22 Aug 2017

5 Effective Ways to Amplify Content

In my previous post, What is Content Amplification? we defined amplification as, “The use of paid and owned channels to promote and distribute content with the goals of moving new and existing users through the sales funnel, and earning brand awareness.”

The focus is on creating a clear path to conversion using content across multiple channels. For example, let’s say that I’m a seller of fine cowboy boots. My products are expensive, and there are many retailers out there like me. I’ll first want to establish “what makes me different than the rest?” I start researching and notice that other sellers are outsourcing their merchandise, but my boots are all made right here in the US. I also offer more styles than any other retailer out there!

This gives me a great awareness stage content idea: cowboy boot style popularity by state on an interactive map. Interactive content is great for my top-of-funnel audience, so I build that piece of content and promote it through ads on social media. It appeals to a broad audience, and even sparks some virality! Win for me, but I’m not done yet.

When measuring the social campaign, I notice that 10% of my clicks are coming from Texas. I can use this data to run another paid social campaign aimed at retargeting those awareness stage leads with a fantastic consideration stage piece of content: a survey that helps them find the cowboy boot style for them. This survey also collects their email address before they get their result, because I’m still not done directing them down the sales funnel.


The most fruitful things in #marketing usually aren’t easy. @kayla_tarantino Click To Tweet

Now that my audience has engaged with my brand twice and I’ve collected their email addresses, I’ll create a lead nurture campaign to support them with decision stage content such as:

  • First-time customer discounts,
  • helpful sizing info,
  • testimonials,
  • product reviews,
  • and more!

Now I have a full content amplification funnel that includes: the right content, delivered to the right audience, through the right channels, at the right time. Easy, right?

5-Effective-Ways-To-Amplify-Content-Roadmap

Well not exactly, but the most fruitful things in marketing usually aren’t easy. To be effective with amplifying your content and driving results for your business, you’ll need to create a roadmap like the above of touchpoints. Then decide what content will be most impactful based on their needs. You’ll need to make sure that their content experience is memorable and the channels they interact with are relevant to their stage in the customer journey!

Leigh George, Founder of Freedom, elaborates on this driving home the importance of content to amplification:

Amplify-Content-Leigh-George

“Forget amplification until you develop a content experience that connects your purpose to the passions of your audience. This includes the type of content you develop: Does your audience prefer video, images, animation, written pieces, etc.? Also think about the information and messaging you’re communicating. Is it empathetic? Does it look at the world from your audiences’ point of view? If you develop content that’s more about your audiences’ needs, goals and passions than your business and you post it in destinations–both online and offline– where your audiences hang out or turn to for guidance, then any amplification will come much easier because your content will be engaging, not interruptive and spark attention on its own.”

Leigh Georgey, Founder/CEO of Freedom

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Once you have an incredible content experience established, there are thousands of directions you can go to amplify the content. Unfortunately, this blog post can’t possibly cover all of them. Instead, we can provide some common strategies that are effective for getting all your content in front of your audiences.

How to Amplify Your Fantastic Content 

1. Don’t forget top-of-funnel lead generation 

In the cowboy-boot example above, if I had never focused on my awareness stage boot-buyer audiences I never would have been able to remarket to that audience, or build a lead nurture campaign. 

This is something we see a lot of brands falling into: only focusing on bottom-of-the-funnel strategies without feeding the rest of the funnel to drive people there. Don’t let your funnel starve! Feed your funnel by promoting your content to awareness stage audiences who are likely to find it interesting. You’ll need to start out broad, but it’ll help you to build reach further down the funnel. 

erikS-VM

“Utilize programmatic and social channels to target new audiences similar to your highest engaging site visitors; promote & test the top 10% of your most shared content to drive engagement!” 

Erik Solan, Director of Amplified Content at Vertical Measures

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Create top-of-funnel content, and then match that content to channels where your audience might consume it. Top-of-funnel lead generation may include:

  • Facebook ads
  • LinkedIn ads
  • YouTube ads
  • Instagram ads
  • Your blog
  • Press releases
  • Shares in a community forum/network
  • Articles on an influencer’s blog
  • Any activity that gets your content in front of a new audience!

There’s no “magic place” to promote your top of funnel content and you might need to explore unique options or niches to maximize your success with lead generation.

2. Get influencers involved with your content and marketing efforts

If we can give you one piece of advice when it comes to promoting and distributing your content it would be: Make friends.

