Whether you’re just starting out or you’re an established content marketer, you will always have to be creative about the way you promote your content.
My friend Rob Wormley and I just recently wrote an eBook 100 Days of Growth and since we had $0 marketing budget, it forced us to get very creative about promotion. Through this process I’ve learned (relearned… it’s been a while since I’ve been this hands on) first hand how to effectively promote your content and site.
With that in mind, I wanted to share my list of ways that you can promote your content without breaking the bank. It doesn’t matter what level of experience you have, these are things that you can and should be doing right now.
I hope you find it as useful as I have!
Social Sharing from Individual accounts
Promote On Bookmarketing Sites
Paid Promotion (While Avoiding Low-ROI/Expensive Options)
Repurposing Your Content
Stock Your Tool Belt
Get Into Groups and “Niche Networks”
Leverage Social Strategies
Start on a personal level.
Engage with your networks, whether through publishing, commenting or promoting. The best tool that you have is your relationships, and you’ll only form those with a personal touch. So to start, get yourself out there with your own social profiles.
And don’t just stick to one platform:
LinkedIn is full of professionals and job seekers ready to gobble up everything that can about growing their personal brand.
Google+ taps into your current network and can help give you an awesome platform for publishing and promotion.
Almost 100% of the content you see these days on Facebook is shared. Become a part of the conversation, and share some of your stuff!
Twitter is the perfect resource for connecting with influencers, and engaging an audience that can quickly expand your reach.
We’re a visual generation, and Pinterest is one of the best platforms for sharing great content paired with pictures.
Tumblr has been around forever, but it’s certainly hitting its stride now more than ever, and is the perfect platform for connecting with a younger generation.
Instagram looks better and better everyday, and is a great place for quick, strong-visuals and easy promotion.
With new Vine stars like the Final Cut King showing up every day, this app is brimming with promotional potential. Companies like Taco Bell are already tapping the amazing potential of what a 6-second video can do for promotion.
Snapchat is breaking records left and right, and now moving into innovative production like developing TV shows. Don’t underestimate the marketing potential of where Snapchat is headed.
It’s hard to measure the true value of being invested in a community. But doing so enables word-of-mouth marketing on steroids.
Bookmarketing sites are aggregates of the best content geared towards a given community. The privilege the best content, and it’s all decided by the community at large.
If you become an active contributor, not only will you develop a better understanding of what works online, but you’ll also Here are some of the best for promoting content:
Done right, you can promote your content on Reddit to an audience of millions in a single day. It’s a massive online forum with endless niche sub-forums for practically any interest—all aggregated on an upvote/downvote system.
Inherently Reddit-like, but designed for content marketers. HackerNews is a group of people who want to help each other out.
Much like to HackerNews, the people on Inbound are excited to help each other out.
GrowthHackers is another great resource for finding, promoting and contributing to great content all based around site growth.
Create a Magazine on Flipboard
Creating a magazine on Flipboard gives other users the ability to share your content easily while also getting to promote others along the way.
Everyone wants to make money off of promoting you. But there are a handful that can do it well and cheap. By my estimation, these are the ones you should check out if you’re ready to put down dollars for promotion:
Targeted Facebook Ads
Most grandmas aren’t clicking on ads for Call of Duty. Targeted ads on Facebook can help you reach the people you actually want to.
Banner Ads on Similar Blogs
Reach out to other influencers and bloggers in your industry and see if they’d be willing to host your banner ads. They probably have the audience you’re looking for.
Similar to Facebook ads, promoted tweets put your ads at the top of relevant users’ feeds—and Twitter can hone instant feedback to continue to refine your ad’s reach to relevant audiences.
StumbleUpon Paid Discovery
What better way for people to find you than when they’re looking for something to find! Stumbleupon’s Paid Discovery will land users right on your page as they click through interest-based randomized browsing.
Less targeted than Facebook, Reddit Ads can still appeal to specific sub-Reddits (interest-specific forums), so that you’re still hitting the right audiences.
Outbrain, which is a “related articles” type recommendation tool, will blast your ads far and wide, and the price tag is nominal at best nominal.
The power of their name recognition alone is a testament to how well Taboola does ad promotion. It’s essentially another take on Outbrain. What’s more is that it’s also an easy way for you to monetize your own site.
There’s nothing wrong with rolling up your sleeves and doing some cold outreach.
This is the other half of relationship forming that starts with creating your personal online presence.
People are often scared of outreach, but it can be as simple as a quick reply on Twitter. The point is that you’re reaching out at all.
