Obviously the first part of any content marketing strategy (and arguably the hardest) is actually creating the content. Content could really be anything including a blog post, article or white paper, video, podcast, infographic, case study and more. Each piece of content comes with its own challenges and rewards and can be used to target a different segment of your overall audience. For instance, a product demo video is great for a visitor that is farther along in their buying cycle while an informational blog post might be better for someone just starting to research your products/services. Once you have all the content in place (and a good content marketing strategy is always coming up with fresh content) the issue then becomes, how do you promote it? Having it is great, getting people to read/see it is better. Who will help you with your content promotion?
In addition to your own promotional outlets like company social media accounts, social bookmarking sites, blogs that syndicate your content and so forth, there are really two audiences that can help with your content promotion—your customers and other experts in your industry.
Why would your customers want to promote your content?
Because they found it useful! People like to share content that makes them laugh, think, smile, question and learn. Most people realize that their problems/questions, especially with regards to business, are not solely their own. If they were able to pull something useful from your content than chances are someone else (regardless of whether they know them or not) will be able to do the same.
Sometimes companies automatically expect their audience help with content promotion. Don’t assume your readers are going to do all the heavy lifting for you out of the goodness of their hearts. Encourage them to promote your content by making it easy—add share buttons and call-to-actions reminding them to post it to various social networks. Then make sure you thank those who do!
Why would other industry professionals want to promote your content?
Believe it or not, we can all learn something from our competitors. Their actions push us to do better, think quicker and take decisive actions. There is nothing wrong with reading a competitor’s blog or attending a webinar so you can learn more about your industry, your target audience and maybe even figure out where you are coming up short or where opportunities for success lie. Part of becoming an industry expert means creating thought leadership content, but it never hurts to acknowledge the great content being put out by others. It not only makes you look more involved in your industry as a whole, it also provides your target audience with valuable resources that can back up the stances you take in your own content. It shows potential customers and visitors to your site that you are not a crackpot on the fringe of your industry (you know the one that spews off conspiracy theories, pyramid schemes and so forth).
Content promotion with other industry experts involves a bit of give and take. There is no guarantee that just because you share someone else’s content on Twitter that they are going to do the same for you…but they just might. Content promotion is too important to take it easy. Even if only 1 out of 5 people share your content in turn, that still means that you content (and your brand) is getting introduced to a whole new set of potential customers (who in turn could aid in your content promotion!)