In this episode Ryan Robinson, content marketer for Close.com and editor in chief of ryrob.com shares his insights into content promotion.
Some topics we discussed include:
- How businesses can build relationships in a natural win-win way
- How Ryan has been able to pick up lucrative opportunities with big-name companies
- His 80/20 approach to content marketing
- The best approach to promote content on social media
- What results businesses are looking for
- How Ryan positions himself in the industry
- Why Ryan doesn’t care for the hub and spoke SEO model
- How to get featured on major publications
- What in the content marketing space has helped create predictable success at Close.com
- The best ways to use webinars to drive engagement and sign-ups
- The metrics Close.com focuses on to inform their content strategy
- Some topics we discussed include:
- Why invest in content promotion?
- How businesses can build relationships in a natural win-win way
- Ryan’s 80/20 approach to content marketing
- Good practices to fuel your content promotion to drive business growth
- Good practices for content promotion on social media
- How to get featured on major publications
- How to use content promotion to create predictable B2B success
- The best ways to use webinars to drive engagement and sign-ups
- Metrics to help fuel your content promotion and drive business growth
- Crafting your content promotion plan
- Links and resources mentioned
- Connect with Ryan
The Hootsuite team wanted to pay tribute to the show while also getting across the value of their own product. That’s when they came up with the idea for this video – “Game of Social Thrones”:
With over 26,000 views the video is a great example of content promotion.
It gets the attention of their audience with fun and creative messaging and effective visuals that pay tribute to the popular TV show. It also makes an emotional connection with viewers while positioning itself as a product for businesses.
So how can you achieve the content promotion success of brands like Hootsuite?
Perhaps like most businesses you too have been on the content creation hamster wheel. But why are you doing it in the first place and is it helping achieve the objectives you set out?
Why invest in content promotion?
Content promotion is often approached in an adhoc manner and is seriously hard work which is why most companies don’t invest too much time or resources to it. Consider the statistics below:
- According to Zazzle Media, 60% of companies struggle to produce content consistently, and 65% find it a challenge to produce engaging content. And not engaging your visitors means you’re losing money.
- Advertising will continue to become increasingly more expensive and complex. And not to mention, consumers prefer content to advertising. In fact, 70 percent of people would rather get information about a company or learn something from an article or blog post rather than from a traditional advertisement. (Demand Metric)
- 71% of a B2B respondent pool stated they reviewed a blog while on their buying journey. (Demand Gen Report)
- The biggest brands in the world realize that content is the future. Coca-Cola, for example, spends more money on content creation than it does on television advertising. (Contently)
- On average, conversion rates are six times higher for companies and brands using content marketing than those that aren’t, at 2.9% vs. 0.5%, respectively. (Aberdeen Group)
- 32% of consumers check out a brand’s social media presence before checking out their website. (Animoto)
- Podcasts were cited by 64% of B2B respondents as a valuable content format in the early stage of the buying journey — only falling short of infographics (76%) (Demand Gen Report)
- People today have 2X more interactions with brands on mobile than anywhere else. (Think with Google)
How businesses can build relationships in a natural win-win way
Ryan’s advice to businesses wanting to create win-win relationships is – work hard to kind of build relationships with other creators that have an audience that you want to reach.
Most businesses do not realize how valuable guest posting is as is doing podcasts. Yet these are also great ways for businesses to build relationships in a natural win-win way.
So, it’s doing two things at once you’re providing value to an audience. So, you’re offering up insights, tips, strategies, whatever that may be. But at the same time, you’re also getting something out of it. yourself, personally, you’re growing your own footprint, you’re getting your brand exposed to new customers, you’re, you’re acquiring high-quality links from other websites, in a very, like natural kind of win-win way.
I think a lot of B2B companies have figured out how to do good keyword research, how to get good writers or write themselves. But the focus seems to really taper off after publishing something. That’s where most businesses struggle.
Ryan’s 80/20 approach to content marketing
Ryan says at Close.com they have solved the problem by applying the 80/20 rule.
Here is how it works –
Spend most of your time building links for each article.
Get your article to the top of the search results to drive traffic because if it is sitting at the bottom of the search results it’s not doing too much for you and is likely wasted content.
Assume that you are going to take a year working really hard to get the article to rank if you are going to take on the keyword phrase to begin with.
Invest the time it takes to promote the article for the full 6-12 months or however long it takes.
“We apply that to our content promotion and spend a ton of time building links for each article we publish. Because at the end of the day, that’s what really pays off.
Getting your article to the top of search results is what drives all the traffic, so if you’re sitting at the bottom of the first page, yeah, it’s not doing much for you. It’s almost as if the content was wasted. So, if you don’t go the full, full cycle and actually promote it for six months, 12 months, however long it takes, it was never worth it to begin with. So I just assume building into the process, “Alright, we’re going to be spending a year working really hard to get this article to rank, if we’re going to even take on this keyword phrase to begin with.”
