It's a sign of inbound marketing maturity when you transition from worrying about content creation to focusing on content promotion. Many marketers fail to ever really get a grasp on the never-ending task of publishing inbound marketing content. If publishing well-constructed blogs has become routine for you, well then, it's time to take your content to the next level: promotion.
Content promotion is all about getting as much marketing value as possible from every piece of content your publish—every blog article, every downloadable content piece, every press release, and every unique website page. As Chad Pollitt of Relevance points out, content marketing is not about publishing an article on your blog then letting it show up in Google search results days later. Today's search engine algorithms favor content that shows real traces of social relevance and usefulness, and it's important to remember, not all good visitors come from search anyway.
Good marketers understand that the prospects they're looking for can be sourced from social media, paid channels, email marketing, and even directly via emailed links or private messaging. While content marketing is certainly the best way of gaining search engine traffic; with effective promotion, it's also the solution to attracting visitors from all kinds of places. The question is: how should you spend resources to promote content in a way that attracts new prospects to your website without grossly overspending on ineffective outbound tactics?
The Real Question: When is Content Ripe for Promoting?
The question of how to spend resources promoting content is really a question of when the content itself is ready to be promoted. Most inbound marketers have some sort of initial promotional protocol for newly published content—maybe a subscriber list email and an immediate social media push. But few marketing teams have a clear idea of what should happen next.
When should content be repromoted? When do you return to published content and promote a piece? What kind of content should be promoted—articles that perform well off the press, or those that seem to be struggling? These questions, focused on the content itself, help to answer the more definite query about spending resources correctly. If you can determine whether the content piece itself is worth promoting, then generally, you won't waste the time and money spent promoting it.
Publish and Promote: What Should Be Your Immediate Promo Plan?
In a robust inbound marketing plan where content creation is happening regularly, you need a "Publish and Promote" game plan that's as automated and habitual as possible.
Ask yourself: If you were to publish a blog article today, what would happen?
We recommend having an automated protocol in place, to immediately boost the content's visibility, as soon as it comes off the press:
- An automated email to all of your subscribers.
- An automated email to your company, letting them know to read and share the article. Plus, an established protocol in place for staff members to share the article.
- Immediate sharing from your company social profiles.
- Special batch email for special content, such as press releases, announcements, or new downloadble content.
Delayed Promotion: What to Do 1-2 Weeks After Publishing
The real challenge for marketers comes when looking to promote content after it's already shown some level of organic performance. Most of the time, marketers get stuck with the question: Should I spend time and money promoting content that's performed well, or content that seems to be struggling to gain traction?
The answer: both. You need a plan in place to promote content that may be less naturally interesting (but often, importantly helpful), as well as content that catches fire.
Since blog articles are meant to attract visitors and leads to your website, consider using a visitor metric as a performance indicator that triggers more content promotion. You can do this mathematically, using your past articles' performance. If an average blog article received 50 views in its first week, then a very simple promotional plan could trigger one set of promotional tactics for blog articles that receive more than 50 views, a different promotional plan for those articles receiving less than the average.
Having a protocol like this in place can help to differentiate how various articles and content pieces should be promoted. Once you've identified how you'll segment content to be promoted, then you can plan the right combination of tactics—email, social media, paid advertising, earned media, etc. to drive more traffic to your website.