected profiles several times over the next few days. Sharing content more than once on your profiles brings many more clicks as most followers don’t see the first post – on Facebook for example less than 10% of your likes see your post.
You will see that nobody is bothered by you repeat posting and your clicks will increase so it’s hard to argue against this.
Twitter is perfect for repeat posts and I aim to publish the post some 3-5 times over the 48 hours after the article has been published. Be careful not to repeat the same tweet but add some variety and mix it up.
You can do “title + link” once, but next time use an interesting quote or a fact instead. You don’t want to be repetitive and boring. Think what social media drops you can use in your content. Facebook, Google+ and LinkedIn are the other networks where I do reposting regularly.
Note that repeat posting doesn’t work on Reddit and on niche sites as one submit there is enough. You don’t want your actions to be seen as spam.
Review and monitor the results
It is important to take a look at the results, feedback and data on your push. What is the pickup like in the social media? Did you get retweets, Stumbles or votes on Reddit? Did someone influential share it or link to the post? What are the visitors saying?
This will help you figure out how to proceed. You didn’t get the response and reaction you were hoping for? You might need to make some slight changes to the original post itself according to the feedback to make it more interesting. You can try with a different format or a different angle to the story. Can you make a better headline or a more interesting image for example?
If you follow this process well you will increase your traffic and publish more successful posts. The main lesson here is do not be passive! If you want your site to grow, if you want to increase your reach, get out there, find your target audience and help them out solving their problems.
Be it Twitter, Stumbleupon, Reddit, Facebook, some forum or any other social networking site. Your audience will be somewhere and will like an expert to help them out with their questions and problems.
Find and help people one by one and soon your audience will grow. Your site will get visitors, your social media following will increase which will help you with future content distribution and you will get links from other sites which will help you with search engine rankings.
At one point you might not even need to promote, as the audience will be so large that it will help spread the word about your content for you. If you are interested in more tactics for increasing your visitor numbers take a look at lessons I have learned from getting 1,000,000 visitors to my site.