Social Media Week is wrapping up in Chicago, and I was lucky enough to speak at this year’s conference. Either I’m going to the wrong marketing conferences, or it’s common to spend hundreds, if not thousands of dollars to be told that “engagement is key” twelve sessions in a row.
But where’s the how?
I wanted to make it a point to share actionable tips at my session. The kind of things marketers who work at startups and small businesses could take back to their own companies and implement the very next day. Based on my Twitter feed the past 24 hours, I hope I’ve succeeded. #humblebrag
The session focused on how to get more web traffic, social media shares, and most importantly, customers, from your content marketing efforts. Getting the right audience to see your content and take action is hard. Here are 6 rules for content distribution I followed at Base CRM to grow our inbound leads by 40% and our unique blog visitors by 585% over 6 months.
Rule 1: Make sure people can find it
Like the giving tree, SEO is the gift that keeps on giving.
Blog Topic Selection: When selecting topics to blog about, focus on evergreen topics that are true to your core product offering. An example of this was a post called “5 Essential Sales Forecasting Techniques”. On day 1, the post peaked at about 100 page views. Fast forward 6 months though, and the post accumulated over 6,100 page views – hovering around 50 – 100 per day! The gift that keeps on giving.
Blog Post Template: Andy Crestodina, Strategic Director over at Orbit Media here in Chicago wrote the blog post template I’ve been using for years now. You candownload it here. You can thank him. And hire him to do your website too.
Rule 2: Repurpose it for different channels
Creating content takes a lot of time and money. When you work alone or on a small team, it’s important to get the most mileage out of a piece of content as possible. For example, if you create an ebook, take each chapter and publish it as a blog post. Take your outline from your ebook, and turn it into a SlideShare presentation. You can also get 5 – 10 social media posts out of a single blog post or ebook.
Rule 3: Befriend social whales
85% of consumers seek out recommendations from Influencers. People with social clout. People your customers listen to for advice about products and services. One of the things that moved the needle the most for distributing content was partnering with influential bloggers in the sales space. When looking for influencers to partner with, look at things like:
- Following to follower ratio
- Content quality/frequency
- Engagement on Twitter
Traacker and Buzzsumo are great tools for finding and connecting with influencers in your space. Or go old school with Twitter advanced search. Once you have influencers on your side, you have ignition for your content.
Rule 4: Use Social Media to your advantage
Find the best times to post your content: Start a free trial on SocialBro and generate your “Best Times To Tweet” report. It will show you the number of followers that are online by day of week and hour. Post during the times where you have the potential for the most exposure.
Recirculate your content: I adopted this technique after reading a post by Tom Tunguz of Redpoint ventures. The idea is simple. The news cycle moves fast, so you can share the same piece of content with different titles or excerpts for maximum reach. You can read more about this technique here.
Participate and share content in 3-5 relevant LinkedIn groups. When selecting groups to participate in, look at group statistics to make sure you’re spending time in the right groups. Group statistics will tell you things like seniority of members as well as their function and location. You can also see how active the group is, and how the content is engaged with.
It’s no secret that organic reach has gone down on Facebook, starting in October 2013. But there are still things you can do to get the most from your posts without paying to boost it.
- Optimize for text length: Posts with 100 – 125 characters get 60% more likes, comments and shares. Keep your text to 3 lines or less.
- Include an image: Even when you share a link, include an image. Facebook recommends a size of 1200 x 627 (will appear as 400 x 209). Links with large images receive 69% more clicks.
- Focus on creating a great headline. The headline you write for the post is typically displayed in Google search results as well.
- Images receive 94% +1’s.
- Use hashtags. Google+ will choose them for you based on what it thinks your content is about, or what’s trending. However, you can also customize your hashtags on Google+.
- Have an amazing title and cover. If you don’t have a designer, use Canva.
- Use wide format slides over long format. Think presentation style over PDF.
- Once posted, heavily share your presentation within the first hour. The more views it gets in a short period of time, the more likely it will be that it makes it to the front page. In fact, the presentation shared in this article made it to the front page within the first hour.
Rule #5: Syndicate
Syndication can be very powerful for expanding the reach of your content. Find syndication partners who are widely distributed and who rank well in search. Check out where your competitors syndicate. Personally, I’ve had great luck with Business 2 Community. Several pieces posted there received over a thousand social shares and drove traffic back to our website. A perk of B2C, is that your content can also get picked up by Yahoo.
Rule #6: Spend a little dough
You have a lot of options when it comes to free content distribution, but spending some money to expand the reach of your content is worth experimenting with. Put some money behind your best pieces of content – things like research, thought leadership, or ebooks. Try content suggestion engines like Outbrain, Taboola ornRelate.
You can view the full presentation here, and if you have any questions just let me know!
Don’t forget to optimize your distribution channels as you go. Set up conversion funnels in Google Analytics so you can track how many new visits, leads, and customers your content is driving your business. Know what channels your traffic is coming from, and focus your efforts on the channels that are working the best. Last, don’t be afraid to experiment with new channels and different mediums. After all, they’re changing every day.
Happy content marketing!