A search on Google for “creating content online” comes up with 72,00,00,000 results. Creating engaging, like-able and shareable content that appeals to your audience has become crucial but creating content is only half the job done and it’s of value only when people read it.
People will read your content only if you know when and where to place your content and how to promote it. Else it may end up being completely ignored. Due to the plethora of content out there, promoting content has become more challenging than creating content.
What happens if you do not promote your content?
“50% of all the published content gets 8 shares or less”. – Buzzsumo
Most content does not get its desired reach because it’s not promoted well enough. Due to rapid development and continuous changes in the online world, a content promoter must stay on edge, almost always. There are a lot of ways to promote your content online. But be sure to keep in mind that your content should be publishable before you begin promotion.
Here’s how to get started on online content promotion:
I. Have a defined target audience
Creating content is great, it lets customers know that you’re engaged and that you’re always up for interaction. The real challenge lies in knowing what your customers would want to read about and who your typical customer is.
Defining your target audience is the first step.
Questions that need to be asked to identify your target audience:
- What are you selling and what makes it unique?
- Why should people buy your product?
- To whom do you want to sell it?
- Do you want people to convert after reading this content or is it just an informative piece about your niche?
- Understand your demographics; region of business, average income of people who buy your product, nationality etc.
Here’s a simple and a comprehensive list of questions that can help you establish your target audience.
II. Create Appealing Content
Nobody wants information that is repetitive, common or boring. Make your content stand out.
The key here is to appeal to your readers: use images, relevant quotes from your niche experts, contextual statistics etc.
Create Original Content: Google loves new and original content. Making sure that you create great original content can go a long way with Google in ensuring that your content ranks higher and is hence more visible to potential readers.
Create Actionable Content: Instead of throwing random statistics and information at your readers, be sure to tell them how to use the information you put out. Give examples and state instances when the information that you put out will prove useful to them. Here’s a great example of how you can make your content actionable.
Format your content: No one wants to read a bunch of cluttered sentences put up as paragraphs with no particular subheadings or compelling titles.
- Break your content in distinct headings and subheadings (use h1 , h2 tags).
- Use bulleted lists.
- Highlight what’s catchy (maybe, a statistical piece of information).
- Bolden what’s easy to miss.
Make it visually appealing: Add relevant images,infographics and statistics for your content and you’ll soon find yourself a winner. Articles with images get 94% more total views, also 60% of consumers are more likely to consider or contact a business when an image shows up in local search results.
Here’s a list of Free Stock photo websites :
- Life of Pix
- RAW pixels
However, images are not the only way to make your content more visually appealing. Here’s a comprehensive list visuals you can use to make your content look good.
Unsatisfied with your current website? Why not do it your self? This Guide from FirstWebsiteGuide will provide you with in-depth ideas on how to create and launch your website.
III. Optimize for Virality
Viral content doesn’t happen out of nowhere. It takes time and effort to craft content that goes viral. The objective of making content viral is to make it sensational, overnight. So short time and the maximum spread of the content, on different media platforms.
The next question is pretty obvious, how do you make your content go viral?
According to Jonah Berger, Assistant professor of marketing at University of Wharton, these features make it viral:
Positive Content– Everyone likes seeing, hearing and sharing happy things. Make sure you craft your content which reflects positivity. You can do that by providing tips, helpful DIY guides and in general, content that helps people understand a problem or give solutions to it.
High Trigger Content–High trigger content involves using strong emotions: use joy, awe, anger, fear etc.
Practical Content-When you make the content relatable and applicable, it automatically makes it practical. Have a human appeal, empathize with their problems and provide step by step instructions on how to deal with the problem.
You can check out more ways to make content viral, here.
IV. Invest in a Social Media Presence.
It is 2016, there is no option but to develop a social media strategy. Nothing says engagement and presence like social media does.
Consider various social media platforms like Facebook,Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Pinterest Snapchat etc. The key is to look into what is the best social media platform for you.
Some questions you can ask yourself while picking social media platforms:
- Who are my audience/customers ?
- Do I have a specific demographic that I’m targeting?
- Which platform is preferred by my target audience/demographic?
- What is my content going to be like?
- What are my success metrics going to be?
- How often am I going to interact?
Say for instance, you own a business that deals with antique luxury cars. Your customers are typically going to be exclusive and elite, with a high purchasing power. Age group can vary anywhere from 25- 60. If you’re located in America, what specific city are you going to target? Is there any specific group of people you want to appeal the most to? Antique luxury cars is not a very common business, so will signing up with niche social media platforms and similar groups help? If you’re looking to promote content, what can you possibly write on?, these are some questions that can guide you.
Social Media Management Tools:
Media management tools are also a great idea to take care of your online content promotion strategy.
Social Media management tools monitor, contribute to, filter, measure and otherwise guide the media presence of your brand, product or service.
These tools usually have a variety of platforms integrated within them, like Twitter, Instagram, Facebook etc. They let you schedule tweets, track keywords, deal with messages etc. There are a variety of tools available including Hootsuite, Socialoomph etc. With tools like these, it becomes very easy to publish your content based on your target audience, use niche specific areas to your advantage, manage and publish multiple channels from one place. Here’s list of top social media management tools.
V. Reach out to influencers
Influencers are people who have acquired a loyal fan base for themselves, in their established areas of expertise. Whatever a niche influencer states will account for more credibility, reach and in general, a better image.
Influencers can do a lot of good to your content promotion, a single instance where they mention you, can translate into million views, shares and likes for your content. Niche influencers come under various different forms in various sites.
