Tuesday, 11 November 2014
You’ve spent time and resources finely crafting content that’s engaging, helpful & entertaining, now you need it to be seen and shared. How can you reach your audience and increase the exposure of your brand or service? Today I wanted to show you a few tools that will help you increase the reach of your content, as well as some great tips to help drive engagement. Here are three ways to think about deploying your content to your audience: Earned: Media support, blogger support, social networks Paid: Online advertising which can include banner ads, Google AdWords, Promoted Tweets, Facebook Sponsored Stories and content widgets like Outbrain Owned: Your website, Email, Packaging, Staff Here’s 3 ways to think about deploying your content to your audience:
Let’s get started with these 8 steps.
1. Social Sharing: This is a simple and quick win. Ensure that you include social sharing buttons around your site and content. Doing so makes it a lot easier for people to actively share your content. This offers a diverse set of social sharing widgets for free, along with analytics so you can see who is share which articles on which network. 2. Look At Your Insights: Google Analytics, Facebook and Twitter provide detailed information on your audience. Including their location, times of day they are active and demographic. You can use this information to ensure you’re sharing content when your audience are most active on those platforms.
For example: Facebook gives Page Administrations the ability to see when their fans are online. If you were the owner of this page, you would schedule your content between midnight and 5am when the majority of your audience is online. If you posted content at 1pm (off-peak) less than half of your audience is active. It’s a good idea to review all of your digital properties to discover more about your audience, this way you can ensure you’re getting as many eyeballs as possible on your content. Using Google Analytics you might find that you receive a lot of web traffic in the morning and less at night. To capitalise on that, post any new content early so they can wake up to it. This puts you a day ahead of your competitors and not a day behind. For Twitter, services such as Buffer and Hootsuite will automatically see when you are getting the most engagement and offer a suggested schedule for your tweets. You can also access Twitters insight right here . 3. Re-Work Your Content: Lists and infographics are two of the most shared formats across the social web. Format your blog post into a list, this makes your content easier for readers to consume and understand. For example if your blog is titled “Paul Smith Look At How You Can Improve Your Garden” rename it “14 Great Tips To Bring Your Garden To Life” it’s more likely people will read and share this because it’s in a format they can understand.
Utilise eye-catching visuals and strong images to entice readers to keep scrolling. Blogs which include images are frequently shared more than those without. It’s ok to recycle your content, but be smart about it.
You could also translate elements of the blog into a visual infographic, it’s the same content, but repurposed in a different medium. This is an efficient and effective way to really maximise the value you can create out of your content. If your brand is active on Twitter, send 3 tweets with different titles that link to the same article and see which one performs the best. Then you can change the title of your post to reflect this. At the end of each month, look at your most shared / commented or viewed content and then create a list “The Most Popular Stories Of The Month” and include links to each individual article. This requires little effort on your part, but adds a lot of value for your audience. 4. Get Personal: Tap into the emotions of your audience, if you don't they are less likely to feel compelled to share your work. For example, if you have a new unique product, make sure you include high resolution photographs to create a sense of awe or surprise. 5. Social Bookmarking: Social bookmarking and user submitted sites like Digg, StumbleUpon and Reddit should form an essential part of your content deployment strategy. Due to their large community, they can introduce your content to a new audience with similar tastes, drive valuable web traffic and also provide you with backlinks which will help lift your search engine rank. Simply create an account, select a category, include a description and submit your link. If the title is informative and the story fits the niche category, there’s a good chance you’ll see positive results from your efforts. 6. Paid Promotion: Let’s look at premium distribution platforms. These are content widgets that publishers opt to feature on their site.
If a user clicks on your article, the publisher receives a small payment. There are different companies that run these networks, the most well-known is called Outbrain. They provide you with the ability to target your content geographically and by category. It costs around 25c to 35c per click and whilst you can’t target to the same levels as you can on Facebook, it’s worthwhile to experiment with the platform and seeing the results. Other distribution platforms include Stumbleupon, Taboola, Nativo Nrelate and Disqus so make sure you shop around.
Native advertising is a fairly new term, but essentially its advertorial with a new twist. It’s a form of advertising where publishers are willing to integrate branded content into the overall style and tone of their site. This allows to higher engagement from their community as a whole, rather than seeing display media.
For example, music streaming service Spotify might create a playlist titled ‘Music To Motivate You By Nike’ which features songs suited to working out. As Nike is a sports brand, it’s a great way to reach Spotify’s audience, in their environment whilst still relating to the core values of the brand around fitness and exercise. If there websites or blogs that you think might appeal to your audience, ask them about native advertising - but expect premium pricing. 7. Track Down & Engage Influencers: Find out which thought-leaders and those with the biggest reach are sharing your content already. buzzsumo.com allows you to see which individuals are sharing content from specific websites. If you’re just starting out, look at your competitor sites and see who is sharing their articles, videos or updates. Once you discover these influencers, you can then tweet them asking them to share your content instead. If you are a cafe, you might ask a popular food blogger to share your blog featuring your new recipes for the month. It certainly takes time to build these individual niche relationships, but if you can get your content shared by someone with influence or who has a large audience - the hard work is infinitely worth it. 8. Don’t Forget Newsletters: The great thing about newsletters is that you already have a list of willing customers who want to engage with you. Ensure you keep it that way by providing compelling content to them. Look to hone your subject line, give people a reason to open and read your content. [one_half last='no']Trying sending it at different times (early morning, whilst your audience is on the way to work on the bus for example or friday afternoon when they’re winding down) to see if these effects the open-rate. There is also no shame in asking them to share your work, it can be a simple line included in the newsletter that says “If you’ve enjoyed this, please forward onto a friend” Generally speaking, people are willing to help if you’ve given them value and aren’t overstepping the mark. In the era of smartphones, it’s vital you test your newsletter on a mobile device to make sure its correctly formatted. [/one_half] And finally, don’t forget your co-workers many of which will now have a social presence on the web. It’s estimated the average Facebook user has around 300 friends - if you can get 10 staff members to share your video, article or blog that’s a potential new audience of 3,000 customers. Make sure you read my blog 5 Key Reasons To Get Staff Social Media Savvy which will help you leverage the potential of your co-workers. [one_half last='no'] Author Profile: Alex Wain is one of Australia’s leading bloggers, and co founder of popular culture website So Bad So Good. He is a digital professional with a rich & unique mix of online expertise spanning 11 years across media, digital and entertainment portals and is the presenter of AIT's online course Content Marketing Fundaments. [/one_half]