Creating content marketing such as blog posts is one thing, but getting it seen by people who matter to your business is another. “If we build it, they will come” may have worked for Kevin Costner but, “If we write it, they will come” may fail to offer a similar payoff. So how do you get your content marketing efforts noticed?
Unless your content marketing efforts are for an established company that carries considerable weight in your industry, or you are a celebrity with a large fan following, just creating a piece of content isn’t going to make that much difference, especially in terms of driving traffic to your website or conversions on it. You have to share your content marketing efforts where your target audience can find it.
Regardless of how important it is to crank out content, getting it seen by your target market is ultimately what makes the difference. You will have to take additional steps in order to that to happen.
There are three ways you can go about getting your original content seen:
- Syndicate it to places where people gather (social networks).
- Repurpose and post it to content networks such as Slideshare or YouTube (and then syndicate it to social networks).
- Create content for social and content networks in the first place (but include links back to your website).
Before I move on, let me explain the difference between a social network and content network.
Social networks such as Facebook and LinkedIn are inherently designed for interaction among peers. Content networks, on the other hand, may contain social features such as commenting and discussion threads or social sharing buttons, but are primarily designed to archive content. (I’ll get into more detail about content networks momentarily.)
1. Syndicate Content to Social Networks to Get Your Content Marketing Noticed.
Online marketing expert Brian Solis once said, “After much personal research and experience, I’ve found that a genuine, helpful, humanized blog, combined with the art of cultivating and building relationships, can forge real connections, shape perception, improve customer service, and also enhance brand loyalty, reach and resonance.”
Take special note of the part highlighted in bold. It’s not just writing that counts, but relating, as well.
Take Brian’s advice – get out there and mix it up on social networks where your target audience hangs out, interact with them, gain some followers and put your content (blog post or otherwise) in front of them via status updates and tweets. That’s the first way to get content seen.
2. Repurpose Content for Content Networks to Help People Find Your Content Marketing Posts.
When you create a piece of content in one form, think of other ways to present it. For instance, turn a blog post into an email newsletter, or a series of posts into an ebook or PowerPoint presentation. Format a customer case study as a PDF, or add a short video interview with the customer as a way to extend its value.
You get the idea.
Once the content takes on its new form(s), distribute it to what I refer to as content networks.
- YouTube is a content network for videos;
- Flickr and Instagram is for photos;
- Slideshare archives slide decks and PDFs;
- Scribd is for documents;
- Infographics can live on Visual.ly.
(You can upload pretty much anything to Pinterest, which is both a content and social network.)
But, wait, you’re not done yet!
Once you’ve uploaded content to one or more such networks, then syndicate it to social networks. It’s like a “2 for the price of 1” special. How's that for great content marketing!
3. Create Content Marketing Posts for Social and Content Networks
In addition to creating content on your website, develop some just for social and content networks. While I believe your company website should be your main content hub, networks like Facebook and YouTube can serve as major outposts designed to send traffic back to it.
Here's what you need to remember when posting on your social and content networks
According to KissMetrics, an analytics and tracking firm, images and photos receive 39% higher interactions than average posts, and receive 53% more likes, 104% more comments, and 84% more clicks.
Include an image in as many posts as possible, regardless of the social network platform you use. Add some written copy to help shape the context so that people will understand what they are seeing.
When posting product-related images, try to show it being used by customers in a real-world setting. It's best if you include people in the photo, as well.
Keep posts short
On Facebook, posts with less than 80 characters get 23% higher engagement. (Of course Twitter limits text to 140 characters, so you have to keep those short.) This principle is pretty much true of every social network, so be concise and save bloviating for your blog.
Post in moderation
Social media posts are ephemeral. The shelf life of a Facebook post is about one hour - and less than that on Twitter.
So, you may think you should post with frequency. Not true. Studies show that posting 1 to 2 times per day gets 40% more engagement than posting 3 or more times per day. You can post more often to Twitter, but don't overdo it there either. No one wants to open their news feed or Twitter stream and see nothing but your stuff.
Schedule posts for optimal days and times
Facebook activity, for example, peaks around 3 p.m. Eastern Time each day. There are also spikes around 11 a.m. and 8 p.m. Wednesday seems to the be most active day during the week.
The best way to find the optimal posting times for you is by looking at Facebook Insights, the analytics engine that runs behind your Facebook Page. Look at the days and times when updates that received the most comments, likes, and shares were published, then schedule future posts to coincide.
Follow the 80/20 rule
A good rule of thumb is to make 80% of your content informational - that is to say focused on the needs and interests of your fans and followers. The remaining 20% can be more promotional, focused on your company, products and services.
Spread the love around
By that I mean, have a presence on as many social networks as you can manage. Each offers its own unique set of features and benefits.
Have a distinct purpose for each channel
Just because Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn are all social networks, doesn't mean that they should be mere copycats of each other. Have a unique purpose for each one and use them distinctively.
Facebook - Use it to reveal the personality of your company. Show what goes on behind the scenes and include light-hearted, people-centered content when possible. Customer testimonials and case studies work well here, too.
Twitter - It's more of a news and information network than a social network. Use it to share information pertinent to your industry such as links to articles, blog posts, white papers and reports. Also, post new product announcements, special promotions, events you're participating in (such as trade shows and conferences), or anything else that is time-sensitive.
Twitter is a great customer service channel, too, used by many companies strictly for that purpose. It's also a gateway to content found in other places, so include links whenever possible.
LinkedIn - This is the true B2B social network. Create a Company Page to share information about your company, its products and services. Post career opportunities, and include status updates about your industry and company in the news feed to showcase your expertise.
Hashtags are a way to keep conversations focused around a given topic or event, and they are used on just about every social network out there, including the ones mentioned above. Here's an example from Maersk on Twitter.
As proud as you may be of the blog post you just polished off, the video you shot, or white paper you spent thousands of dollars having written, getting it into the hands of your target market is what will make the difference between content marketing that produces business results and that which just occupies space on your website.