But don’t just blindly go putting your stuff on blast. Be personal and personable. Try a couple of these ideas to get the ball rolling:
Email Influencers When You Mention Them in a Post
It’s a way to promote your content, and they may also in turn want to share it with their audience. If they’re being talked about, they’ll probably want to use that content to promote themselves. It ends up being a win-win for everyone.
Reach Out to Other Authors of Similar Content
They may be interested in guest blogging or cross promotion. If you have similar topics, you’re going to have a shared interest in each other’s audiences.
Reach Out to Sharers of Similar Content
If someone is curating industry-specific content, they may be looking for something fresh to share. Offer to share your content, or bring some of theirs over to your site. It’s a great way to gain traction with your target audience.
Invite Guests To Blog On Similar Subjects
Guest blogging benefits everyone. It gives you fresh content, and draws traffic for both you and the author.
Tag Influencers on Facebook When You Cite Them
If you can’t email them, let influencers and their audience know when you’ve mentioned them with a simple tag.
“Mention” Your Sources on Twitter
Twitter’s answer to tagging. It’s an easy way to give influencers a shout out, and with the click of a button, they can re-tweet it to their audience.
Comment on other Influential blogs
It’s an easy outlet for links and positive discussion. If people see and like your comments, they’ll begin to recognize and trust you as a voice of expertise and authority.
Get a Quote From an Influencer
It’s an exclusive tool that makes your site all the more appealing. Now your content has inherent value, simply by providing expert advice that can’t be found on other blogs.
Message Influencers on LinkedIn
If you have a LinkedIn premium account, you can even message 3rd connections. It’s a great way to reach out if you don’t have someone’s email address, or would prefer to
Befriend a Journalist
They’re always looking for fresh subjects and stories. Find the writers who are most commonly publishing in your fields of expertise, and give them stories that you know they can write about.
An easier way to befriend a journalist: HARO, or Help A Reporter Out, gives you the tools to do just that. It puts journalists’ needs and questions right in front of you, so that you can provide them with exceptional answers—helping you to establish yourself as an authority.
Don’t Give Up on Earned Media
If you’re doing something great, it deserves to be written about—and those stories’ value can be hard to put into numbers.
Publish a Press Release
A press release is a practical way to spread the word about new content and promotions fast. And there are plenty of sites that will even publish yours for free.
Update Your Email Signature
If you’re sending out hundreds (or thousands) of emails a week, a simple link in your signature can go a long way in exposing you to new readers.
Engage Your Comment Section
When people comment on your stuff—encourage it. Engage in a positive discussion with those that are commenting on your post—but don’t instigate!
If you’ve got valuable information in your content, then it should be able to be shared in more than one way. Repurposing your content is a great way to diversify promotion for your most popular posts, evergreen content, and some underexposed posts that you’re looking to revitalize.
Just because a post seemed to flop doesn’t mean it was a bad post. Try rebranding it in a new medium. For example:
Create an Infographic
Turn content into a slide deck on Slideshare
Slideshare is a platform where people are constantly submitting this very kind of content every day. By turning your content into a slideshow, you’re able to hit major points in an appealing, shareable way—breathing life back into old posts that may have been too dense.
Create a Video
Whether it’s a short explainer or a web-series, leverage your content for 2015 media. Videos are a way to spice up a blog post, promote engagement on social media, and attract new visitors who aren’t so interested in “reading.”
Animoto / Go Animate
Host a “Webinar”
Not only is a webinar a great way to get traffic, it’s a huge networking tool. Check out GoToMeeting if you need a host.
Publish an Email Campaign
Whether you use Drip or just a standard email, turn your content into a mini digest—delivering fresh, daily content to interested users’ inboxes.
Make it a PDF
Nothing says sharable quite like downloadable content. Turn your study into a whitepaper to be shared and harvested. It’s a great way to make yourself even more “shareable.”
Submit to LinkedIn
LinkedIn, acting as a professional’s Facebook, has a fantastic publishing platform just waiting to be filled with your great content. Submitting a new post is as easy as publishing an update.
Submit to Medium
Medium, founded by the guys over at Twitter, is a long-form content platform, and a great place to share your article again without worrying about duplicate content.
Use your own resources for everything they’ve got. Don’t waste what you’ve cultivated!
Create Internal Links on Your Other Popular Posts
If one page is getting a lot of traffic, send them to another! Internal links are a great way boost a page, and keep users on your site for longer.
