The Simple Content Promotion Strategy To Increase Your Traffic


Ask any successful marketer or blogger how to effectively grow a blog and 99% of them will tell you the same thing: “Spend less time on content creation and more time on content promotion.”

But what exactly does content promotion mean? It’s easy to get confused with all of the different content promotion strategies out there.

Does it mean you buy a bunch of Facebook ads to push your post to thousands of people? Does it mean you email your list? Share it on Twitter? Post it on Reddit?

Yeah those work to an extent, but not as well as what I’m going to show you today.

The best way to promote your content is to get influencers to promote it for you and the best way to do that is through outreach. This is how to promote content easily & effectively.

In it’s simplest description, that just means emailing a bunch of people about your content.

But… you don’t just email any random person about your post. You need to find the people who are actually going to be interested in it and it’s this selection process that makes the strategy so effective.

What you will learn

  • How to promote content the smart way
  • Why other content promotion strategies are useless
  • How to identify the right people to contact
  • The right way to contact them that will maximize your success rate
  • How to scale content promotion with ease

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Why Is Content Promotion So Important?

Before I get into the steps involved in content promotion, I want to give you an idea of WHY we even want to spend time doing this.

Emailing a bunch of people to promote a single piece of content can seem like pretty tedious work.

But… every successful blogger I know does it, even those with email lists of over 100,000 people.

Why? Because email outreach is one of the highest ROI time you could be spending on growing your blog/business.

The links and shares you receive from outreach will send you traffic and SEO benefits for years down the line.

Emailing your own list is not enough. For maximum reach, you have to tap into the lists and followers of other influencers.

How To Promote Content Easily

Here is what actually goes into a successful content promotion campaign. It’s simple, quick and effective unlike many content promotion strategies I have seen.

I’ve broken it down into 3 simple steps.

  1. Find high-performing pieces of similar content
  2. Find influencers who linked/shared that post
  3. Contact influencers through outreach

So let’s go through each step one by one.

Step 1: Find Similar Popular Content

Let’s say you just wrote up an awesome new post about productivity.

Let’s be more specific here…

Let’s say our post is titled: “50 Productivity Hacks For Entrepreneurs.”

In it, we list a bunch of hacks that will help entrepreneurs be more productive in their work and in their lives.

What we want to do first is find a similar piece of content that talks about the same thing and has done well in the past.

To do this, we’ll use one of my favorite content promotion tools called BuzzSumo.

BuzzSumo is a tool that shows you the most shared pieces of content within a domain or about certain topics.

All you need to do is search for keywords like you would on Google and it will show you a list like this:

buzzsumo content promotion tools

We want to find the closest match to our content since whoever shared that one will be likely to share ours too.

Scrolling down the list of posts, I found this one-

similar content

First, I’ll analyze the post to see what was “share-worthy” about it:

analyze the post

Honestly, I couldn’t tell you.

I guess there are some good actionable tips in there, but nothing is really detailed and there is a lot of room for improvement.

Ideally, our own article would be much more in-depth than this one (and more visually appealing as well).

So now that we’ve chosen our target, let’s find everybody who shared it.

Step 2: Find Influencers Who Linked/Shared That Post

This is the most important part of the entire process. We can’t just blindly contact a bunch of random bloggers and expect them to share our stuff.

Well, we could but it wouldn’t be as effective as narrowing it down to a group of influencers who have shared the SAME type of content in the past.

That way, we know that they have an interest in the topic AND that they’re willing to share it.

So here’s the best way to find them.

Use the “View Sharers” Tool

This is an awesome tool within BuzzSumo that shows you exactly who shared a specific post.

view sharers

The best part is, we can sort the list by number of followers.

sort by followers

The first in this list is the content publishers themselves, so we obviously don’t want to reach out to them.

But we’ll look at everyone else who shared it.

who shared it

That looks good.

Now we have our list of targets. All that’s left is finding their contact info and reaching out to them.

Step 3: Contacting Influencers

The best way to contact anybody online is through email. That shouldn’t come as a surprise.

