Content Creation, Content Promotion

The Beginner’s Guide to Expert Roundup Posts & Group Interviews

The Begginer's Guide to Expert Roundups & Group Interviews

If you’re in the online marketing space, you’ve no doubt seen a hundred “expert roundups” or as I like to call them “group interviews.” You might have participated in a few. You may even be extremely sick of them and you may not want to participate in them or create them anymore.

Regardless of your opinion of them, though, the reality is this: if your objective is to get shares and traffic for your content, they tend to work quite well. We use them on this site. Popular blogs in the marketing niche still do as well.

And in other niches outside of online marketing, the tactic is frequently more seldom used and even more effective. The benefits are fairly straight forward: this post style allows you to get a number of smart folks to contribute content for you. They get exposure through your post, and you get a post chock full of different perspectives on a relevant topic to your audience that has built-in distribution.

If you’re not leveraging it, it’s something you may want to consider adding to your content arsenal. There are already a number of great guides to create your own with some excellent tips and tricks:

We execute a number of these kinds of posts for our own publishing properties and on behalf of clients, and have our own methodology we thought was worth sharing. As with “best of lists,” this post type isn’t always a home run. Frequently these assets will drive hundreds of shares for a domain that’s never had more than a handful for their content. They can generate into the thousands of passive unique visitors each month through search traffic.

And they can be time-consuming to create and promote, and fall relatively flat.

This is why we encourage folks to take more of a portfolio approach to content efforts: evaluate your content production and promotion based on your aggregate inputs and aggregate results. Understand that not all content succeeds, analyze results, and iterate over time.

You should do that with group interviews / expert roundups as well, but you can’t start evaluating until you get started testing the tactic. In this post you’ll learn how to walk through the ideation process to come up with a huge list of great group interview topics so that you can produce engaging expert roundups on a regular basis, how to contact possible participants, and how to promote the content once your posts are live.

Let’s dig into the process.

Step 1: Expert Roundup Topic Ideation

For the most part great topics for expert roundups are pretty similar to great topics for any content: I’m looking for ideas that are helpful to potential prospects. Things they’ll search for, problems they have that I can help solve, etc.

And as with general content ideation, there are a lot of different ways I can come up with great group interview topics.

1) Answer My Own Questions

If I have domain expertise, I can come up with some great ideas for group interviews by thinking about the things that I have problems with. For instance let’s say I’m a content marketer launching a product for other content marketers. Any time I encounter a problem and start to:

  • Consider Emailing a colleague to get advice
  • Posting on a forum for those folks’ two cents
  • Dropping a quick query into Google

About something related to my business, that’s probably a great topic to “crowd source” via group interview and get a piece of content around, because if I have the question or problem other content marketers probably do too. Some examples of things I’m always curious about and/or struggling with that I could (and might) turn into group interviews might be:

  • The best ways to get great survey data on a topic when you don’t have a list or existing proprietary data
  • Quick hacks for getting great images and visuals on a specific topic (how to find the perfect blog images)
  • Tips for running contests if you don’t have an established audience or brand (or if you should even bother)

Those could all be awesome topics to get input from a bunch of experts on, and are probably things that other folks would like to get some additional viewpoints on as well.

Similarly, even if I were totally new to content marketing, those questions could be interesting as well if my audience is beginners. In fact, if my audience is mainly beginners, I might be better off polling someone brand new to field and asking them what they struggle with or what they think they would have the hardest time doing if I asked them to go and start work creating and promoting content for a site today (again: it depends on my audience!). Finding folks inside an industry to talk to and ask about the things they struggle with (whether that’s a client, someone you’re connected with on LinkedIn, someone you hire for a consultation – whatever) is always a great way to start to brainstorm content ideas.

Grab someone with very limited or no experience on a topic (your friends, a junior resource in your company, etc.) and explain a fairly complex topic related to your business to them. Encourage them to stop you every time they have any kind of question. Write the questions down – these could all be great expert roundup questions!

2) Look at Tool Lists

Once I’ve recorded a lot of my own questions and the questions and problems that actual prospects and/or or folks who are very similar to my prospects would have, another way I’ll find ideas for great group interview topics is to look at lists of tools within my niche. Looking at categories of tools and software can be a great way to unearth topics for group interviews, because software is (frequently) developed in response to a problem. I can start hunting here with my old pal Google (NOTE: ads in the screenshot below have been removed to make things fit more nicely and because I think G is squeaking by OK without any additional free distribution for their sponsors):

A screenshot of the search results for content marketing tools.

I’ll click on WordStream’s list of tools to start since I used to work there, and as soon as I do I immediately find a few subcategories of tools:

A screenshot of how you can use subcategories from tool posts for topic ideas.

Each of these subcategories could represent an interesting group interview question (or a few) – for instance:

  • What’s your favorite content curation tool?
  • What’s the biggest mistake marketers make when curating content?
  • What’s your favorite content curation hack?

And similar (I’ll walk through some common formulas for questions in a few paragraphs, but many of the formulas I’m listing and would come up with would work with a lot of these topic areas).

Drilling into the specific tools lets me uncover even more interesting topic areas – I want to really look through a lot of the tools listed here and in other lists and look closely at their title tags and benefit statements:

An example of using software messaging to get content topic ideas.

Buzzsumo was on WordStream’s list. I love BuzzSumo and use it a lot, but I don’t often spend much time thinking about how they’d categorize themselves or describe the problem they’re solving. When I look at their home page I see lots of topics that are probably things content marketers find interesting and in some cases struggle with. Their title tag reads:

Find the Most Shared Content & Key Influencers

And the headline highlighted above is similar. So based on Buzzsumo’s popularity (and my own need for it) it’s a pretty good bet that content marketers might want to hear from other content marketers about:

  • How to come up with viral, sharable content topics?
  • How to identify key influencers in a niche quickly?

And others like these. I can drill into lots of other specific tools to find great group interview topics.

Similarly, looking at a list of features for a specific product can also serve as a good means of identifying more topics – for example if they feature a content calendar, content collaboration features, etc. each of those is likely a pain point you can turn into a useful question.

3) Look at Categories on Blogs

Similar to tool categories, you can find some categories that you can spin into lots of great group interview questions by looking at the categorization on popular blogs in a niche:

An image example of using categories to get topic ideas.

Problogger has a great footer that includes a list of categories – again as with the tool categories, lots of these could be interesting interview topics:

  • What’s the Number 1 Mistake Blogger’s Make with Blog Design?
  • What’s Your Number 1 Tip for Conducting Great Podcast Interviews?

4) Look at Most Popular Posts on Popular Blogs

Similarly, looking at the most popular articles on blogs in your niche can give you a great idea of what readers of these blogs (likely your prospects) are most likely to be sharing and reading:

Using popular posts to get content ideas for expert roundups.

Now I know the Problogger audience is interested in topics like making money blogging, growing community, Amazon’s affiliate program (and others, presumably), and starting their first blog. Assuming I know or am at least really confident my audience has a lot of overlap with Problogger’s, that’s another batch of potentially interesting topics to get a variety of expert opinions on.

5) Look at Agendas for Conferences

The people who organize conferences spend a lot of time thinking about what the folks who attend will want to see, and what they’re thinking about. If there’s a lot of overlap between conference goers at a specific event and your prospects, the agenda for that conference is probably chock full of topics that would be great group interview subjects:

A screenshot example of using conference agendas for expert round up ideation and looking for possible interviewees.

Above are some of the breakout sessions from Content Marketing World’s conference agenda (listed on their site). Topics like B2B content marketing strategy, video strategy on a budget, content audits, etc. could all be great group interview topics (again: I’ll really need to know which end of the market and who specifically my prospect is to best understand which of these would be better or worse – the folks who might be interested in a B2B content marketing strategy might be quite different than the folks who were interested in affiliate programs we found in the popular posts method above – I’ll really only know which topic is best for me to create a group interview around by knowing my audience and what their problems are).

6) Use Your Core Keywords to Get Ideas

The keywords I want to target via SEO can also make for great interview topics (and have the added bonus of potentially sending you some really specific, valuable, and continuous SEO traffic once you have the group interview live).

If I’m hoping to rank well for “content marketing software” my salesy product page isn’t likely to rank well, but a strong group interview question with a lot of great responses could rank well for that term, so I’ll consider wrapping up some of my core keywords in a solid group interview question formula (again a bit more on formulas below) – the good news here is that most of the questions I’d ask will probably be really relevant for my prospects (if you’re interested in tips for buying content marketing software, mistakes people make leveraging content marketing software, or similar, you’re probably at least potentially in the market for the stuff).

7) Identify Some Good Group Interview Formulas

As I think about different group interview topics, I’ll want to be aware of some good “formulas” for creating good group interview questions.

I want to make sure to:

  • Avoid any questions that are too easily answered with a yes or no
  • Have something sufficiently broad that there isn’t a single repeatable answer
  • Avoid anything where the range of answers would be really limited (seeing variations on the same basic answer or two isn’t particularly helpful or interesting)

Having worked on a bunch of these, here are a few good basic formulas I can apply to lots of different topics (with the formula, a sample question I could apply to my fictitious content marketing software company, and real example from a post “in the wild”):

Biggest Mistake(s)

Best Tips / Hacks

Favorite Tools

  • General Formula: “What’s your {Favorite / Most Used} tool for {Concept or Process}”
  • Sample Question: What is the single most valuable content curation tool you’ve discovered?
  • Real Example: http://www.clambr.com/link-building-tools/

You can also learn more about how well that link building tools post did in Brian Dean’s post on Richard’s process and results, and as I mentioned earlier you can check out Richard’s great in-depth guide on expert roundups for free on his site as well.

Successful Examples / Success Stories

Most Creative

Top Traits of the Highly Successful

Obviously there are a ton of question permutations that could work well – if you have a favorite formula and/or some examples of group interviews that did great or that you loved drop a note in the comments (we’ll promote any that make sense to the main post here).

Finding the Interview Prospects

Once I have a great question researched and lined up, I need to go out and track down interview prospects. What I’m looking for here are obviously smart folks, and of course I want to identify thought leaders who have distribution and a familiar name so that anyone nice enough to promote their participation in my post will help amplify the content’s reach, and also help lend credibility to the document.

I may think I have a pretty good handle on the top influencers in my niche, but ideally I want to identify something in the range of 100+ group interview targets, because as with everything not everyone I include will respond.

There are a lot of different ways to track down great group interview candidates.

  • Other Group Interviews – With some simple Googling around terms frequentl used in group interviews (like experts {your topic}) in many niches I can find existing group interviews. As soon as I find an existing group interview I immediately have a list of folks who are related to my subject, and I already know are willing to participate in group interviews.
  • Top Blog Lists – Popular blogs are home to popular bloggers, so finding a list of the most popular blogs in my niche (which I can find by simply searching for “best {topic} blogs” or looking someplace like Alltop) gives me another batch of great targets.
  • Power Users on Niche Social Sites – If my niche has a popular social site or Subreddit or similar, power users there are likely interesting targets and obviously have a certain amount of influence (for the group interviews I’m setting up for my hypothetical content marketing software company, looking at the top members on Inbound could be a good start).
  • Contributors on Major Multi-Author Sites – As I look for popular blogs, a great find is always a really popular, relevant, multi-author site. The folks contributing content these places are frequently experts looking for exposure and willing to share their thoughts. For example any of the folks who have contributed to Content Marketing Institute recently would potentially be great candidates to include in a group interview on a content marketing topic.
  • Conference Speakers – Similarly I could revisit Content Marketing World’s site, but this time look at the list of speakers there. Again the fact that they’re presenting at a well-respected conference likely means that they have expertise in my subject area, they’re willing to share ideas with folks, and they’re looking for exposure.
  • Get Some “Inbound” Interest – If my site meets the requirements for the various platforms, an additional way to get expert opinions on my topic is to post an inquiry as a publisher for contributions on sites like HARO, Source Bottle, or ProfNet.

Finally, just an additional note on determining who to include in group interviews: in general unless a respondent really sends something back that’s totally useless and/or inaccurate, my approach is to be really inclusive and assume “the more the merrier” as the more folks who are included, the more likely they are to help me promote – if I run into issues with or am concerned about quality control, I can always be careful and specific with who I invite to participate.

Reaching Out to Possible Contributors

Now I have a nice big list of potential contributors and an awesome question – next I need some responses. I’m going to start to reach out to folks on my list and ask them for a contribution. When I do I’ll generally use a really simple Email template. There’s a couple flavors I can try:

Short & To the Point

Hi X,

My name is Tom Demers, I’m the founder of Awesome Content Marketing Software, a content marketing software company. We’re asking content marketing experts like yourself to offer their take on a quick question:

{Question Here}

If you have a moment I’d love to have you contribute – we’ll be doing a lot of promotion around the post and obviously you’re welcome to link to and promote whatever you like in your bio along with your answer.

Thanks for considering!

Tom

Qualify Some & Ask for All of the Information Up Front

Generally I find shorter notes lead to better responses, but I can also consider or test adding in pieces like:

  • Asking for a headshot and bio up front
  • Linking to a previous interview that did well as a proof of concept
  • Including a date I plan to publish to encourage a quicker turnaround

Once I send a note, I’ll typically follow up once via Email. In the Backlinko post on Clambr’s group interview they also mentioned that Richard pinged people on Twitter as well, which is another great idea – particularly if the question lends itself to a quick answer like his did (again you can get a really detailed description of Richard’s process free on his site).

