There's a lot of talk in the blogosphere about the value of blogging frequently and interacting with your community. And there's a lot of great articles available on doing outreach for cornerstone content like in-depth guides, infographics, and free tools.
But what there seems to be less of is specific how-to information on promoting more mundane day-to-day blog content that thought leaders are telling you to crank out. It's not practical to do an in-depth link campaign for every quick how-to blog post you create, so what can you do to promote your content on a daily basis?
Step 1: Create Syndication Channels
This is a bit more "social" than the headline implies: The first step here is to build social media followings and start to participate on social news sites. You can create syndication channels by:
- Building a Twitter Following - Identify people in your niche market and people who are talking about your niche and follow them, retweet their content, and try to share some content you don't see anyone tweeting. There are tools to help but this is a pretty labor-intensive process, and it requires you to *gasp* actually act like a human and build relationships! [Ed. note: He said this would be difficult.]
- Getting Fans on Facebook - One of the most effective ways to do this is by running a Facebook PPC campaign and driving fans to your fan page rather than a page on your site. You'll have to dedicate some cold hard cash (often between $.50-$2.00 a fan) but you're basically creating a variation of an email list that offers less direct attention but additional viral growth possibilities. Not unlike Twitter, once you have fans to your page you'll want to mix the promotion of your own content with that of useful information from around your niche.
- Social News Participation - Find the social voting sites in your niche -- most niches, particularly even moderately tech-oriented ones, have a sort of Digg-clone where people congregate. Identify the most active participants and start to comment on their submissions, vote for their content when appropriate, and submit items yourself.
Leveraging relationships to build links and promote content is a lot of work, but it's also a very efficient way to spend your time and resources as it'll pay dividends in a number of different ways.
Step 2: Promote Your Content On Social Sites
Having done the hard work of building relationships via different social platforms, you can now use these as "syndication channels" -- spend a few minutes tweeting, sharing, and potentially submitting your stories. It's a lot easier than a dedicated outreach project for each post but can offer some of the same benefits, as you're getting your content in front of many of the linkers in your niche (assuming you did Step 1 right that is!).
Step 3: Tell Your Friends
One good opportunity that seems like it would have a minimal impact but actually pays legitimate dividends is just telling the people friendly to your company. The simplest form of this is to send an email out to everyone in your company or your department letting them know a new blog post is up. This is another activity that just takes a second, and if your employees share the content on Twitter and their other social networks the aggregate of this extra bit of awareness over time can create a nice extra tick of exposure for your content.
Step 4: Mini Outreach Projects
While you might not want to build a big list of possible link targets and execute a complex campaign, for certain content it's often worth blocking off 30 minutes to an hour to send out a few select emails to people you don't normally interact with -- for instance, if WordStream did a post about link building tips for non-profits, that might be a good opportunity to introduce the content to a few non-profit bloggers who blog about marketing. This isn't something you'll necessarily want to do for every post, but it's a good idea to keep in mind and leverage when you have content that fits with an untapped niche (I say untapped because it saves you from "hammering" your normal network with explicit link requests -- they'll be promoting a lot of content for you anyway via your syndication channels, which lets them pick and choose which content to put in front of their audiences. It's always a good long-term strategy to make it easy, convenient, and hassle-free for your friends to share your content.)
Step 5: Rinse and Repeat
Content marketing is a lot of work. SEO and social media are far from "free traffic" -- they require lots of investments on the people side of things, but keep in mind the benefits of this type of legwork:
- You build links and help your organic search traffic (increasing the amount of high-intent traffic to your site).
- You build relationships that are invaluable for you when you're promoting your product or service directly and not just the helpful content you're creating for the community (the best kind of product marketing/PR around!).
- You brand yourself and your company as a thought leader -- I can't think of a product or service on the planet that wouldn't benefit from its prospects perceiving it as a smart, thoughtful, helpful brand.