You've slaved over your latest content project and you're sure it'll be a hit. It's graphically interesting, packed with useful information and highly relevant to your audience. It's time to sit back and watch it go CRAZY on social media.
And if you believe that, I have some snow to sell you.
Content generally doesn't get picked up by media or have the slightest chance of going viral on its own (well, not unless or you're a dancing goalie--then you can sit back and watch the hits roll in).
A really awesome piece of content deserves all the promotion you can throw at it, to get it in front of the most relevant, engaged audiences. These 10 content promotion tactics have helped me get mentions and valuable coverage from WSJ.com, Business Insider, The Associated Press, Thompson Reuters, Fox Business News, and literally thousands of other news outlets. Try them out!
1. Build Your Media Network
This is a critical first step--you can't pitch to your network if you haven't invested any time in building it. Seek out the people who write about the topics you're interested in; the journalists, the publishers, the editors. Get to know these people. Share their content. Bring them story ideas even when you have nothing to gain personally from them. When you do have a story to pitch, you're not coming at them like a cold-calling telemarketer.
2. Leverage Twitter for Pitching
Journalists use Twitter; in fact, three-quarters of journalists use Twitter to find their stories. If you want to get in front of journalists, you absolutely have to be connecting with them on Twitter. I once pitched a guy from the Guardian newspaper who got back to me with a published story in just a few minutes!
3. Get in Front of Industry Influencers
There are super-connectors on social media in every niche or industry who can help spread the word. These people are usually happy to do so when the story is relevant and interesting to their audience.
For example, I once pitched Tim O'Reilly. He's the publisher of O'Reilly Media and has over 3 million followers on Google+. He posted a link to the story on his timeline that generated over a hundred re-shares and tens of thousands of visitors to our content.
4. Optimize Your Visual Assets
To help with content promotion, though, easily shareable visual assets like charts, memes, photos, graphs and more help you get social shares and appear in a variety of searches. Use descriptive filenames for your images, optimize your alt tags, and use image sitemaps to ensure your visual assets are findable. Offer these images up for use by media, who definitely appreciate multimedia assets to build out their stories.
5. Plan a Series
I think of my content projects as campaigns, rather than individual stories. Don't let your story die after one iteration; come up with a minimum of three follow-up stories ahead of time. In a content campaign about the value of Facebook vs. Google Display ads during the Facebook IPO run-up, for example, we created several follow-up stories to keep the momentum going: reasons to buy Facebook stock, reasons to sell Facebook stock at the IPO, why General Motors dumped Facebook ads, etc.
These follow-up stories all refer back to the original story and keep it alive for another news cycle.
6. Syndicate Your Blog Content
Media often refer to other publications when someone else has the scoop. If you're putting time and effort into developing your own stories, see if you can syndicate your blog content. It takes a lot of time and effort to create original research, so I syndicate some of my blog articles on Yahoo Small Business and others; it definitely helps expand our reach and you have more credibility with media when you're appearing in mainstream media outlets.
7. Target International Press
About 50 percent of the more than 10,000 press mentions we got in our Facebook IPO content campaign were from international publications. Start by targeting media outlets that translate articles from one language to another, like AP, AFP, Thompson Reuters, Dow Jones, and IDG. If you're appearing in these massive publications, you'll have no trouble getting smaller, international local news outlets to pick up your story.
8. Don't Forget Traditional Media
Television and radio coverage can still be incredibly effective for authority building. TV and radio stations have journalists and editors looking for stories, too.
We've been covered on NPR and BBC, and on television stations like Fox Business, which turned out to be a great driver for more press pickups. Most TV and radio stations also have digital outlets, which means you might then be appearing on YouTube, in podcasts on iTunes, etc. Make sure you know everywhere the content will end up so you can promote it through your social and email marketing channels.
The key to making all of this work together is in having a solid plan for promotion right from the initial content planning phase. The brand and authority building benefits can be massive--but you need to plan to promote or you're planning for a solid flop when you release that next awesome piece of content.