Making Sure Your Great Content Gets Read: How to Distribute to a Larger Audience
You may have the best, most insightful, engaging, and interesting content on the web, but if there’s nobody reading then it won’t do you or anybody else any good.
What many small to medium size businesses fail to realize is that producing great content is only half the battle: they have to also use energy promoting the material over a variety of platforms to make sure it gets read. To do this, they need to have a strategy for their content, which includes determining where, how, and to whom they will be sharing it.
Know Your Audience
If you want your content to be read, you’ll need to know exactly who it is you’re trying to market to. You should have an idea of the age and lifestyle of the typical person in your intended market, as these details will dramatically change the content in the first place and then where and how it is marketed.
For instance, using snappy and clever buzzwords on your Twitter page will engage millennials, but will be useless if you’re trying to market to successful professionals on LinkedIn. In other words, you need to get inside the head of your audience and tailor it specifically to that mind: a catch all approach will not work.
Consider the following points in relation to your intended audience:
- What do they search for?
- How do they like to consume information?
- Where do they like to get this information?
- What do they want?
- What do they not want?
Naturally, your audience might change and evolve over time, so you’re not bound by these answers – but they will provide a useful starting point for when you’re initially trying to get your content out there.
Have a Target
Think exactly what it is you’re trying to achieve with your content; Are you seeking more social media followers, website visits, sales, or something else? The answer will determine how your content is marketed. Setting a target (such as increasing your Twitter followers by 15%) will also allow you to measure the effectiveness of your marketing.
Keep a close eye on your data to learn which aspects of your marketing worked well and which didn’t as this will help you determine how to market your content moving forward.
When you’re creating your objectives, stick to the following rules:
- Keep your goals specific to your company. Your current standing, past accomplishments, and future plans only apply to you, and your goals should too.
- Stick to 1 or 2 goals at a time. You’ll lose focus if you try to improve everything all at once.
- Be realistic. Increasing your social media followers by 15% in a month is realistic if the number usually grows by 5-8% in the same period; anything more will be too much of a challenge and will likely end in disappointment. Similarly, not challenging yourself enough will be a waste of everybody’s time.
- Have an end goal. Where do you ultimately want to be? Having a vision for the long-term will help you define your goals (and will also make the small steps you take toward it more satisfying).
Set a Timeframe
The nature of your content and marketing campaign will also be determined by the time frame of whatever it is you’re marketing. If you’re marketing an evergreen blog piece, then take your time – the piece will be – or should be – as relevant six months from now as it is today.
These pieces can be drip fed across your social media platforms over a series of weeks and months, and should slowly accrue the results you’re after. Alternatively, a flash sale or post-Christmas sale on your website where you want as many visitors as possible in a short period of time will require an aggressive but extremely short marketing campaign.
Methods to Reach a Larger Audience
Having an idea of your audience and a goal is a good start, but there’s still more to be done. Here, we take a look at some of the marketing tactics that can generate a large audience for your content cost-effectively.
The Power of Social Media
Whoever you’re targeting, you’ll probably find them on social media. Nearly 90% of 18-29 year olds regularly use social media, as do 43% percent of those aged 65 and older. The numbers are also high for the in-between bracket. So your audience, whoever it is, is already there: you just have to get through to them.
Not surprisingly, Facebook is a particularly powerful tool. 71% of adults who use the internet have a Facebook account, and 63% of them visit the social media site daily. Amazingly, 47% of Americans say Facebook ‘is their #1 influencer of purchasers’.
So you shouldn’t need to be sold on the power of Facebook and other social media sites such as Twitter and LinkedIn – you just have to know how to use them. There are two options:
Paid Social Media Growth
Paying to have your content promoted on social media is a surefire way to ensuring it will be seen. But of course, you don’t just want your content to be seen – you want your audience to engage with it, and while ads on sites like Facebook have the potential to work well, it’s not guaranteed.
For one thing, those who view the ad might not be interested in your brand or content; these aren’t the people you’re looking for – you need engaged customers who will comment, like, and share your posts.
The best way to make sure you are paying for the right people to view your ad is to make full use of Facebook’s ad targeting features. Social Media Examiner have an excellent guide showing how to do this.
If you have good content and you already have an established audience for your page, then targeting is much easier and paying for some extra eyeballs to see your content can work very well.
Organic Social Media Growth
Organic growth is the best type of any social media growth. This means your content is good enough to be shared, liked, and retweeted on it’s own, without the help of paid advertising. With more than 18 million brands sharing the Facebook internet space alone, it is getting more difficult to obtain the same organic growth success as years past, but it’s still possible.
