Do you want to learn how to get more people to share, link and read your content which will lead to more traffic using outbound content promotion?
You’re in the right place.
You create content.
You get ranked on Google.
People share your content like crazy.
Wouldnt’ that be nice.
It is possible to massively improve the chances of ranking, getting shared and getting links to your content if you follow proven promotion tactics.
And…in this post I’m going to share outbound content promotion strategies that will show you the best ways to distribute blog content and other types of content.
In this post, we’ll talk about great content and promotion. We’ll map out the SEO optimization of content another day!
Optimization is a whole other topic but let’s talk about great content and outbound promotion.
What is outbound content promotion
When you create content and it gets ranked in Google you drive inbound traffic.
When people find you on social media that’s more inbound traffic.
Outbound promotion is about reaching out to promote your content.
You reach out to someone on Twitter and tell them about your post…
You email a relevant audience about it.
The process starts with great content
Let’s face it – if your content is not amazing it’s simply not worth the effort of reaching out to promote it!
You first need to make sure your content is valuable and relevant to the people you are reaching out to and their audience.
After all, you want them to share it!
How about this:
Only 50% of content gets more than 8 shares. – Buzzsumo, one of their awesome research reports.
That’s pretty bad considering that you’ll share your content yourself a couple of times!!!
But here’s the good news:
There are certain types of content that are more likely to attract links and shares and are worth creating an outbound marketing campaign for.
…when you have your content promotion tactics in place the right type of content will make all the difference in the results you’re getting.
Let me give you some examples:
1. Research report
This type of content is great for driving traffic and building your authority.
Creating a research report takes time and effort, but it pays off because people value insightful content backed by data.
Just make sure that your research provides unique insights into an interesting topic that is relevant to your industry and your audience.
A great example of a research post is Andy Crestodina’s annual blogger survey.
For four years in a row, Andy has been asking more than 1000 bloggers to complete a survey about how they create their content and presenting the survey results in a research post.
Look at all the links that Andy has to this content:
This is a very valuable material for anyone in the blogging industry which is why it gets an incredible amount of attention, shares, comments, and links.
Typically, a framework provides a solution to a particular problem. It digs deeper into a topic than your regular blog post, but the content is presented in a very structured form making it easy to consume.
So, how do you go about creating a framework?
Identify a common challenge in your industry and come up with a structured solution giving your audience a practical guide they can follow.
Just make sure you’re writing about something new, unique, interesting, and relevant.
For example, I recently came up with a 5 steps framework for content marketing, called ELEVATE.
It’s shared hundreds of times so far, I’ve got paid to speak about it at conferences and I’m running training programs on it.
Which is going to get shared more. 5 steps to content marketing or the ELEVATE framework for content marketing…
Online content can take many forms. You need to explore other options besides writing blog posts.
To get some really good results, sometimes you need to get a bit more creative.
What works surprisingly well is something called a “utility.”
You’ve probably seen examples of brands going out of their way to provide something extremely useful to their audience.
You provide something free, engaging and useful.
- An assessment tool
- An auditing tool
- Software that does part of what you do for free (e.g. free tool for scanning your website for viruses)
Although this type of content requires more work, it also drives a lot of value in terms of attracting links and shares.
Figure 1 The Software growth ceiling calculator
Here are 4 examples of useful utilities:
Hubspot make my persona
SEO Analyzer by Neil Patel
Headline analyzer by Coschedule
Software growth ceiling calculator
4. Influencer content
People want to hear from influencers that they follow or engage with, so involving them in your content is a recipe for success.
Influencers have trust with their audience so their promotion of your content will help pass trust back to you!
One of the most effective types of influencer posts is Influencer or expert roundup. These posts feature contributions from a number of influencers and they can bring you a lot of traffic and exposure.
The start of building a relationship with an influencer is involving them in your content.
It’s no secret that people love visual content!
And when you want to share some interesting data, presenting it visually will make it extremely shareable.
Infographics have great potential to go viral – some research even claims that they are three times more shareable than any other content type.
So if you’re looking to attract links and drive traffic to your website, think about creating infographics.
Donna Moritz is an expert in visual content and she recommends producing an infographic and stripping out sections to promote each section individually as well as promoting the full infographic:
Promote your content using outbound tactics
Now that your amazing content is live, it’s time to reach out and promote it.
No time to waste waiting for the right people to discover it!
So let’s take a look at some outbound marketing tactics that work extremely well for content promotion.
How to promote your content before you even publish it
You can start with the content promotion before you even publish your content!
Here’s an example:
I wrote a post over on RazorSocial about social media analytics. I came up with a concept first and reached out to my network to get their opinion and asked if they thought anything was missing.
The concept was outlining all the important things you need to consider when analyzing social data. I created a nice image called this the ‘social media analytics compass’.