So while the Twitter handles of everyone on the list is shown, we would prefer to go email them directly.

This is the part that can become quite tedious. You’ll have to hunt down their emails first.

One of the neat things about BuzzSumo is that it will show you the website of the person who shared it.

That makes our job a lot easier.

Now, all you need to do is visit their site and find their email. If it’s not listed, there will usually be a contact form you can use instead.

Then all we have to do is send out an email that looks something like this:

Hey (name),

I noticed that you shared (link of shared content).

I thought it was pretty great myself and it gave me some inspiration in creating something similar the other day: (my link)

Just wanted to give you a heads up about it :)


Short and sweet, no begging involved. Don’t be too professional and keep it light and casual.

Also, notice I don’t even ask them to share it even if that’s our main purpose.

That’s because they’ve already been pre-qualified as “most-likely-to-share” through our search with BuzzSumo. We don’t need to ask them specifically for it. It’s kind of a turn-off.

Feel free to use that email as a template. I’ll show you in just a minute how you can save these emails as templates in Gmail.

That way, you can pre-fill your entire email with the click of a button and saves you a whole bunch of time.

What About Backlinks In Our Content Promotion Strategies?

Backlinks aren’t the main goal with using this strategy of content promotion. The main goal is PROMOTION.

What we’re hoping to achieve with this strategy is to get our post out there to as many influencers as we can and tap into their networks.

That being said, when enough people see it, a few people will choose to link to you naturally.

Content promotion for links is not much different than what we just went over.

We’re simply going to use a backlink checker like Ahrefs, Open Site Explorer or Majestic to find all the sites that are linking to it.

I’m going to use Moz’s Open Site Explorer here. All I’m going to do is paste in the exact URL of the post we just analyzed.

checking the backlinks

In this case, there’s only one site linking to it.

All we need to do now is just go to the linking site and send an email to the webmaster in the same way that we did before.

Hey (name),

I was browsing around your site and came across this article: (url of linking post) and just wanted to say, GREAT JOB on it!

I actually have another resource you might want to consider adding to it to provide further value for your readers: (your url).

Anyways, just wanted to say hello and keep up the great work!


Again, I’m keeping it as non-aggressive as possible. You don’t need to mention it’s your own article, unless you really want to.

But this is the template I’ve been using to get a pretty high success rate.

Feel free to use that template as well. Just change out the variables and you should find yourself getting a good response.

A Closer Look At Success Rates

Not everyone you reach out to will respond, I normally get a success rate of around 10%.

That means for every hundred people you reach out to, 10 of them are going to link to you or share your article.

You might be thinking… ONLY 10?!

If you are, you’re underestimating the power of a single mention. We’re contacting influencers with thousands of followers.

A single mention has the potential to drastically boost your article to a whole new audience you never would have reached if you skipped content promotion.

How Many People Should I Reach Out To?

It should be at least a hundred. You can’t just email 10 people and call it a day. This is a numbers game.

It’s like telemarketing. We’re pre-selecting our targets and trying to sell to them.

Just remember that the method DOES work and it is POWERFUL. These are links and shares that you would NEVER have gotten if you didn’t spend time doing this type of promotion.

Is There A Way To Automate This

If you want to automate part of the process, you can hire someone on Elance to find all the emails for you each time you have a piece of content to promote.

That’s really the most boring part of this entire strategy, so if you can automate that then all you really need to do is use the email templates above, change up the variable sections and send.

You can also look at using tools like URLProfiler to find contact information or you can use BuzzStream to not only find that information, but perform all of the outreach as well!

If you do choose to do it yourself though, you can make life a bit easier with Gmail.

Use Canned Responses

I want to show you a Gmail tool that I’m sure a lot of people are using already. But it’s a great little tool that helps with what we’re doing here immensely.

It’s called Canned Responses.

Canned Responses are a free feature from Gmail that is turned off by default (check out these other Gmail tricks). What it does is it allows you to save entire messages as templates that you can open up at any time.

