Guest Post by Cara Hogan
Every marketer has had the same thought at some point: How can I reach more people with my content?
If you spend the time it takes to write, design and publish a great piece of content, you naturally want as many people as possible in your target audience to read it. Simply posting on social media isn’t a sufficient promotion strategy anymore.
In order to reach a bigger audience, many marketers immediately turn to paid content promotion to drive traffic. And while a well designed Facebook ad or sponsored content may convert at high rates, it can be expensive. For a marketing team on a tight budget, content promotion may not be the best use of your ad spend.
Luckily, you don’t need a million dollar budget to make a big impact with content. As a content strategist for startups, I’ve done a lot with very little budgets. With the right tactics, you can amplify your message to a huge audience without paying a dime. It’s not magic, and does take time and effort to do successfully. But if you have more time than money on your hands, here’s how you can effectively promote your content for free.
1. Syndicate Content
Syndication isn’t just for episodes of ‘Friends.’ Syndication is an underappreciated tactic in the content world and can be incredibly useful if you do it right. Start by looking for industry publications in your market that are small, but well respected. These publications are likely underfunded and understaffed, which means the editors always looking for quality content — specifically free content.
It of course depends on your industry, but you’d be surprised how many publications will be all too happy to publish a monthly blog post from your CEO, or an ongoing series of thought leadership pieces. You’ll never know unless you ask! Rewrite one of your best blogs and pitch it. Then, if they’re happy with your work, ask for an agreement to syndicate and republish content from your blog once a month. The editors of the publication will be happy because they get free content, and you win by reaching a new audience through a trusted name in your industry.
2. Get Involved Online
Chances are your audience has some sort of online community where they discuss industry problems, ask questions, and share content. It could be on LinkedIn, Slack, or maybe even Reddit. Whether your target audience is sales professionals, CFOs, or developers, there is undoubtedly an active online community out there that you can find and join.
The trick is, you have to become an active, contributing member of the group. You can’t simply show up and share a link whenever you have something to promote. Instead, you have to contribute meaningfully and honestly to the group. Don’t pretend to be anyone other than who you are, but answer questions, ask questions, and engage without asking anything from anyone for at least a month. Then, you can you start to share some of your content and the group will be more likely to read and engage. Even better, these types of communities can be great resources for new content ideas.
3. Repurpose and Rewrite
If you write a blog post and then consider your job done, you’re not getting enough mileage out of your content. Every piece of content should ideally exist across multiple mediums in order to make the biggest impact and justify the time you spend creating it. For example, if you analyze customer data and find an interesting trend, you shouldn’t just write up a blog post sharing your findings. That data report can be used in a million ways. You can:
- Film a simple video about the report using your iPhone (easy tutorial here)
- Use the audio from the video for a podcast
- Create an infographic of the data
- Make a catchy image for Twitter
- Combine multiple blog posts into a longform whitepaper
The options for repurposing content are truly endless. It only depends on your personal skillset and the goals of your content. And with each new piece of content you create from the same source material, you increase the probability that someone in your target audience will engage with it.
4. Submit to Top Newsletters
If you aren’t already subscribed to the best newsletters in your industry, you should be. You probably already have your own blog newsletter, but you should also be very familiar with any industry leading newsletters that are brand agnostic. You’ll not only get a chance to be inspired by great content, but will also understand what type of content gets featured in the best newsletters. Once you understand what appeals to the owners of the newsletter, you can pitch your own content to be included.
Create a list of top newsletters and submit at least one post to each per month consistently. It may not work immediately, but will eventually pay off. I remember the day one of my posts was first featured in Mattermark Daily. I was thrilled because I knew that my post was about to be read by a huge audience of highly influential people. Being featured drove a ton of traffic to my company’s site. However, I never would have been featured if I hadn’t been submitting posts often, until one finally resonated.
5. Interview the Right People
When done right, influencer marketing really works to amplify your content. Start by identifying a list of top influencers in your space with a wide reach online. Ideally, each person should have their own blog, in addition to a large social following. Then, reach out and ask to interview each of them on a topic that they’re an expert on.
Once you write a post based on that expert interview, it’s only natural to ask the influencer to help you promote the post. But instead of just sending them a link and asking them to share it, go the extra mile. Ghost write a short blog post in their name and share it with them. Tell them they can feel free to post it on their blog for free content, as long as they link back to your original post. It can be short and sweet — really just a teaser for your content. Also include pre-written social posts and more — anything to help make it easier for them to share. They’ll be happy to have content to add to their blog, and your brand will benefit from being associated with an influential name in your industry.
Each of these content promotion tactics is really all about hustle. How much work are you willing to put in? It takes effort to build these lists, email editors and influencers, and create ongoing beneficial relationships. But if you’re willing to do the work, each of these tactics is proven to amplify the reach of your content — all completely for free.
About the Author
Cara Hogan is a former journalist turned marketer for startups, with a focus on SaaS and business growth. She’s a data and grammar enthusiast, a rock climber and a beer snob. Learn more about her at www.CaraHogan.com.