→ For example, if you consider Yelp, they have their “Elite Squad”. Now, elite squad consists of an exclusive group of reviewers who are notable for their credibility and clear rating skills. So, when a member of the elite squad mentions you somewhere in their review, your views and reach get higher.
For each of these platforms, you have various ways to engage in content promotion online. You can promote content with the help of influencers on these online platforms, some of these ways are listed below:
- Facebook- Facebook Live, Instant Articles
- Youtube- Vlogs
- Instagram- Endorsements
- Twitter- Influencers
VI. Promote to people who have shared similar content
Whatever content you publish, it is always wise to share it with like-minded people. Join, participate and contribute to these niche specific sites and communities. The people who are a part of these sites already know what you are talking about, it establishes a common ground of being able to relate. Once they relate to whatever you have published, word-of-mouth will spread fast.
Social bookmarking sites also help you to promote your content online. With the rapid evolution of social bookmarking, it has grown from general social bookmarking to niche-specific bookmarking.
Here are some niche specific bookmarking sites you can use:
- Growthhackers.com: Growth hacking
- Inbound.org: Inbound marketing
- BizSugar.com: Business
- Blogengage.com: Blogging
Use niche sites to your maximum advantage. Make sure to respond to queries and participate in discussions, when you discuss and respond to questions, take a note of like minded responses.
Observe who shares or discusses your content. Obtain their email addresses via organic interaction and use Buzzstream or ContentMarketer to reach out to them.
VII. Experiment with Google and Facebook Ads
Google Adwords is a great way to promote content online. It lets you reach your customers fast. Irrespective of :
- How long your business has been around
- How strong is your visibility and presence
- The level of competition from other SEO experts who are well-established.
Google Adwords is your equality pass when it comes to promoting content online. Here is why you should play around with Google Adwords.
It is a known fact that half the world is on Facebook. With Facebook Ads, you can:
- Target the exact demographics
- Set a budget
- Choose what you want your impact to be like; drive online sales, website traffic, number of conversions etc.
Facebook for Business lets you understand the potential of Facebook Ads and how that can be used to craft the exact way you want your content to be promoted. The how to’s of Facebook promotion can be accessed here.
VIII. Make use of forums and groups
Businesses tend to miss out on forums and groups. A lot of narrowed down discussion happens in these forums. The biggest advantage with forums and groups is how your audience are already primed for information exchange through discussions and brainstorming ideas. With most of these forums, you get to see the amount of people online, the threads, the number of questions posted, the topics that are generating most buzz etc.
Tip: Insert the URL of your blog in all the social profiles you maintain. Most of the social profiles always have an “about us” section or bio, where you can talk about yourself.
Some forums that are great for small businesses are:
Quora is a website where you can get your questions answered while simultaneously being able to answer a question. Creating a profile on Quora is extremely easy. Here’s a quora question on how to create a Quora account. Use your Quora feed to let people know what you’re interested in and connect with like-minded people. Follow topics and Follow people, expand your network, with special emphasis on your business category.
It is a great way to :
- Learn more about your industry
- Interact with experts
- Brainstorm ideas
- Lead generation.
Quora is a great platform that offers you a lot of ways for content promotion.
IX. Repurpose your content
Repurposing your content can give the much needed lift and fresh outlook to your promotional activities. Repurposing content means recycling content. You recycle content by creating it in different formats. There is a simple logic behind repurposing content. Not everyone consumes content in the same format. Some are more drawn to infographics, some to extensive reports, some to videos etc. Reusing old content and pitching it differently to suit different audiences will maximize your reach while minimizing the amount you spend on creating new content.
There are various ways to repurpose your content. While repurposing your content, make sure to establish your goals. Do you want this repurposed content to generate leads? Increase conversion? Fetch you traffic? Define your goals for repurposing content. Repurposing your content can make your reach more than just your targeted audience, while saving you time.
X. Micro Content
Micro content refers to short and gripping content that contains images, text or information that is meant for a brief overview of your content in one glance. Micro-content is the kind of content you produce while keeping in mind that an average internet user stays on a webpage for around 10 seconds.
You can get full value for your micro-content by producing it from the content that already exists. Here’s how; say you have a video titled- The rapid evolution of advertising- the micro-content for that can be a snapshot of the video along with a hashtag- #Agesofavdertising. You can use this micro-content in social media networks and with the help of the hashtag, it can become trending in no time.
With micro content, one of the biggest advantages is its ability to go viral in no time. Three ways in which micro-content can make it viral:
- Use more images, less text, keep it crisp on social media.
Some statistics to keep in mind:
- “Tweets with image links get 2 times the engagement rate of those without”.
- “Tweets with less than 100 characters get 17 percent more engagement”.
- “Tweets with hashtags get two times more engagement”.
- “Tweets that include links are 86 percent more likely to be retweeted”. – Huffington Post
- Make it compatible with all kinds of devices; mobile, PC’s, tabs etc.
Some Statistics to keep in mind:An average global user spends 147 minutes on his/her smartphone, 108 minutes on laptop and 50 minutes on tablet. – Millward Brown
- Tailor your content to different platforms.
Twitter uses texts, links and images. Facebook uses video, photos, comments and even check-ins. Instagram is largely photo centered- alter your content accordingly.
Micro content is also extremely useful for building anticipation, so, if there is a campaign that you plan to come up with,micro content is a great way to build anticipation for it.
While coming up with online promotion strategy for your content just remember the three C’s- Content, Context and Concise. Know that the quality of your content trumps everything, know where to place your content and how to promote it, finally, keep it crisp and easy.