Then, when you’re sending an email all you need to do is select the template and it will pre-fill your email with your template.

Sound good?

Let’s learn how to set it up.

First, go to your Gmail settings by clicking on the little gear icon in the top right-hand side.

gmail content promotion strategies

Next, click the “Labs” tab.

gmail labs

Scroll down and you should see the “Canned Responses” option. Enable it and click save at the bottom.

how to promote content with canned responses

That’s going to refresh your page.

Now open up a new compose box and paste in the email template I showed you earlier.

Click the “down-arrow” in the bottom right-hand corner, click on “New canned response…” and save it.

creating a new canned response

Now, whenever you compose a new email, you can choose your canned response and it will fill up the email with your template.

This is an essential tool to have if you’re doing outreach. You’ll be sending out a lot of emails and it’s impossible to sit there re-typing a new message every time.

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Wrapping It Up

There are a lot of different ways you can do content promotion, but using BuzzSumo and
outreach is one of the most effective and easiest to get started with.

We only looked through one site in the example above and we were able to get 21 people we can reach out to right away.

It wouldn’t take too long using a template in Canned Responses to contact all of them.

When I get serious about promoting a piece of content on my own blog here, I’ll use this exact method to contact over 200 people. That might sound like a tedious amount of work, but it’s totally worth it and it’s not as bad as it sounds.

I can usually get through 100-200 people within 2 hours of work. And the reward for my time spent is huge.

Instead of hitting publish and HOPING your post gets some traction, do the grunt work necessary to MAKE SURE it gets traction.

If you start using this strategy, you’ll notice just how effective it is and will probably end up doing it for every post you write.

80 Responses

  1. Paschalis home recording lessons

    I was looking for free ways to promote my content Matthew, and this post from Chris Lee is FANTASTIC.

    Thanks Chris for writing it and thank you Matthew for letting us know about it, You both rock!

  2. Viral

    Great tutorial / post Chris.

    Question: When you do your email outreach, have you ever used mail merge software? E.g. using this Gmail addon: – I would imagine it would make things a lot easier if you’re going to reach out to say 500+ peopl?

    • July 10th, 2015 at 1:28 pm

      Great extra tip!

      • July 10th, 2015 at 2:48 pm

        Great tip indeed. Mail merge is a great tool.

    • July 11th, 2015 at 12:54 am

      Thanks, that was really useful too.

      I was up at 4am this morning and in 4 hours I’ve just built a spreadsheet with 423 contacts to promote 5 articles. All of them in the motor industry, so I’m not sure how that will work out, but I shall try :-)

      I haven’t emailed anyone yet, but will try it with your mail merge addon later today…


      ~ Paul

  3. 7.10.2015

    This is an excellent strategy Chris.

    I’ve got something similar I’ve been doing for 2-3 years for a handful of clients and outsourcing it to someone who is actually very, very good on PeoplePerHour. But what you’ve just suggested is a really simple way of doing things compared to what I’ve got them doing.

    So kudos my friend. You’ve just saved me time and money and it will probably be a lot more productive too! :-)

    • July 10th, 2015 at 12:31 pm

      Money in the bank :)

    • July 10th, 2015 at 2:48 pm

      Thanks, Paul. Yeah, there are many ways you can do it. This is just one of the simplest and most effective methods that anybody can do.

  4. Alvin B

    Another Awesome post Mathew! I must confess thou that some of the posts so hard to follow I got lost along the way. But with this post the explanation is superbly easy to follow. I followed to the end and even already set up my ‘Canned Response” in Gmail. This is unusual for me because I am one of those overwhelmed marketers who have too much to read and watch. I will definitely be using this strategy. As usual keep them coming buddy! Excellent post and my wallet is still in my pocket.

    • July 10th, 2015 at 12:31 pm

      Less reading, more doing :) When you read you cheat yourself out of experience. Just get a basic understanding of whatever it is, then hit the ground running and make a mess of it as you go – the best way to learn :)

    • July 17th, 2015 at 12:20 pm

      The Google “canned response” option is a winner! As a copywriter, I’d add that before embarking on this strategy, make sure you test your lead magnet and make sure it’s converting well. Otherwise you’re sending traffic to a trampoline!

