By Brad Kuenn, Published November 11, 2014
Even if you create the absolute best content out there, how do you reach the people that want it? Publishing articles or content on your blog is only part of the process – brands must also effectively promote it and attract your target audience to a product or service.
Some might join content promotion and distribution together, but they are actually two completely different marketing angles that should be balanced evenly. To put it simply, the difference between promotion and distribution is that promotion is all about generating a buzz around your content and distribution is a matter of finding a lot of different ways to get your content to appear in search results.
There are various tools and platforms that can help promote content and reach the biggest audience possible – here are 10 essential content promotion tools and services:
HootSuite was originally designed for optimizing and managing Twitter accounts, but it also allows you to post from personal Facebook and LinkedIn accounts. Unfortunately, HootSuite will not connect to personal Google+ profiles, but it does allow you to manage your Google+ pages that hosts the content. This tool enables a brand to create a new post and send to any one, two or all of the connected social media accounts.
The ability to schedule your posts is HootSuite’s most efficient tool, allowing a company to plan ahead and keep their account actively engaged with the audience using just a few easy steps. Select the date and time, and let Hootsuite post your content for you to reach the broadest audience possible, at the same time.
Here’s another cool feature of HootSuite – a “link shortener” – right inside the compose box where you create format the post. If a piece of content is on a page with a long URL, place the link in the box, and click “Shrink”. HootSuite will place the shorter URL (in the form of ow.ly) at the end of the text in compose field.
HootSuite’s link shortener will also track important social metrics found in the “Analytics” section. You can create full reports on engagement, clicks and collective data – each for specific social accounts. This is a vital promotional tool that can greatly save time for any marketer.
After a slow start, Google+ has reportedly grown to over 300 million active-users, surpassing Twitter’s 270 million users. It has become a tool that content marketers can no longer overlook. Still, Google+ may not be as popular as Facebook or Twitter, but it takes strides to differentiate itself by strongly emphasizing SEO with content. From a promotional standpoint Google+ is great because it allows you to embed links directly to your profile page – providing your content with increased visibility once more people join your circles, or click and engage with your link.
With the emphasis on SEO, hashtags have played a major role in accurately promoting great content to the correct audience. Hashtags enable a brand to categorize their updates and/or content; as a result, helping you to get found in searches on the platform. Be sure to create hashtags that include detailed keywords. The more specific you can get with a popular hashtag, the more likely your post is going to be found.
For example, if I were writing an article about gaining quality leads by using content, instead of using #contentmarketing, I could also use #leadgeneration. This not only will make it easier for the related content to be found in search, but allows you to focus on delivering your content to specific audiences.
Early adopters of Google+ have seen a remarkable boosts in engagement and companies across all industries are beginning to understand the benefits of promoting their content through Google+. Your brand must try to engage with the individuals leading the field, as well as those looking for more information in the form of your content. Share content that provides insights about your industry, and spark conversations on topics that will solidify your relationship with prospective clients and industry experts alike.
For Twitter-users, Followerwonk stands out as one of the most robust tracking tools available to help generate the most engagement through Twitter. Followerwonk allows any user to identify, analyze and improve metrics from Twitter in order to maximize your social media promotion.
The “Search Twitter Bios” function is among the most useful features on Followerwonk’s platform. Use it to find the most popular Twitter accounts in your particular field or industry. For example, if you are an Internet Marketing specialist, you could type “SEO” or “Linkbuilding” into the search bar, and Followerwonk will suggest all of the Twitter accounts that feature the word “SEO” or “Linkbuilding” (or closely related keywords) in their Twitter profile text.
Think of the possibilities for content promotion – with this data, you can sort followers by such stats as tweet count, account age, Social Authority, following or followers. This is crucial information on your audience, and provides an even larger outlet with promoting content.
Believe it, or not, Taboola is recognized as the world’s leading content discovery platform, reaching 400 million unique visitors and serving over 150 billion recommendations every month. Recently, Taboola acquired Perfect Market, a company which also worked to improve engagement, driving traffic, and conversions. With this acquisition, Taboola has evolved from a content discovery engine to a content and product discovery engine giant.
With Taboola’s content recommendation platform, any brand can successfully drive traffic, improve social sharing metrics and increase the amount of linking pointing back to the content. Taboola focuses strongly on videos. And this is simply because videos is the highest demanded form of content – in fact, a recent study found that consumers are 27 times more likely to click through online video ads than standard banners. Additionally, native online video ads can generate 82% brand lift among users exposed to the ads. Taboola serves up to 1.5 billion recommendations to Internet users each day, (That’s 45 billion every month) and drives 24 million unique visits for marketers using the platform.
BuzzStream is a popular tool that helps you create buzz around your content, build links, and increase traffic to your website by helping you “be found” by utilizing various marketing channels. The user-friendly dashboard provides an easily-digestible overview of your account’s history and tasks.
You can even filter the history by:
- Complete history (emails, tweets, logged calls, blog comments or engagement).
- All projects or a specific task.
- All items for/from a user or for/from a specific user.
