Have you ever thought that you could have a wildly popular website…if you only knew how to promote it?

It’s no secret that content is one of the great differentiators. But, it really isn’t content. It’s content promotion.

There are two types of content, popular and unknown. Notice that I didn’t say anything about the quality of the content. That’s because promotion is more important than the content itself. It is some important that I must repeat.

Content promotion is more important than the content itself.

Most blogs are never read. Most websites never attract more than a few visitors. They might have great content, but no one will ever see it. No one will share it. No one will like it. No one will talk about it, or comment on it. Being ignored is worse than being ridiculed or criticized. No wonder so many people quit blogging.

There is another truth about content. Most content isn’t worth promoting. What I mean is that most content isn’t good enough.

Step 1. Improve your content.

Before you promote your content, improve it.

“Be so good they can’t ignore you”. – Steve Martin

Here are steps you can take to improve your content:

  • Be strategic. Before you start writing your next piece of content, know why you are writing it. What are your goals with this content? What do you expect your content to do?
  • Go deeper. There is tons of fluff out there. Fluff is easy. You can hire someone to write you 500-words on anything, but will it have an impact on the reader? The only reason you should create content is that you want to do better than what is out there. If all you want to do is to create more fluff, don’t waste your time. But, if you are dedicated to creating better, you are way ahead of most.
  • Size matters. A 100-word article will have less of an impact than a 1000-word article. But, and a big BUT, the number of words doesn’t mean anything without substance. Longer articles do better with the search engines and the readers.
  • Keep it simple. No matter how much you want to use big words, keep the language simple. Use short phrases with action verbs.
  • Write the way you talk. Avoid pompous language. It won’t impress anyone. If you can write the way you talk, you will connect with your readers.
  • Picture perfect. Include photos, images, and videos within your content.
  • Proofread. Poorly written content loses its credibility. Does this mean that your writing has to be flawless? Of course, not. But, never lose focus of the importance of quality.
  • Update. If you write an article today, you will need to update it at some point in the future. Even your best work needs to be updated periodically.

OK, now you have great content. It’s time to promote it. Let me be painfully honest with you. If you think content development is time-consuming, you will be shocked how much time promotion takes. You could easily spend three to ten times more time on content promotion than content creation.

Social Triggers founder Derek Halpern has an 80% promotion 20% writing split.

If you still haven’t given up on content promotion, here it is.

Create something useful.

I know this is easy to say, but very hard to do. Most content is not very useful. But, if you manage to create something that can be used over-and-over, your content will be shared and used.

Consider your industry and turn yourself into an authority. Barbara Corcoran, the founder of The Corcoran Group, started the Corcoran Report in 1981. The report was published regularly and has become the go-to resource for journalists in the New York area. Think about your own industry. Can you create content so valuable that it becomes the go-to resource within your market?

Include original research.

Most content marketers avoid original research because it requires more work. But, the payoff can be huge. If you conduct your own research, you can earn long-term media attention.

Here are some inexpensive ways to do your own research:

  • Use public domain data.
  • Interview experts.
  • Contact professional associations.

Make sharing easy.

The easier you make sharing, the more your content will be shared.

I recommend the following to make content sharing easy:

  • AddToAny Share Buttons – This WordPress plugin helps people share your posts to any service like Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google, LinkedIn, Reddit, etc.
  • Revive Old Post – This plugin helps you keep your old posts alive. It is also a great content promotion tool. You can set how frequently you want your old posts to be pushed out to your social networks.
  • Click to Tweet – This is a great plugin to encourage people to tweet a snippet of your content.

Grow your network and make friends.

It’s true. Your friends care more about you than strangers. The more friends you have the more people will read your latest article. You have to strategically grow your network. Reach out to people within your niche. Read their blogs. Comment on their writing.

Don’t try to fake this. Make real connections with people. It will take time. I wouldn’t try to do this with more than 10-15 influencers within your niche. It takes time, but it is one of the most effective content promotion tactics.

Content promotion is one of the most ignored differentiators.

Promote your content through email.

Aggressively build your email list from day one. You can’t be shy about this if you want your list to grow. The most effective ways to grow your email list is through popups. Yes, they can be annoying, but they work. People on your list have opted in. They know you and trust you. They are interested in what you have to say to them. They will be glad to help you promote your content. If you don’t yet collect emails I recommend Mailchimp. I have been using it for Success Harbor for a long time, and it works for me. I have also used the HelloBar and PopUp Domination, to help me subscribe people on Success Harbor.

Email is much more effective than posting your content on social networks like Facebook. For starters, you don’t own your Facebook page. You are the mercy of Facebook. Facebook can take it away or change the rules. Now, Facebook limits the number of people who will see your posts, unless you pay them the big bucks. When you have an email list you are in control.

