Who’s been here?
Someone – maybe a friend, coworker, or blogger – planted a tiny seed in your mind. That seed:
Wouldn't it be great to start a company blog?
The benefits to your business would be enormous. It would skyrocket traffic, leads, and sales. The idea was so appealing that the seed finally grew into action. You slaved away with what little free time you had. You navigated the complicated blog setup process and settled on a design.
Once everything was in place, you started creating content. It seemed simple enough. Content is king, right?
But there was a problem.
Once you hit publish, nothing happened. Your traffic never took off. Those leads never appeared. Sales haven't changed.
What’s worse, you’re not even sure how to promote your content or where to start.
I promise you’re not alone. Many business owners struggle with this same problem.
Today, I’ll share a step-by-step process you can use to promote new blog posts like a seasoned pro.
Why Hitting Publish Is Not Enough
In case you didn’t get the memo , publishing content in 2016 is no longer enough.
There are upwards of 2 million blog posts published every day. Most people are overwhelmed with the sheer volume of content presented to them daily.
Aside from writing long form content and using an arsenal of other tactics to stand out, you still need to promote your content. Otherwise, chances are good no one will see it.
In other words:
You need to promote your content like crazy. But not like a crazy person.
You want to avoid haphazard promotion and a lack of clear planning. Small business owners need to make the most of what little time we have.
Instead, I'll show you how to implement a strategic plan and turn it into a company-wide process to follow. This will help you achieve the success you’ve been hoping for since the beginning.
Let’s get started!
Step 1: Internal Linking
Here's the first step to take after you hit publish:
Link to your new content from other, more powerful pages on your website. Sales pages, product pages, or other blog posts… it doesn't matter.
Why? The reasons are twofold:
- Navigational – We’re creating more places website visitors can discover your content.
- SEO – Internal linking is a great way to get more traffic to a new post. It’s also a great way to give it a rankings boost. Strategic linking from older, established, and more trusted pages on your website to a new page helps funnel authority.
Just make sure you’re linking from relevant pages. Take a moment to find the places where it makes the most sense to link to your new blog post. Write them down, and add them after reading this article.
Step 2: Social Media Scheduling
Next, you’ll want to share your new blog post on social media channels.
The most productive way to do this is through social media scheduling. For this, consider tools like Buffer or Hootsuite.
How many times should you share a new blog post? Check out this handy visual for some guidelines:
Now, you might think: "This is useless. I have no followers or fans.”
That may be! But if you want to grow your social following, you have to start somewhere. That means sharing content.
You can’t expect other people to share and link to your content if you’re not willing to promote it yourself. Don’t expect others to do the heavy lifting for you. Be a voice for yourself, first. Allow your ambition and enthusiasm to be contagious, and others will follow suit.
Step 3: Find Relevant Social Sharing Sites & Niche Specific Social Networks
Consider options outside of the major social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Google Plus, Pinterest and Instagram.
Untapped traffic sources can include social sharing and bookmarking sites, like Reddit and Stumbleupon.
Not sure how to use either? No need to worry. There are tons of online marketing guides that address these platforms, like this one and this one.
Another great idea is a niche-specific social network. While there may not be a specific social network for every industry, these can prove to be a gold mine for your business.
Here's an example:
Pack Dog is a social network for dog owners. If you were in the pet business, joining Pack Dog would be a great move. You could share photos of your dog and links that interest you and other dog owners. Your new blog post about dogs would fit right in!
Perform a few Google searches to see if you can identify any relevant niche-specific social media channels or social sharing sites that could bring you more traffic. Once you've found sites that are a good match, create an account and become a member. This will allow you to share your content with hyper-targeted groups of people.
Just make sure to become an active participant in these communities. Avoid spamming by only sharing content that promotes your business. That is a quick way to lose goodwill (and possibly get banned).
When in doubt, follow the 80/20 rule: 20% promotional content and 80% non promotional.
Step 4: Share With Your Email Subscribers
If you’ve been building and grooming an email list, don’t forget about these super-important people!