If you expect others to share, like and engage with your #content you best be willing to do the same in return. Click To Tweet

“Influencer” is a very loose term that can be used to describe individuals and publications that hold authority with your target audiences. Influencer doesn’t always mean “celebrity,” so don’t discount the impact of working with micro-influencers.

Remember: There’s no one way to make friends. Think about what help you need in promoting your content throughout the buyer’s journey and how you can get others in your community involved. If it’s a mutually beneficial relationship where an influencer receives: exclusive value or opportunities, fair compensation, and most importantly your partnership and respect, then you’ll be making friends in no time.

Don’t forget to collaborate with your existing partners as well as building new ones! Utilize experts already in your network for content collaborations such as:

  • Vendors/suppliers
  • Distributors
  • Sponsors
  • Your community
  • Your biggest fans
  • Attendees of your events

Joe Griffin, Co-founder and CEO of ClearVoice, explains his successes in using his talent community to amplify content:

Amplify-Content-Joe-Griffin

“The strategy we employ is the same one we recommend for customers – build and leverage your talent community. This includes influencers, of course, but it also includes your in-house staff and other partners. Bring together all of your subject matter experts and have them create helpful content for your prospects and customers. Deploy that content to your website and owned media properties. Then connect those relationships together to promote your content through earned channels. Don’t be afraid to connect your partners and employees. You’ll get far more mileage by creating this community. We went as far as setting up a Slack channel for our community and we’d recommend you do the same.”

Joe Griffin, Co-founder/CEO of ClearVoice

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Focus on developing an influencer marketing strategy that goes beyond paying for posts/articles/etc. Put your partners at the center of your content strategy and let the creativity blossom.

3. Do more than push marketing on social media

Don’t be self-centered on social media, people are there to interact – not be sold to. Instead, create community, ask engaging questions and start conversations.

The days of push marketing through #socialmedia are long-gone. @kayla_tarantino Click To Tweet

Take what you know about your audience on social media: geographic, demographic, interests, stages of the user journey etc. Then create a rock-solid strategy around catering a social experience across both paid and owned channels. Don’t expect social mentions, engagement, and shares to happen overnight or without a lot of effort on your end. You can create a more active social community on your channels by:

  • Creating contests and giveaways that appeal to your target audience.
  • Focusing on referral programs that give back to both parties.
  • Paying to promote your best content on your most active social channels.
  • Asking thought-provoking questions to your audience.
  • Actively monitoring for mentions of your brand and responding in a timely manner (even if it’s not on your page).
  • Asking influencers that you’ve involved in your efforts to share your posts.

An additional idea for effective cross channel promotion from Andy Crestodina of Orbit Media:

Amplify-Content-Andy-Crestodina

“Cross the Streams” and thank/mention people everywhere. This tactic involves jumping across social networks when thanking people for sharing. So if, for example, someone shared it on Twitter, thank and mention them when you share it on LinkedIn. They’re likely to share it there too, since you know they liked it. This amplifies the content, but it also strengthens your social networks by encouraging connections on several networks with the people who are promoting your content.”

Andy Crestodina, Orbit Media

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In order to cross the streams, Andy explains how it works:

  1. After posting and sharing an article, wait a few days…
  2. Look for people who share it on the first social network
  3. Now go share the post again on a second social network, thanking and mentioning the people who shared it the first time.
  4. They are very likely to share it on the second social network!
5-Effective-Ways-To-Amplify-Content-Cross-Channel-Promotion

How to Start a Blog, Orbit Media

Shane Barker also describes his strategy for boosting shares on social; we love the personalized approach of making it easy for people you’ve collaborated with to share:

Amplify-Content-Shane-Barker

“One of the best content amplification strategies is to link to authority website, which has published a study or report that’s relevant to what you’re writing about. The goal is to then reach out to them about the mention and motivate them to share the content with their followers. We send them custom graphics with the title of the article, their logo, our website URL and different size graphics to share on their social media profiles. A similar, even more effective tactic is to interview influencers for an expert roundup post in which they share their insights regarding a certain topic. Our recent expert roundup post on CRO has been shared by industry experts like Keegan Brown of Vertical Measures and Jim Sterne of Target Marketing.”

Shane Barker, Digital Marketing Consultant

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Influencer marketing and social media work hand-in-hand to help increase your brand awareness and engagement across your channels.

Remember: Make friends! If you engage in an authentic way, your social channels will be buzzing.

