More and more firms are coming to understand the power of content marketing. The logic is simple: leverage your website as a magnet for prospects by offering valuable educational materials, nurture leads over time, and position your firm as the thought leader. Sounds pretty easy, doesn’t it?
As it turns out, producing content doesn’t necessarily result in new leads and business. There are many firms publishing truly great articles and white papers but those efforts aren’t translating into measurable marketing outcomes. Is this a problem you’re experiencing at your firm? What’s missing? Why isn’t your stellar content attracting new leads?
Myth: If You Build it They Will Come
It would be nice if content marketing was as easy as starting a blog and watching the leads roll in. Unfortunately, it just doesn’t work like that. When you publish a piece of content to your website, you can’t expect visitors to stumble across it and start spreading the word for you. Instead, you need a proactive approach to promoting your content and brining it to the masses.
The missing piece to your content strategy may very well be content promotion, arguably the most important part of the content process. Without promotion the whole initiative can end up being a waste of resources. And sadly, this is what happens at many firms. Time is spent writing, editing, re-writing, and perfecting articles that ultimately get shoved into a sub section of a library on your site. To the rest of the world, it’s as good as non-existent.
So then how do you go about getting your best stuff in front of the right eyeballs? Here are five basic ways you can begin leveraging your content better through promotion:
1. Cover Your Basic Social Channels – The easiest way to generate a little bit of buzz about your content is to share it on your social media channels. For every blog post your firm publishes for example, post an update to the company LinkedIn, Twitter, Facebook, and Google+ pages. Additionally, recruit members of your staff that are savvy in social media and have them begin to share posts via personal profiles.
Not everyone at your firm will want to be involved and that’s OK. Find a group of young bucks that are looking to help out and send that group an email asking to share posts every time one is published. Sometimes all a post needs is a handful of tweets and shares to get off of the ground. This basic step is the easiest way to give your content a chance at exposure.
2. Take it to the Groups! – Aside from basic status updates, there are other ways to leverage social channels for promotion on a more proactive level. The best example for professional services is to become involved with LinkedIn Groups. As explained in our recent webinar, Groups are targeted networks of professionals discussing hot industry topics. Not only are these discussions a great place to identify content topic ideas, but they are also perfect for sharing your latest content.
Note that your sole intention of joining a group should not be to promote your material. You should be willing to listen to others, add valuable comments and genuinely become part of the network. When appropriate, start discussions around your topic area and supplement the discussion with your firm’s content. This is a proven method for generating high quality traffic to company blogs.
3. Make Friends with Your Email List – Email remains the most powerful channel for reaching a large number of prospects in a short period of time. What better way to engage with your email subscribers than to pass along useful, targeted content? Instead of sending a newsletter talking all about your company news, use your emails as opportunities to spread your though leadership. Give them information they will actually use!
Emails are perfect for featuring a book, ebook, white paper, guide, or other substantial content piece. Additionally, some firms have found success sending a monthly digest of blog posts. You’ve put in the work to put this great content together—now it’s time to let people know about it.
4. Embrace the Art of Blogger Outreach – A blogger outreach campaign is similar to a PR campaign. The idea is to contact influencers with large readerships and ask them to review and share your content. The steps are as follows:
1. Create a piece of content so good that is deemed newsworthy. Ebooks, research studies, and infographics tend to work well.
2. Compile a list of blogs that you believe your target audience is reading. The more blogs the better.
3. Send pitches to these blogs about your new book or study and ask them to review it. Make sure to include bullet points on the highlights of the content and reasons why it will appeal to readers.
4. Track the number of media mentions you receive over time.
Blogger outreach is time intensive and resource heavy. But the results often outweigh the effort. Generating media mentions about your latest thought leadership is the fastest way to increase web traffic, downloads, and of course brand visibility.
5. Make Guest Posting a Habit – Going hand in hand with blogger outreach is the concept of guest posting. Often times your chances of being published on another blog increase drastically if you offer to write the post yourself. If you are looking to promote a research study for example, ask the blog editor if you can write a guest post describing the results of the study. This is a great way to expose your work to brand new audiences.
To see this method in action, take a look at a guest post I wrote for the marketing blog Convince and Convert. Notice that the post is based on research conducted by the Hinge team. At the end of the post I link back to the Hinge website so that readers can download the full study. The Hinge team writing guest posts like this across the web has led to thousands of downloads and massive exposure for our thought leadership.
A common mistake in content promotion is an underestimation of effort. Especially with blogger outreach, promotion is a numbers game. Only a percentage of the influencers you reach out to are going to respond and therefore you need to reach out to many of them. If your goal is to be mentioned by 20 bloggers, consider reaching out to 100. Conversion rates will depend on your industry and the content you are promoting. But certainly the more you contact, the more coverage you will receive.
To learn more about developing a killer content marketing plan, check out our Content Marketing Guide for Professional Services.