How to Promote Content Organically Without Paying a Cent
Recently, Magnificent Marketing sat down and chatted with content marketing whiz, Andy Crestodina. We gleaned his take on non-paid content promotion strategies.
Andy is an industry vet – he’s been around since 2000. Since then, he has posted hundreds of articles, has written for virtually all the top sites, and published a book, Content Chemistry. He’s also the founder of Content Jam, Chicago’s largest marketing conference.
In our podcast, “What You Need to Know About Non-Paid Content Promotion Strategies,” we picked Andy’s brain for fresh insights. The meat of our conversation is right here.
5 Key Points from “What You Need to Know About Non-Paid Content Promotion Strategies”
You don’t have to shell out money constantly to get noticed. Instead, you can do it organically, without paying, with the right strategy. Here are some key takeaways you should always remember when you’re going for non-paid content promotion.
1. Content Is Useless if You Don’t Promote It
Some people mistakenly think that just posting content is enough. But what’s the use of content if people don’t know it exists? Your content is far more likely to land an audience if you do some promoting. According to Andy, “It’s not about the best content, it’s about the best-promoted content.”
2. The Main Outlets for Content Promotion: Social, Email, and Search
For content marketing, the best channels for promotion boil down to just three: social media, email, and search. Any piece of content you create can be promoted on one of these three avenues.
More specifically, the best-promoted content, according to Andy, is created with its ultimate communication channel in mind. This is where it will get the most traction. For instance, when you write a blog post, you create it with the intention of optimizing it for search. When you create an infographic, you want it to grab attention on Twitter or Facebook.
3. Social: It’s All About the Visuals
Social media is fast-paced and crowded, but it can be a great place for promoting content. However, you must do it the right way or risk getting lost in the stream. Here are a few pieces of advice to remember when using various channels.
General Social Media Use – People are quickly scrolling through their feeds on social. This means you have to grab their attention with a great headline or visual. Make sure the featured image gets shared whenever someone shares the post by adding a “social snippet” to your programming/code.
Twitter – The visual element is important on Twitter, too, but timing is equally vital. It could mean the difference between getting lost in a sea of other posts – because everyone wants to post at peak hours – or coming out on top of the pile because you posted at an opportune moment.
A good rule of thumb is to try posting at non-peak times. For instance, if you have posts scheduled for 11 a.m., instead try for 11:04. Andy says this will make you less likely to get stuck in an avalanche of posts on the hour. He recommends tools like Followerwonk to analyze your audience and find out when their peak activity occurs during the day. Post accordingly.
Finally, don’t be afraid to repost your own content. For instance, you can retweet your own content as much as you want with minimal repercussions. Andy recommends a tool like Edgar to help schedule your posts and keep your rotation rolling. An added benefit of a post-scheduling tool is it frees up your time to build relationships – actual friendships! – through social.
LinkedIn – LinkedIn will not be a good avenue for every brand. However, if posting there makes sense with your strategy, you may find more traction there over another channel. Andy recommends LinkedIn for syndicating, or republishing, original posts you published elsewhere.
Google+ – Andy says not to discount Google+ just because it’s technically a “failed network.” It’s still another place where your content can appear for free. You could possibly gain traction in active niche groups on this network – and yes, they do exist.
4. Don’t Forget Other Non-Owned Social Platforms
Non-owned social platforms are sites where your content can appear for free, but you don’t own the domain or the account. You can use these to help establish your authority and promote your brand.
Quora – If you’re an industry expert and have an answer to a common question, try answering it on Quora. If you provide a good enough answer, you could show up competitively in Google search results.
Slack.com – Andy recommends starting your own content promotion group on sites like Slack.com. This is where you round up like-minded marketers who can all commit to helping each other out.
Whether that means commenting, liking, sharing, uploading or tweeting each other’s content, you’ll have a guaranteed amount of engagement for each post. This can equal traction and may help drive value to each other’s brand.
However, to get noticed in the first place, you should create exemplary content. You also need to have a collaborative approach, according to Andy. Whenever you make a new contact, tell them straight out, at the end of any discussion, that you’d be up for collaborating at any time.
A tool like BuzzSumo can help you find key influencers in your industry, but Andy warns that this shouldn’t make up the brunt of your approach.
5. Cross the Streams!
Andy says it’s not enough to get traction on one social network. Instead, you need to cross the streams to gain more visibility for your content. He calls this a little-known but worthy trick. As he says, “Where a lot of people think social media is about building a large audience on one network, I want to build a social media presence where I connect to a few influencers on many networks.”
Jumpstart Your Content Promotion Strategy
Your marketing traction can get pushed to hyper speed if you follow any of these tips and tricks. Just remember to handle your promotion channels wisely, be collaborative, and use available tools.