Don’t Forget About SEO
It’s a valuable tool for organic results. Even if you need to refresh yourself on some of the basics, SEO is a great way to give your site a boost on major search engines. The reality is, there are a few low-hanging improvements that almost any site can make that will give your blog a welcome bump.
Make Your Post a Part of a Series
Get yourself into a style that encourages subscribers. Series can be a way to stir up excitement around what you’re publishing, or a way to remind readers that there’s fresh content on your site each week. A great example of that would be Moz’s Whiteboard Friday.
Create a Link Round-Up
If people are looking for a series of great content, give them one. Take the searching work out of the equation. By providing a link roundup, people will be looking to you as a source of “insider info,” making you more of an authority.
Improve Your Headlines
Sometimes all an article needs is a finely-tuned title. Try A/B testing a few titles on Twitter to see which garner more attention.
Increase Your Word Count
These days, Google puts its stock in 2000+ word articles. Don’t shy away from long, quality, and information-rich posts. An increased word count (not a keyword-stuffed fluff piece) is a sure way to boost your chances of exposure.
Publish a Weekly Digest
Remind your subscribers of the great work you’re putting out each week—they might not have time to discover it all themselves.
Promote Across Microsites
Use your mini-network to your advantage! If you have a lot of readers coming to one site, use those popular posts/pages to promote some of your less exposed stuff.
There are so many great tools out there for promoting content. It’s just a matter of knowing which ones are best for your needs. These are some of what I would consider the essentials in web promotion. You may be using some already, but a new favorite could be a few paragraphs away.
The best submitters can also become Quuu-rators and promote their articles free for life.
BuzzSumo lets you find influencers and engage with others in your industry.
The content distribution tool that makes full use of the cloud—Papershare makes getting the word out really easy, and helps you track who’s reading your stuff.
A genius tool that turns normal sharing into promotion for your site. I would call snip.ly the realization of bit.ly; it’s a call to action packed in every link you share.
Scoop.it makes it easier to find and share content, encouraging you to be and making you a more active contributor.
Flauntt is a simple tool designed to encourage others to promote your content through genuine online engagement. And it’s free!
BuzzBundle acts like a would-be social media manager, without the salary. It helps you find and engage in all of the conversations about your content.
Little Bird helps you to be smarter about connecting with influencers. You can map out influencers in different circles, and make a more targeted approach for outreach.
ISSUU is a free publishing platform for anything from books to magazines and more.
Combining outreach with a personal touch, finding groups and niche networks is a way that you can leverage communities on a small-scale level. You’re essentially creating relationships through mutual promotion. By strengthening your core circle, you’ll quickly expand your network to others eagerly looking to share.
You can start your own today based around any topic or interest—even promotion!
Find professionals, influencers and other marketers who are excited to share and discuss.
Circle Count – Google+
Google+ circles have untapped value for sharing, so don’t count them out!
Tailor Your Content For Various Subreddits
Subreddit communities are as niche as they get. Where one title works on one, the other community might need a different approach.
Triberr is a platform designed specifically for marketers and influencers. More than just another social platform to publish content, it’s real influencers and talented bloggers who are excited about great new content.
New Forum Threads
Find those forums where people want to discuss your stuff. Or just start a thread of your own!
Blog Engage has every topic you could imagine, making finding your niche a cinch.
BizSugar is another niche network of content sharing that is designed specifically for small business owners. You know, people who really get it.
Pinterest Sharing Board
Pinterest sharing boards can get you an extremely targeted following with picture-heavy curated interests. It helps others subscribe to the things that you’re interested in yourself.
Create a “Sharing Group”
Whatever platform you choose, a sharing group can bring together people with the same intentions to help pump each other pump.
Find Different Niches
Explore interests you never knew existed and tailor your promotion to them. There are a whole slew of groups out there you probably never knew existed, and they’re all looking for solid, fresh content.
Whether they’re outlets for new ideas and no content, or a great place to post some of your older blog articles, niche communities help you reach the audience you want faster. Here are just a few that give you a sample of just how broad your options are:
People have questions, your content has answers. Quora is a space where open questions can be answered at any length by you: the industry professional with already-written answers. It’s the perfect place to repost and reuse content.
Meetups can be a great way to find like-minded folks looking for new ideas. Find a group to meet up with and you can begin brainstorm and exchange ideas about sharing and promoting each other’s content.
Care2 is a site that connects activists. It’s a passionate group of people excited about change—if your blogs fit that bill, they’ll be excited to share them.