How to Create the Content

Once I’ve decided on a question and done my outreach, I have all of the content to create a really great asset. Typically I’ll want at least 15-20 folks contributing to really get a nice diversity of opinion and to have enough folks helping distribute the post to have it get good social and traffic traction, and ideally I’d get something north of that (for some niches that’ll be easy, for some it may be impossible to get 40 responses).

Now I need to format the post. There are a number of things I want to be sure to include:

  • A brief intro
  • A table of contents listing the contributors and linking to their answers
  • Everyone’s answers!
  • Headshots for every contributor
  • Contributor bios

And a number of things that can really help the post that I’ll create / include:

  • A custom banner or graphic at the top of the post
  • A nice mash up of all of the contributor photos
  • A badge the experts can share with their audience if they like
  • A specific offer and call to action (this might be a simple but highly relevant content upgrade like a PDF, check-list version of the post, some raw data on how many of the experts answered with what types of answers, etc.)
  • A twitter list with all of the folks who contributed

How to promote the list

Now I just hit publish and wait, right? I did promise you “built in distribution,” after all.

Almost! There’s still a bit more to do once I have all of the answers collected and formatted: I need to actually promote the post!

  • Email Everyone – Obviously I want to reach out to everyone on the list and let them know the post is live – I might also give them a link to my tweet of the post so that’s easy to retweet and if appropriate a link to the post submission on a relevant social media site to vote up if they like (important note here though: I don’t want to give them 8 different things to do – pick the one or two most important actions to highlight and let them decide what to do next).
  • Twitter – I’ll also queue up a number of tweets, and @ some folks who participated in the interview in the tweets so that they see the mention there and can easily retweet that if they want to share that way.
  • Paid Social Promotion – Depending on the topic, I may also consider some paid social promotion via Stumble, Reddit, or Twitter Sponsored Ads to get some additional distribution for my content there.
  • Additional Outreach – Another trick that takes a bit more time but can net some really high quality links: after asking permission in the outreach process, I’ll often reach out to each contributor’s alma matter and hometown newspaper. This requires a good bit of leg work (and on the alma matter front be careful of the season) but can net some great .edu links and awesome links and citations from quality local publications.

The final step here is often the most valuable: as you let people know they’re participating, be sure to note anyone who is interested in participating in future interviews, and (genuinely) offer to help anyone who has helped you here. Look at their Twitter bios. Start following their blogs and share their stuff, as well. Offer to try to be of use to them in future. These folks have contributed to a piece of content for you, and helped you promote it: be grateful, and take the opportunity to be of use and develop a real relationship that will benefit all of your content.

How Getting 7 SEO Visits Can Bring You 40,000: Driving SEO Traffic with Best of Lists

How getting 7 SEO visits can bring you 40,000

In this post, I’m going to show you a tactic that I’m using a lot to get links, shares, great engagement and thousands of visitors a month from organic search that anyone can do.

Anyone can do it, but it takes a bunch of work and will fail sometimes.

I’m an online marketer who does a lot of work in SEO. As an SEO the last couple years have been…interesting. Google has cracked down on a lot of stuff that used to work very well in getting targeted search traffic to sites. “Link building” is still extremely important, but has become less predictable, more expensive, and really just harder and riskier.

Some of those things that used to work can still get results, but the risk is so high that for me (and for many) those tactics really just aren’t worth it.

So if I don’t have a predictable, scalable means of getting links placed on other sites, what can I do to consistently get traffic from organic search?

There are still lots of different tactics that work, but many of them are fairly daunting (particularly for new sites and small businesses) so like I said: I’m going to show you a tactic that I’m using a lot to get links, shares, great engagement and thousands of visitors from organic search that anyone can do.

BUT, and I’ll have more on this in the final “results” section of the post: you will have to do a bunch of work and this won’t work every single time – you’ll need to think of your content marketing efforts as a sort of portfolio where some content will hit and some will flop, and you’re evaluating the aggregate impact of the time you’re spending and the output you’re getting.

And one more time: you’ll have to do a bunch of work.

The good news is I’ll detail the process very specifically and step-by-step for you here and share the results (the good, the bad, and the ugly) of 36 of these types of posts at the end, and you can decide whether to try it or not (feel free to do something else – if you don’t like work but are OK with variance and poor odds there are other options you might like, for instance).

Below is a process for how to create what I call “best of lists,” or really comprehensive list posts that round up a large number of tools, blogs or resources.

Ideation

First I need to do something I should do for any content creation process: figure out who is going to buy my stuff! Through this example I’m going to assume I’m trying to get traffic, leads, and customers for my accounting software (generally a pretty boring subject that a marketer might say “it’s SO HARD to come up with good content ideas for”, right?)

My job now is to create content that people who buy accounting software will love and find useful, while also getting some folks who have those same prospects’ attention to share my content for me.

This is actually a bit easier to do than you might think.

We’ll assume here my accounting software is a low priced SaaS product that I want small to mid-sized accountants to buy. Now I need to figure out what specific problems and questions these folks have that I can help them solve by presenting them with a great curated collection of resources.

Right off the bat there are some obvious best of lists I could probably create that accountants might look for and find useful – like best accounting blogs. But I want to come up with a big list of ideas that I can whittle down and create a series of content pieces around.

As with all things on the Internet, I can start with Google. I want to start by looking for things like:

  • Best blogs for accountants
  • Best software for accountants
  • Best software for small accounting firms

As is often the case, a lot of the initial links I find here aren’t particularly useful for my purposes (I cropped the ads out of the screenshot below or I wouldn’t be able to fit it onto the page – keep gettin’ dem checks Google!):

Best of list ideas for SEO friendly content

A lot of the results here are obviously more oriented around accounting software for small businesses (versus accounting firms specifically) but one result here can start to give me some initial insight, since I’m new to this niche: the CPA accounting software link.

This particular link is mainly a lead gen piece for accounting software (you’ll find a lot of these in best / top / generic software listings – that search traffic is part of the reason we’re going to try to create a more comprehensive / less biased version of these kinds of lists ourselves) but they’ve already given me a better search query to try (CPA accounting software versus best accounting software for accountants), and down the page a bit they’ve done a quick high-level break down of some CPA-specific functionality that’s a nice starting point:

An example of using job information to get keyword and topic ideas

Now I’ve got some nice possible list ideas and additional searches I can run to try to find some other search candidates:

  • Best Multi-Company Accounting Software
  • Best Tax Preparation Software {for accountants}
  • Best Time & Billing Software {for accountants}
  • Financial Reports {for accountants}

An important reminder here: I know that not all of these will be winners. This is the ideation phase so I want to run through these SERPs and try to find other best of lists and category descriptions to find a lot of possible ideas for great tool and resource lists.

From here I want to really try to dig in and look at anything that could get me more information – I’ll run all of these searches and click through to anything that could give me more insight into the different features and categories of tools accountants are using.

Since I’m selling accounting software, a generic list like “best accounting software” is something I want to stay away from since I’d have to list every competitor (if it were my business I’d probably make the list anyway because I can build some good relationships and own the conversation and search results around that term by doing a great job with it and because sometimes you have to recommend other people’s products, and you don’t need to pretend your competitors don’t exist, but if you’re an employee or consultant there’s a strong chance the folks paying you won’t want to tick off competitors in a round-up of the best software options in your niche), but I definitely might be able to identify some areas where point solutions that overlap with a feature or two of my software but aren’t strictly competitive (like time and billing software, for instance) could be a great list that solves a pain point for my audience without turning into a big list of competitors.

As a software company I can also find a lot of great stuff by chasing down search queries that turn up great publishers who focus on creating content for accountants:

  • Best CPA blogs
  • Best blogs for accountants
  • Best accounting publications

I’ll use these searches, I’ll also look at places like Alltop and actually dive into the content to try to understand which publications are the most respected and creating the highest quality content in the niche. I’ll also use BuzzStream’s great free blogroll list builder to see who gets included in blogrolls from major blogs (the places being linked to from influential places will typically be high quality and influential themselves).

Once I find some quality publishers, I can leverage their hard-earned knowledge and data to get more ideas for topics. One example in these SERPs is a site called CPA Practice Advisor (http://www.cpapracticeadvisor.com/):

How to use blog categories to help generate content topics.

I could leverage some of these specific categories like “best payroll tools” or “best CPA firm management resources” for ideas for best of lists.

Who Am I Trying to Reach, Again?

Another good idea for best of lists is to simply use the title of the person I want to sell to – in this case it’s fairly straightforward, so I might just add “Best Tools / Resources for Accountants” and/or “Best Tools / Resources for CPA Firms,” but if there are other positions to target creating a list of helpful tools and resources for those folks could also make strong, simple topic areas (you or a client or your company should obviously have a sense of what this information is already).

There are Ideas in the Real World Too!

A final great source of topics can be to find the Websites and agendas for the leading conferences in the niche. These are put on by folks who have a strong financial interest in having their finger on the pulse of the industry, and they’re attended by your prospects. You can ask someone within a niche if you’re not familiar, or Google around to identify some lists like this. Once you find a conference that seems to be doing a good job serving your market, hone in on their agenda. Each of the highlighted topics below (highlighting is mine) could be re-worked into interesting and useful best of lists:

Using conference agendas to get SEO keyword and content  topic ideas

With just a quick scan at one conference agenda some nice possible topics pop up:

  • Best tools / resources for recruiting and training tax preparers
  • Best tools / resources for automating your CPA firm’s back office processes
  • Best marketing tools for CPA firms

Qualifying & Prioritizing My List of Ideas

Next I need to decide where to spend my time in actually creating some of these lists. I need to think about a few key factors.

First I want to answer the question: is there any demand for this topic? I’m not just creating these for search traffic, but that’s certainly a component, and looking at estimated search traffic using Google’s keyword estimates can give me a (rough and directional) sense of which core terms are more popular.

First I need to take some of my more complicated, multi-part post ideas from my research and brainstorming and distill them down into simple terms to get traffic estimates for. For instance this possible focus area:

Best tools / resources for recruiting and training tax preparers

Is something I’ll break down into the following terms to get search estimates for:

  • Tools for recruiting tax preparers
  • Tax preparer recruiting tools
  • Tools for training tax preparers
  • Tax preparer training tools
  • Recruiting tax preparers
  • Training tax preparers

I want to do this break down and distillation for all of my topic ideas and then drop this list of broader topics into Google’s Keyword Planner (you can use a different keyword tool if you like – to get to the planner you can create an AdWords account and keep everything paused, then navigate to Tools > Keyword Planner and click Get search volume for a list of keywords):

Get search volume for your content topics and keyword ideas

The targeting and date range settings aren’t particularly important here – the numbers I’m getting from Google (or from other keyword tools) are very rough estimations, so I’m really just trying to get a rough sense of the relative volume of the different terms. Once I hit Get Search Volume I can toggle over to keyword ideas and start to see the data I’m looking for here:

Relative search volume for a list of keyword ideas or topic ideas

Based on the quick list of ideas I came up with above, I have some very low volume search topics. Ideally with a larger sample I’d start to hit on some ideas that had higher demand, but I’m not going to throw anything out just based on low search volume. Remember my main objective is to solve a real problem and create a really valuable resource for my prospects while creating something that will get shared and linked to. Search traffic is just a nice way to help me gauge the relative interest in these topics.

Also: I’ve seen core topics that showed 50-100 estimated searches per month drive thousands of unique visitors per month from search using this tactic: the search volume estimates are very rough and don’t account for lots of long tail phrases that the lengthy resource I’m going to create will attract.

For that reason I’ll also layer on a qualitative aspect to this prioritization process. Namely: which of these would be most valuable to small to mid-sized accounting firms? If this is my business, I should know this (or have access to some accountants who could help me answer the question), but if I’m a marketer inside the company I might ask the product and services teams and if I’m an agency I’ll want to get feedback from the client. If I have an audience already (via social media / a blog / an Email list / etc.) I could potentially survey them on which topic they’d most like to see a comprehensive guide created around.

Anything that is a topic that’s both identified as a major pain point by people who are or are exactly like the people I want to sell to moves right to the top of the list – particularly if that topic doesn’t have a lot of quality resources already created around it.

Creating the Actual List

Researching the list of actual tools and resources is obviously a key component here. I’m looking to make the list a few things, whenever possible:

  • Comprehensive – I want to really include a huge list of resources so that my list is a “one-stop-shop” for my prospect looking for information about the topic. For most lists I should be able to find at least 50 resources. I don’t want to cram anything onto the list that is low quality or irrelevant just to pad the numbers, but really the more useful resources / tools the better here – ideally I’ll make sure to go further than any similar resource I find so that I can build a skyscraper.
  • Unbiased – I might be tempted to only include more authoritative sites or to really talk up the resources I’d most like to get a link or a share from, but in general I’ll get the most traction (and provide the most value for my readers) if I stick to a neutral position and just list the facts about each of the tools (more on what facts, specifically, I’ll want to include in the next section). If I have time to really test all of the tools including a brief review is great, but even if I’m just listing specs and linking to more in-depth reviews for each that’s usually
  • Highly Valuable – Again the beauty of this type of list is that it gives me a great opportunity to solve a problem for my prospects and build trust with them, so I want to constantly be thinking about what would make the list more valuable to an accountant / small accounting firm.

