Content marketing is not easy, it takes a lot of elbow grease to create valuable content and even more to promote it! The promotion part is something that many companies tend to miss when looking at a content marketing strategy. A general rule of thumb is you should spend 30% of your time creating content and 70% promoting it. That’s why I created this checklist you can use to promote the content you work so hard to create.
I’m writing this checklist for two purposes. Firstly, because I am interested in content promotion for my own company Process Street. Content marketing is something I’ve been experimenting with and seeing some great results with so far, writing this post is forcing me to research and learn more about content distribution. Secondly, because I want to make a template for this in Process Street so I can begin hand it off to my team. I am working towards a streamlined content marketing machine.
Eventually I want to have a ghostwriter, a blogger a designer and a team of promoters. I will still be creating the core content, but I won’t have to polish or distribute any of it. I’m confident this checklist will help my business, and I hope it’s useful for yours too.
Note, if you’re launching a website, check out our Website Launch Checklist. There is a little overlap but its targeted to a new website launch vs a piece of content on an existing site.
Setup your blog
Before you get start creating, publishing and promoting content on your blog, you first need to have a blog…
If you already have your blog set up, you can skip this step, if not watch the below video to see how you can setup your company blog in under 5 minutes.
Prepare your Post
This checklist will work for sharing all forms of content whether it is a blog post, eBook, video or whitepaper. However, if your content is some form OTHER than a blog post, you should also be writing a post about it on your blog. So while not all content has to be blog related, you should always be blogging no matter what your content type.
Next step is to prepare a summary of your content.
Make Sure your Content is Epic
There is a huge caveat to this checklist and that is your content must be EPIC. If you create crap content, most of these techniques will yield little to no results and will be a huge waste of time. If you don’t know what epic content is, take a look at these guides:
Advanced Guide to Content Marketing
Write Epic Shit
The Research and Science Behind a Perfect Blog Post
Atypical Tips for Writing Awesome Blog Posts
What Makes Content Spread: The Anatomy of a Post That Got Over 500,000 Likes
Create Epic Content
The Definitive Guide to Content Marketing
Content Marketing Guide: How 10 Startups Became Thought Leaders & Generated Massive Revenue Growth
Now you have your epic content, its time to prepare it for promotion. I use Evernote to do this, but you can easily use Notepad, Word etc..
I usually prepare a number of headlines (5-10). I keep the best for myself then use the rest for posting on social media, content syndication and content repurposing (ie naming a slide show or pdf etc)
Write a few of these, one to three sentences long. This are needed when submitting to many sites
Grab the first paragraph from your post or the intro
Take the URL of your post and your blog, you can also add tracking IDs with Google Analytics to track different traffic sources.
Bitly.com is the most popular
Once you’ve prepared your post, its time to start promoting! Follow the below checklist to generate a huge wave of traffic to every piece of content you create.
*Don’t forget you can get this as an interactive checklist inside Process Street, allowing you to track the promotion of multiple pieces of content, customize and hand off to your team. Create a free account at Process Street to see it in action.
Share on Social Media
This one is fairly obvious, share across your social media channels. You can signficantly speed up this process using a social media management tool.
Sites to share on:
Facebook Profile (Status Update)
Facebook Page (Post)
Twitter – 3-5 post over a week, use #hastags
Gooogle+ – Personal and Company profile
LinkedIn Status Update
Pinterest – Pin all images (all epic content has images)
Instagram – Post 1-2 images from the post
Ask your team members to share
Ask all your team members to share across their social media networks
Ask friends and family to share
Ask close friends and family to share on social media
Email your Subscribers
Another pretty straight forward one. You should be collecting leads on your website and you should be promoting your content to those leads.
Here is my email template I use for Mailchimp, you can use it and modify it if you are a Mailchimp user.
Click Here to Download My Template (you may need to right-click and “Save As”)
While we’re on the topic of email, subscribe to the Process Street blog to receive new posts from us via email.
Outreach means manually emailing, tweeting and even calling people to tell them about your content. Yes, yes, I know this sounds like hard work and truthfully it is, but sometimes you have to do things that don’t scale to get the ball rolling.
To start with outreach, you first need to create a list of bloggers you want to target. There are a few considerations here. First, they should be relevant to your niche. Don’t contact bloggers who blog in a completely different area to you. Secondly, as always, you content must be awesome!
Another tip here is to look for “up and comer” bloggers as they may be easier to contact and get less requests than really popular bloggers.
