This article is brought to you by Metigy Pty Ltd ACN 617 973 270 (“Metigy”).
The internet has democratised content creation and now as businesses and individuals, we are more empowered to share our stories and views about the world. But with the increased amount of content (there are over 2 million blog posts published each day), it’s proving increasingly difficult for small businesses to get their message in front of the right audience.
Content promotion is one of the most difficult steps in any content marketing project. And it’s also one of the most overlooked. Even if your content is great, pressing the publish button is not enough. Getting your content in front of your desired audience takes effort and know-how.
Content promotion should be embedded in your overall content strategy. But for small and medium businesses, budget concerns due to COVID-19, means they just can’t spend their way to success by promoting their content on social platforms like Facebook, which are also making it more difficult for businesses and creators to reach their followers organically.
Even though 38.9% of businesses are cutting marketing spend due to COVID-19, fortunately there are several strategies you can use to increase the organic reach of your content and promote it with zero budget.
Focus on your audience needs
If you want your content to resonate with your users so that they subscribe, share and come back for more, you need to pay attention to what they need.
Do some research on your audience to understand why they would want to read your content, what can you provide them that they can’t get elsewhere or what you can do better.
Most companies start generating content without a clear idea of who their audience will be or what their needs would be. They start creating content focused on their business needs. They write about their services, their tools, their company, without realising that kind of content won’t go far because it’s not solving their customer needs.
Small and medium businesses can turn this into a competitive advantage by developing high-quality content that addresses the content needs of their audience. Your content will be consumed more actively and it will be more likely to be shared by your users.
This focus on audience needs is not just about the topics, but about format too. Do they prefer long-form articles, podcasts or short videos?
Optimise your content for search discovery
Make it easier for your target audience to discover your content in search engines. Focusing your content on your audience needs is a big part of SEO these days, as Google analyses search intent when presenting search results to users. SEO is a large online marketing discipline and it would be difficult to cover all the nuances of search engine optimisation here. But the key SEO steps are:
- Research your audience. Who are they, what kind of content they want to consume and how.
- Research the keywords used by your audience to search for content related to the topics you care about. Select the keywords you’re going to target based on their search volume and how competitive they are. The best keywords to target have a high volume and low competition. You can start your keyword research with a free tool like Ubersuggest.
- Develop high-quality content answering the search intent of the keywords you selected, organised in topic clusters that demonstrate your search engine authority on those topics
- Generate links back to that content using other content promotion strategies.
If you have high-quality content that answers the search intent of your users and you’re able to generate links back to your content, you’ll have no problem in getting your content in the top search results.
Related: Recently, Metigy interviewed SEO Ninja, Jon Dawson of Digital Ninjas to get his tips for improving your SEO. This is a great place to start learning about SEO.
Leverage social media for content distribution
Social media networks are the go-to resource to distribute content and reach new and existing audiences. There are dangers to this approach. For example, the changes in the Facebook news feed have made it harder for companies to organically reach the audience they have built for their business pages, to the point where it’s difficult to get any traction in Facebook without paying to promote a post.
To truly get the most of social media for content distribution, there are a few best practices you should follow:
Build a community around your brand
Invest the time in interacting and building an engaged community around your social media profiles. Invested, engaged users will be more likely to consume your content and share it with their network.
Hack the social media algorithm with a sharing pod
Most social networks now have replaced chronological feeds with content feeds that are algorithmically generated. The logic is that users will be more engaged and will spend more time on Twitter, LinkedIn or Instagram if they are only consuming the best, more engaging content.
Social network algorithms rely on several signals to identify relevant posts. Among them are the engagement rate of the post during the first minutes after being shared.
If you build a small, close-knit community of friends, partners, colleagues and associates, where you agree to engage with each other’s content, you can generate those first precious interactions by sending them the post just after you’ve published it on social media.
This will make it more likely that the algorithm will pick your post as relevant and show it to more users.
As a tactic, it has short-term value, as it’s not something that can be scalable or replace building a truly engaged community.