In terms of actually finding all of the resources, there are a lot of ways to compile the list, including:

  • Our Old Friend Google – I can run a series of searches for things like best software for accountants, software for accountants, etc. and start to compile all of the individual products I find as well as all of the tools listed in other lists folks have pulled together (if I find a list that’s ranking particularly well and getting particularly good traffic in my travels, I’ll be sure to note that and see if I can piggy back on their success a bit by reaching out to folks who linked to them once my list is complete).
  • A Real Live Person – I’m not an accountant, so I’ll go to actual people and find out what they use. If I have a list I can survey I might start there, or I could just see who is in my network (my accountant and his/her colleagues, friends, relatives, anyone I’m connected with on LinkedIn, etc.) and find out what tools they use. Remember: I’m trying to get actual people to my site, so talking to actual people about content ideas and things that work for them often works really well!
  • Aggregator Sites & Directories – These can be a bit hit or miss, but sites like Alltop or Blog Rank can be a great place to find resources on a topic, and could even lead me to lists of tools. For tools / software drilling down into directories (yes they still make those!) and for software lists places like Capterra, BuyerZone, and Resource Nation have lots of products listed on a variety of different topics.

How to Format the Contents of the Post

Once I have an idea of what I’ll include on my list, I have to determine what information to include for each tool or resource, and how to format all of the information so that my post is extremely valuable, and so that it’s likely the folks I include will share the post.

First on what information I’ll include:

For Resource / Blog Lists

  • A unique image for every single resource or blog listed (screenshots of the site work well here)
  • A link to the resource itself
  • A brief description of the type of content the reader will find
  • Three to five great examples of the types of content they produce (I might dig into the site, look at posts they highlight themselves, or use a tool like BuzzSumo to get a sense of their most popular posts)

For Tools / Software Lists

  • A unique image for every single tool listed (screenshots of the product are ideal here)
  • A link to the tool itself
  • A brief description of what the tool does / purports to do (again if I haven’t actually trialed the tool I’ll work to tone down any hyped up adjectives and stick to what category of product it belongs to and what it claims / aspires to do in terms of the benefits of the product for readers)
  • Pricing Information & Features
  • Links to any more in-depth, unbiased reviews I can find

In terms of formatting the post, a few things I want to do (or at least consider):

  • A Table of Contents with Jump Links – A nice table of contents with jump links to headers for each of the tools mentioned makes things easier to read and navigate for my readers, and for the companies gives me a custom link to send them that jumps them right to their section and lets them see their write up quickly.
  • Great Spacing & Clear Headlines – Here I’m mainly going to going to use basic Web formatting best practices: lots of bullets, headlines, and images to make the post easy to read or scan and as visually attractive as possible.
  • Badges – In most niches having a badge with my branding and logo as well as the title of the post “Best Accounting Software” increases the odds that those included will share with their audience (since I’m providing them with a nice social proof element) which can help net me some nice branding as well as making it more likely that they’ll link. Important note: I’ll stay away from any tricky anchor text here and only link to the actual list or my site’s home page when I create an embed code for my badge, since Google doesn’t like some types of widget links.
  • Twitter List – Creating a twitter list with all of the sites / individuals included in my post is a good way for me to get on the radar of the folks on my list through another channel, and is also really useful to expose within my post for my readers (particularly for a list of blogs / resources).
  • Tweet This Buttons – Building in lots of great ways to share your content is always a win, obviously. Here’s a nice example of this that Hubspot incorporated into their own best of list. Sumo me has a great free and easy way to incorporate sharing into your posts if you’re not sure how to enable this kind of functionality.
  • A Custom Search Engine – Google lets me quickly create free custom search engines (note: they’ll show ads against the search results in the free version) where I can have search results just show results from the sites included on my list. For a best blogs or best resources list this can be a pretty handy feature that gets my readers better search results on topics related to their niche (instead of sifting through search results that include all of the crap Google has in its index, they can search my list of the highest quality accounting resources for an answer when they have a question or want more information). This is another example of how I can “level up” my content and make it a particularly valuable resource.

One important thing I won’t do when I format my post (which I learned the hard way): numerical listings. Unless I have some sort of metric for an actual ranking system, in formatting the post I want to stay away from using numbers in listing the tools – in the past even when I’ve created a numbered list – even when I spelled out that the tools were listed in no particular order – the folks listed 50 out of 50 weren’t particularly excited to share that with their audience (I’ve even gotten angry notes back when I let them know they made the list!). I’ll use bullets, or just break out the headline for each listing.

How to Promote My List

Once I have a nicely formatted, high quality list of resources I need to actually launch and promote it. By creating a list of tools or resources, I’ve created something with built-in distribution. It’s not quote “fail-proof” (more on results from these types of posts in a bit) but it means that more often than not I’ll get help promoting my content from the folks on the list if I help them help me. As a result I need to:

What Kind of Results Can I Expect?

You were promised some results!

The data below includes 36 Best of Posts from 7 different sites in a range of industries – none of the sites are super authoritative, a few are brand new, and the two best traffic results came from two of the newest sites.

  • Total Organic Traffic in the Last 30 Days Across 36 Posts: 39,714
  • Average Organic Traffic Per Post: 1,103
  • Highest Traffic Total for a Single Post From Organic Search in the Last 30 Days: 8,820
  • Lowest Traffic Total for a Single Post From Organic Search in the Last 30 Days: 7

Some additional important facts to keep in mind:

  • Some of these posts don’t get any links at all
  • One post that drives over 5,000 unique visitors a month from search only has 4 links to it
  • The most trafficked 8,820 unique a month post was only shared 15 times

For the most part these are sites where we’re consistently publishing this kind of content (other assets as well – not just best of lists) and are seeing aggressive overall traffic growth as well. This is largely because these posts (and similar assets) have a lot of things going for them that Google is moving towards with Panda and Penguin updates:

  • There’s lots of meaty, unique content
  • Engagement metrics are typically great because the content is exactly the type of thing folks are looking for and provides a large number of resources and lots of detail
  • The content (generally) gets shared
  • Links you’ll get won’t be manipulative, will be relevant (and actually drive traffic!), and you’re not picking the anchor text so you don’t need to worry too much about scary penguins.

So go crank out some great best of lists and measure your results! Or you know: try something else.

Social Media Promotion Etiquette: How to Spread Your Content Without Annoying Friends

sharing*

With modern social media you can’t not promote yourself. You have to actively shout out loud or people will overlook you.

Relying on other people to find and spread your great content doesn’t work anymore if it ever did.

There are some things you still can’t do without losing friends. How to keep friends who’ll promote you in future again.

 

The first wave of social media

The first wave of social media was about trying to make the print publishing model work on the Web. The only thing they changed was to let people decide what becomes promoted to the frontpage.

Ideally the wisdom of crowds prevailed and the best or most important content got to the fp of Delicious, Digg or Reddit.

In reality more often than not only lowest common denominator content got voted up or things pushed by certain groups of users. A dark horse political candidate for example was the single most popular one on Digg but got completely ignored during the election. At the end of the day the frontpage model from print did not work properly on the Web.

 

The second wave of social media

These days Delicious doesn’t have a frontpage, Digg ceased to exist in its original crowdsourced form and Reddit has been subdivided into numerous niche communities. Their frontpage isn’t democratic at all.

The social media of the second wave, such services like Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ or Pinterest do not have a frontpage. They have a personalized stream.

You get to see the content and updates by those you follow in most cases, sometimes filtered by algorithms, especially in the case of Facebook and Google+. That’s far better. A one size fits all frontpage does not work on the Web. Just because a few people vote something p doesn’t mean that the majority would like to see it.

 

Self promotion or not?

With the early social sites it was often better to get discovered and submitted by a well-known power user of such a site instead of submitting your content yourself. In the first case numerous people would notice it and trust the judgement of aforementioned highly respected community member. Self-submission would not even get noticed or even get considered to be SPAM.

With newer social sites the tide changed again. Now you need to build your own audience whether you like or not. Self-promotion still will stay below the radar as long as nobody listens. You won’t get banned for SPAM just because you spread the word about your won articles but nobody outside will notice them.

 

Audience building by shouting?

I can’t explain the intricacies of the social media audience building in detail here now but let it be said that your audience won’t accept overt self-promotion either. Even in case people voluntarily follow you it doesn’t mean they want to get flooded by useless self-promotional crap. People on social media check out whether you really deserve the trust they give you.

When you don’t share but only shout you get unfollowed quickly.

On the other hand you really need to self-promote in most cases or other people won’t notice you at all. For example I have a large audience of 10k+ on Google+ yet nobody shares my articles there I publish on my blog unless I also promote my own posts on Google+ first. Then people readily vote and re-share as long  as the content matches their interests an dis of substantial quality.

 

Declaring a Red Alert

google-notification

On Google+ there is the option to send a push notification to all of your followers. An option that will show a red alert on top of each person’s Google menu whenever they use Google+ or any other Google service while they are logged in.

This is clearly visible and can be annoying under some circumstances.

Not all people who follow you on Google+ are your friends, some are, others are rather acquaintances or fans. These people like to some extent or are simply interested in the things you have to say. Yet, they don’t love like your parents or spouse so you can’t treat them accordingly.

send-to-your-circles

When sending out such a notification (see above) do not send it to people who are just casual buddies of yours or simple followers you do not even know of. In the example above all my 10k+ followers would get the message!

Let me show you a positive example of someone who alerted me using this Google+ feature:

nicke-eubanks-share

You may even know this guy. Nick Eubanks is pretty widely known in the SEO community so content strategists may know him as well. A little background on our relationship: I subscribe to Nick’s newsletter. He curates a list of must read resources. I haven’t met Nick yet but he even managed to send over a potential client lead to me and I got the job. Nick rarely push-notifies me. I’m not even sure he already did before.

What’s the reason to notify me? He put up an extensive peace of flagship content online, a podcast interview with an expert on buying and selling domains. Even though I do not flip websites as the business is called I was intrigued enough to read through the transcript because I was in a hurry.

It was an exception when Nick used the push notification and the content he shared was exceptional. Also I’d consider him online friend. He might not consider me one yet because apparently I owe by now but you get the point. Similarly you do not simply send a DM (direct message) on Twitter to random followers even in case they do follow you.

A notification by mentioning someone’s name can be rude and intrusive too. Make sure to

  • do it only once in a while
  • have a proper reason for reaching out
  • give first instead of demanding something
  • notify friends not strangers

Some people have sent me push notification every week or more often while they rarely engaged. Strangers or people I didn’t really like did send me such notifications too. I had to remove most of them from my circles. You can send messages to individuals too without pushing your news on everybody.

 

All promotion all the time?

People on Google+ and other social media are not interested in you and your stuff 24/7. They care as long as you provide value to them. It can be a simple as entertainment value or as difficult as technical advice.

As long as you help people you are welcome. There are some rules to follow to make sure you are viewed as helpful and not overtly selfish. How do you reconcile getting yourself out there without appearing to be desperate?

You don’t share only your won stuff or things connected to you and your business.

That should be common knowledge by one. I think it’s even called the rule of thirds but it’s rather about sharing other people’s content four or five times and than yours only once. That would mean that only every four or fifth share should be self-promotional.

  1. One third your content or one you’re affiliated with
  2. One third content by industry leaders and large publications
  3. One third content by industry peers and online friends

Ideally you even share content more often based on quality and not your affiliation with it. Some people tend to share third party articles only when they get mentioned in them. That’s not enough either. It only shows that you’re biased and lose trust over time.

I follow my social media feeds on Feedly so that I have an overview over my sharing habits. Here’s are my latest six shares on Google+:

google-shares

Just one of them is promoting an article of mine. The one about broken links is it. This way I ensure that my followers truly await my next piece and don’t get hungry while at it. They get fed quality content from third party sources. My own articles are often the most popular one in my stream:

* Creative Commons image by włodi

 

 

 

 

Without Links Content Stinks

water

*

Content promotion techniques that solely rely on social media are not enough to succeed on the Web in the long run.

After a few days only links and search engines will send visitors your way.

How to adapt common content sharing and promotion tactics to a sustainable search strategy.

 

Content is like a pond

Content is like water. Imagine it like a pond or lake. As long as there is fresh water supply, even a small trickle, the water stays clean and fresh. Once there is no connection to outside water supply the pond turns green and slimy until it starts to stink and becomes a quagmire in the worst case.

The same thing happens to content on the Web. At first the is a large influx of traffic, a conversation starts, the word spreads, people engage. Then after a while only an occasional visitors say “hi” and adds a comment in an already empty room. With tools like Disqus people may still notice but the lack of audience leads to a gradual death of the debate.

 

The only solution

The only solution is a steady incoming flow of traffic from people who come via search engines by searching for relevant queries. The main route to get the people to find you by way of search is to let other people link to that content. Social media links do not suffice even though some sites are better than others in that respect.

Links from Tumblr are far better than the crippled nofollow links from Twitter or the hidden “private” updates from Facebook.

Yet, most sites, especially blogs ask their readers to share on Facebook, Twitter and maybe one or two more sites. Tumblr is rarely seen among them. It’s viewed as a blogging tool by many not a social networking site. That’s not completely wrong but it’s also the advantage of Tumblr compared to the heavily branded and barely customizable social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter.

 

Links from publishers

issuu-direct-link

Of course Tumblr is not the only option. The are still hundred of millions of good old website and bloggers using proper software like WordPress, be it hosted on WordPress.com or their own servers. These website owners and blog publishers are those who still decide whether your site will be valued high by Google and other search engines like DuckDuckGo or not.

Why does everybody ignore that obvious decision makers? It’s because social sites want your activity

and thus encourage the spread of their sharing buttons. A simple link button like the one below by Design Bolts is nowhere to be found because there is no one company that is behind it and pushes it by its marketing department.

link-icon

Yet this is the button you need to add along the social media buttons and the mail button. Ideally you let your users also embed your content. This works well for videos and infographics but can also be done with other media types.

