When you finish creating a piece of content, it’s tempting to sit back, relax, then wait for the praise to pour in. Unfortunately, that’s not the way content marketing works.
As more and more content gets published on the internet, it’s become important for us marketers to find clever ways to get our content in front of an audience. That means coming up with clever content promotion strategies, ones that are different from what everyone else is doing.
Over the past few months, I’ve been experimenting with different ways to promote content. Some strategies have worked, while others have fallen flat. All in all, my experiments haev helped me determine what could get results moving forward.
Here are 6 lesser-known content promotion hacks to try in 2016:
1. The Intercom Message
Ever heard of Intercom? Intercom is a revolutionary customer communication platform in whatever way you see fit. Customer engagement experts use the service to talk to their customers via email, chat, inside apps, and in tons of other mediums.
Typically, Intercom is used to help people convert or overcome objections during the buyer’s journey (i.e. do you have any questions about our product?). But I’ve discovered that Intercom is actually a great way to promote content.
I recently used the tool to promote one of our best new blog posts: How To Manage Millennials In The Workplace. It’s a 4,500+ word guide packed full of actionable tips, tricks, and tactics that business owners can use to manage their employees.
One of Intercom’s best features is its segmentation tool. That is, you can segment your list in a multitude of ways to make sure the right audience is getting a particular kind of communication. It’s especially useful because of the amount of segmenting you can do to your list.
2. The Plain-Text Email
When email first came out, plain-text messages were the only kind we got. I still send plain-text emails to my friends and family, but I’ve begun sending them to my readers, as well.
These days, email marketing clients push shiny templates so hard that many marketers have forgotten the power of a good ol’ plain-text email. Sure, these flashy emails serve a purpose, but they’re not always a direct route to the heart of your reader.
Additionally, most businesses have automatic RSS emailing set up so that people get emails as soon as a new blog post goes out. When you stop to think about it, these automated emails aren’t very personal. They feel like they’re coming from a large corporation, rather than a trusted friend.
Here’s a typical email I’ll send out every so often to my subscribers in place of the typical automated email they are used to receiving from us:
I’ve found that plain-text emails can be a lot more impactful, mostly because they read like they’re coming from a friend, rather than a large brand.
3. The Influencer Round-Up
When you start thinking about creating a piece of content, think about promotion at the beginning of the process. If the content is promotion-driven from the start, you’ll have a lot more luck getting out there once it’s published.
For example, I recently published a post on content marketing trends I think we’ll see in the coming year. When I was researching that post, I asked a bunch of experts what they thought. I knew their insights would help my audience, but I also knew the audience would share the post once it was published.
Here’s the other thing– this tactic ONLY works when you have a good topic and a TON of value in the post itself. The post has to be great enough so that the influencers are excited to be included in the post, and the average reader finds it insightful enough to share.
It’s not enough to interview a few experts and include some quotes. You need to carefully choose a topic, and only share quotes that are truly helpful to your readers.
When you publish your post, make sure to personally email every person mentioned in the article letting them know it went live and asking them to share. If your group is small, do this outreach manually. If it’s bigger, use my friend Sujan’s tool, Content Marketer. It will save you tons of time.
4. The Promotion Army
You’re only one person, so if you share a post on your own social media accounts, it may not have much impact. That’s why I recommend building a network or community of people that are interested in what you have to say, and will, in turn, help share your content.
For example, I might ask a question about hiring content marketers on a forum, such as Inbound.org, and my question might spark a debate with a large group of people. When I write a post about that topic, I’ll be able to promote it within the forum’s thread. I also work with a lot of content marketers, freelancers, and business experts that have a history of sharing my content. When I write something I think they’ll enjoy, I’m able to personally reach out to them and share what I’ve created.
Your promotion army can come from communities like Inbound or GrowthHackers, Facebook groups, or private Slack groups. Remember to help others in these groups too, even if they don’t take the time to help you.
5. The Help Section Article
If you manage content for a software company, chances are, you’re going to have a help section with a host of articles on how to complete different tasks.
But when someone comes looking for an answer to a question, they may be willing to read more content that’s useful to them. You can go beyond answering a user’s questions, and include links to blog posts in relevant help section articles. For example, if someone has a question about how to use your email feature, you might link to an article on how to write great email subject lines.
Don’t just include a spammy CTA at the end of a help section article. You can either try to work your article into the body organically, or create a bulleted list at the end of the post with a few helpful articles.
6. The Free Email Course
Ebooks aren’t as popular as they used to be because consumers are wary of forking over their email addresses only to get a so-so eBook.
Instead of writing eBooks, many marketers are beginning to create free email courses to help their audiences. The idea here is to slice and dice 7 to 10 of your most popular blog posts and turn them into an email course.
Basically, you send subscribers an email once per week with new content that can help them with their pain points. You might create a guide to creating a sales funnel, and each week send an email addressing a different aspect of this task.
Here’s one of my favorite recent examples of an email course. In this course, Buffer helps people get up to speed on being successful on social media.
Click here to see a sneak peek of day one email from this course. What you’ll hopefully notice is that the content in their day one email looks very similar to a blog post—that’s likely because they are actually repurposing content from one or a few of their best blog posts and repackaging them into a convenient, value-packed email course. It’s a great and incredibly effective content repurposing strategy.
To create an email course, I recommend these tools:
Promotion Tactics That Work
As a content marketer, you always want to be moving forward and trying out new tactics. Content promotion will remain a focus in the coming year, and it’s best to think about what strategies to try now.