  5. 7.10.2015

    Hi Mat,

    I have been following your blog for quite some time now and its really awesome. Keep up the good work. All the best !

    Until i read this post, i wan’t sure of what canned response in gmail was for. Now will definitely use it to my advantage. Its funny we tend not to see the advantages present in the free services that we use from day to day.

  6. 7.10.2015

    useful article. i will apply these tips for my website and also recommend to my friends.

  7. 7.10.2015

    Hey Matthew, just wanted to say thanks for giving me the opportunity to contribute to your blog. Cheers!

  8. FreddyGandarilla

    Hi Chris!

    What a powerful tip to promote your blog’s content!

    I knew about this and actually read the same tips from other successful bloggers. I am yet to implement this strategy!

    Your post just gave me the encouragement to do it! .. I’m going to start implementing this right now! .. after this comment! haha

    I can see the huge potential here. Especially when you create a very epic blog post – I can imagine many other successful bloggers mentioning your masterpiece on their blog!

    Thank you for sharing these tips, Chris!

    Keep up the great work yourself!

    Have a fantastic weekend!

    Cheers! :D

    • July 10th, 2015 at 12:28 pm

      The simple tips are always the best tips :)

    • July 10th, 2015 at 2:49 pm

      Awesome! Thanks for reading Freddy.

  9. 7.10.2015

    Promoting your content sure takes quite a time not to mention writing it but the results can be awesome! By the way another piece of tool can be BuzzBundle as mentioned in this blog by Mat or CrowdForce a software launched a few months ago but now it is no longer available (I’m only mentioning it as I am using it and some other members/viewers may have purchased it but left it on their hard drives and forgot about ;-) ).

  10. Dan

    Hey Chris,

    I just found your site RankXL a few days ago – tons of great information on building affiliate sites.

    Are you doing most of the outreach work yourself (whether it be this or one of the many other tactics in your tool box) or do you hire VAs to do it?


    • July 10th, 2015 at 1:26 pm

      Does it actually matter ‘how’ it’s done or ‘who’ does it?

    • July 10th, 2015 at 2:50 pm

      Thanks, Dan. I would suggest doing it yourself at first until you get familiar with the steps.

  11. 7.10.2015

    That BuzzSumo is pretty nifty!

  12. Paschalis

    Can I ask a stupid question? Can’t we use BCC while sending the e-mail instead of canned responses? Of course i am talking about e-mails with the same URLs/Topics.

    Is it safer to create a new e-mail each time? that’s the reason of not copy-pasting and using Bcc?

    • July 13th, 2015 at 3:05 pm

      More liekly to hit the spam and not very personal, that’s the lazy mans approach which gets lazy mans results.

      • Paschalis
        July 13th, 2015 at 3:23 pm

        Yes I thought the exact same thing and also it would be a turn off for others to see that someone else has gotten the email too.

  13. Gujarat Jobs

    Nice post , thanks Matthew Woodward

  14. mewah

    i never regret visiting matt’s blog because the content are insightful and high in quality and thanks for sharing your tutorial Chris. Just curious, any chance Matt if you can get a buzzsumo discount for your readers matt? :P

  15. 7.10.2015

    Great post on increasing your content reach. When I looked at the number of emails you sent out and the 10% success ratio, and I know they’re only examples, the first thought was that is a lot of work contacting people. But you’re laying the foundation. It’ll either be work on our own dreams running your business or work for someone elses dreams and business. Either way we have to put the hard yards in.

  16. Paschalis

    I’m in the middle of this strategy now, it’s a bit time consuming but I believe it will be really worth it in the end!

    My question is… If i have both the email AND the twitter account, should I post the same message to both? Does the success rate of reaching the person increase? Or is it a turn-off to post on both?

    What would you do? Thanks!