 

Copy and paste enhancement

Of course a “spread the word by linking to this post” button is not enough. Many people might also overlook the option as they don’t even expect it or are too lazy to copy and paste a link to their site. There is a tool called Tynt that automatically checks whether someone has copied text on your site and adds a link to that quote.

When the user pastes this text into their page they will also paste the source link.

This can also backfire though. Personally I often copy and paste headlines or quotes and replace the default tweet text for example. I let the link where it is but add a quote. I don’t need another link forced upon me. That’s only additional work. You can ostracize power users that way.

 

Making links linkable

Over the years links have become too cumbersome to use. This is no joke, Why would someone link to you when they can “like”, “tweet” or “+1” your content with one click? It’s too much work! It’s not only only work, it’s also not very usable. Why? Most links are too big, cryptic or both to succeed.

Nobody can memorize can neither long article URLs nor random short URLs.

As often the case the best links cover the middle-ground between length and memorability. They need to be as short as possible while retaining readability and memorability. Do you know what I mean? No? Think adobe.com/flash

The URL must be branded and self-explanatory to be remembered with ease.

How do I know it’s memorable? It was the first URL that came to my mind off the top of my head. In reality the short memorable URL is just a redirect to the a bit longer but still useful one: http://www.adobe.com/products/flash.html

This will work with other common services too:

google.com/mail redirects to https://mail.google.com/mail/u/0/#inbox as I’m already a user

mozilla.com/firefox leads to https://www.mozilla.org/de/firefox/new/ here

 

Becoming memorable

Just imagine someone writing a quick message or hurrying up to meet the deadline and finish the article. Researching for the link would take too long. Only a link they have memorized and can add right away will do.

I know that most .com addresses are gone these days but with literally hundreds of new top level domains you can find one matching your niche and topic far better now. By adding some humor you can even make this even work better than a .com

Just think

  • jack.black for the comedian
  • abc.xyz for the TV station
  • face.book for large social network.

Become creative and preform a little brainstorming while using some tools that help you navigate through the huge number of new domain name endings (top level domains). Then make sure to add your product or service names in a manner similar to the corporations above. You can redirect to the actual page then. That’s no problem as long as you use a Google friendly 301 redirect. On WordPress many plugins help you with that.

 

* Creative Commons image by Hiroyuki Takeda

 

How to Promote Your Content to Your Target Audience (An Introduction)

Great content rarely markets itself. To get it in front of your target audience you need to implement a content promotion strategy. Here are some ideas to get you started.

Let’s see if this sounds familiar. You are the content writer for your company. You started strong, writing blog post after blog post, often staying up late and burning midnight oil. But after a while, your traffic data starts waning your excitement off.

It seems that you just can’t get anyone to read what you write.

But wouldn’t it be great if whatever you post would immediately reach your target audience? Sadly, in a world of content overabundance, this won’t happen without any content promotion.

You see, creating content is just half of the story. No matter how great your blog posts, videos, graphics or other content types might be, there is just too much of content out there for you to break through.

For that to happen you need to implement and deliver a content promotion strategy.

There is a number of ways you can promote your content. Some offer almost instantaneous results, while with others you may have to wait for traffic to show up. Nonetheless, you should try to implement all of them in your strategy.

1. SEO

SEO (Search Engine Optimization) is a long terms strategy of optimising content to be found in search engines. By following certain practices you can ensure the content appears in search results when a reader searches for specific keyphrases your content relates to.

There is a wealth of advice around the web on optimising your content for search discovery. Resources I would recommend include: Content Marketing Institute’s Introduction to Content Optimization for Beginners or the Copybogger’s SEO Copywriting ebook (free).

2. Social Media

Social Media on the other hand offers a more instantaneous results. The advantage of using social media is that you first and foremost promote your content to people who already follow your company.

There are number of social networks on which your company could be engaging with its audience. Each of them offers distinct opportunities for content promotion.

Twitter, given its very conversational and instant nature is ideal for publishing content multiple times, reminding users about it over the course of days and months. Because content posted on Twitter changes so fast, its audience doesn’t mind if you repost your one more than once, as long as this happens in intervals of course.

In his advanced content marketing guide, Neil Patel recommends tweeting about your blog post even up to three times on the publication day. he then recommends to wane the frequency of posting on any subsequent days.

When posting to Twitter, experiment with different messages promoting your content. Start off with a title but consider to also post a quote from your article, make a comment about it, tell your audience what they might benefit from reading your post and so on. The more you differentiate those messages, the greater chance you have to reach different kinds of people.

In contrast, it is better if you submit your content only once on sites like Facebook and Google+, where each post stays relevant for much longer. In fact, users on those networks, might perceive multiple posting of the same content as spamming.

Both Facebook and Google+ allow you to submit your post along with an introductory comment. Use this as an opportunity to tell your followers about your content and what they might benefit from reading it.

promoting content on facebook

Note: A good content promotion strategy is to include a reference to an influencer in your post. By doing so, you add authority to your content but also put it on their radar which might result in them sharing it with their followers, increasing your content’s reach.

To achieve this, make sure that you tag the influencer in your social media promotion. On Twitter, do it by including their @handle in the message. on Google+ by using +GoogleName.

referencing influencer on twitter

Similarly you can use hashtags on all social networks to further define what your content is about. Simple preface the keyword with the # symbol to create a hashtag. If you want to find out more about them, nothing introduces them better than this introduction by Buffer.

3. Newsletter

Your company’s mailing list offers you another opportunity to promote your content. Each time you publish something new, notify your email subscribers about it. There is a number of ways you can handle this:

  • If you post one to two posts a week, email your list every time you publish new content. Many email newsletter systems, like Mailchimp or Aweber offer an option to connect them with your RSS feed to send an automated new content notification every time you post.
  • If you post more than twice a week, sending a weekly or monthly digest with links to latest content might be a better idea. Your company’s subscribers might feel otherwise overwhelmed by the amount of emails coming from you and quickly abandon your list.

4. Outreach

You should also promote your content to influencers in your industry. Many bloggers or journalists for instance constantly look for new content to promote to their audiences or include in roundup posts they often run on their blogs. Therefore, you should reach out to them or other connections you have to let them know about content you publish.

You need to be smart to gain their attention though. Even though you would be promoting your content in hope for them to promote it, you should not reveal your intentions in your outreach.

You shouldn’t email anyone asking for linking or sharing your content. Rather find influencers who might be interested in what you published or have published on similar topic and notify them about your content.

TIP: Find a hook that would interest them to check your content. After all, they most likely get many content notifications like yours each day. But if for instance, they posted on the same topics as well and you are state different points, you can use that to gain their attention. Or perhaps your content is based on in-depth research you conducted or presents a completely unique take on a common industry problem. All this will offer more chances to catch the influencers attention.

When reaching out to influencers use common sense. Naturally you shouldn’t be e-mailing the same people about every content you publish. Instead, build a list of influencers and their favourite topics and only notify them when you post something that will catch their attention.

Is It All Not Tedious?

It might be. Certainly for may of us, myself included, the fun is in creating content. Without promotion however, you risk writing or developing content which not many people will see. So tedious or not, without investing this extra time in promoting, there is simply no chance for your content to achieve its objectives.

8 Tips for Using Google+ For Content Marketing

I can’t deny it, I was very disappointed with Google+ when it first launched.

Too many things seemed wrong with it back then.

– I didn’t understand what it’s for.

– None of my friends were on it.

– I had no time for another network.

I am sure I wasn’t the only one having doubts about Google+. But the social network has changed a lot since the day of its launch. It has managed to find its own competitive edge.

It never beat Facebook in building and maintaining relationships. Or Twitter for up to date news. It becomes evident only now that Google+ was built for something else, content marketing.

What Makes Google+ Ideal for Content Marketing

1. It’s Tightly Integrated with Search.

With the introduction of Search Plus Your World Google Plus became tightly integrated with search. Search results are now enhanced with photos, posts and more coming from your friends.

Authorship is also omnipresent in search results today, allowing users to pick information from people they trust but authors to also gain that authority.

2. It’s Integrated With Other Platforms.

Google plus is hardly just a social network. With a tight integration among various other Google products: Maps, Ads, Reviews, Hangouts, Youtube, Calendar and more, it follows you across every Google product.

3. It’s Better For Building New Relationships.

Unlike other networks who connect you with people you already know, Google+ is ideal to meet new people with whom you share similar interests.

4. It Gives You An Exposure.

Through Authorship Google+ connects your profile or page with any content you publish to give you even greater reach in search and helps you gain exposure while building your personal brand.

8 Tips for Using Google+ For Content Marketing

1. Use +Mentions and #Hashtags to Increase Visibility

hashtags

The reason to use Google+ is to increase visibility and awareness of your brand, company or product. And the network offers two features that can help you with that: mentions and hashtags.

– A mention allows to you to let a particular person or a brand know that you have mentioned them in a post. You may be familiar with a similar feature on Twitter (the @username) or Facebook (tagging people). This is an ideal way to get yourself on their radar in hope that they will share your content with their audience, comment or engage in any other way on your page.

Hashtags are not unique feature to Google+. They have been created to help users follow online conversations. And that’s exactly why you should use them in Google+. The search giant will include your post in any search for hashtags you included in it. This way you can gain attention of people interested in specific conversations or topics.

2. Attract More Viewers with Visual Content.

images

Photos make up for highly attractive content on Google+.  And, for a reason, they are easy to consume. So to make the most of it, include images along with your posts and even build up a dedicated Google+ visual content strategy. Users often scan images in their news feed to assess which posts are worth reading. Use big and descriptive images to stand out for them and get picked from other, competing posts.

3. Segment Your Audience for Better Content Targeting

circles

The ability to segment your audience and feed targeted content to different people is one of the most powerful features of Google+. After all being able to share targeted content with specific audience is an invaluable asset for any content marketer. In Google+ you do this by posting content to specific Circles, segments you can create to divide your users into categories.

4. Grab Readers Attention with Text Formatting

formatting

Readability is a serious issue on the web. Especially in an environment as Google+ News Feed where information changes very fast. It is crucial then that whatever you post stands out from other updates. Proper formatting allows you increase your chances at your content being noticed and read by users.

There are very simple ways to format your content:

  • putting an asterisk before and after a word (*word*) makes it bold.
  • underscore before and after a word (_word_) makes it italic
  • dash before and after (-word-) adds a strikethrough.

5. Breathe New Life into Your Archived Content

The relative newness of Google+ gives you an advantage of being able to promote your archived content, one you’ve already promoted extensively through other social networks. Chances are that your Google+ followers haven’t seen these posts yet and will be happy to receive more advice from you.

6. Use Ripples to Identify and Target Influencers

Ripples are quite unique feature on Google+. In Ripples you can see each time your post gets posted on Google+ or shared directly from your website. What’s more, you can also see who shared your content and view their Google+ profile. This single functionality allows you to:

  • spot your brand ambassadors
  • identify influencers and,
  • measure your social engagement.

7. Engage Your Audience with Hangouts

Image courtesy of Business2Community.com

Even though Facebook offered chat option for a long time, it’s Google+ Hangouts that revolutionised how a brand can engage their audience in real time. With the ability to create a video content, from interviews with important figures in your industry for instance, live events or private presentations, Hangouts should become an important aspect of your content strategy.

8. Build Engagement with Long Form Content in Google+

long content

Lastly, create content specifically for Google+. The site allows you to post long form content which can attract the most engagement from its users. Link to your own blog from it too and use hashtags to make the post more discoverable to increase its reach.

Content Promotion Ideas: 30 Creative Examples of Companies Promoting Content

Like a lot of people, I really love examples of things as a means of learning. In-depth case study content is one of my favorite types to consume. I really enjoyed reading both Jon Cooper’s original post on creative link building and his follow up post.

Along those same lines, we asked 30 marketers to share an example of creative content promotion they’ve either observed or executed recently. Every example may not be a great fit for your business and your content, but hopefully some of the ideas will shake loose a great content promotion idea that hadn’t occurred to you yet.

“What is the most creative means of amplifying or promoting a piece of content you’ve seen companies use (or have used yourself)?”

See answers from the 30 marketers we talked to below:

Meet Our Panel of Marketing Experts:


Tom TreanorTom Treanor

Tom Treanor is the Director of Content Marketing and Social Media at Wrike, a leading SaaS project management and collaboration platform.

Creative content promotion starts with creative content…

At Wrike, we developed the infographic, “10 Reasons the Death Star Project Failed“, in order to trigger social sharing in all the typical sites like Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook – in addition to more niche sites like Pinterest, StumbleUpon and Reddit.

The infographic tied two themes together, project management and Star Wars, and successfully extended our brand’s reach online.


Markelle HardenMarkelle Harden

Markelle Harden is the Director of Content at Get A Copywriter, a copywriting services company for agencies and content marketers.

The most creative means of amplifying or promoting content that I’ve seen lately comes from…

The community at Inbound.org.

They’ve built a community for their audience, and prospects participate in the free forum. Moderators initiate Q&A sessions between industry leaders and other members of the forum, and it generates quite a buzz within the community. The moderators do an excellent job of promoting all of the participants on social media channels. If you’re a marketer and you’re looking for some social love, Inbound.org discussions are the place to be.


David SmithDavid Smith

David Smith is co-founder/co-creative leader of advertising agency, Immortology in Chapel Hill, N.C. Previously, Smith has been executive creative director of Carton Donofrio Partners, Baltimore, co-founder and chief creative officer of The Republik, Durham, N.C., and group creative director/senior partner at J. Walter Thompson’s flagship office in NY. His work has been reported on in The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Time, LA Times, NewsMax, Adweek and Ad Age and featured on shows including Entertainment Tonight, Access Hollywood, Inside Edition, CMT and CNN/FN.