Tools to Find Influencers
How to Contact Them
Email – Preferred Method
Tools to Manage Outreach
Buzz Stream – Specifically designed for blog outreach
Trello is a great free organizational tool to help you track activities
CRM (Customer Relationship Management) tool will work if you already use one
Email Templates for Outreach
Outreach Letters for Link Building [Real Examples]
Blogger Outreach Email Template
How To Write A Blogger Outreach Email
How To Create a Killer Outreach Email With 4 Quick Steps and 3 Simple Tips
10 Hand Curated Blogger Outreach Examples to Inspire Your Next Campaign
More info on Outreach:
Blogger outreach is a big topic if you want more information on blogger outreach, check out the below guides:
Advanced Guide to Content Promotion
How to Develop a Solid Blog Outreach Strategy
My Favorite Way to Get Links and Social Shares – Whiteboard Friday
5 Tips for Developing Better Blogger Outreach
Submit to Social Bookmarking Sites & Directories
Social Bookmarking sites can generate a huge spike of traffic, landing the front page of a large Subreddit can yield thousands of visitors for example. But lots of them can generate a few hundred visitors here or there. If you get a few up votes on a rage of the sites below you can easily generate over 1000 visitors to your posts, great for initial shares to your page.
Top Tier General
*Reddit is a bit finicky so read the below guides before you go crazy posting all your links on there.
Reddit Marketing: The Complete Guide to Using Reddit
Reddit Hates Marketing. How to Market on it Anyway
There are a number of other general social bookmarking sites, some of them get some decent traffic, all of them are good for backlink juice. To automate your social bookmarking submissions, use OnlyWire.
Onlywire will submit to 30+ social bookmarking sites at once, you can even set it up to pull your RSS feed from the blog so you don’t have to post at all.
Plus you can pay someone on Fiverr to set it all up for just $5, an effective, cheap and automated way to do social bookmarking submissions.
Top Tier Niche Sites
These are community sites like Reddit and should be treated the same. Participate in the community; don’t just share your own links.
Hacker News (Startups and Technology)
Slashdot (Startups and Technology)
Growth Hacker (Marketing)
Blog Engage (Blogging and Business)
Kingged (Internet Marketing)
Dzone (Programming & Website Development)
DesignFloat.com (Graphic Design)
TheWebBlend.com (Web Design, Programming, WordPress, & Photography)
Blog Directories and Misc submission sites
Content syndication is where you allow another site to publish your content. There are some huge sites in the game of content syndication including Business2Community, SteamFeed, Social Media Today, Forbes, Business Insider Inc and a lot more actively publish syndicated content.
Content syndication can be a great way to get some solid spikes in traffic. You will need to pick your best content and pitch sites on republishing your posts. But, there are drawbacks…
You would think that Google would rank the original blog post before any syndicated versions. In a lot of cases – that doesn’t happen. The thinking behind this is that Google ranks the site where people prefer to read the post. So, there is potential that you could lose out on some search engine traffic.
If your blog is new then you may want to hold off using syndication until your blog is more established.
For a guide to content syndication check out these posts:
Syndicating your Content by Quicksprout
Syndicating Content Whiteboard Friday by Moz
The Ultimate Blueprint for Guest Blogging and Syndication by Buffer
500 Places to Syndicate your Content by BuzzBlogger
There are a few publishing platforms popping up that allow you to “Self Syndicate” your posts onto a different platform. The biggest platforms at the moment are Medium and LinkedIn and Examiner. These platforms are more like blogging except your blog posts can gain additional distribution through the respective network of the site.
JustReTweet is a kind of Twitter exchange, where you can earn credit re-tweeting other people’s posts and use that credit for others to retweet your posts. This is a great way to get some early re-tweets and social proof for your post.
This is a very easy task to outsource to a VA as part of their daily tasks to earn you credit.
Check out the below video to see how JustRetweet works:
Post on Related Forums and Groups
Finding forums in your niche and contribute to them can be a great way to drive traffic, just be careful not to spam!
Respond to threads that ask questions about the topic of your post with a short summary and a link back, you can also post new threads in relevant sections of the forum. Posting your content in forums is generally fine as long as it’s relevant and useful. If they think you are spamming you will probably be banned so tread with caution. But there are plenty of people who generate thousands of visits a month from forum marketing so it’s definitely worth testing.
Some forums also allow you to link to your website in your signature. These forums are great as every one of your responses will have a short pitch and a link to your site.
How to find forums:
Below is a video explaining forum marketing in more detail.
There are groups on all topics on many platforms. Find groups related to your content and post a link back to your content.
Comment on related Blog Posts
Posting on relevant high-traffic blogs can bring in a bit of traffic, it won’t be anything monstrous, but it can bring a steady stream of a few thousand visits a month if done well. If you want to really generate traffic from blog commenting, you will need to be the first commenter. To do that you can use a tool like Mention to watch for new posts in your on high traffic blogs, then quickly jump on to reply.
I don’t do this at the moment. Generally, what I do is after I publish a post, I search 2-5 variations of my post title. For example, on my post “Why I Moved from Dropbox to Google Drive” I did a search for “Dropbox vs Google Drive”, “Google Drive Review” and “Dropbox Review”.
I then searched just the first and second page of Google for articles that allowed comments, posted a quick response to the article and included my link. Don’t bother going past could of pages as 90% of people don’t visit the second page of Google. Sometimes your comment won’t get approved, but if your content is EPIC and RELEVANT you should get approved no problems.
