8 minute read

When it comes to content promotion, marketing teams face big challenges. First, there’s oversaturation: Over 2.5M blog posts are published every day, making it hard to get readers’ attention. Second, people get their information from a shrinking number of outlets. Pew reported that, as of September 2018, 68% of Americans got their news from social media, mainly Facebook.

Marketers who successfully promote their content despite these challenges see big wins. Great, well-promoted content tends to gain more backlinks and referral visits than the same posts that aren’t promoted, sending positive signals to search engines. These positive signals can spur more organic traffic over the long term and allow marketing teams to reduce PPC spend if necessary.

That’s why we asked five content marketing experts for their tips on overcoming content promotion challenges and getting content in front of the right people at the right time.

Jump to:

  1. Reverse Engineer Content for Promotion
  2. Repurpose Promoted Content
  3. Leverage Influencer Networks
  4. Promote Content Like a PR Professional
  5. Retarget with Paid Social
  6. Make Time For Promotion

Tactic 1: Reverse Engineer Content for Promotion

Content marketers need to take a leaf out of traditional marketers’ playbooks and segment their content by channel. Targeting content by segment allows you to speak directly to niche audiences and differentiate from competitor messaging.

Start by choosing a target channel. Then, decipher your site’s analytics to discover what previously successful pieces of content on that channel have in common. Looking for patterns such as word count, visual elements like infographics, or successful content formats will allow you to reverse engineer for future success.

Typically, the following content types are among those that do well on different distribution channels, according to Buffer:

  • Video performs well on Facebook.
  •  Infographics perform better on Pinterest.
  • Stories perform better on Instagram.
  • Blog posts and GIFs perform better on Twitter.

Once you’ve reverse engineered for success, shape every part of the content—from subheadings to images and tone—to the interests of that channel’s audience. Laurie Moot, content marketing lead at Hire by Google, counsels, “Be as specific for [your chosen] channel as possible. For example, ‘Broetry‘ was designed to go viral on LinkedIn specifically, and it worked.”

Tools to Analyze What Makes Content Successful

In addition to analyzing your own site analytics to reverse engineer what makes successful content, you can also analyze competitor strategies. Content marketers can then learn from competitor content on the highest-traffic channels, find insights for success, and benchmark results against competitors.

SEO Impact

Creating content for one specific distribution channel can increase the likelihood that users of that channel want to share your content. Shares increase brand awareness and trust of your brand, which can then lead to more branded searches or higher CTRs on your content in search.

Read our comprehensive What Is SEO? guide for more on search-engine signals.

Tactic 2: Repurpose Promoted Content

Changing the format or the target audience of an existing piece of content—repurposing—is cheaper and faster than creating content from scratch. Repurposed content also expands reach across promotion channels and opens up cross-promotion possibilities.

For example, imagine you publish a blog post that does well via email and organic. You could maximize impact by repurposing it as a Twitter storm, as Wistia’s Brendan Schwartz does here.

The short, opinionated excerpts are perfect for Twitter’s user base. The tweetstorm got over 150 likes and more than 50 retweets, 15 times better than Brendan’s standard engagement rates.

Tools to Repurpose Content

Depending on the channel you’re repurposing content for, you may need to build out your marketing tool stack:

  • Repurpose: Recycles podcasts into video content
  • Wistia: Produces video transcripts so you can turn videos into SEO-friendly blog posts
  • Animatron: Turns slideshows into short videos
  • Visme: Creates infographics from premade templates

These tools allow you to repurpose content for different audiences, increasing potential promotion platforms and giving content wider exposure.

Impact on SEO

Increased exposure should translate to greater variety in your related keywords and search results. For example, adding an infographic to a blog post will allow the post to show up in Image results as well as standard SERPs. This guarantees greater exposure for your content and a stronger keyword profile over time.

Tactic 3: Leverage Influencer Networks

Influencer marketing is an accepted strategy for product promotion. But it can also be used for content promotion. By encouraging influencers to share your content, you tap into a ready-made community and align yourself with someone seen as an expert by your target market.

But leveraging influencers for content promotion involves more than asking them to share your content. “These people have access to the audiences you want to get in front of, but begging them to share a link is a really low-rent approach,” says Vestd’s Chris Lake (formerly of eConsultancy). “It’s much better to include influencers in the content you create. Mine their brains for insight. Embed their tweets. Reference their content. Link to their resources. Feature them on your lists. Truly engage them rather than simply using them.”

Tools to Leverage Influencers for Promotion

To find relevant influencers for your audience, use Alexa’s Audience Overlap tool. Enter your website and the tool will show you dozens of other websites that share a similar audience. You can then get in touch with writers or experts associated with these sites and involve them in your content.

Alexa’s Audience Overlap tool identifies sites that share an audience.

Tools like Mailshake or BuzzStream automate the task of asking these influencers to share your content with their networks.

Impact on SEO

Content marketers focus a lot on backlinks, but outlinks may also play a part in how search engines rank your site. That’s thanks to Google’s oft-forgotten Hilltop algorithm. Hilltop allows search engines to define whether a piece of content is a hub of information by the relevance and quality of the page’s outbound links. Check out this study on the impact that outbound links have on rankings.

The more relevant influencer sites you link to, the better search engines can understand the topic and quality of a piece of content. The takeaway? Find good influencers and choose the ones you work with wisely, and build them into the fabric of your content rather than asking them just to share it.