The key to getting content shared to going contagious is…

To begin with a surprising and hard-to-ignore concept. Given that, the rest will follow. In other words, the medium is not the message; the message is the message.

One example would be Dirt Devil’s Scarily Successful Exorcist Video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aGb8pMIeY6w. Dirt Devil wanted to market their vacuums to a new audience – men. To get the word out that Dirt Devil vacuum cleaners are supernaturally powerful, they created a video designed to get men’s attention. In an incredibly well-done spoof of the Exorcist, a screaming woman is sucked up to her ceiling and dragged across it back and forth by an oblivious elderly lady in the apartment above, vacuuming her floor with a Dirt Devil.

The video was seeded on international horror blogs, shown at horror film festivals and run on international TV shows with over 70% male demographics. With over 28 million views, the video has raised awareness of Dirt Devil among men by 39%.

A second example would be Turner Network Television’s (TNT) Dramatic Ambient Ad, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=316AzLYfAzw.

TNT’s ambient extravaganza executed in a small-town square in Belgium is a riot – literally. Instead of creating a traditional ad, TNT’s European agency DGM, created a fully immersive brand experience to cleverly demonstrate their promise of We Know Drama. In a modern twist on a Candid Camera prank, the agency placed a large button and a sign that said ŒPush To Add Drama. An unwitting man does and all hell breaks loose from a biking accident to a fistfight to a gunfight – all to the surprise, fear and delight of bystanders.

A link to the video was first uploaded on the creative director’s Twitter account and the video spread like wildfire around the creative community. Major media outlets picked it up from there and in less than a week it had amassed over 29 million view on YouTube, 3.8 million shares on Facebook and 120,000 tweets.

A third example would be Volkswagen’s Delightful Fun Theory Campaign, http://www.thefuntheory.com

DDB Stockholm created an absolutely brilliant campaign to change people’s perceptions about driving environmentally friendly cars. Turns out that a lot of Europeans are not so excited about driving small hybrid cars with underwhelming, under the hood performance. They’re perceived as boring. So boring in fact that all the gas savings and doing good things for the planet simply aren’t enough to get people to buy them.

Through a website, a contest and quirky but powerful ambient gameifications DDB set out to prove that doing good doesn’t have to be boring. In fact, it can be quite fun.

They installed a musical stairs in a metro station to prove more people will take the stairs if taking the stairs is more fun. They proved people will litter less when there are trashcans that have sound effects of crowds cheering when trash is thrown into them. They even got drivers to slow down by rewarding non-speeders with the chance to win big bucks through a lottery funded by speeding fines.

To spread the word, they created videos of the fun theory in action and sponsored a global contest with big prizes for those who submitted the best fun theory ideas.

For its efforts, VW grew its market share in eco friendly cars from 8% to 14.7%, an increase of 87%. Its sales of the Passat EcoFuel rose by a whopping 106%. Overall, Volkswagen Sweden raised their share of the auto market from 10% to 13%.


Matt FieldingMatt Fielding

Matt Fielding is SEO Manager at Bolton-based search marketing agency Bring Digital.

When it comes to the most creative means of amplifying or promoting content…

I’m a massive fan of using egobait to encourage influencers to share your content, thereby extending your own reach by exposing your content to an already-established audience. By including these well-known people in your content, mentioning their articles or quoting them, you increase the likelihood of that person sharing your content with their followers.

I recently updated an older post to mention a well-known marketing tool and tweeted the owner to let him know. He then became aware of the article and tweeted it to his followers, who included the organiser of a popular search marketing conference who contacted me to invite me to present at the event. As well as a huge spike in traffic and social media shares, I gained real-world exposure from appearing at such a prestigious event.


Kate ProykovaKate Proykova

Kate Proykova is Managing Director of Hop Online, an SEO and Content Marketing Agency. Before joining Hop Online in the summer of 2012, Kate was part of the success of SiteGround.com, one of the top Web hosting brands. Long before Google Panda and Penguin Updates we launched, the SiteGround team was investing in a long-term content marketing strategy which paid off huge.

We’ve launched hundreds of Content campaigns and I’d share here some best practices for content promotion:

  • Quote or mention someone — it could be a company or a person and reach out to them when the post is published. They will be happy to share the post.
  • Write something controversial or negative — people tend to comment when disagree with you much more than when they like your post.
  • Use great custom visuals — people love to share great images and if you customize them properly, you’ll get your message spread.


Kevin CullenKevin Cullen

Kevin Cullen is Creative Director at Ulysses Media, a boutique public relations agency with clients in financial services, technology, non-profit, and entertainment. Kevin has spent the majority of his career in senior marketing, communications, and public relations roles for global firms in financial technology.

One of the more clever uses of content marketing promotion that I’ve seen is…

A campaign created by Thompson Reuters a few years back.

TR had just revamped one of their data products and had just hired a Subject Matter Expert to run the business. At a global industry event, they distributed postcards within the conference welcome packet, simply stating something to the extent of “Do you need to know the effect of today’s announced corporate actions on your portfolios? Do you need to know the exposure risks of the underlying securities in your derivative products? No. You just need to know Paul.” The postcard had web site information for the appropriate product sheet pages. In addition, an associated social media campaign ran in parallel, on LinkedIn and Twitter, with links back to TR’s product pages.

It was quite clever in that if you knew Paul – as many of us did – who is a very well respected as well as a very affable guy, you not only immediately felt you were being let in on the inside joke but you also realized that TR was very serious about this product. For those who did not know Paul, I expect that at the very least their interest was peaked. They probably also wondered if their own operations team were looking into these issues. Now they at least had a single name – only a first name, in fact – with whom to follow up.

I obviously do not have access to TR’s specific ROI metrics on this but I can state that sales of the product increased and that they surpassed their targeted annual quota for it.

I thought this was at once a simple and powerful use of content marketing promotion. I just wish I had thought of it.


Sandip SekhonSandip Sekhon

Sandip Sekhon is the CEO & Founder of crowdfunding website GoGetFunding.com – ranked by Forbes as one of the top fundraising sites in the world.

A creative and more importantly, the most successful content marketing strategy we’ve used is…

To look at the most popular content of competitors / industry news sites.

We then create a better or updated version of that post. Next, we move onto promotion and this is where analyzing the competitor post really comes in handy. We see who shared the original post and let them know about ours.

We also use tools such as Majestic SEO to see who has linked to the original post so that we can reach out to them too. This really seems to be an underutilized strategy that works brilliantly.


Megan BozmanMegan Bozman

Megan Bozman is Director of Marketing at Verne Global. Megan is responsible for creating content and messaging as well as market research and analysis. Over the past fifteen years, Megan has held roles in product marketing, content marketing, and sales for various B2B technology companies.

One of the most creative and memorable content promotion pieces for me was…

Verne Global’s “The Green Data Center Problem” animated video, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vBRStNUyIA4.

The exciting part about this was that it’s an animated video that has humor, but yet it still tells the story of what the problem is and how Verne Global solves it.

The video was developed to highlight the issues surrounding traditional data centers, including the rising cost and unpredictability of the power supply, as well as the increased carbon emissions-and bring awareness to the impact that data centers are having on global climate change and how carbon-free alternatives are becoming available.

The video also brings light to the alternative solution offered by Verne Global, an innovative developer of energy efficient data center campuses, including the industry’s first 100% dual sourced, renewably powered data center in Keflavik, Iceland.


Corey BarnettCorey Barnett

Corey Barnett is the Founder of Cleverly Engaged Marketing, helping local Texas
businesses and agencies connect with their audience online.

The most creative means of amplifying or promoting content that I’ve seen starts with…

Creating Content That Promotes Dialogue.

Yes, you can buy Facebook advertising and pay for content promotion on outbrain, but if you simply create content that connects with your audience and encourages a dialogue, you’ll find success.

I’ve used this technique myself. Case in point, I had a local insurance client in a small city of Lubbock, TX. Instead of talking about insurance (something too many other brands do is talk about themselves and their services by the way), I wrote an article about the city where the client was located.

Here it is: http://hettlerinsurance.com/2015/02/05/top-reasons-lubbock-best-place-live-2015-2/

It was something simple about the top reasons to live in Lubbock, but it earned 500+ shares on Facebook, and lead to several clients. Because it was a long form blog post and the first to connect with an audience it also increased the average time on site from 3 minutes to 7 minutes!

The reason it was effective, is because the audience (those who live in Lubbock) are often sour about living in Lubbock while several are passionate about being here! There’s truly this divide on the topic and it played out on the client’s Facebook post, with over 70 comments, people either defended the city or argued why it wasn’t a great place to live.

Applying this technique can work for many other companies and brands, it’s just that most are afraid to!


Paul SalvaggioPaul Salvaggio

Paul Salvaggio is VP of Marketing and Operations at digital marketing agency, Backbone Media, Inc.

What is the most creative means of amplifying or promoting a piece of content you’ve seen companies use (or have used yourself)?…

We just completed a 6 month marketing campaign that focused on mega-content production and amplification of content. We embarked on this campaign naturally to drive visitors to our site and generate leads. However we also wanted to experiment on different ways to create and amplify content and feel our methodology and amplification strategy was exceptionally creative.

Here is our rationale, methodology and amplification, results, takeaways:

RATIONALE:

For many of us, writing down our professional thoughts for the world to read and judge is painfully time consuming. In fact, I find many of our technology, manufacturing, bioscience and software clients refuse to even write at all. Think about it. Asking a busy engineer to be a part-time journalist is like asking a pig to fly. It just will not happen. The problem, however, is that the most interesting and engaging content lives with these thought leaders-your executives, engineers, partners, brand advocates, and customers. In terms of amplifying content, this is the very content your target audiences want to share most. The question becomes: how do you tap into this goldmine of content?

METHODOLOGY:

Here was our solution: Leverage a thought leader’s most accessible skill-talking-to produce large amounts of cross-media marketing assets (video, blog post, Slideshare, image quotes, tweets, linkedin post, pinterest pin, Facebook post) which we call mega-content.

AMPLIFICATION:

Although we did launch a press release and budgeted for a small amount of paid advertising, our promotion strategy relied heavily on the influencers socializing the content to their own networks. To increase the odds, my team developed a promotion packet for each thought leader with links to their video and transcripts, suggested tweets, a sample blog post, and links to social collateral like a SlideShare and a Pinterest pin. As a result, the majority of thought leaders shared the content on multiple channels. A few thought leaders also blogged about the initiative and Jay Baer actually likened it to “harvesting” which I thought was a great way to describe our efforts. His post “Capture Content First Format Content Late” continues to drive qualified traffic to the site.

RESULTS:

  • Traffic to our website more than doubled throughout the six month period.
  • Subscribers to our email list more than doubled.
  • Quality of subscribers improved and included more corporate emails.
  • Leads generated increased 250% as a result of this initiative including a handful of referrals from the participants themselves.
  • Quality of leads improved and included more corporate emails and phone numbers.
  • A new mega-content production service debuted on the heels of my operation team’s successful execution of this initiative – http://JustTalkB2B.com

TAKEAWAYS:

  • Get the information out of the heads of the people in your organization first via a recorded phone call and then reformat it into cross-media assets like blog posts, podcasts, videos, SlideShares, content apps, and so forth.
  • When creating a content strategy, Align with thought leaders, partners, customers and employees who have a relatively strong network and influence to optimize amplification.


Bojana IlicBojana Ilic

Bojana Ilic is Marketing Coordinator at Humanity, Inc., a business management software company.

What is the most creative means of amplifying or promoting a piece of content you’ve seen companies use (or have used yourself)?…

Many of our clients come from the retail and hospitality verticals, so for Valentine’s Day we created an interesting infographic about how this holiday impacts those industries. In order to promote our content and gather leads, we made a dedicated landing page, where visitors could download the infographic and sign up for a $100 amazon gift card giveaway contest we were running to promote the infographic and get leads.

We also reached out to retail and restaurant associations to let them know that we had created a piece of content highly relevant to their readers.

Submitting the infographic to various infographic-dedicated websites is a great way to promote your piece, as many of them will publish relevant, high-quality content.

All in all, this program gave us more than six times the social media shares of any other article or material we created in the past, while helping us to get more than 300 new leads in the process.


Maciej FitaMaciej Fita

Maciej Fita is the Managing Director of Brandignity, a full service internet marketing company.

I have two examples of really creative content promotion that have really stuck in my mind for years now..

1. Dollar Shave Club Video: This video cost them $4500 dollars and single handily drove in millions in revenue and put them at the top as a premier shave blade provider. The video itself changed the game for them.

2. Grasshopper Phone Service: Back in 2009 (I believe) I received a chocolate covered grasshopper in the mail. It made me instantly check out the company. I’ve been a customer for 5 years now just from that grasshopper.


Justin KerbyJustin Kerby

Justin Kerby is a Co-Founder of Cave Social, a digital marketing agency with offices in Fort Lauderdale and Toronto. He specializes in search engine optimization, content marketing, and media buying.

We’re always looking for new ways to promote content here at Cave Social, and one of the more creative tools we’ve used to promote content is…

Wistia.

Wistia is a video player that gives marketers the ability to customize their video – for our clients, we often will put a call to action at the end of the video to receive a free e-book, article, or blog post. By placing aesthetically pleasing calls to action at the end of our videos, we can promote new content to relevant viewers.