GentleMint is a place to talk about “manly things.” Whether it’s about grooming products or daily habits, your testosterone-fueled content probably has a place here.
Probably the best-known blog site for all things mom, Cafemom is a great place to get your mommy blogs exposed to a massive targeted audience.
For seniors who are ready to embrace a better way of living, ThirdAge is a great resource. It’s targeting a group that often only draws on click bait-y articles and unhelpful content. This kind of a network is a great way to reach seniors with great content.
For the competitive endurance athletes of this world, Athlinks is where your helpful content can find welcome company.
Sometimes it’s a matter of putting the power in your readers’ hands. If you can make sharing an irresistible, all-too-easy task, people will be glad to do it. Here are some of the tools that I use that make it impossible not to share:
Add a Call to Action Button
Remind them what their next step is. Sometimes the difference between a conversion and a missed opportunity is a clickable CTA button.
Include Social Sharing Buttons
Everyone loves a different social platform. Make sure they’re all accounted for. Make it easy to share on all the social media platforms, not just the big three.
Make Subscribing Easy
Don’t make them look for the button. Make sure your “subscribe” link is prominent and enticing. You can even A/B test for more appealing colors and styles.
In-text sharing links can make it all the simpler for everyone. Make sharing as easy as clicking a button.
Click To Tweet
If you know you’ve written a very quotable piece, make it easy to tweet. Click to Tweet is a tool that turns any line of text into a tweetable link.
Shareaholic is a content amplification platform that helps tailor articles to readers’ interests. It boasts an ability to reach over 450 million people through native advertisements. Impressive if not enticing.
Prepare Multiple Different “Snippets” For Sharing
Don’t just blast out the same snippet over and over again. Have 20 variations ready for your social posts. Sometimes varied headlines, pictures and quotes stick out to different people and can make the same article be appealing in a whole new light.
Sometimes sharing is a matter of timing. Knowing when to post, what to post, and how to post it make all the difference. You don’t have to waste a lot of time with social media, especially if you can strategize well up front. Make sure that you’re being smart about how and when you share. These are a few things I always keep in mind:
Increase Post Frequency
For starters, post more. Be sure not to spam, but once a day may not be cutting it. People won’t go out of their way to make sure they’ve caught up on all your posts. It’s your job to put it into view.
Schedule Social Media Activity For Optimal Times
3AM is not a good time to be putting out a fresh post. It has been proven time and time again that there are optimal post times—there’s no harm in trying them out. Each audience is unique in its own way, so learn how yours operates.
More than just going off of studies, Tweriod helps you know when your following is online, which can help you find that balance between visibility and frequency—without going overboard on either.
Buffer App helps you be smart about posting everywhere at once. Instead of wasting time on each individual account, Buffer brings it all together for simultaneous, efficient posting.
An easy, helpful way to find new customers: Sprout Social helps you to manage and engage on your social media account, while directing you to influencers and followers that can grow your audience.
Finally, you just need to be smart about how you’re using what social media and content marketers lay before you. Just like this list, there’s optimal use and abuse any tactic. Leverage them for good, not evil.
Be Smart About Hashtags
#Nobody #Likes #Posts #Like #This. #ContentMarketingFails #sohardtoread
Post Separate Images to Facebook
Try out one picture on the blog, and a separate unlinked one on Facebook.
Include Videos/Images in Tweets
It’s proven to have a higher engagement rate. Tweets with images receive 89% more favorites and 150% more retweets.
Hold a Contest
Everyone can get excited about winning something.
Sponsor a Live Event
Some find this to be antiquated, but I think that a well-sponsored live event can return a huge boost online. If you can get people together in the context of similar interests, they’re going to want to engage beyond that stand-alone event. Strategic branding can turn that into real online engagement.
Create an Email List
Make it easy for your content to get in front of people’s faces. Have them sign up for an email list so your content comes straight to them.
Don’t let a single signature go to waste. It’s your space, so use it for promotion. Show off recent posts, top evergreen content, and partner sites. No one’s going to stop you!
Use BuzzStream To Find Other Influencers
There are a lot of great people out there who can use your help and who are ready to help you. BuzzStream brings them all to one place. It has link building tools as well as team-based software for growing your base.
I’ll never stress this one enough—if you bring people to an empty lot, they aren’t going to wait for you to build the restaurant just so they can eat. They’ll go somewhere else.
Be smart about the way you promote, and when you promote, and you’ll find it can make all the difference for your already great content.
Photo credit: Leo Reynolds