To give it the best chance, you’ll need to give your content a helping hand in getting out there. You can do this by using the following methods:
- Have Great Content: Past interactions with your posts determine how often they show up in users feeds. If it’s a particularly interesting post, users will share it and grow your reach very quickly. Similarly, posting annoying or inferior content will damage your brand in the long-term, especially on Facebook. If a user negatively interacts with your post, it’s less likely to show up on another user’s news feed.
- Don’t Make it an Ad: Unless it’s a spectacular sale or other promotion too good to ignore, don’t directly advertise in your post. Social media users are unlikely to engage with a post that doesn’t directly affect them, which would be the case with an obvious product advertisement.
- Use What Everybody Else is Using: If you’re using social media, use the lingo that everybody is using. Hashtags are useful across most platforms and help interested parties find your content organically.
- Be Patient: Remember: this method won’t yield overnight success; it is a long-term plan. It might take many months before you feel the benefits of of your organic social media growth.
Use Popular Players in your Industry
Some experts believe influencer outreach is more productive than organic, paid, and email marketing growth. That’s a pretty powerful tool however you look at it.
If you’re starting out, it may try to piggyback on an already successful social media presence in your field by reaching out to a person of influence in your industry and ask if they will share your content on their social media account.
Don’t reach out to a Twitter personality with millions of followers, as you will likely be rejected; instead, start with accounts with 5-50,000 followers and use their following to slowly build up your credibility and audience.
One way of doing this is to use one of my favourite tools Buzzsumo. There are a millions things you can do with Buzzsumo but just to get you started here’s one tip. Type in your keyword and head over to the Influencers tab (yep, it’s that simple). Here you will see people who are relevant to your topic, how many followers they have and also how much the retweet.
This arrangement can be beneficial to both parties: they get high-quality content for their website or social media account, and you get access to a potentially large audience who are already interested in what you have to say.
Better yet, if the content is shown to be endorsed by an industry expert, it’ll be more likely to gain traction with other industry influencers and followers, who will take their endorsement as a sign that the content is high quality.
Don’t Let Your Content Stay Still
Whatever your content is, don’t let it stay static. People consume information in different ways, so consider converting your content into other mediums so your work can be seen by new audiences. Here are two potential options:
The number of companies using infographics to distribute their content is rising year on year, and with good reason: audiences love them, they’re effective, and they’re the most likely type of content to be shared. There’s no doubt about it: engaging, easy to consume, and visually stimulating, infographics stand out online. Here are the stats that back it up.
- 65% of the population learn visually.
- People remember 80% of what they see and do, but just 20% of what they read.
- People are 30X more likely to read an infographic than a text article.
- Companies who use infographics grow traffic 12% faster than those that don’t.
They’re also easy to create. With a host of free infographic creation websites available, simply pull the most important information from your text, made it look pretty, and share it with the world by posting it on sites such as Reddit and Stumbleupon, where it will have a chance of gaining traction.
People who use YouTube span across all age groups, all continents, and watch videos in a wide variety of interests. While the large number of videos on the website means it isn’t always as powerful a tool as other social media sites, the sheer number of users makes it an attractive option for marketers.
Of course, it’s not enough just to grab a webcam and create a video: whatever you upload to YouTube will represent your business, and so should be high-quality and professional. Take a look at how companies are using videos to market their content, and mirror their style and look.
One virtue of creating videos is that – like with an infographic – you don’t necessarily need to create more original content to feature in your video: you just need to simply adapt your content into a different format (in this instance a script) and add visual stimulation.
Remember, when creating a video you’ll need to:
- Make your video engaging.
- Get to the point and make the video short and snappy – no fluff!
- Have a clear description for your video detailing what it is about with clear keywords.
- Include a link back to your website in the description.
- Set up a professional looking YouTube account for your company and use it to distribute your videos.
Post Around the Web
You can’t just post your content to your social media pages and expect it to succeed. After all, there’s a whole online world away from Facebook and Twitter. Sites like Reddit, Stumbleupon, Digg, Medium, and Quora can all help bring people to your content and website.
It’s possible that not all of these websites will work effectively for you, but there’s no harm in publishing and seeing what response you get. There’s a potential that each one will deliver an audience you otherwise would not have.
Tip: Be very careful of what you post on Reddit, they hate anything even remotely self promotional (and it’s partly what makes it such a great community). You have been warned!
The potential success from these websites is huge. Your content will be viewed by other industry players, who may also share your work and thus quickly drive your content towards a very large audience.
As ranking is determined by user engagement, your content will have to be top quality if it’s to stand out and reach the top.
Hopefully you will find some of these methods useful in your quest to reach your goals, whatever they may be. Your business is unique, and so your marketing will be too; use these ideas as a springboard to establishing a creative campaign that is in line with the vision and identity of your business.