Good practices to fuel your content promotion to drive business growth
Good practices to drive organic content promotion are really aimed at increasing the visibility of your content and the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns without paying to boost your content, ads or paid content promotion. For Ryan some of the most effective organic content promotion channels are:
- Search engine optimization
- Email marketing
- Social media
- Influencer networks
- Word of mouth
- Events or webinars
The benefit of organic content promotion is increased brand awareness and authority across platforms. However, the challenge is that you:
Need to consistently produce and publish content
Should produce and only promote quality content
Paid content promotion, on the other hand, allows you to show your content to a highly-specific audience. While you may be able to customize the audience and message it requires a higher budget.
Key good practices for content promotion include:
- Create an editorial calendar which includes details of promotional content dates and channels
- Use audience segmentation so segment receives tailored messages that will highlight key benefits for them
- Customize the messaging for each channel
- Experiment and optimize on a regular basis to discover how to best deliver your content to your audience
- Analyze the results of each campaign
Good practices for content promotion on social media
Ryan’s thoughts on content promotion on social media are –
- Determine where readers for this post are going to spend most of their time.
- Don’t blast out content on every social channel and spend hours doing that.
- Instead, take a sniper approach – for example, an article on blogging statistics meant talking about content marketing statistics as part of the overall article on LinkedIn. Given there are a lot of marketers on that platform that are part of your audience it makes sense to focus on that platform.
Other ideas are:
- Create an ambassador program where you work with passionate customers who want to talk about your services or product to all their friends. It’s naturally designed for brand awareness.
- Get your employees involved in the conversation and content promotion process
- Boost your social media posts via paid options
- Create targeted ads
- Where possible tag products to your posts on platforms like Facebook and Instagram
- Consider answering questions related to your post on Q&A sites like Quora
- Share content in relevant groups on Facebook and LinkedIn
- At certain times of the day, a platform can get flooded with content. You can stand out by posting a few minutes before or after popular times.
- Compile a list of interesting or engaging content snippets to promote the article and if it does well repromote it at a later time.
- An effective way to promote new content is to use LinkedIn retargeting or Facebook retargeting. By retargeting website visitors or visitors who engage with a specific piece of content, you can personalize the next piece of content they are likely to click through to and re-engage with your brand.
- Consider partnering with a publication like ClickZ to promote content, like whitepapers.
- Syndication is another option where you could take your published content and reach out to other blog sites to see if they would be interested in republishing those posts.
- As Ryan has mentioned before – invest in developing genuine relationships with relevant expert influencers. You can ask for their feedback and notes on your content before it is published and then share it with those who contribute or help when you publish it.
- In a similar vein expert, round-up posts can also help promote your content.
- Repurpose content into other formats.
How to get featured on major publications
For Ryan getting guest post opportunities or podcast guest appearances has taken time to build. He says he now enjoys the long-tail effects of his work.
He recommends working hard to get your levers in place by:
- Building relationships with people at other companies including larger companies with high domain authority.
- Leveraging the benefits of the snowball effect of those relationships
- Continue to develop specific content for people that is tasteful and within reason.
Tips to get your brand or product featured on publications:
- Develop a list of 10 writers you want to work with.
- Get Google Alerts on what they write
- Connect with them by commenting on each piece when published.
- Connect on social media with the writers that responded to your comments. In this step, it’s important that you post content relevant to their industry.
- Come up with topics that are in line with their angle and benefit their end game. In most cases, this will be a good article.
- Suggest content and topic ideas, and then enter into discussions with the writers about specific topics. Suggest co-writing a piece.
- Consider providing a quote or a ghost-written piece for the writers that you’ve developed a good relationship with.
How to use content promotion to create predictable B2B success
Before Ryan joined Close.com Steli and Ramin, (who’s been a behind the scenes puppet master on the marketing team), had been working together to create two, three articles every single week on the Close blog that are specifically related to a B2B sales challenge.
He says – This has made the blog really authoritative when it comes to the topic of sales.
So any time we publish something about sales, which is 100% of our content, then we have a strong likelihood of being able to rank for that very easily, as compared to similar companies that publish about sales and marketing and operations and venture capital and stuff like that.
I think that the effectiveness of your content is diluted when you have a bunch of different buckets that you’re talking about all the time. And so having a very narrow focus for your content is both a good thing and a bad thing. But for us, it’s been a really, really good thing because our product is specifically for salespeople. So that’s been one thing.
We’ve also built a team of really strong contractors who are writers that are constantly keeping us fueled up with articles to come out on the blog so we’re not relying on my own productivity as a writer. We’ve got three other writers who are also going at the same time. So if I’m out sick or I’m on vacation or I’m having an unproductive week, we’ve got other people to fill in the gaps, too. So, keeping more content on deck than we need at a given time has been really helpful.