Tactic 4: Promote Content Like a PR Professional

PR tactics, such as building media lists and pitching, can help you win backlinks and mentions from high-authority sources. PR tactics are designed with the promotional side of marketing in mind, which makes them a perfect fit for the promotion side of content.

To leverage this tactic, you need to build long-term relationships; it’s not called public relations for nothing. Hiten Shah of FYI explains:

“My top tip is to build relationships with people before you ask them to promote your content. Be useful to them first before you ask for their help. It can be as easy as occasionally sharing relevant content that’s not yours with them which you think they’ll find valuable.”

For content that’s written for this purpose, consider tweaking the content so that it’s attractive to media professionals and journalists, while maintaining focus on your end user.

  • Follow the traditional pyramid structure used by media publications.
  • Practice writing media pitches that are timely and relevant, and then distribute them to reporters based on their “beat.”
  • Reporters are busy people; send out pre-prepped assets—blurbs for social, images, etc.—to make it easier for them to quote and link to your content.

Over time, these tactics will help you build a portfolio of high-quality media outlets where you can promote your content.

Tools to Promote Content Like a PR Pro

Start out by understanding the backlink profile of your nearest competitors using Alexa’s Competitor Backlink Checker.

Finding sites via the competitor backlink checker

Alexa’s Backlink Checker shows sites where Nike.com competitors have backlinks, which Nike could target in their link building strategy.

You can then direct your PR tactics toward the highest-quality sites on this list, pitching writers and sharing useful information with them. Over time, you’ll build mutually beneficial relationships and be able to promote your content on prestigious channels.

Discover more useful PR tools.

Impact on SEO

A PR campaign allows you to gain backlinks from high-domain-authority sites. Including quality backlinks tells search engines that the linked-to websites are valuable and useful. The better a site’s backlink profile, the stronger its SEO performance.

For new blogs, driving traffic via paid social may be the best content promotion tactic available. Organic traffic takes three to six months to show impact, so generating visits from paid sources stimulate conversion and engagement while you’re waiting for organic to take off.

Teampay’s Lane Bernes Genee agrees: “Put some ad spend behind your content, particularly on social media. While the Google search algorithm changes daily, we do know that sending quality traffic to your post is a positive signal.”

Prioritize spending on content that speaks directly to user pain points; that’s the content that will result in higher engagement and better ROI for your ad spend over time. Lane adds:

“It doesn’t matter if your piece is objectively good; what matters is that it speaks to the problems, pains, or aspirations of your ideal customer. You’ll spend 5x the money promoting a well-written piece that doesn’t speak to problems, pain or aspiration than you would a fair piece that directly addresses those issues.”

Select posts that have seen virality or good engagement, and retarget them to people who have previously visited your site.

Related: How to Use PPC Insights to Boost Content Marketing

Tools to Retarget Content with Paid Social

Check out where your competitors, or sites that share a similar audience, are getting their traffic by viewing their Upstream sites in Alexa’s free Site Overview tool.

Upstream sites in the Site Overview tool

In the image above, you can see that Vogue.com is getting traffic from Facebook, YouTube and, perhaps surprisingly, Reddit. Vogue’s competitors might want to prioritize retargeted ads to their content on these social media platforms to attract traffic away from Vogue.

You can then run the retargeted ads through the social media platforms’ ad programs.

Impact on SEO

Ad links are nofollow (find out about types of backlinks), so they won’t generate any direct positive SEO impact. But if you’re retargeting the right audiences, you’ll create positive engagement signals on your content. Be careful not to let campaigns with low engagement—high bounce rates, weak time-on-page—run for too long, as this could be a signal that the post isn’t the right fit for the audience you’re targeting. Poor engagement could lead to negative SEO signals down the road.

Related Reading: Retargeting vs. Remarketing: What’s the Difference?

Tactic 6: Make Time for Content Promotion

Content promotion doesn’t feel creative; it’s not the ‘fun’ part, so it’s often ignored. It’s easy to think, after spending a ton of time researching and writing a magnum opus of a blog post, ‘Well, of course people are going to read this. It’s so good!’ But the truth is, for most companies, content won’t just be discovered. “You’ll need to do the hard work of distributing your content and getting it in front of the right people,” says Josh Catone of Jilt.

Josh is right: content promotion should be as important as content creation, or more so. In fact, content marketer Derek Halpern spends 80% of his time on promotion and only 20% on writing. Following the 80:20 rule guarantees that your content will have as wide a reach as possible.

Tools to Make Time for Promotion

Content promotion, particularly on social media, can be a time-hungry activity. There are a few tools that can maximize efficiency:

  • Tools like Buffer and MeetEdgar automate the social sharing process.
  • Sniply adds your custom call to action to any page on the web. Every time you share a link from third parties, you can encourage traffic back to content on your own site.
  • Prezly sends mass press releases to media contacts.
  • Traackr helps you keep tabs on influencers and track your interactions with them.

Automate the repetitive parts of content promotion, and focus your time on segmenting content for channels and creating impactful messages that encourage click-through.

Plan Content Promotion and You’ll See SEO Results

Fail on content promotion and the hours (not to mention the $$) you spent on content creation will have been in vain. Without a promotion strategy, your content will accumulate dust in a corner of the web instead of driving traffic, leads, and revenue for your brand. These expert tactics will help you drive the traffic and engagement you need.

Try the tools mentioned above, and sign up for a free trial of Alexa’s Advanced Plan to test how the analysis and competitor-monitoring features can help you win at content promotion.

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