  17. 7.12.2015

    Thanks Matt,
    Another great free gift for your readers.
    I have gone through the whole stuff, I think they are easily doable, but my little challenge is that the price of the BuzzSumo seems to be a bit on the high side.
    Are there alternatives to this BuzzSumo?
    Thanks once more.

  18. Manish

    Not to put this tutorial down but I have actually executed this method and have established contact with over 250 individuals/sites using the method and not a single one has shared the url on their social networks.

    The content which I have sent them is decent enough, but am perplexed as to why am getting no positive response.

    Pls shed some light into what I might be doing wrong..

    • July 13th, 2015 at 2:47 pm

      Please provide samples of your outreach

      • Manish
        July 17th, 2015 at 9:23 am

        Hi, i was exactly using the email outreach which is mentioned in this email.

        But since then I have changed the entire email and so far have got over 20 twitter mentions and 10 shares on facebook, with more scheduled today. So looks like it works.

        But I have a request, social shares are good for bringing in traffic but, if you could go into the details of getting backlinks through this method it would be great.

        I know a short backlink tutorial is mentioned but if you could go into more details of backlinks that would be great, as that would help seo wise.

        • July 17th, 2015 at 11:47 am

          I would just let the backlinks come in naturally – or perhaps find people that have authored a similar post and perform outreach asking them to link to you for further reading

          • manish
            July 17th, 2015 at 2:01 pm

            Just one more question, do you think social shares have a positive impact on rankings?

          • July 17th, 2015 at 2:27 pm


  19. 7.13.2015

    Hi Chrish,

    This is indeed a great tutorial… Content marketing is gaining more n more importance with each passing days. Just few days back Viral Nova sold for $100 million, and it solely depends only on Content Marketing…I am already following few of the methods mentioned here and will be trying the rest of them very soon. Thanks again!!

  20. Dyna

    Hey Chris,

    That’s just awesome!! I am surely going to try this.

    Thanks a lot for sharing it. :)

  21. 7.15.2015

    Hi Chris and Matthew,

    Excellent tutorial! I recently started my latest website and was overwhelmed with the volume of information available online but found this site and decided to follow his teaching on traffic generation such as SEO, backlinking and content promotion.

    I read Chris’ tutorial yesterday and took immediate action. I never fully appreciated the need for outsourcing but finding all those emails on my own has made me a believer!

    The results since yesterday: about 10% response rate (thank you for setting that expectation early on) and my first Twitter referral traffic. For anyone wondering, yes this strategy works but you need to put in the time.

    Thanks and I’ll definitely be using this strategy along with others you have on the site.

    • July 15th, 2015 at 10:24 am

      Great to hear you are seeing success already in such a short time!

    • July 15th, 2015 at 11:19 pm

      That’s awesome! Thanks for sharing your results with us.

  22. 7.16.2015

    Is there a time span within which it’s okay to promote an article? Say, if you wrote a killer post in May, can you still reach out to people about it in July?

  23. mike

    Hi,great article.
    But i have one question: how to find somebody`s email if they only have twitter profiles?

  24. 7.20.2015

    Great post Chris. As someone who’s on the receiving end of a lot of emails from people using outreach marketing to suggest their content to me, my tip is to try to customize your emails as much as possible. Sure it takes a little more time, but you’ll get a much better reception and it looks a lot more genuine.

    I get a ton of emails that don’t even mention my name, so I immediately delete them.

    • July 21st, 2015 at 12:21 pm

      Yeah I get some laughable ones at times, I’ve taken to responding with my own spam to see if anyone takes the hook but not so far :)

  25. Charlie

    Every blog I see out there preaches the same mantra over and over again: Content is King.

    That’s all fine and dandy, but for some people, writing content is as hard as rocket science.

    Seriously, I am the absolute worse when it comes to writing, let alone engaging writing.

    I can’t really dish out hundreds of dollars to pretentious freelance writers nor can I dedicate 10s of hours for a 700 word blog post.