Donna ChildressDonna Childress

Donna Childress is a Writer and Communications Strategist at Yoko.co, a Website Design Firm and Tactical Interactive Agency based near Washington DC, and also the founder of Childress Communications LLC. Previously, she was an editor for highly targeted direct marketing e-mails for 9 million subscribers at LifeMinders, Inc. and a writer and webmaster for Jaffe Associates and its national law firm clients. Her work has served AARP, American Forest Foundation, National Confectioners Association, National Council on Aging, National Association for Area Agencies on Aging, U.S. Department of the Navy, and many others.

What is the most creative means of amplifying or promoting a piece of content you’ve seen companies use (or have used yourself)?…

The Republic of Tea has a Tea 101 email series that sings on execution. It walks through types of teas, how to steep a hot cup, etc., with beautiful photography and delicate artwork that bring to mind the relaxation and taste of tea.


Peter MoellerPeter Moeller

Peter Moeller is the Director of Marketing for Scarinci Hollenbeck, a 5 office 55 attorney law firm in NY/NJ/DC. He is the key driver of firm marketing initiatives including the implementation of a full scale web 2.0 lead generation platform. He leads a marketing team, vendors, and technology to drive business growth and increase brand awareness.

My experience with content marketing always had to be creative, because I am in an industry most people probably don’t want to read about – “Law”. Here is an example of creative content promotion that we worked on…

When I began our content marketing strategy, we implemented a very large scale offensive attack on the internet – We created 8 websites took on 3 columns and started pumping out around 150 pieces of content a month. It was argues. I was lucky enough to be in a department that provided me an adequate budget to complete some of the tasks at hand, but being an entrepreneur and a gorilla marketer at heart, I knew other than paid sponsorships, I had to figure out a way to propel our content out to the masses.

We created a massive “free” social media campaign that spanned every known social platform for both the public and specific to the legal community. I forced our 50+ attorneys to turn over their social “profiles” to me and allow me to run them. We had hundreds of accounts that we would share and promote our content with. All the while we were building relationships, connecting to new people, and driving a social brand awareness to our practice.

The effort changed the perception to our firm, it has solidified our web presence as a leader and it now allows us to shift gears and promote material to thousands of people connected to us with a few processes. It has garnered great feedback from existing clients, adds value to potential clients and has brought in dozens of random clients we would have otherwise never been exposed too.


Kathryn LagdenKathryn Lagden

Kathryn Lagden is a Digital Strategist with 15+ years’ experience managing online operations, digital marketing, and social media for various clients and companies. Kathryn is an active member of her school’s parent council and blogs at Home Room Mom.

One creative means of amplifying or promoting a piece of content that we do is…

We create summary posts that incorporates content from across the web, including our own, to help room parents plan and organize class parties. We always get permission to include images in our summary posts, this starts the relationship with other sites and bloggers.

After we publish the post we follow up with a personal email to each person letting them know the post is up and inviting them to share it with their audience. Being genuine, courteous, and simply asking for the share is often all it takes to amplify our summary posts and get them shared beyond our own community. We also share on social channels with a shout out to folks we included in the summary.


Brad HinesBrad Hines

Brad Hines is a Digital marketing strategist, Writer, and Founder of HungryKids.org, a not for profit grassroots organization dedicated to raising awareness for world hunger and poverty relief.

One of the best tried and true content marketing methods is to…

Offer users a tool, or an infographic even, of quality information, where in order to use it, the viewer is incentivized to share it.

This is where growth hacking meets content marketing. For example, there is a tool I like for unfollowing people on Twitter called Manage Flitter. When you joined, you are automatically following their own Twitter account. Most people are okay with this as they just got use from them back.


Alexander RuggieAlexander Ruggie

Alexander Ruggie is the PR Director for 911 Restoration, a home restoration company that specializes in disaster recovery solutions while providing homeowners with a fresh start.

Normally I would take an opportunity like this to promote something that my company has done, but in truth, my favorite piece of marketing ever is…

The Red Bull Space Jump. It truly exemplifies their “gives you wings” advertising in a way that entertains, inspires, and strikes awe into everyone from the kid who wants to be an astronaut to actual astronauts.

This stunt, broke records at the same time as breaking our traditional concept of what marketing can really be in a way that won’t be forgotten for viewers, Felix Baumgartner, or Red Bull for a very long time.


Mansi GoelMansi Goel

Mansi Goel is the Chief Content strategist for Digital Marketing Firm, WiseCalvin.com.

What is the most creative means of amplifying or promoting a piece of content you’ve seen companies use (or have used yourself)?…

We have a sister company, WorkoutTrends.com, where we all health enthusiasts write on health and fitness. Through trial and errors, we found out that visual content (images, videos, gifs, infographics ) fetched us far more visibility and loyal user base than any quality of text content.

Once, we realized that, we focused our energies on infographics and the result was more than 10k shares on one infographic !!! Here is the link to that infographic (http://workouttrends.com/nurse-night-shift-burnout). We have a traffic of close to a million visitors monthly mainly because of the workout videos we offer on our blog.

How we achieved this?

Any great content marketer knows that the trick to get your content the relevant exposure is to serve it to the right audience, at the right time, in the right format. We did just that.

Format, we kept it more of visual and interactive. Audience, we fished deep on every social network and forum to select those that are passionate about health and are actually info-mongerers. Once we found out the places where our audience hung out, all we did was sync our watches with theirs and schedule the posts accordingly.

All this while, we made sure that the copy of the post was as inquisitive as possible to engage and generate curiosity.


Zach HammerZach Hammer

Zach Hammer is the Marketing Director of The Snyder Group: Team Driven Real Estate, a team of Real Estate professionals specializing in all aspects of the Las Vegas residential market.

The most creative means of amplifying or promoting a piece of content I’ve seen is…

Through content upgrades.

The basic idea is that you’re leveraging the targeted audience of “people who are reading this article” to promote the post in exchange for an upgraded aspect of the article.

The upgrades can be as simple as a checklist based on the post, a swipe file of examples, a pdf version of the post, and infographic, etc… Anything that takes that exact article, one step further.

People can then get access to that bonus by Tweeting the article or sharing on facebook. The Service Paywithatweet.com makes this super simple.

In our industry, https://placester.com is doing a great job with these types of content upgrades on their blog.


Dan ScalcoDan Scalco

Dan Scalco is the owner of Digitalux, a digital marketing company in Hoboken, NJ that specializes in SEO and content marketing.

One of the most creative means of content promotion that I see often but rarely hear people talk about is…

Community engagement on forums, specifically Reddit.

Reddit is a great place to host an “Ask Me Anything” (reddit.com/r/ama) whereby the community can ask you questions on a variety of questions (what you do, your business, etc). I suggest going to sub-reddits (the name for the various communities that make up reddit) that pertain to what you are trying to promote and asking the moderators of that community if they would be open to letting you host an AMA. If you’re a dermatologist, try http://www.reddit.com/r/skincareaddiction. If you’re a social media expert, try http://www.reddit.com/r/socialmedia. There’s a sub-reddit for everything!

When your AMA is live, let the content you are promoting come second to the questions you’re answering. Only “plug” your content when it is natural to the conversation you are having.

My favorite example of this strategy in use is how the CEO of CreditKarma.com hosted his AMA – polite, courteous, and answered every question honestly.


Paula ConwayPaula Conway

Paula Conway is the Founder and President of Astonish Media Group, a strategic media company based in New York City. She is also an author and journalist.

We create content for many partners, including American Airlines Asia and the New York Daily News. We also create content for our own clients on a daily basis, using the media to leverage the content regularly, so we are experts in this area. Here’s my favorite example of creative content promotion…

We recently provided this article, bylined by our client, 5 Critical Tips for Growing Your Social Media Fan Base. Once published here, we sent it out widely to bloggers and editors. It then appeared in 16 separate publications (and still counting) including the Nashville Business Journal, Tennessee State News, Gremln.com, and Social Times.

We then used this entrance with Social Times to get this article published about the client’s new social media website, Sqeeqee.com. The relationship includes providing relevant content, building your client as an expert, building media trust, and knowing which content to move out, and when. To this point, we are still getting placements on the “5 Critical Tips for Growing Your Social Media Fan Base”and consumers are still commenting to the article about Social Networthing. This is amplification.

This equals two pieces of relevant content from one source body that is still working to get more content placements.


Michael EpsteinMichael Epstein

Michael Epstein is a successful CEO turned Online Marketing, Web Development & Business Strategy Consultant at GetOnlineWithMe.com.

One great creative content promotion example I have was with my previous company…

We turned unique content into a press-release format and ended up getting significant coverage. We might put a fun or interesting twist on one of our products and document it in a blog style article, but then promote the post with a press release.

One example was for one of our products we created which was a mouse pad with a Teflon surface for really smooth movement. Around the 4th of July, we created a post showing us using the mouse pad to grill hamburgers on an outdoor grill. It was a fun way to demonstrate how the surface was so slick. We then created a press release for the article talking about how we used a mouse pad to grill hamburgers for a 4th of July BBQ. We ended up some great press in large industry publications which generated backlinks, traffic and direct sales. It was like doing outreach, but in a slightly different format that catered towards news publications.


Kyle ReyesKyle Reyes

Kyle Reyes is the President and Creative Director of The Silent Partner Marketing, a boutique marketing firm focused on helping your business grow in the digital age.

The most creative means of amplifying or promoting content that I’ve seen is the use of…

Facebook targeted ads and dark posts to promote content.

The brands that use this tactic allocate a small budget to a piece that they know will have a high level of engagement once people are exposed to it…then they serve it up to an extremely targeted demographic and encourage engagement.

For example, they launched a video for one of the orthodontists they work with. They were opening a third location so they shot a really quick “construction” piece with the owner, her husband and her kids. They allocated a $50 budget towards a highly targeted demographic. People started engaging with it like crazy, and within two days they reached well over 26,000 people.


Kindra FosterKindra Foster

Kindra Foster is the President and CEO of Foster Executive Writing & Editing, LLC., a multi-industry, multi-medium writing and editing firm.

Surprisingly, the amount of traffic to my blog entries exploded when I began…

Listing a short tantalizing clip from the blog below my email signature.

I tried it on a whim, and it turned out to be one of my most successful promotions. It will only work if you send a lot of email to a lot of people. Companies can require attachment to all employee email. One of the benefits is that you are promoting to people who already know you, so the length of the read tends to be longer. And of course the blogs have to be good. 🙂


David ProchaskaDavid Prochaska

David Prochaska is the Founder of MarketRiser, an online resource for online business, internet marketing, and entrepreneurship, and Digital Marketing Director at Fidelitas Development. He believes in helping others provide value to the internet through content marketing.

One of the most creative examples I’ve seen of content promotion is…

The app that Charmin created called Sit or Squat.

The way Charmin amplifies their brand is genius. Everyone has been on the go and needed to use the restroom. Every time someone opens the app to see where a clean restroom is, they are shown the Charmin brand. It’s the ultimate top of mind awareness campaign.


Edd WilsonEdd Wilson

Edd Wilson is the Digital Account Manager at Impression, a digital marketing agency based in Nottingham that delivers outstanding SEO, PR, PPC, web design and mobile marketing campaigns for clients.

We’ve done a lot of great content marketing projects for some of our clients in the past 6 months. Here are a couple of examples that stand out…

*Movement of Data*
http://www.akita.co.uk/movement-of-data/

We created this content for our IT support client and the concept is to explain how data travels around the world in a visual way. This piece got featured on Hubspot along with many other popular publications, we also managed to get a lot of social for this piece.

*Water Softening Guide*
https://www.harveywatersofteners.co.uk/water-softening-consumers-guide

This long form content piece is based around the explanation of hard/soft water a long with the health benefits. We believe the main feature of this piece is the interactive map which allows the audience to see if they have hard water in their area. We’ve recently been in touch with a lot of beauty publications and authors due the impact that hard water has on skin and hair.

We have also been speaking to companies with hard water related products. This would add a totally different angle for the promotion of the campaign. Overall, we really like the idea of the tool helping people with their research.


Jaime NetzerJaime Netzer

Jaime Netzer is a nationally published journalist and is also Content Editor at The Zebra, where she helms the insurance industry publication Quoted.

What is the most creative means of amplifying or promoting a piece of content you’ve seen companies use (or have used yourself)?…

I think creativity in content promotion often stems from originality of ideas first. We’re a digital car insurance agency—like a Kayak for car insurance—and it’s always a challenge for us to brainstorm exciting content in an area that, frankly, most consumers would rather not think about. But this is where creativity is key for our marketing department.

My coworker recently had the idea to conduct an experiment of sorts: He gave up his car for a month and relied only on ridesharing instead. The goal was exploratory: We wanted to see what it felt like on a day-to-day basis to live without a car. He ended up saving money and learning a lot about what a mess insurance is for rideshare drivers—a perfect tie-in for us.

After the month was up, we wrote a post, “Uber vs. Lyft: 5 Things I Learned About Giving Up My Car“, summarizing what we’d found. Confident in the strength of the post, we used a multi-pronged approach to promote it. We knew that we had, for all intents and purposes,*created* news, and that the idea was relevant from multiple angles to journalists: There was the local angle, the insurance angle, and the human interest angle. We pitched all three, individually, to curated lists of press contacts we spent weeks building.

The results were impressive: We had TV mentions on stations in Houston and Austin, features in the most relevant business publications, including Insurance Business America and Insurance Journal. Because we’d invested time and resources into making a compelling summary of the experiment, had several publications, including Business Insider, simply republish the piece whole. The end result was more than 100k views and counting of the story, and many hundreds of social shares.