- Have a die-hard focus on a specific content topic or niche
- Focus on producing content that is niche-specific so your blog becomes authoritative in that space and you have a strong likelihood of ranking for the topic.
- Diluting the focus of the blog content weakens the overall authoritative nature of the blog.
- Build a team of strong contractors who are writers who keep your blog fueled even if there is something unexpected or unproductive that occurs.
- Invest in guest posts and outreach to build partnerships with people and brands to promote co-hosted events.
The best ways to use webinars to drive engagement and sign-ups
At Close.com Ryan has found that the more people you can cram on to one webinar without it getting too noisy and distracting, the better.
Why? Because as a part of doing the webinar together we ensure that everyone promotes it to their email lists. Otherwise, it’s not a win-win for everyone that’s involved.
After the webinar, they also do kind of a list share to make sure that everyone benefits from doing the webinar.
The most successful webinars were the ones with three different guests, and Steli (CEO of Close.com).
Ryan’s role apart from coordinating the webinar is to moderate the chat panel during the webinar and answering questions and stuff.
Putting these productions together takes a lot of effort and coordination just to sync something like that up along with the email sequences.
They primarily rely on email to drive traffic.
From a logistical standpoint, it always starts with scheduling.
Ryan says –
I’ll first compile a list of, “Alright, these are the three companies we should have on to talk about scheduling demos.” And that’s Calendly and Zoom and Vidyard or something. And so I’ll go out and I’ll reach out to the exact person that I think would be the best fit to be on the panel. So it’s usually like a director of sales or a sales manager, someone like that. And then if they’re available to do it, if they want to, they usually loop in a partners person so I end up having a partnership call to get the details ironed out of how we do with the list share, and which days you’re going to send your emails on. And then, yeah, scheduling, making sure the event’s right. I’ll write up an insane amount of email copy. I’ll tweak it for each different partners to match their language and their brand and visuals. So yeah, a lot of behind the scenes work goes into it beforehand.
Webinar speakers/participants need to commit to the webinar and the promotion of it prior to the event before any other details are organized.
Post webinar promotion is rare unless sign up figures were really sluggish beforehand.
Metrics to help fuel your content promotion and drive business growth
Your content marketing metrics must relate back to your goals.” – Heidi Cohen, President of Riverside Marketing Strategies
You need to know what you want to measure in order to be able to measure how effective your content promotion really is. Not every piece of content will generate sales or leads.
In other words, there is no one vanilla-flavored metric that will tell you how effective your content and promotional efforts are.
Having said that here are a few KPI’s that you could use to inform your decisions and how you can use them.1. Reach
This includes metrics like the number of unique visits, where your content is being found and read. Once you understand the overall trends you can then optimize your content and design it specifically for your readers and audience.2. Engagement
If people are not reading your content then there is work to be done. Metrics like time spent on post/page and bounce rate can help.3. Conversions
Without conversions, you won’t have any customers. So you need to know how much it costs to acquire a lead. Then you need to look at optimizing the process of converting customers.
Metrics via Google analytics can help like:
- Web referrals which measure the source and quantity of traffic over time
- Visits to purchase rate which is the number of sessions your visitors make from their first visit to the actual purchase
- Popular landing pages which are the pages of your site that have the highest entrance rate.
- Page load speed – how fast content on your pages load. Fast loading pages improves the user experience and reduces the bounce rate.
- Bounce rate – which represents the percentage of initial visitors before they bounce away to a different site. High bounce rates will be unlikely to convert and hurt your rankings.
- Time on page or site – indicates the engagement a visitor has with your content.
- Number of shares – this indicates to the search engines whether your content has an audience and if it is worthwhile for readers to view at the top of the search rankings.
You need to know how long people send on your content and what they do next. This will give you an indication of what they are doing, what is working and what is not.5. Consider blog optimization
Conversion rates to your posts will inform what types of content does a better job of converting your visitors. It also gives you an indication of:
- What topics to write more often about?
- What formatting and types of media are most effective?
- Which old content can be re-circulated?
- Which old content needs to be updated or repurposed?
If your subscribers are not spending as much time as your non-subscribers going through your content, then it would be safe to say that your content is not working to build relationships and trust. This, in turn, drives revenue.7. Follow the leads
Pageviews, unique visitors to the site are nice statistics but you are better off looking at the number of leads that have consumed a piece of content as they give you an idea of the quality of the viewership and how they relate to your demand generation objectives.
There are a lot of tools available but knowing how to use them is the trick to succeeding.
Crafting your content promotion plan
Content promotion can do a lot to bring traffic to your website and progress your business goals, but only if you take the right steps to promote your content.
Follow the tactics mentioned above and monitor their impact on your site traffic:
You’ll find that some tactics work better than others, so adjust your content promotion plan to get your content noticed. Are there any of your favorites that you don’t see here? Let us know in the comments below.
Links and resources mentioned
Connect with Ryan
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