Why? They’re your biggest fans!
Anyone who's opted in to receive email, news, and information from you should never be ignored.
Create an email campaign to let subscribers know about new content, and encourage them to check it out. Provide a strong call to action, inviting them to share it with friends or leave a comment.
This is a great way to generate early buzz and engagement on your post.
Step 5: Contact Weak Ties
Despite what you might think, everyone has what’s called “weak ties.” These are people who will happily promote your content.
Who are these people? Brian Dean refers to them as people in your professional network, or even acquaintances. But I think they can go beyond that. Maybe it’s your mom, your partner, close friends or family.
Don’t be afraid to approach them. Now’s not the time to be shy or proud. Ask for a social share.
Weak ties may also be old colleagues, people within your company or department, or even your employees. Chances are you’re both on the same team, or work within the same industry. Most people will want to promote their profession and see their place of business succeed. Many will be more than happy to lend a hand.
Most importantly, don’t view this as begging for help. This is a strategic marketing move to generate buzz.
Don't be afraid to get out there and hustle!
Step 6: Reach out to Previous Linkers
This is one of my top link-building secrets.
When you perform any kind of email outreach or link development campaign, you should keep track of your efforts. This means recording:
- Whom you contacted
- When you reached out
- For what reason
Think of this as your little black book of recurring link prospects. When you’re working on something new, comb through your records for what I like to call “previous linkers.”
These are people who linked to you in the past, and with whom you’ve built up a rapport. Often, you can count on them again for a link or social share.
Be careful not to ruin these relationships by spamming.
Only reach out if you have something they may be interested in or something that's relevant. If so, reach out again.
You'll be surprised at just how effective of a tactic this is.
Step 7: Contact Brands or Influencers Mentioned in the Post
Next, review your content for any mentions of brands or influencers, even if you didn't mention anyone directly. Did you share an idea, tip, tactic, or strategy of theirs?
If you have, contact these people! Shoot them a quick email letting them know they were referenced in your article. Gently ask for, or suggest, a social share.
While you won’t get a response from everyone, this is a valuable tactic. It uses a share trigger called social currency.
People want to share content that proves their position or makes them look good. If you featured their work in a positive light, they'll want to share that with their audience.
Most brands or influencers will likely have a larger social following than you. This type of strategic promotion will send you traffic, increase social shares and engagement, and possibly open the doors to new potential customers.
Give credit where credit is due, and reap the rewards.
Step 8: Conduct an Email Outreach Campaign
By now, we’ve done a good deal of legwork to generate early buzz and acquire quick links.
This is crucial. We've created what's called social proof. We're now going to leverage this in the rest of our outreach efforts. If we can show other people are engaging with our content, it makes other prospects more likely to do the same.
Basically, we have people talking, and now we're going after the big fish.
This is where you begin an email outreach campaign. The type of campaign and tactics you'll employ will depend on the topic and type of content you created.
The ultimate goal is to find other people, blogs, and publications that are likely to share your content, and reach out to them to make them aware of it.
If you're unsure of where to start, I would read Moz's How to Start a Link Building Campaign. Another gem is Neil Patel's The Link Builder's Guide to Email Outreach (complete with email templates and all).
Now, get out there and get started!
Content promotion takes time and effort. But it’s critical to content marketing success.
Even the busiest of people can find the time to implement at least a few of these suggestions. At the very least, getting organized and following a strategic, step-by-step plan will increase your chances of success.
Again, the 8-step process goes like this:
- Add internal links
- Schedule social media posts
- Utilize social sharing sites and niche-specific social media networks
- Share with email subscribers
- Ask “weak ties” for help
- Reach out to previous linkers
- Contact brands or influencers referenced within content
- Conduct an email outreach campaign
Give this 8-step content promotion process a try, and leave a comment letting us know how it worked out for your business!
A link to said memo might be great here?
I didn't cut this line, because I was on the fence about it, but I think it's prime for cutting. It doesn't seem strongly implied elsewhere that the reader will immediately take to their new blog post after reading this article.