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content promotion strategyIf you’ve ever taken the time to create a high-quality piece of B2B content, then you know that there’s nothing more frustrating than when it doesn’t get properly promoted. I mean, what’s the point of creating great content that never gets consumed?

And yet, effective content promotion seems to be a recurring challenge plaguing many of the content marketers I talk to. They put huge amounts of effort into publishing informative eBooks, visually stunning infographics, and compelling reports, but then for some reason drop the ball when it comes to promoting their content effectively. The result is that they’re left scratching their heads wondering why their great content flops and never drives the business value they expect it to.

I just want to reach out and shake them, saying, “Did you really think just posting your content to your site would be enough? Did you think that by tweeting it once and posting it to your LinkedIn page that you were going to get any traction?? Get real!!”

The truth is that content promotion is just as important, time-consuming, and strategic of an aspect of content marketing as content creation is (a point that I’ve made many times before when writing about content factories). You can’t do it half-assed or willy-nilly. You need a comprehensive, scalable, and systematic approach to promoting every piece of content that you create, regardless of whether it’s your one thousandth blog post, a bestselling book, or anything in between.

So with that in mind, this week I’m offering up some of the content promotion tactics that collectively make up our strategy here at OpenView:

Take Advantage of Content Sharing SitesUnless you’ve got a high-traffic site that garners millions of page views every day, publishing your content on it will only take you so far. Sure, it needs to be there, but publishing content to your own site is really just table stakes — the absolute minimum you can do.

What you also need to do is publish your content on other sites where people go for content, that are searchable, and that get the high volumes of traffic I was talking about (think SlideShare, Scribd, and YouTube to name a few). By doing so, you dramatically increase the chances of people finding your stuff. And, you can do so in a way that still directs people back to your site. For example, if you’re posting an eBook on SlideShare, consider just including the first few pages and then making the last page a link that directs people to your site where they can download the full version for free. It’s a win-win. You get more people exposed to your content and you still have the ability to drive them back to your site.

Hit Social Media Hard: By now we all know that we’re supposed to Tweet out our content and post it to sites like LinkedIn and Google+. But, what I find amazing is just how passive we are at pushing content out through these social channels. If you’re only tweeting your new blog post, eBook, or video once, you’re crazy! If you’re only posting to your company’s LinkedIn page, you’re missing a huge opportunity! While you certainly don’t want to spam the world with self-promotional tweets and shares, you can be more aggressive than you think. For example, when I’m done writing this blog post, here is how I’ll be promoting it socially:

  • Posting to Google+ (which at a minimum tends to help give it a little boost for search)
  • Posting to 3-5 relevant LinkedIn Groups
  • Posting to Pinterest (it does include an image after all)
  • Tweeting four times (eight hours apart) after publishing and then up to 10 additional times over the course of the next 90 days (pre-programming all of these Tweets using HootSuite makes this a breeze)
  • Sharing my post on Triberr

The point is that there’s a lot you can and should do to promote even small pieces of content. Bigger pieces, of course, merit a proportionally larger social push.

Get Influencers to Help You Out: Never underestimate the power of expanding your reach by turning to influencers to help you promote a piece of content. One easy way of doing so is by getting them involved in your content creation efforts. For example, you might ask influencer A to provide a quote for something you’re working on or reference influencer B’s new book in another piece of content. Either way, by involving them in your content, you can make a good case for getting them to promote it to their followers. The net result is that you’re producing richer content (because it reflects ideas other than just your own) and you’re able to distribute that content to a much broader audience.

Engage the Media: It’s not hard to write a press release, but doing so for your big pieces of content can make all of the difference in the world when it comes to promoting them. The fact of the matter is that journalists are looking for things to write about and your new content might give them just the right opportunity to create an effective piece. Do yourself a favor if you’re not already, and take the time to draft a press release citing your content’s key findings and conclusions. You never know where it might lead.

The bottom line is that content promotion has many prongs and you need to come up with a holistic strategy that you follow to help promote every piece of content you create, scaling it up or down as needed. Remember, creating great content isn’t good enough. You have to be equally good and promoting and distributing that content so that it’s getting in front of the right people at the right time.

What content promotion tactics have worked best for you?

Kevin Cain is responsible for setting and executing OpenView’s content marketing strategy.