To understand how to promote a story, we tried to think hard about what might actually be compelling for a journalist or reader, and to pitch the idea that way.


Yaniv NavotYaniv Navot

Yaniv Navot is the Performance Marketing Director at Dynamic Yield, a leading SaaS-based solutions for real-time website personalization and optimization. Yaniv is an experienced search marketing expert, with a focus on web analytics and conversion optimization.

One of the most creative (and effective) means of amplifying a piece of content is to…

Think global and prepare a content marketing strategy for multilingual distribution.

Getting the content professionally translated is just one strategy to choose from, but here’s another direction to consider: Reach out to relevant blogs and outlets in foreign languages, which are highly aligned to the subject you’re writing about. Offer them to translate your content and republish it on their website. The power of translated content can get you massive traffic spikes, conversions, global brand awareness and let’s not forget the valuable SEO values.

As an example, here is an article that was originally published on the Dynamic Yield’s digital marketing blog: 5 Reasons Why I Stopped Following A/B Testing Case Studies. The article was translated and republished on the Russian website Siliconrus.com. The entire translation was done by the mother tongue Russian journalists at Siliconrus, with zero budget from our side. As a result, we got some nice, targeted traffic and even a few interesting leads.


Neha MittalNeha Mittal

Neha Mittal is the Head of Strategy and Business Development at Arrow Devices, a leading provider of verification IPs, validation solutions and debug tools to SOC and ASIC companies worldwide.

Typically the following steps help any content get maximum leverage for us…

  • Step 1: Look at previous blog posts, and analyse what type of posts have got maximum page visits – from Twitter, Facebook, Google+ etc. Also check for which ones got the maximum back links. You will see a trend /theme coming out for sure.
  • Step 2: Plan more content around that theme.
  • Step 3: Post it on Social Media and ask your employees/ friends to share/retweet and like/favourite your content.
  • Step 4: Write to websites that have previously shade your posts, and tell them about your new post.

Fear of Links

links
*

Flashback to 1999 – journalists from old media are afraid to link to other publications or sources despite the new opportunities the Web offers – bloggers embrace the Internet and hyperlinks in contrast and get significant attention by doing so.

15 years later history is repeating because publishers afraid of Google do not link anymore

or just using the so called “nofollow” attribute to mark their own links as potential spam.

 

Why is Google scaring people into not linking?

Publishers around the world are increasingly dependent on Google. Germany’s largest publisher, an infamous media mogul similar to Ruport Murdoch is literally afraid of Google.

In recent years Google has made getting so called organic traffic gradually more and more difficult. While at it the search traffic monopolist has been often arbitrarily “penalizing” websites in their search results and thus harming or even destroying whole businesses.

By now Google both algorithmically and manually penalizes webmasters for not only incoming links you have no control over – that is when other people link to your site – and outgoing links – that is when you link other sites on the Web.

Given the wide spread penalties it’s no wonder people think twice before linking out.

Website owners also frequently get link removal requests from people who are themselves scared of Google. They assume that your links are somehow negatively impacting their Google rankings. Often Google even suggests themselves that your links are harmful like happened recently to 15 years old blogging veteran site Metafilter.

Will Google drop links as a ranking factor?

Isn’t it ironic that one of the first blogging pioneers, Metafilter got hit by an ominous Google penalty? Does Google want to weaken the actual backbone of the Web as we know it, the hyperlink? They claim that they want just to keep their index clean and spammer at bay but legitimate websites get affected by updates and penalties all the time.

The Google algorithm still depends on links.

At the same time they are frantically attempting to find other means of determining page authority. They haven’t found any promising alternatives yet. Other ranking factors are mostly about filtering out bad results and additional insights in the value of each resource. You basically can’t tell which page is more important without counting links as of now.

 

The hyperlink is the foundation of the Web

I have said a few times and I say it again: there is no Web without links. A hyperlink is what constitutes the Web. Without a link you only have static text saved and accessible on a server when you know the address. this is more akin to a library. Of course Google is like the ultimate librarian.

Google just need to index everything in their library and then every other link is competing with them.

Google is the ultimate link list. They do not want others to link out to resources. They want people to use their search engine to navigate the Web. Ideally of course these searchers will also click Google ads. Many do without even realizing that they are clicking on ads.

This is evidently a paradox. While Google depends on links it also competes with other sites that offer links. They need your content to index but their frown upon your links in it. This way Google is also undermining the actual foundation of the Web, the connections between documents and their relations.

Linking out is the best content promotion technique

We all have probably heard of the term attention economy and more recently “content shock”. There is a lot of content out there, much more than you and me can digest let alone notice. Even when it comes to small niches like SEO for example you will struggle to read everything important or substantial on any given day.

You have a finite attention span that only suffices to notice a few dozen articles and choose may several of them to skim. You end up reading and saving for later just a few of those, maybe just one or two.

You need influential people to notice your content so that they spread it.

You can do outreach of course, but that’s tedious and potentially annoying. What you need is that people actually notice your article, video or infographic automatically. The easiest technique to achieve this is to mention actual people who need to take notice in the content itself.

This so called egobaiting works to some extent for videos and infographics too. In any case: when you “ping” influencers and other bloggers or publishers and they like what they see they will share your article to their respective audiences.

Independent online strategy

The question now is whether you are implementing an independent online strategy based on content promotion and building audiences or whether you solely rely on gatekeepers like Google l and Facebook.

Monopolistic gatekeepers still give away some “free” traffic without forcing you to buy ads yet.

Both corporations control the largest part of their markets. Google dominates search traffic globally while Facebook is the the far largest social media traffic source in most countries. Even getting that free traffic costs a lot of money and effort. Both Google optimization and Facebook engagement are not be underestimated.

You have to compete not only with your direct rivals selling the same products or offering the same services you also have to fight for attention with a myriad of other content creators, publishers and marketers. Everybody wants to get at least a tiny slice of the attention pie while it gets smaller each day.

Assuming that Google and Facebook will always provide “free” traffic to your site is probably the most dangerous fallacy these days.

I have seen business owners cringe and despair over Google updates and manual penalties while they were very apprehensive to even consider any alternative routes. You need to build an audience of your own. Audience building means that you attract readers to your content directly.

The best way to build an audience is to get recommended by people in your niche, industry and/or country.

The easiest way to get recommendations is to link out to those who are able and willing to recommend you. It’s about people like you:

  1. bloggers
  2. marketers
  3. publishers
  4. webmasters.

It’s not just about getting social shares on the same sites like Facebook. Likes are even worse. You need actual endorsements from your colleagues.

So either you obey Google and thus stop linking out, or you ignore Google’s bizarre policies to focus on your audience while promoting your content by linking out to your peers.

* Creative Commons image by Mark Skipper

FREE GUIDE: Boost the Value of Your Content

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  • Improve profitability for your best(and worst) content
  • Actionable steps for more traffic, links and leads from your content

 

6 Content Syndication Tools to Help You Share And Distribute Your Content

Content Syndication
Image via: Flickr.com

Getting your content read is the most important part of content marketing.

No matter how brilliant your blog posts are, you won’t be able to engage your audience and turn them into clients unless they had a chance to read them first.

But sometimes traditional promotion methods, SEO and social media are not enough. You don’t have a large following yet and your site isn’t strong enough for search engines to rank it high in results.

Your other option then is to syndicate your content.

What is Content Syndication

Content syndication is a process in which you allow other websites to republish your content, naturally with a proper attribution to you as the author.

Having your content appearing on other sites gives you a chance to drive more engagement, boost traffic to your site and increase the exposure of your brand or product.

I am sure you’ve probably seen syndicated blog posts already. Sites like CNN, Forbes etc. feature contextual ads at the bottom of the article, often close to “Related Posts” section. Look for the label similar to: “From around the web” or “Similar articles around the web”. These posts have been syndicated from other sites.

content syndication strategy

There is a growing number of content syndication networks, companies which allow you to use their existing network of sites to syndicate your content to. Most of these networks operate on Pay Per Click basis, which means that you specify how much you are willing to pay per each click and are charged only for the actual clicks you receive.

Below I listed the top content syndication networks on the market today.

1. Outbrain

Outbrain

Outbrain is undoubtedly a leader among content syndication networks, priding itself to be dedicated exclusively to the distribution of high quality content only. Outbrain places links to your content on sites like Wall Street Journal, Reuters and many others and allows you to promote blog posts, videos, media reviews, slideshows and mobile optimised content.

From information I gathered around the web, their average CPC is in a region of $0.25 – $0.50 which is pretty good compared to other options on the market.

2. Zemanta

Zemanta

Zemanta is similar to Outbrain. The network syndicates your posts across a number of sites which includes hundreds of thousands of publishers, with popular news sites and blogs among them.

Also just like Outbrain, Zemanta does all the work for you. To get started you need to specify what content you want to promote, titles and URLs. Once done, Zemanta will index your content, optimize it and promote it to their network.

Zemanta also features a handy WordPress Plugin connecting bloggers with relevant content. The plugin recommends content to writers that is suitable for whatever they are writing right now.

3. ARC

ARC

ARC is somewhat different from the two networks mentioned above. it offers a way to send your content across various channels, similarly to PRNewsWire, a service ARC is part of.

In ARC your content assets are assembled together into an interactive branded player of sort and distributed to thousands of media points. Readers can find your player through organic search as well. Other distinct options ARC offers are the ability to include a call to action on your branded player landing page and get various kind of reports on how your branded player performs.

4. Taboola

Taboola

Taboola is yet another syndication network, similar to Outbrain and Zemanta. It syndicates your blog posts, slideshows and videos to a network of publishers and websites. According to their website, Taboola delivers 130 billions monthly recommendations to 350 million unique monthly users  with over a million of content pieces. Publishers using Taboola include Time, USA Today, TMZ and Cracked.

5. nRelate

nRelate

nRelate, just like Outbrain, Taboola and Zemanta surface your content in a form of “Recommended from around the web” contextual ads on websites and news portals around the web. According to their own data, it is serving 4 billion impressions across 100,000 publishers to 500 million unique readers. And just like the other two networks, nRelate operates on Pay Per Click basis allowing you to set your own price and pay only for the clicks you receive.

6. ZergNet

ZergNet

ZergNet, the last network on the list pride themselves at having such clients as College Humor, AOL., MTV and others using their service.

ZergNet is free to use, however, they require you to install their plugin on your site too so when using their service to promote your content, you will also be helping others by promoting theirs.

Since most of these networks operate on the same principles, there is very little difference in how you set up campaign for each of them. To get started, you need to select the content you want to promote and let the network start syndicating it to their partners sites to drive you traffic to your site.

These services will help you deliver content in front of your target audience. Moreover, you will be able to access various metrics and analysis about your campaign performance. This will allow you to find out how your campaigns are performing, what content you should syndicate more but also, what content your audience is looking for and be able to deliver content to their expectations.

What about free syndication tools?

Most of content syndication networks work on Pay Per Click basis. ZergNet is free but you need to include your site in the network in return.

If you want to promote content completely free though, you can submit it to a number of syndication channels like hackernews, inbound.org or scoop.it. You have to learn the nuances of each community before doing so though, otherwise your content and activities might be perceived as spam.

Can Your Content Strategy Adapt To Future Marketing Trends? – April Content Marketing Roundup

In last month’s Content Marketing Roundup, we focused on utilizing creative content strategies to help you develop and effectively promote your content across different mediums, whether on your own company blog or via popular social media sites like Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and even Reddit. Those strategies are still viable as ever, and so this month we wanted to capitalize on those creative ideas by introducing a strategy angle that we all could practice more of: adaptability.

Adaptability is the ability to adjust oneself readily to different conditions: to change or be changed in order to fit or work better. Adaptability in content marketing is crucial if you want to remain competitive in the changing marketing landscape, especially if, for instance:

  • you have up until recently relied heavily on guest posting as a means of content promotion, since it is now being termed dead (although that is up for debate); or
  • you have many competitors in your content niche, since the current tools available online today are not only enabling but encouraging them to (legally) steal your content; or
  • you haven’t given any thought to producing viral content, since the use of a “viral” content strategy is giving some brands, big and small, huge marketing ROI.

These are just a few examples of current trends in Content Marketing that could impact your content strategy, and that make a strong case for making sure your strategy can adapt to these and to future trends.

But why else would we want to focus on adaptability in your content marketing strategy? Because that’s one of the top qualities of any healthy business or leader. The articles we chose to feature this month’s roundup all provide valuable advice based on that idea.

Table of Contents:

Content Marketing Roundup:

Screen Shot 2014-04-07 at 1.16.43 PM

12 Ways to Increase Traffic From Google Without Building Links

Cyrus Shephard on The MOZ blog

This post comes in perfect timing now that many marketers are turning away from guest posting and, instead, investing more time and marketing resources in alternative tactics to increase traffic. The MOZ blog is known to be consistently on the cutting edge of SEO, so as expected, this article is packed with a handful of solid, actionable steps you can put to use immediately to build your audience without any manual link building.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be very helpful for content marketers and SEO’s who are refocusing their marketing efforts away from link building. It could also be helpful to business owners and bloggers who have new websites that need a boost in traffic.

From the Post:

6. Improving site speed

Improving site speed not only improves visitor satisfaction (see point #1) but it may also have a direct influence on your search rankings. In fact, site speed is one of the few ranking factors Google has confirmed.