I received a lot of great feedback so I ended up changing the initial concept.
Several thousand shares later….
You can reach out to your social media network or a select group of influencers to ask their opinion of a piece of content before you publish.
You involve them in your content by adding their unique point of view or a simple quote, which gives you an opportunity to reach out to them again once it goes live.
You know what happens next, right?
They’re most likely going to promote it to their network!
Unpaid social promotion
Agorapulse is one of the best ways to distribute your blog content through social channels.
You can share your content to your social channels.
Make sure to set up sharing to share it regularly.
You content promotion on Facebook, Twitter, and other channels will not be as effective if you don’t repeat share your content.
Since this graph was produced there has been another big decline in reach of content on Facebook:
Here is an example of good sharing practice
You can also outreach to a new audience that’s connected with you. For example, use Buzzsumo to find out what influential people shared out similar content.
Reach out to them via social media to tell them about your new piece of content.
Reach out to your email list
People subscribe to your blog because they like your content.
Send them your new content.
They are the audience that will read and share.
Imagine if you write an article once a week and you shared with your audience over email once a week.
Share your current post
Put a p.s. at the end of the email and share your previous post again.
Do this every week.
Paid promotion of your content
You know that organic social media reach keeps declining.
You know that there’s a lot of noise and that this whole content business is becoming more and more competitive.
So, if you want your content to get discovered by your target audience, investing in paid content promotion to amplify its reach can be a good tactic.
But there’s a catch!
You need to create a funnel first so when you get visitors from paid promotion there is a potential path to conversion.
You can’t afford to send people to a piece of content and get no action!!!
In the following funnel we can:
a) Create an optin which is specific to this post, this improves conversion
b) When someone is exiting the post we popup an exit intent popup from Optinmonster
c) Build a custom audience on Facebook to retarget people that visit the blog post but don’t optin.
d) Give people an opportunity to optin to a webinar after they optin to your list
e) Follow up with nurture emails to convert.
If you don’t have the funnel built then don’t do ads.
It’s a waste of money.
The money you could be spending on beer instead!!!
Here are some of the paid methods you can use:
Social media ads
Paid promotion on social media allows you to put your content in front of a highly targeted audience.
Every major social network will let you promote your content for a fee and there are a variety of options you can choose from.
From simply boosting content distribution on Facebook via promoted posts, to running segmented and customized ad campaigns on LinkedIn.
The most important thing here is to choose the right platform for advertising e.g. if you see that people don’t engage much with your content on LinkedIn, don’t waste money on paying for promotion.
Leverage the channels where people already engage with your content organically!
Recommended tool: AdEspresso
If you’re going to run larger Facebook ad campaigns, a tool like AdEspresso can help you manage your campaigns efficiently and get more value from them.
The tool lets you test out different variations of your ad headlines, images, and copy through A/B tests so you can optimize your campaigns for maximum impact.
And more importantly, with AdEspresso you can create campaign rules so you spend less time managing them.
Paid search (often referred to as SEM search engine marketing) is another means of doing outbound to promote content.
But…we typically prefer social advertising for content and use paid research for more direct response ads (e.g. buy my stuff).
It’s quite expensive to use paid search for content.
Content distribution networks
There are many ad networks that will promote your content alongside other similar content which is called native advertising.
What is great about this type of paid promotion is that your content seems “native” to the website, meaning it fits right into their editorial style.
It follows the theme and the topics the website normally publishes, so the readers don’t see it as an advertisement.
There are two ways to go about it – you can either contact select websites personally to make an agreement with them or you can use native advertising networks.
Recommended ad networks:
Outbrain makes your content visible on some of the biggest online publications in over 55 countries around the world.
This online promotion tool operates on a cost per click model, so you pay for views on each piece of content you promote. You can select a daily budget limit so your campaign is customized to your exact requirements.
Taboola offers a cost-effective way to feature your content on some high profile websites, such as MSN, AOL, NBC, Business Insider, and many others. It targets your content to the right audience using data tools and predictive recommendation engine.
Email outbound marketing
Often called simply email outreach, this is an extremely effective way of reaching out to relevant people who could add value to your content by contributing their opinions, linking to your content, or sharing it out on their social media profiles.
You could be reaching out to influencers, journalists, business partners, or potential customers – anyone who can expose your content to new, relevant audiences.
If your content is good and offers real value, outreach will not only amplify its reach but also generate new leads for your business in the long run.
Here are examples of 3 campaigns to promote your content through email outreach:
1. Involve influencers in your content
Earlier on in this post, I talked about how we reached out to key influencers to get their opinion on a framework we were producing.
- We reach out to get feedback
- We follow up with an email to thank them
- We follow up with an email when it’s published
The result is thousands of shares and some links.
