How a Simple Promotion Framework Can Support a Powerful Content Strategy

November 18, 2014 Holly Hammond

82399211Content marketing is all about who sees your content and how often. But as content marketers, we know there’s more to marketing your content than throwing it out into the universe and seeing what sticks.

We have a wide array of platforms, tools and knowledge at our fingertips that allow us to get a little help in rounding out the promotion of our content. But at times, it can seem both overwhelming and overkill to deploy all methods of promotion.

What if you could take advantage of all aspects of promotion without overwhelming your audience? Check out how to maximize your promotion by implementing an integrated approach to your content strategy.

Editorial Calendar

To begin, you’ll want to develop an editorial calendar that can help you plan ahead for all promotions. Editorial calendars are meant to make your life easier- not harder. And while they may seem like an unnecessary evil to smaller businesses- the reality is that a content calendar can set you up for an incredibly successful content strategy.

Don’t worry- you don’t have to think of a blog post for every day or even week of the year to make it successful. Develop a topic for every month of the year and commit to keeping your blog, content and promotional strategies in line with it. Having a topic to cover every month will help create a holistic approach to promotion and allow you to step back and deploy thoughtful, targeted campaigns rather than quick, one-off promotions.

Pro Tip: Use search traffic to determine which industry topics spike each month to create a foolproof strategy.

Blog

Your blog is the most obvious place to live out your content strategy – and the easiest. Some companies use their blog to display internal news, but in order to keep up in the content marketing world you need to utilize that space for industry-related content. With an editorial calendar in place, you’ll be able to create topically relevant content that can feed seamlessly into a promotion plan.

Using your editorial calendar, map out more substantial pieces of content your team can produce over the course of the year. Maybe you’d like to create an infographic from a survey you deployed or a product buying guide that ties closely to the holidays? These types of content can be substantial anchors in your promotion strategy. When you have content that is informational and helpful, customers will turn to you rather than your competitors when they are researching a purchase.

Pro Tip: Focus on educating customers on topics in your industry to build yourself up as a trusted and cited source, rather than a brand just trying to sell a product.

Email

Email marketing is one of the oldest [online] tricks in the book. It’s an easy way to reach customers who care about your products and services and to introduce them to new content on a very specific timeline.

Email marketing can seem too basic, but there’s a reason this tactic is still around, with years of proven success. When customers opt in (or don’t opt out) of your email campaigns, you have a direct marketing line into their every day lives. Email newsletters and campaigns don’t have to focus solely on products and services, they can also be a great way to introduce new content to your audience.

Don’t worry about squeezing new content pushes into all of your newsletter campaigns- instead be very thoughtful and deliberate in your approach. Only introduce content in this form when it makes sense and you have something important to say. If you send emails daily with every new blog post you’ve posted, you can expect to lose subscribers fast. Consider following the topics from the editorial calendar to create a straightforward, easy-to-follow calendar for targeted email campaigns.

Pro Tip: Use your more substantial content pieces for email campaigns. A piece that offers great advice and value along with a visual aspect can help increase your CTR from email campaigns.

Social Channels

Only sharing your own content and thoughts on your social channels is a poor way to position yourself as a thought leader in your industry. If you’re looking to build a larger following while promoting your content, consider setting yourself up for success by slightly tweaking your strategy.

Much like an overall editorial calendar is important for producing content and promotions that are cohesive, developing a social content calendar can help create a more trust-worthy brand. Calendars can be made weekly and monthly and don’t have to be anything fancy. A simple spreadsheet telling you which articles and messages you’re sharing in a given week will help you identify gaps that need filled and places where you may be sharing too much.

Don’t be afraid to share content that isn’t yours to your followers. If there is an article, infographic or study that is relevant to your audience and can help position you as a trusted source, consider adding it to your queue. Customers don’t want to be constantly reminded of how great your brand is, they want to follow a brand that is interested in helping them any way they can.

Pro Tip: Analyze a competitor’s social profiles – how much are they sharing and what types of content are they sharing? This can help you identify where you’re excelling – or where you’re falling short.

Native Advertising

Native advertising may seem a bit overwhelming when weighing options for promoting your content, but you can break it down to make it less intimidating. Native advertising can serve your content well in three different forms: sponsored recommendations, sponsored updates and sponsored content.

Sponsored recommendations are common through tools like Outbrain, Taboola and nRelate. These tools serve up your content as ‘suggested articles’ at the end of articles on popular sites. It’s an easy way to get your content circulating and bring people to your site. It’s also a relatively low cost per click, meaning you can pay small amounts to see a big return. Consider running campaigns monthly on just a couple pieces of content you’re creating to have a revolving door of new traffic to your new content.

Sponsored updates refer to paying to promote social messages. This form of paid promotion is a tad more expensive but can help increase engagement on both your social channels and your website. Sponsored updates allow you to target people based on their interests, locations and other factors allowing you to reach a greater audience and attract people who may be interested in your products. Consider using sponsored updates when you’re launching an integrated campaign that incorporates content, email and social to give your social messages an extra push.

Sponsored content can be the most expensive option of native advertising depending on your target site. Paying to get a sponsored article placed can range from $50 to a commitment upwards of $50,000. Making a decision to sponsor content gives you the ability to write about your product, service or content the way you chose and reach your target audience by guaranteed placement. This method is best used as a means to introduce a helpful guide or content piece on your site.

Pro Tip: Use sponsored recommendations as a way to test which types of content perform best. Use analytics to see which paid pieces are driving more traffic and consider more pieces like this for your site.

In the world of content marketing, it’s easy to lose sight of what you’re trying to accomplish. Promoting your content doesn’t mean getting PR coverage of your newest blog post; instead, it’s all about utilizing the channels you can control to make the most of your current audience. An editorial calendar can help mold your blog, email campaigns and social channels into a cohesive brand delivering one message.

While native advertising can help you expose your brand and content to a new audience, specifically interested in your industry. When it comes to promoting your content, you should develop smart, targeted campaigns that rely on an integrated promotion strategy. To read more about specific promotion tactics, download the “The Content Promotion Manifesto.”

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