One of the interesting things we learned this year, with help from the folks at Zoompf, is that actual page load speed may be far less important than Time to First Byte (TTFB). TTFB is the amount of time it takes a server to first respond to a request.

As important as page speed is for desktop search Google considers it even more important for mobile devices. Think about the last time you waited for a page to load on your cell phone with a weak signal.”


Most People Won’t Actually Read Your Landing Page – How to Get Your Message Across Anyway

By Shane Jones on KISS Metrics

One of the most important steps on the path to conversion that any reader on your website will take is the landing page. No matter how stellar your content is or how valuable your product offerings may be, the fact of the matter is that if your landing page isn’t formatted intuitively for them, your reader will leave without ever performing the desired goal and you both lose. This article is a great, well-researched overview of how to optimize your landing page so that your reader gets the message you want them to get every time.

Who Can This Help?
This post can help established businesses and brands with a website or blog, and where their goal is to capture conversions through one or more landing pages. This applies to those looking for organic traffic goals as well as paid search conversions.

From the Post:

The Importance of Relevance

One thing that all viewers have in common: they decide whether to even glimpse at your landing page in the first place, or not, based on its relevance. Time is of the essence, and people aren’t going to take time out of their day to read or even scan content that doesn’t have any significance for them. That’s why you need to really get to know your target audience and write content that will specifically appeal to them.

According to e-commerce professional Angie Schottmuller, viewers are looking for content that matches three criteria for them in “the triangle of relevance.”

  1. The content is important based on the current season. That is, the content is relevant because it is timely.
  2. The content is associated with the viewer’s area of expertise or business. People are interested in content that will help them with their professional development.
  3. The content is significant because it coincides with the viewer’s personal interests. Content that appeals to a person’s hobbies, interests, curiosities, goals, or dreams is relevant because people like to read about things they enjoy.

While you may not be able to incorporate all three criteria into your landing page, you always should try to target at least two. Find out what’s relevant to your users, and then create the corresponding content to encourage them to stay.”


Micro Content, Maxi Effect — How Shifts Toward Visual Content Will Impact Marketers

By Rebecca Lieb on Marketing Land

“Quality vs. quantity” has long been the mantra of any content marketer or online publisher when it comes to publishing valuable content online. However, given the incredible upsurge of mobile and social media usage (i.e.,140 characters or less) in recent years, long form content is not necessarily better in every case of online publishing. This article explores this dilemma in a meaningful way, showing you how mobile-friendly visual and audio-visual content assets will continue to rise in value and popularity, and also why you should start investing in these types of content sooner than later.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be helpful to any business or brand with an established presence online and social media, and who already consistently produces and publishes high-quality content in their niche. This serves as a sign of things to come in the area of online content, and would help these businesses solidify an adaptable content marketing strategy that leverages more visual content.

From the Post:

“Ease of use is key here as well. Platforms like Facebook and Twitter don’t create content, rather they enable its dissemination — and if no one updates their status, then these platforms don’t stand a chance. Clearly, it’s a lot easier to upload that shot of your Hawaiian vacation (or delicious lunch, or mischievous puppy) than to narrate in detail why such things are interesting — especially while using your thumbs and combating auto-correct.

Content Strategy Implications

That content is becoming shorter, less verbose and more visual obviously has tremendous ramifications for content strategy.”


The Growing Cost of “Viral” Videos Shows Shift in Marketing Landscape

By Tom Doton on The Information

This article evolves around the story of a well-known and highly successful Dollar Shave Club marketing campaign in 2012, which was actually its first marketing video, featuring its founder Michael Dubin talking to the camera. Today, the 93-second spot announcing Dollar Shave is hailed as a prime example of viral startup marketing and if you’ve watched it, you could probably see how it might have inspired your favorite video campaigns from other brands in the past couple of years. But what’s especially interesting to note about this particular viral campaign is that, while the Dollar Shave Club’s introductory video campaign was naturally shareable, the company was also actually pushing the “virality” of the video with up to $10,000 a day in paid advertising. This goes to show how leveraging multiple marketing channels on one piece of content can really maximize your ROI.

Who Can This Help?
This article can help virtually any business or brand online today that is open to using and integrating different marketing channels such as television, video, blogging, and paid advertising, to promote their most popular content.

From the Post:
N/A (*requires payment to read in full)


The Six Things That Make Stories Go Viral Will Amaze And Maybe Infuriate You

By Maria Konnikova on The New Yorker

Are you sick of the word “viral” yet? Well too bad, because it’s here to stay. Thankfully, among the many marketing strategy articles floating around the web about “how to write a viral post”, The New Yorker published this really hearty post that provides a bit more substance about the psychology behind viral posts that is worth a read. While this article was actually published a bit further back than the past month, we just couldn’t help but include this in our roundup.

Who Can This Help?
This article can help content marketers who are trying to use viral posts as part of their content strategy, and it could also be of general interest to any marketer who wants to know a bit more about their reader’s user experience when it comes to digesting viral content on the web. Because, whether or not you’re trying to get your content to go viral, it’s always helpful to learn more about your reader.

From the Post:

“The presence of a memory-inducing trigger is also important. We share what we’re thinking about—and we think about the things we can remember. This facet of sharing helps explain the appeal of list-type stories (which I wrote about in detail last month), as well as stories that stick in your mind because they are bizarre. Lists also get shared because of another feature that Berger often finds successful: the promise of practical value. “We see top-ten lists on Buzzfeed and the like all the time,” he notes. “It allows people to feel like there’s a nice packet of useful information that they can share with others.” We want to feel smart and for others to perceive us as smart and helpful, so we craft our online image accordingly.”


Emotion in Marketing: How Our Brains Decide Which Content Is Shareable

By Courtney Seiter on The Buffer Blog

This article is a decidedly very scientific look into content creation and how certain types of content affect your brain, leading to certain actions such as sharing and trusting. It also covers a full gamut of possible emotions that can be triggered by reading content, such as happiness, fear, amusement, interest, surprise, hope, affection, anger, excitement, and more, and makes sense of how these resulting emotions can lead to reader behavior through graphs and comparisons.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be helpful to any content marketer or blogger whose goal is to create compelling content that is likely to be shared and trusted, since this article helps you to literally draw connections between types of content that will make your readers want to share, trust, or reject your content. It is also a generally fascinating read for anyone who is interested in content and on human psychology.

From the Post:

Anger/disgust make us more stubborn

The hypothalamus is responsible for anger, along with a lot of other base level needs like hunger, thirst, response to pain and sexual satisfaction.

And while anger can lead to other emotions like aggression, it can also create a curious form of stubbornness online, as a recent University of Wisconsin study discovered.

In it, participants were asked to read a blog post containing a balanced discussion of the risks and benefits of nanotechnology. The body of the post was the same for everyone, but one group got civil comments below the article while another got rude comments that involved name-calling and more anger-inducing language.

The rude comments made participants dig in on their stance: Those who thought nanotechnology risks were low became more sure of themselves when exposed to the rude comments, while those who believed otherwise moved further in that direction.

Even more interesting is what happened to those who previously didn’t feel one way or another about nanotechnology. The civil group had no change of opinion.

Those exposed to rude comments, however, ended up with a much more polarized understanding of the risks connected with the technology.

Simply including an ad hominem attack in a reader comment was enough to make study participants think the downside of the reported technology was greater than they’d previously thought.

So negativity has a real and lasting effect – and it’s evident in how content gets shared, too. In the previously mentioned New York Times viral content study, some negative emotions are positively associated with virality – most specifically, anger.”

 


 

How to Steal Your Competitor’s Best Content & Use It Against Them

By Dave Schneider on Matthew Woodward

Who Can This Help?

From the Post:

 


3 Vital Marketing Lessons From the World’s Most Offensive Doughnut Shop

By Sonia Simone on CopyBlogger

Real world examples of great marketing are some of the best learning tools, in our opinion, so it’s only appropriate that we highlight this article about a little donut shop that utilizes some simple, yet core marketing principles to build an incredible popular and memorable brand. While this donut shop isn’t an online business trying to create and promote content, the lessons would apply to any business online today who are trying to establish a memorable brand as well.

Who Can This Help?
As mentioned, this article contains lessons that would help any business online today that is looking to establish a memorable brand around their business. These lessons would be especially helpful for such businesses who are in the early stages of development or who are willing to take risks, since many of the actionable steps mentioned in the article apply to things like your brand imaging and isolating certain audiences (for the betterment of your brand).

From the Post:

1. Be memorable

Voodoo’s signature doughnut is shaped like a voodoo doll with a little pretzel-stick stake through its heart. They have a number of doughnuts on the menu that you can’t order without cursing.

[…]

Do they taste better than other doughnuts? If you’ve been pining for bacon or breakfast cereal on your doughnuts, I guess so. Otherwise, they’re a lot like everyone else’s doughnuts: delicious for two bites, and then you start to hate yourself.

But if you go to Voodoo once, you want to talk about it. It makes for a great story that their customers love to tell.”


Why You Shouldn’t Worry About SEO Costs But Focus On What It Earns

By Trond Lyngbo on Search Engine Land

Many companies online today understand the need to enlist the help of an SEO professional in order to make sure their business stays competitive online. But unless you’re an SEO professional yourself, or have strong knowledge about SEO concepts and the changing marketing landscape when it comes to Google and search engine marketing, it’s hard to make sense about what SEO is supposed to accomplish for your business and how much it “should cost”. This article answers these questions while also putting things into perspective when you’re trying to figure out where SEO fits into your overall content marketing strategy.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be most helpful to businesses who are looking to hire SEO help, or who are evaluating where SEO belongs in their current content marketing strategy.

From the Post:

SEO Is More Than Link Building Or Even Content Marketing

Business owners sometimes view SEO as pure link building and little else. They ask for a quote to build x number of links every month and then evaluate bids based on the cost per link — without really understanding how these links are created or how link quality differs based on location.

All links are not created equal.

  • Site-wide footer links differ from low-quality blogs with high outbound link counts
  • Forum signatures, blog comments, press releases and social media back links have varying weight and impact on search ranking
  • Links from authoritative sites are worth their weight in gold
  • Great content marketing can attract links of high value and long-term benefits
  • There’s no single magic tool that will by itself dramatically improve your site’s ranking.
  • Even if there once was, those days are long gone. SEO just doesn’t work that way anymore.”

 

Blogger Outreach: How to Get Influencers to Promote Your Content For Free

by Brian Dean

Although the state of SEO is going through a time a change nowadays, with Google cracking down more frequently it seems on various tactics that it used to promote, one content promotion tactic that will never go out of style is blogger outreach. Reaching out one-on-one to fellow bloggers and website owners to discuss and share content is what the internet was meant for, so its high time that you start honing your blogger outreach processes if you haven’t yet done so. This article is a great, step-by-step resource to help you get started and ultimately maximize the effectiveness of all of your blogger outreach.

Who Can This Help?
This article would be helpful to bloggers and website owners who actively reach out to other bloggers to network and/or to promote and share content, since it gives you some solid tips on how to organize your outreach in a meaningful way.

From the Post:

Step #2: Separate Your Target Bloggers Into Tiers

Let’s face facts: not all blogs are created equal. Some blogs are big, well respected and get tons of traffic and engagement. Others, well, not so much.

One of the most common mistakes that people make with blogger outreach is using the same approach for every blog on their list.

That makes ZERO sense.

To get the most from your outreach, you need to divide your target bloggers into two or three different tiers. That way, you can give industry leaders the TLC they need … while taking a more direct approach with everyone else.”


Why 55% of Potential B2B Buyers Might Not Trust Your Website Content

By Dianna Huff on Content Marketing Institute

A large portion of businesses publishing content online today are B2B companies and, for these companies, since the stakes are higher, there are unique challenges when it comes to website content optimization. One of those challenges is how to appear trustworthy to potential buyers. This article is a great resource for B2B companies in that regard because it explains precisely how potential B2B buyers distinguish trustworthiness online, starting with the most important destination – your website.

Who Can This Help?
This article is obviously most helpful to B2B companies who do a significant amount of business online and who obtain a decent portion of their leads from their website. However, the tactics covered within the article could be appropriate for other types of companies as well who are concerned with projecting a trustworthy presence online.

From the Post:

“One reason companies may leave off contact information — and instead force people to contact them through a one-size-fits-all form — is because it’s harder to track people when they call or email. By tying a web form to a marketing automation or CRM system, it’s easier to get names into a database and then track subsequent conversations with them.

But here’s the thing: Our findings say that the vast majority of buyers prefer to contact vendors through email (81 percent) or phone (58 percent).

chart-how buyers contact vendors

More importantly, forcing potential buyers to go through a form reduces leads. When asked, “How important are the following items with regard to moving forward with a Request for Proposal/Quote?: Company Address/Contact Information, Product Pricing, Lead or Ship Times, and Product Name,” 68 percent of survey respondents indicated that they consider “Company Address and Contact Information” to be “Critically Important” with regard to moving forward with a vendor.

The reality is that buyers source vendors online. Once buyers have a short list of suppliers, they’ll send these names to a purchasing agent or will send out RFQs. If a buyer can’t find the information needed to send out an RFQ, the vendor gets scratched and the buyer moves on — with the vendor never knowing the buyer was on the website or that it was in the running. In short, buyers pre-qualify vendors and suppliers, and they do this using the website content they find.”


Have great a Content Marketing article you’d like to share? Leave us a note in the comments section.

FREE GUIDE: Boost the Value of Your Content

  • More than 6,000 words, 47 pro content marketing tips
  • Improve profitability for your best(and worst) content
  • Actionable steps for more traffic, links and leads from your content