Share your content multiple times.

It is not enough to share your content once. Content must be promoted multiple times. Even if you have a huge network on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pinterest, and other networks, you have to promote your content several times.

Your content should be shared:

  • A day or two before you publish your content.
  • When you publish it for the first time.
  • A week after you published it.
  • A month after you have published it.
  • Then, at least a couple of times each year.

Guest post on established blogs.

Guest posting is especially effective for brand new sites or sites with little or no traffic. Yes, it is an awful lot of work, but it is worth it. As a guest blogger, you get access to new audiences. You also get a bit of SEO benefit from links back to your own site.

Here are a few pointers to help you do guest blogging the right way:

  • Target more popular blogs than yours. The key here is to find the right fit for your blog. If you are brand new, reach out to blogs ahead of you, but not those who are way ahead of you. A blog with millions of visitors is less likely to accept your guest post than a smaller blog.
  • Reach out to the right blogs. If your niche is business advice, don’t reach out to a cooking blog. The greatest value to you is a blog that is complementary to your own.
  • Get familiar. Read several blog posts before you submit your own article. Get familiar with the style of the blog. What kind of language do they use? What is the tone of their articles? If you are familiar with the blog, you can better prepare your article.
  • Wow them with quality. As you read through the target blog aim to right a better quality article than what is typical. Like Steve Martin once said, “be so good that they can’t ignore you”.
  • Expect to hear a no. Actually, expect to hear more “No” than “Yes”. I can speak from experience when I tell you that there are a ton of people who want to guest blog. Most of them are ignored or rejected. If you try to build a relationship with bloggers there is a better chance that they will accept your guest post.
  • Keep at it. Most people give up too soon. Don’t be one of those people. Stick with it.

Syndicate your content.

Reach out to blogs and websites related to your niche. Offer your most popular posts for republishing. When your article is republished on other sites you are immediately reaching new audiences. Also, your klout grows.

If you are worried about Google penalizing your site for duplicate content, make sure your post is first published on your site. Make sure that your content is indexed by Google before you offer it to be republished on any other website.

Write about influencers and brands.

Incorporate influencers within your writing in a natural way. Identify the top 25 influencers within your niche and mention them throughout your writings. Then, reach out to them through email, and social networks. Tell them that you have written about them. Don’t expect them to share your work immediately. Keep at this. It will take a while, but it is an excellent long-term strategy.

Before you start writing your content reach out to influencers:

  • Contact influencers and tell them what you are writing about. See if they have any input or subtopics to recommend.
  • Ask influencers what their readers would be interested in the topic you are writing about.
  • Encourage them to offer input or give you some quotes.

Also mention brands, tools, apps, etc. When I look at my web analytics, I am amazed how much traffic I get from unexpected places.

Create a content promotion list.

In addition to influencers, list people who would be able to help you promote your content.

Your list might include any of the following groups of people:

  • Friends. They like you and trust you. There is no other group of people who would be more willing to help you promote your content than your friends, except your family.
  • Customers. Your current and past customers.
  • Professionals. People who know your brand, but are not your customers.
  • Non-competing business. There are many businesses with the same target market and would be willing to share your content.
  • Associations. Identify professional associations and ask them to share your content.

Join a content community.

I really like Triberr. I have been using it for a while and I have made some awesome connections. Triberr helps me several ways. Most importantly, the Triberr community reads and shares my work. I also share theirs. We learn from each other and help each other at the same time. It is a win-win.

Join forums.

Popular forums like Quora and Reddit offer excellent content promotion opportunities. Don’t spam theses forums. Search for topics relevant to your niche. Offer help and real input to peoples’ questions. Then, refer them to your website where they should be able to find a much more detailed answer to their questions. If you don’t yet have content to answer a particular question, it is time to create it.

Repurpose your content.

Take your most popular blog posts and turn them into videos. Take your frequently asked questions and turn them into regular podcasts. Take the most important numbers from a topic and turn them into an infographic. Take the outline of your most popular content and turn them into presentations. You have so many options for repurposing your content.

You can promote your repurposed content the following ways:

  • Promote your videos through Youtube.
  • Share your infographics through Pinterest.
  • Upload your presentations to Slideshare.
  • Publish press releases based on your most popular content.
  • Upload your podcasts to iTunes and Stitcher.

You might not like it, but you are in the content business. If you don’t want to be ignored, you also must be in the content promotion business.

 

photo credit: Join The Car-Crush Set – 6

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George Meszaros is the editor and co-founder of Success Harbor where entrepreneurs learn about building successful companies. Success Harbor is dedicated to document the entrepreneurial journey through interviews, original research, and unique content. George Meszaros is also co-founder of Webene, a web design and digital marketing agency.

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