2. Build links to your content
Links are the currency of the web.
Get valuable links to your content and get more traffic.
…you’re not guaranteed to get links
So you need to…yes, you guessed it, reach out.
Go to Ahefs.
Find the most popular content related to a topic
Find out who linked to this content.
Reach out and tell them about your new, better, improved content!
3. Who published or talked about similar content?
- Find them on LinkedIn
- Find them on Twitter
- Find them through searching on the web
Let them know about similar content you have.
Recommended tool: OutreachPlus
We may be a bit biased here, but OutreachPlus has already proven its worth and helped many marketers run their outreach campaigns more efficiently.
You can use OutreachPlus to:
- Create highly personalized emails (standard and custom merge codes + conditional logic available!)
- Set up automated follow-up sequences triggered by your prospects’ actions
- Track results for each individual campaign or prospect
- Scale your outreach efforts by adding team members.
You’ll have a history of conversation with each of your prospects so no email or contact gets lost in the shuffle!
Don’t do outreach with an email client and a spreadsheet. You’ll:
- Spend too much time
- Deliver poor results
- Lose track
And there’s one thing that I know you’ll appreciate…
You are probably a member of a variety of communities so, depending on the rules and your engagement with that community, you may be able to share it with your communities.
This is not how it works:
- Join a Facebook group
- Post your new article
This is how it works:
- Join a Facebook group
- Contribute and engage with members
- Share their content
- Share your content with the group
Here’s an even better way:
- Join a Facebook group
- Contribute and engage with members
- Ask them for input into a post you’re writing
- Mention them in the post
- Share the post in the group and thank them for their contribution
You can do this for Slack channels, LinkedIn groups etc.
You typically don’t have time to do this on your own but it’s not difficult to get someone to repurpose your content.
For example, create a variation of your post on LinkedIn and link back to the main content. Or create a variation on Medium or a presentation on Slideshare.
If you are not active on these channels don’t waste your time posting there.
Submit to content communities
Content communities can be hit and miss. It’s not difficult to get shares through them but monitor the traffic to make sure they actually stick around and read your content. Quite often you’ll see a high bounce rate if it’s not a targeted community.
Here are some examples of content promotion sites:
When you create important pieces of content it’s worth making the effort to guest posting on other high authority websites to get valuable links back.
Find a list of authority sites that allow guest posting.
Verify that they are an authority by checking their domain authority using open site explorer.
Every domain is ranking from 0 to 100. I’m never going to guest post on a domain with a rank of 30 but I will do it if it’s 60+ (ideally 70+).
When you’re pitching a guest post always think of a topic that’s related to a topic on your website you want to rank for.
You then have a good excuse to link to it! A link within the body of the blog post is much better than a bio link at the end.
Content metrics to measure success
In order to be really effective at outbound content promotion, you need to track your results to see what is working or not working so you can optimize your efforts accordingly.
Let’s jump right into the metrics you need to track.
Links to your content. If your content promotion is effective, you should be seeing more links to the content you are promoting from relevant sites.
It’s important to track these links so you know which pieces of content are bringing you the best results. The easiest way to do this is by analyzing your inbound links with a tool such as Ahrefs.
Consumption and engagement metrics. These include the number of unique visitors, page views, average time on page, referral traffic, as well as like likes, shares, tweets, etc.
These metrics will answer the question of how effectively your paid content promotion is driving traffic and engagement and how well your content resonates with your target audience.
To get these insights, use tools such as Google Analytics, Kissmetrics, or analytics provided by social media tools such as Buffer.
Funnel conversion. As I mentioned earlier, before you start paying for content promotion, you need to have your content conversion funnel all set up. Otherwise, all your efforts (and money) will be spent solely on brand awareness.
Don’t get me wrong, this is not bad at all but it shouldn’t be your only goal.
So make sure to find out if the content you are promoting resulted in conversion and how it contributed to your lead generation efforts.
Get other people to share your content
How about other people doing outbound promotion of your content!
When you have blog content make sure you have a good desktop/mobile social sharing plugin installed.
We use Social Warfare. It provides great social sharing and allows us to customize the image and social update for every social channel.
It also provides you with a click to tweet option which encourages more shares. Try it for yourself…
Voila…. As they say in France.
More outreach from your audience. How powerful is that!
Content promotion tools
Here’s a list of content promotion tools mentioned in this article:
Ahrefs, OutreachPlus, Adespresso, Agorapulse, Brand24, Buzzsumo, Outbrain, Taboola, Social Warfare.
I hope this content promotion checklist has helped you understand the value of outbound content promotion and that you discovered new opportunities and tactics to test out so you can see what works best for you.
Are you leveraging outbound tactics to promote your content?