BuzzSumo is an additional tool along with the BuzzStream family. It helps marketers find highly shared content, along with influencers in specific expertise or fields. While there are other tools to find influencers on Twitter (such as Followerwonk, discussed above), BuzzSumo provides unique features that enable you to find not just an audience, but content promotion and placement opportunities.
Contently is a one-stop shop when it comes to content promotion. It can not only help with content creation, but assist with identifying the best promotion strategy for any business or brand. Contently offers a ton of free information that you can use to build on your content promotion success. Be sure to check out The Content Strategist for excellent help on blogging promotion.
My favorite part about Contently, is their strong push toward creating and promoting the best content possible. The tool is all about producing valuable, original content for the most relevant audiences. They are against anything considered content farms and are a leading force towards cleaning up the web with useful content.
Outbrain is a great tool that categorizes your content, and displays it to readers based on their online behavior. Outbrain helps drive traffic to individual blog posts or articles, slideshows, video content, mobile-optimized content and many more. Big brands from all industries have used Outbrain as their content recommendation widget. You might have seen it before – if you have ever read to the bottom of an article or blog post and seen related or popular viewed content – this content has been promoted through the Outbrain widget.
If you click on an article under “We Recommend”, they are taken to a piece of similar content on the same site. Conversely, if the reader clicks on an article under “Elsewhere Around the Web”, they are brought to an article that’s been included in the Outbrain network for a fee.
When advertising through Outbrain, each piece of content is checked for quality and categorized depending on topic and niche. If Outbrain accepts the piece of content, it will provide a thumbnail image for content and it will appear in Outbrain widgets across the internet. This means huge exposure and promotion for your brand.
It’s important to note that only editorial content is accepted, not promotional content. In other words, this means you can’t advertise any content piece with a lead-capture form or other means of gathering contacts or sales in exchange for content. Sorry guys, those awesome gated-free guides will have to find promotion in other ways.
StumbleUpon is a wonderful content discovery engine, greatly enhancing the way that people find and bookmark content. StumbleUpon begins by understanding their user’s personal interests. Initially, this comes from a short survey when the user creates a profile, but it grows in complexity as the user engages content through the service.
Users click the “stumble” button on the toolbar, which gives them a new web page to interact with. If they like what they’ve been offered, or “stumbled,” they can give it a “thumbs up.” If they don’t, they can give it a “thumbs down” vote. Content that is voted up by the people in the user’s network will be more likely to appear in the next “stumble” for that user. From this data, you can view a number of different trending data:
- “Recently Hot” tags: These are the current trends that people are tagging. Drill down for more content under the tag.
- “Most Popular All Time” tags: These tags change less frequently but will change. To see what is gaining the most attention, look through these tags. Again, drill down for more content.
- Stumbles by topic: You can see what activity is happening by topic.
- Top Rated websites: These are the pages that are getting the most stumbles.
Additionally, StumbleUpon offers a great paid discovery service that is great for any content marketing strategy. By consistently promoting content through this platform, you can quickly establish your brand as a thought-leader within the industry, driving more traffic, leads and sales for your business.
What would a content promotion article be without the mention of Facebook, right? It’s the largest social network – and boasts endless promotional opportunities for your content. There are three main locations on the site that you can choose to display your advertised content:
- Newsfeed: The most popular of the Facebook advertising placements, these ads show up seamlessly in a user’s feed along with the content that they see from their friends and the people that they follow.
- Mobile: Earlier this year, Facebook stated that there were 1.01 billion mobile monthly active users on the social network – that is a crazy amount of people. If your content is optimized for mobile, this is an avenue that can greatly enhance your content’s visibility.
- Right-Hand Column: This placement can be seen below the “Trending” topics section. The benefit of this placement is that the ad will move down as the user scrolls through their feed.
Advertising on Facebook allows you to reach one of the largest audiences in the world; never before have we been able to reach such a massive following with accuracy and relevance.
As we know, Pinterest is one of the founders of photo album-style content that has blown up over the past 5-10 years. By using “Boards”, photos and images of all types are extremely shareable. For us content marketers, we quickly discovered the advantages of this photo-distribution channel when promoting content – not only could we drastically raise the visibility of the content but also encourage it to be shared to an even bigger audience.
By adding On Hover Pin it buttons (beware these don’t function on mobile browsers), and Pin it share buttons on all the images on your website you will encourage people to pin your content for you. This is a great additional source for spreading your content around Pinterest, and will also encourage visitors on your website to start following you on Pinterest for more content!
Here’s a quick tip for brand recognition: add a small branded logo to the corner of all your pins (or content). This is a small and subtle addition to your pins that can amplify your brand name tremendously.
Promotion is all about creating excitement and engagement around your content. These tools provide great opportunities to put your content in the hands of potential customers, and build a trusting relationship with your current audience. People love to share the content that appeals to them, and these platforms have amplified, simplified and popularized content-sharing to greatly improve promotion and advertising of your content. Through targeted pitches and social media interaction, you can increase your chances of landing new business and building on new leads.