“Marketing teams are expected to churn out content daily for several social media channels, each with their own formats and word counts. There’s content to create for their website, emails, ads, blog posts, press releases, podcasts — the list goes on and on. And it all has to stand out from the competition, generate positive ROI, express your brand voice, and translate well into different languages.”
What to do, then, about promoted content in this environment? Well, you’ll need a plan.
Andy Crestodina is famous for saying “create your promotion strategy before you start developing content.” It is subtle, but very smart advice. Film studios know this well: way before they even start shooting a major motion picture, they know their audiences and how exactly they’ll promote their film to them.
We say we’re going to create content and then promote. However, what often happens is that we push off promotion and just keep pumping out more content, assuming that our next piece of content will be a unicorn and that people will just magically find us. It doesn’t work that way. That’s called publish and pray. If you believe in the axiom that “If you build it they will come”…. well this ain’t Iowa and, odds are, they ain’t coming.
Promoted Content Insights From Chad Pollitt
Author and public speaker, Chad Pollitt, has been a mentor to me for several years, in his book The Content Promotion Manifesto he states that the Golden Rule of content promotion in the ideal scenario one should spend approximately 20% of their time developing content and 80% of their time promoting it. That is what he says is required to be competitive. Now let’s make the problem worse. Check the math? According to Orbit Media’s super-popular annual blogger survey, it takes 4 hours to create a winning blog (See the chart below). Therefore, you would need to spend a whopping 20 hours promoting it. What happens if you blog twice a month? How about once a week? Do you have 80 hours a month to promote?
I would assume not. And if you don’t, you need to make the most out of the time that you do have. The answer simply can’t be “to do nothing”
Seeing Content Promotion As An Art & A Science
The Questions to Ask Before Promoting Content
How you promote content is an art and a science.
However, there are some critical questions about content promotion that need to be considered and addressed:
- Does your content warrant traffic in the first place?
- You might have content you want to promote, but is there an audience for it?
- Is there a bonafide audience for your content, or are you just hoping for stray clicks?
- If there is an audience, can you find them?
- Is there an urgency to finding the answers to something that your content helps people solve?
- It might be an issue that’s already been solved with satisfying results. So while your article may be good, you might be treading over old ground.
- Are you tapping into influencers who already have your audience?
- Are you willing to hunt?
- Content promotion is an art and a science – it’s not for the faint of heart.
5 Content Promotion Strategies You Need to Know
Those are some of the hard questions you need to ask yourself about how you approach promoted content. The next thing I want to do is talk through some strategies for effectively sharing your content. Here are my top five:
- Syndicate Content On Your Social Networks: This should be table stakes: Once you have developed content, you should promote it on all your social media channels. If you can do a targeted paid promotion, you’ll get even better results. Remember, organic reach is only about 2% on Facebook these days.
- Reverse Engineer Competitors: There are countless SEO tools that will tell you who is ranking for the keyword that you desire. Reverse engineer their results to find out if and who is giving them backlinks and try to do an outreach strategy to see if they will link to your content, too. This provides a compounding effect on your content creation to drive engagement.
- Influencer Marketing: This allows us to find out who’s winning already with your target audience. There are ways through Twitter (use their desktop version) to find out who your industry’s influencers are. Asking influencers to contribute to your content through guest posting before you write it goes a long way. A backlink from one of these influencers is ideal as part of a promoted content strategy. Tools like Buzzsumo often make this process way more effective and faster, but do note, it’s not free.
- Questions & Answers: There are a number of Question-and-Answer websites out there. Sites that are most famous for this are Quora and Reddit. This is helpful if your content solves a certain problem. We don’t recommend you spam, but provide real value to that community first, then plug your content.
NOTE: If you post content without value, expect the situation to be like the movie Taken –– these people often have a very special set of skills; they will find you and they will “crush” you.
- Programmatic & Native Advertising: This is more sophisticated, but it’s hands down the best. This AI-driven approach allows you to hyper-target your content to thousands of websites, podcasts, CTV. Through the power of AI creating thousands of versions of your ad targeted to multiple networks, it’ll find the best platforms that will promote your article, drive traffic, and convert for the best price.
Making Content That Converts
There are tons of other ways to promote your great content. If you would like more information on promoted content strategies that you couldn’t find on this blog, please reach out! I would be happy to walk you through it personally.
Enjoyed our discussion here? Gain more great content marketing insights by watching our latest Digital Marketing Masterclass, where we break down the #1 Rule of Effective Content Promotion with Chad Pollitt himself.
Key take aways
- We are in a content crisis and very few marketing companies are talking about it.
- The answer to the content crisis is NOT to just pump out more and more content thinking your next article will somehow be different.
- The golden rule of content promotion in the ideal scenario one should spend 20% of their time creating content and 80% promoting it.
- You need to ask your marketing agency / team how they intend to promote content BEFORE they create it.