Follow content sharing best practices
Most companies share their content on social media just once. That’s it. One single post. But by doing so they’re missing out on additional opportunities to engage with their audience.
The reason behind this is that not all your followers will be online and engaged with Twitter, Instagram or LinkedIn at the exact time when you post your content. You should share your content several times, at different days and times, to maximise the exposure of your content to your social audience.
And you shouldn’t just do that with new content. If you’ve been creating content for a while, you still have a lot of valuable content that can be useful to your audience. Evergreen or updated content can also be re-shared to help your audience discover something they missed the first time.
Make it easy for your audience to share your content
You can maximise the promotion of your content in social media by building it with social sharing in mind. Go beyond offering social sharing buttons that few people use. For example, you could create infographics that summarise the article or extract the key takeaways in quotes that can fit in a tweet.
Involve your employees in your social strategy
Employees have their own audiences in their social profiles. Depending on the social network and the employee, they can be for purely personal use. But others use social media as a way to build a professional network.
By distributing your content to your employees and encouraging them (but not instructing them) to share it in their own networks, you can extend your reach beyond your own business social profiles.
Having content shared by real people instead of a corporate profile will make it more likely the content is accessed and re-shared.
Leverage other audiences inside social networks
Beyond sharing your content with your followers on social networks, you can reach out to groups on networks like Facebook and LinkedIn to promote your content beyond your core audience.
The added benefit is that you can find groups that are targeted to the same audience as your company.If your content is addressing user needs then it won’t feel like spam or a shameless plug, but as content in groups is posted from personal profiles, it’s best to engage there regularly, not just to promote content, and disclose your role within your company.
Reddit or Medium are other sites you can experiment with to distribute your content to new audiences for free.
Collaborate with external experts and influencers
While organic SEO can take some time to see results, having an influencer share your content can amplify your content promotion instantly. But having great content is not enough to bring your content to the attention of an influencer, or to convince them to share it with their audience.
A free tactic to make your content more likely to be shared by influencers is to ask them for a quote for an article that falls within their expertise. In fact, ask quotes from several influencers or key people in your industry to share their views. This is also called an ‘expert round-up article.’
Then, when it’s time to promote your content on social media, make sure to tag them and publicize the fact that the article includes their quotes and contributions. Not only will that make it more likely that they re-share your content to their followers. It also makes your content more interesting to your social audience, increasing its engagement.
Integrate your content in your email marketing
While social media can be a great way to promote your content for free, building a community and an audience in a place where you have no control has their downsides. Changes in the social feed on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram can make it more difficult to reach your followers effectively without investing in paid promotion.
It makes sense then, to dedicate some efforts to build an email marketing program where you have more control over access to your audience.
Having a large, engaged list of contacts will help you get traction on your content for free, by regularly sending your subscribers updates with your new content.
Content promotion is a key step in content marketing, and it can be done for free
Promotion is a necessary step in order to get your audience to engage with your content. Creating high-quality content isn’t enough, as there’s a lot of new content being published each day. It’s very easy for your content to get lost in the myriad of new articles, videos and podcasts and never successfully reach their full potential.
Fortunately, as a small or medium business you can promote your content effectively without having to dedicate a large budget. Use the above free content promotion tactics and strategies to get your content seen by the right people.
The most important thing is to focus on your audience. Understand their needs, their language, what they search for, where they gather together online, who they follow. Knowing the answers to these questions will make your content much easier to promote successfully.
Are you ready to start promoting your content the right way?
For many small growing businesses, finding the time to promote your content and run marketing campaigns can be difficult, especially if you don’t have the experience, know-how or time. That’s why QuickBooks has partnered with Metigy AI, to make marketing your business easier. Metigy is made for SMB Marketers and helps you create high-quality content and a strategy that gets engagement, conversions and grows your audience. Metigy’s AI-powered real-time insights, recommendations & resources help even novice marketers achieve 2x-3x improvement quarter on quarter. It’s just like having your own digital strategist.
As a Quickbooks user, you have access to a 3 month free trial of the Pro Plan on the Metigy platform. Click here to start using the ultimate SMB marketing tool.