You’ve created some killer content — perhaps something short and sweet, or perhaps a piece of long form or pillar content as explained in this guide — and now it’s time to promote your content out in the world.
How will you ensure it doesn’t completely launch to the sound of crickets? How will you unveil your content via email? How will you share it in social media?
And what other nooks and crannies of the internet would be great to share your work?
If you want to make sure
- Current audiences hear about your awesome work,
- New audiences discover you as a result of your promotion, and
- You have everything in place to promote your content,
Read on here for some ideas and tactics around promoting your content.
Also, if long-form pillar content interests you, I’ve created a “pillar content toolkit” of 5 FREE resources to help speed the process along, including a PDF copy of this entire guide. Cement what you learn and grab the toolkit here.(Or grab it by clicking this link)
“20% creation, 80% promotion”
Promotion will make or break your content marketing strategy.
Challenge yourself to take on a ratio of 20% content creation, 80% content promotion, a concept popularized by Derek Halpern.
This can feel like a LOT of self-promotion at first.
But if you’re not taking on the challenge of continuously promoting your content, you’ll have a harder time reaching new people and growing your audience and your business
And often, we feel like we have to be constantly creating new content in order to get the word out – this isn’t necessarily true.
When you create quality, timeless content, you can refer back to it again and again. When you have multiple pieces of “pillar content”, your promotional machine has focus and purpose.
To get your content ready for promotion, take these 3 steps.
Step 1: Prepare and optimize your post on your website
Where is the end place your content will live? For most of us, this is a website.
Whether your site is hosted on WordPress, Squarespace, Wix, or another platform, you’ll want to upload your post into your site and check a few things before you blast your announcement to the world.
As I mentioned previously, I personally like writing all posts in Google docs, because I can make notes and mark my place easily.
You may prefer actually writing your articles or your content in your site itself, and that is fine. There are a few things you may want to do before you press “publish”, though.
Since I use WordPress, I copy-paste my completed doc into a new post in the Gutenberg editor.
I then take the following steps to get my post ready to go.
#1: Assign the target keyword
As mentioned in the post on content ideas, we want a keyword or keyphrase focus for our posts because this helps search engines determine what our content is about.
In WordPress, I highly recommend using the Yoast plugin.
When this plugin is activated, the bottom of each post will have a checklist of items you can tweak to ensure your post has the best chance of being seen.
It makes assigning a specific keyword to your posts dead-simple, and gives you a red, yellow, or green light on different components of your articles to ensure they are as SEO-friendly as possible.
Also consider customizing your slug. The slug is the end of your URL, and it will usually populate with the title of your article in its entirety.
Consider changing this to instead be your target keyword; you’ll make your post a little stronger when it comes to search results.
#2: Get images and links right
Go through and ensure all of your links have your target keyword as the name of the image.
If your target keyword is multiple words (which it probably is), separate the keywords with dashes.
For example, the target keyword for this article is “Promote Content”, so my images are named “promote-content”.
#3: Preview the look
Always preview your post to make sure you’re pleased with the spacing and flow of your posts.
If there isn’t enough whitespace to read what you’ve written easily, you’ll lose people early on.
How does it look on a mobile device? Be sure to check that as well.
These are all small tweaks, and they end up adding up in the long run!
Step 2: Get ready to promote content using Google analytics
Should you spend more time promoting your content in a private Facebook group? Or double down on your LinkedIn posts?
Or does your email newsletter drive the majority of traffic to your posts?
Google analytics will help you measure exactly how many people are visiting which pages of your website and where they are visiting from; this can help inform your business decisions and your future marketing strategy
If you don’t have Google analytics set up yet, that’s ok! The best time to do it was yesterday, the next best time is today – let’s make it happen now.
Setting up Google Analytics
To set up Google Analytics, go to https://analytics.google.com.
Google has its own free video course to help you get all set up; check out their tutorials here.
Now, within these analytics, you have the option of creating specific links called UTM links.
If you plan to post your content in different places and want to know who is reaching your content from where, it may interest you to end up doing this.
