Putting the ‘Marketing’ in Content Marketing
Once you’ve created and optimized that great video, blog post, or infographic, you want it to get some attention. It’s time to put the marketing in content marketing, and that’s where the power of social media really kicks in. By leveraging social media interactions, you can circulate your content and put your brand in front of potential customers. If you’re paying attention to where your target audience hangs out online, you can interact with them there.
Traditional marketing through television, radio and even print is more interruption-driven, whereas content marketing engages your customers with something they are already interested in, often providing them creative solutions to their problems. This makes the social web the ideal place to promote your business as the source of information that your customers are looking for.
Promotion is the work of announcing what you have to offer and ensuring that it gets distributed to the people that you want to see it. Many times, this is a matter of sharing media within a network of relationships that you’ve established and nurtured. To make the most of social media, you need to know how these relationships can benefit you and how you need to care for them in order to sustain them.
Every business will have a unique approach to how it promotes its content, based on the industry and customer profiles. Small businesses with very small staffs may not be able to manage a huge social media campaign. In many cases, you’ll need to pick and choose what kinds of social media you have the time to work with. There are a number of possibilities to choose from, including: blogging, commenting on blogs, participating in discussion groups, and posting status updates on social networking sites.
To identify what you should be doing for your industry, start by taking a look at how your competition is using social media. Look closely at your competition’s activity in social media. What channels are they using? How many friends do they have on Facebook? How many followers do they have on Twitter? Maybe your competitors are working in blogs and forums. If not, why not? Are there any niche forums out there that have audiences that might be interested in your work? Check out the media and bloggers that normally write about your industry. Make friends with these bloggers.
How to Use Social Media Interactions to Promote Your Content the Right Way
The greatest value in social media is, of course, that it’s social. This means that you have the opportunity to engage customers in a way that wasn’t possible in the past. A key executive in your business could post an update via Twitter and interact with potential customers, industry experts, and any other followers. This kind of engagement can add a sense of familiarity and comfort to your brand image. On the social web, where content is instantly accessible, people want to engage with the brands in much the same way that they interact with everyday people. This means that by engaging through interesting, conversational content, you can keep your brand in front of customers so that when they’re ready to look for products in your market, they’ll think of you.
Facebook – the Social Media Juggernaut
Your Facebook pages are communication tools that you can use to maintain brand awareness by promoting your business as well as your content. Keep in mind that in order to be social, you have to have status updates that are social in nature. Engage with personality in a way that’s appropriate for your business and works for your industry.
Social media interactions work best when they invite the social network to actively take part in the ongoing, vibrant life of your business. With a mix of incentives to visit your website and engaging content, create updates that encourage comments in order to keep followers actively engaged with your profile. Furthermore, when updates generate comments, other followers in the network take notice and register that your brand is making a buzz. That kind of excitement is contagious, and people pick up on it.
Twitter – the Information Engine
Twitter is a self-proclaimed “information engine.” That moniker alone should tell you that it can be an awesome platform for promoting your content and subsequently your business. The primary marketing application for Twitter is to keep your followers informed about the cool products and services that your business can provide. When you develop new content, tweet it, your followers will be expecting it. If you tweet your content, your followers can retweet it, bringing traffic to your pages and expanding your brand recognition.
The secondary application is to actively engage the phenomenon of crowd-sourcing. By using Twitter search and meeting the needs of individual users head-on, you can actively promote your content to the potential customers who are looking for answers.
LinkedIn – the Business to Business Connection
By now you probably understand that LinkedIn is the premier social networking site that is devoted solely to professionals. It is said that LinkedIn’s 100 million members include an executive from every Fortune 500 company. LinkedIn remains the best social networking site to market your business-to-business (B2B) products and services because of this special demographic.
Even for business-to-consumer (B2C) companies, LinkedIn is important. Not only are wealthy consumers also members of LinkedIn but even B2C companies have B2B marketing activities with regard to distributors, agents, and strategic alliances. Imagine if all of your key management for sales, marketing, and business development were all contributing to LinkedIn in meaningful ways. It could be a powerful way to obtain mind share and eventual thought leadership, which could eventually generate real revenue for your business.
Forums are the evolutionary descendants of chat rooms. They aren’t necessarily as popular as other forms of social media interaction, but there are some avid users of Internet forums. Many industries have niche-related forums. It’s worthwhile to dedicate some time and effort to participating in industry forums. Through forum participation, you can:
- Demonstrate your expertise by offering answers to participants’ questions
- Promote your content pages by linking to pages that might interest or benefit the group
- Develop relationships with other forum participants, who might be willing to promote your content in their networks, such as their blogs or other social media spaces
The essence of blogger engagement is networking. By networking with bloggers, you can pitch your content, and even ask them to write a post for your content. Practically speaking, you build your network by searching for the bloggers with whom to network through media lists and Google blog search.
At the center of blogger engagement is commenting, which fosters relationship-building. Bloggers welcome good comments that are on topic with their posts because they enhance the quality of the blog and increase its favorability with search engines. This means that you can leverage blog commenting to your advantage in order to promote your web content and your brand, if you engage blogs in the right way.
Press Releases and Media Outreach
Starting from scratch in a media outreach campaign, including pitching to bloggers, can seem daunting. There is such a plethora of media outlets on the Internet that it would be nearly impossible to keep track of who’s writing what and for which target demographic. Fortunately there are public relations firms managing all of this data on media lists, and they can help you pinpoint your media target.
Companies like Vocus and Cision specialize in media outreach and have active databases that can help you target pitches and press releases. Media lists provide detailed information for a wide range of media outlets, from television to newspapers, to magazines, to blogs.
Email can be a great way to ensure that you deliver content to a specific community. Your e-Newsletter is the best way to alert your subscribers to your latest content, promotions, and tips.
You can deliver your e-Newsletter and other promotional material to the mailing list that you’ve built through your lead-generating efforts and networking. The very best email list is the one that has individuals who want your email to begin with. You can build up an email subscriber list by providing ample opportunities for visitors to your website to volunteer their email address. Even better, offer them an exchange by giving away free and useful content — such as a white paper — in return for an email address. People are often more willing to give an email address if they can immediately get something that they want.
The social web provides great opportunities to put your content in the hands of potential customers. People love to share the content that appeals to them, and social media has simplified sharing. If you get your content in the hands of the right person, it can spread like wildfire. Through targeted pitches and social media interaction, you can increase your chances of landing your content in the spaces where that person is likely to be found.
Do you have any other promotion suggestions you would like to add?
Note: the above is excerpted from my book Accelerate! Grow Your Business Through the Convergence of Search, Social & Content Marketing. It is a 250 page, step-by-step guide that any organization can follow to kick their content marketing strategy into high gear. Buy your copy today!
About Arnie Kuenn
Arnie Kuenn is the CEO of Vertical Measures and author of Accelerate! Content Development & Marketing to Grow Your Business Online. Vertical Measures provides search, social and content marketing services, designed to help businesses improve their online presence and obtain more traffic and conversions. +Arnie Kuenn