4. Segment and nurture leads

What if we told you that you can take the same number of leads you’re currently getting, and increase conversion rates? That’s the idea behind lead nurture.  Lead nurture is the creation of trust among your segmented audiences.

70% of marketers say converting leads is their top priority. (HubSpot, 2017) Click To Tweet

It’s one thing to generate leads, it’s an entirely separate initiative to nurture them.  Don’t leave leads hanging! Step one is proper segmentation for your goals. Ensure that you have workflows that address the needs of each major segment and that you aren’t allowing leads to go unnurtured. Your segments can be determined by:

  • Stage of the buyer’s journey
  • Product interests
  • Demographics
  • Geographics
  • Behaviors
  • Any combination of the above

There are likely thousands of ways you can segment your leads. Start broad and get more granular as you evolved your lead nurture program. For example: I may want to start by geographically targeting the area of Texas, but as I learn more about that audience I find that people from Dallas vs. Austin react to content differently. I’ll want to segment even further and deliver an email content experience that caters to each interest.

Note: Gating content in some way is essential in order to nurture leads via email.

Back to that boot example, if I had never gated my survey (asked for the user to provide their email to receive results) I couldn’t have built that segment of leads.  From there I can segment them further based on all of the above characteristics.

The debate on what content to gate vs. what not to gate is still going strong, but typically you’ll want to keep awareness stage content open (not gated), but consideration stage content can be gated so you can generate leads. Also, ensure that if you’re gating something, the end value of the content is worthy of their information.

Lead nurture is the creation of trust among your segmented audiences. Click To Tweet

Build lead nurture programs that help your users experience; make them helpful, engaging, and extremely personalized. Establish trust first rather than immediately trying to sell.

5. Remarket to the right audiences, at the right time

The remarketing step in our cowboy-boot example helped bridge the gap between awareness and consideration stages – but that’s not all remarketing can be used to do. Below is a simplified framework of how this remarketing effort might work for my cowboy boot brand:

5-Effective-Ways-To-Amplify-Content-Sales-Funnel

Step #1: Start with an awareness stage campaign that appeals to a large audience within your niche.

In the above example, I delivered ads that feature an interactive map. Users who engage will move on; those who don’t engage with your site will continue to see awareness stage content.

Step #2: Remarket to that audience with other relevant content that can help you establish whether they’re truly a lead.

At this stage, I remarket on social media and deliver a survey that helps users find their boot style. This helps me collect contact information. I also begin to deliver shopping ads in search, so I can capture any visitors who may already be looking for cowboy boots after viewing awareness stage content.  All the while nuturing leads (as we just covered) via email.

Step #3: Deliver decision stage ads to that audience to establish brand authority and continue capturing leads researching product specific keywords. 

According to a study by Google, 65% of revenue comes from purchases made in more than one channel. In the above example, I ensure that I’m displaying my cowboy boot shopping ads to visitors who have engaged with my awareness-consideration stage content.

Paid media funnels work like your organic funnels do: to help keep the user engaged with your brand and educated along their journey. Fortunately, remarketing provides a lot more control of what message you want to display to specific audiences than you do organically. Create a customized paid media experience that connects on a deeper level with your audiences than simple advertising at the decision stage.

What are you waiting for? Start amplifying!

Melanie Deziel of MDeziel Media say’s it beautifully, there isn’t one right way to amplify your content–because there’s not one way users discover your content:

Amplify-Content-Melanie-Deziel

“You never know how users will discover your content, so you want to have your bases covered. Share it on social and include it in your email newsletters. Pin it to Pinterest, add it to StumbleUpon, and share it via Refind so people with related interests might discover it. You also want to look for niche communities that are interested in the topic, and share the content there. This might mean posting a link to a LinkedIn group or Facebook group or having someone add it to a relevant subreddit if it’s not too self-promotional. But don’t be afraid to look beyond the “Big Three” networks to find the communities where your audience gathers: if you’re creating content about Fantasy Sports or books, you may have better luck with the targeted audience in the Fantasy Life App or GoodReads than simply blasting it out through Twitter.”

Melanie Deziel, Native Ad Consultant & Brand Storytelling Speaker

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These are just a few ideas to consider when promoting and distributing your content.  We can’t tell you “do this and then do that” and promise it’ll work every single time. We wish we could!

What we can tell you: if you focus on establishing clear goals, creating an amazing content experience, and bridge the gaps in promotion and distribution channels, then you’re sure to see results in your content amplification program!

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