I also first learned UTM link setup through this gorgeous piece of pillar content from Neil Patel – it features a step by step on setting up each unique link.
Another great how-to on Google UTM links comes from marketing behemoth HubSpot right here.
I would create a UTM link for each location you plan to promote your content.
So if you plan to promote your content via email newsletter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and a Facebook group, and want to see which platform nets the most clicks, those would be four different links to create.
Step 3: Prepare posts and emails to promote your content
Here’s the great thing about pillar content, especially if you have made each part its own post: You can post multiple times about your content and highlight the different topics you’ve taken the time to expand on.
This can effectively “stretch out” your promotional period, which is helpful.
Here are a few other platform-specific tips to take into consideration.
Platform #1: Promote your content via email
Once your latest piece of content is complete, think about how you will engage your most valuable audience: your email subscribers.
There are generally two approaches to email newsletters when it comes to promoting new content. Either you
- Put full posts or stories into the body of an email to make it easy to read, or
- Keep emails short, get people interested, and then offer a link to your article.
With option 1, more people are likely to read your content, but no one will be visiting your website.
Option 2 creates more intrigue, but you may lose people along the way. Here’s an example of option 2 from Jon Morrow of SmartBlogger.
Try both approaches and see what gets a response. I like to use option 2 mostly, because I want to see what percentage of people who open an email from me go on to actually explore my new articles.
These are strategies for when you send out an email when your content is first published.
But what about weeks, months, or years from now, when new users are discovering who you are for the first time?
We want to educate new readers and subscribers about your awesome content automatically. Consider incorporating this email into what is called a nurture sequence.
A nurture sequence is a series of emails sent to a new subscriber to ‘nurture’ them and give them a better idea of who you are and what you do.
By repurposing the email you used to promote content you’ve published, it can help you educate new users over and over again.
Platform #2: Promote your content on social media
Will you be sharing your content through a social media channel or multiple channels?
If so, ensure you’ve created imagery for those channels and that your images are sized appropriately.
Here’s a nice cheat sheet blog from Falcon with all the different image sizes for each platform.
I make a couple of exceptions. For Facebook and Instagram, for example, I prefer using imagery that is in the new “Instagram portrait” dimensions (a 1:1.25 ratio of width to height).
These images will display in full, but take up more space on a mobile screen, creating a more lush experience.
Later, a social media scheduling tool, has a terrific piece of pillar content here that describes best practices.
Consider creating simple images that communicate the name of the guide or the name of the post you are sharing.
And for your caption copy, be sure to include why someone should care and should read now rather than later.
Other potential places to promote your content
From forums to private groups, there are loads of small communities on the internet.
Some of these communities are the exact people you’re trying to help!
Consider looking around for outlets like
- Forums or threads on Reddit
- Where the questions you can answer are being asked (Quora is a great resource)
- Groups on Facebook
- Groups on LinkedIn
Come from a place of genuinely wanting to help others.
It probably wouldn’t be kosher to join a group and then immediately start promoting yourself.
Consider connecting with the admins or moderators of groups to see if it is okay to promote content you have created; you may even be able to have the moderator endorse the content for you.
Time to DO this! Once everything is locked and loaded, it’s time to release the dragons and drum up some buzz.
Here is a quick summary of what steps to complete and in what order:
- Ensure Google Analytics is set up for your website
- Get your post loaded into your website and optimize for keyword or keyphrase
- Optional: Make UTM links for your post for more custom results
- Draft, create, and schedule all your promotional copy and/or images
- Publish your post!
- Publish promotional items (emails, social posts) with respective UTM links
In the days and weeks following the excitement of your launch, the next phase of work begins. To best understand how to adjust and tweak, you’ll want to measure your results.
But which numbers are worth paying attention to? And which ones can you ignore?
The next part of this guide is all about how to measure your results – check it out here.
And remember – if you want a checklist to help keep all of these steps straight, the pillar content toolkit includes a one-page checklist that summarizes your steps.
You can grab your own copy of all the resources by clicking the image below. Happy promoting!