If you don’t feel comfortable posting the URL to your post in the comment, most comment systems allow you to include a link to your website that will be attached to your username. Here you can include a link to your content although it will probably get a lower click through rate.
Post on Q&A Sites
Search the major Q&A sites below for posts related to your content and post responses in the answers when appropriate.
Read this for more info on Quora marketing:
The Nearly Ultimate Quora Guide to Driving Traffic to Your Blog
Scoop.it is a service that allows people to curate their own private lists of content from around the web. Other people can then follow these lists and read the suggestions of their owners. Scoop.it has many big lists in every niche.
To promote your content on Scoop.it, you will want to submit it to the top 25-50 lists in your niche. If the owner approves the article it will be published for all the followers to see and can generate a flood of traffic. Remember, your content needs to be epic and relevant to be approved for sites like this.
Find Popular Lists
Reverse Engineer your Competition
Do a search on Topsy or Google and find where your competition is getting their backlinks for their most popular posts. Their top backlinks are also likely generating the most amount of traffic to their page.
To find the backlinks, use a tool such as Open Site Explorer or SEO Spy Glass. Look for backlinks from other blogs and social bookmarking sites. Then submit your content to the same sources, either via a submission link or by reaching out to the blogger/author as we talk about in the blogger outreach section above.
You can also reverse engineer who shared your competitor’s blog posts. Use a tool like Topsy to do a search on popular posts by your competitors and see who shared them, chances are they will share similar content. Contact them using the outreach strategies below to have them share your content.
Pay for Promotion
If you are aggressively working to build a blog and audience, you can consider paying to promote your content.
Before promoting on any of the above channels you should do significant research as to which ones are the best fit for your audience and how the mechanics of each network work.
The links above do not take you directly to the advertising pages; they take you to guides to learn how to advertise on these platforms. Start with one, start slow, track your results, watch your spend! But most importantly, learn (or pay someone who has already learned).
Deep-Link to the Content from Older Posts
If you’ve been blogging for a while you probably have a few older posts that get consistent traffic. Go back and try to find the most relevant/high traffic posts and work in a link to your new piece of content. Google likes this and it generates more traffic.
You can also find related post plugins on WordPress and most other blogging platforms. These are great for interlinking between posts on your site and driving traffic from your old content to your new stuff.
Submit to Link Roundups
Many blogs do a daily or weekly link round up where they post their favorite links from around the web.
Getting featured on a link round up is great, it will bring you traffic and backlinks.
The best way to manufacture a link on a link roundup is to manually submit your content directly to the blogger. To find bloggers who are posting in your niche, try some of these searches:
Link roundup + “fitness” / “niche world”
Daily link roundup
Weekly link roundup
“Monday link roundup” (Replace Monday with any day of the week)
Repurpose Your Content
Repurposing your content can be one of the most powerful ways to increasing the number of views your content is getting. This is something I am working on myself and working hard to systemize and make as streamlined as possible. I might do a guide on it in the future, but basically, I want to be able to turn a blog post quickly into a video, then have my team edit it and distribute it across all the below sources.
Turn into Slide Deck
The first step is to break down your post into a slide deck. This is generally pretty easy, have a different slide for each subheading or list point, however, your post is structured. Add in your images and related links. A good idea is to create a branded template that you can just plugin all of your posts to make this process smoother.
Once you have made your slide presentation, submit it to the below sites:
Turn into Video
You can then take your slide deck, and use it to record a video. Draft up a script, then voice over it while reading your slides. You will want to make sure you have a good microphone before doing this as quality audio can make all the difference. Here is a link to the one I use.
If you don’t want to record the video yourself, you can write up a script and have someone one from Elance read it for you.
If you want some more inspiration on making videos, check out this post: How to Make a Startup Explainer Video on a Budget
Once your video is made, upload it to the following video sites:
Click here for a full list of video sites
Turn into Podcast
Strip the audio out of the video, and upload it to the following podcast directories:
Turn into PDF
Once your post is turned into a PDF you can distribute it to the below sites for a bunch of extra views:
Scribd – PR8
Slideshare – PR8
Issuu – PR8
Mediafire – PR7
DocStoc – PR6
4shared – PR6
Author Stream – PR6
Esnips – PR6
Slideboom – PR6
Rapidshare – PR6
Calameo – PR5
Edocr – PR5
Slidesix – PR5
WePapers – PR5
MyPlick – PR5
HotFile – PR5
Easy Share – PR4
PDF Cast – PR4
Turn into Infographic
There are a few sites out there that you can use to turn your posts into infographics, then submit to infographic directories. This can be a little more work but well worth it if you have already spent lots of time researching and writing the content.
Get this as an Interactive Checklist
And there you have it. Follow the above checklist every time you publish a new piece of content and watch the traffic roll in.
You can also get the above as an interactive checklist inside Process Street.