    Believe me, I write a lot. It’s just I can’t write great. So, can one of you bloggers out there focus on DEVELOPING your writing as opposed to saying the same thing over and over again?

    • July 21st, 2015 at 12:18 pm

      Well I suck at design, I know I suck at design – so I don’t do design. I also suck at code, I can kind of make it work but it’s usually a hammer it until it works solution.

      The reason I know I suck at those things is because lots of people have told me over the years and anything I draw looks like I drew with the pen in my mouth.

      Who told you that you suck at writing?

      • Charlie
        July 25th, 2015 at 12:41 am

        It’s pretty evident in my writing. Every other blog out there has some amazing pieces of content and mine is something like out of a textbook. It’s boring and bland.

        • July 26th, 2015 at 1:54 pm

          So make that your first draft then edit/tweak to be like whatever you want it to be. Look at others writing, what makes it good? A lot of of the time it’s just people that talk like they are talking to someone in a bar.

          Perhaps you could even try that by using Dragon Naturally Speaking

  26. 7.21.2015

    As a “newbie” to your blog, firstly I’d like to say how much I’m loving your ideas and they make a refreshing change from the usual SEO strategies etc which are so hard to keep up with as a “one man band” operation in a niche market, that’s me by the way! Your blog posts have made me realise how much I am underestimating the value of my email list, not to mention under-utilizing it. Plus I too send out lots of free information and help to my members on finding holidays that are also getting stuck in private email inboxes, so I definitely need to do something about that too, just like you did. Your ideas are great and have come at a great time for me when I feel a bit demotivated and lacking direction so thank you.

    My question on this tutorial is why are you using gmail rather than Aweber to contact these potential promoters? Doesn’t this increase the likelihood of your email ending up in junk folders and not read whereas using Aweber or MailChimp are supposed to get round junk filters better? Or is this a complete myth I have fallen for? I recently discovered this was a big problem for me, using my email address that ends with my website name (please delete if not allowed – was killing me in that loads of my emails just went to junk. Or doesn’t gmail have this same problem?

    Thanks, in advance for your reply from a novice who is quickly trying to learn from your experiences! Lucilla

    • July 22nd, 2015 at 9:37 am

      Because Aweber are for people that have subscribed/chosen to optin to your list – rather than just mailing people blind.

      IF your a one man band operation prioritse the tasks that give the most long term value vs time invested

      • July 22nd, 2015 at 1:03 pm

        Yes I understand that thanks. My question was with regard to gmail, is it less likely than an email address linked to your website name to be caught by junk filters? For example, my main work email address is regularly caught by junk filters and so my reply email doesn’t get through to the customer, obviously this is a big problem for me, so I am wondering if I should use a generic gmail account as my main work email instead?

        • July 23rd, 2015 at 12:10 pm

          Ahhh I see yes just buy a batch of accounts from fiverr to burn through

  27. 7.22.2015

    Hey Chris, so I have been following this tutorial step by step, and while i get it and am making progress, I’m really not sure how you or anyone else is doing 100-200 in 2 hrs work. I’m working very dilligently as it’s a lot closer to 25 an hour…am I missing something here?

  28. Short and sweet post, Chris! (I’m like talking to myself!)

    Finding people to email to and promote your content is boring. But it’s probably the most important part since you want to drive more visitors to your pages. This is the most effective way of doing it. Your content won’t promote itself, and by reaching out to other people, you have the opportunity for others to share your content on your behalf as well!

  29. Source Cars

    Thank For Sharing

  30. 9.27.2015

    Hey Matthew!

    Thanks for the great post! I love the idea of going after the influencers who have already shared similar content. Is this possible to do this without BuzzSumo Pro? I do not see the “View Sharers” button on the free account.

    Thanks again!

    • September 28th, 2015 at 11:20 am

      You need the pro account I believe, although if you have an Ahrefs account they have a similar feature

  31. 1.7.2016

    Great information! I used some of those tips for my clients, that work pretty well .

  32. 2.3.2016

    This are really good tips you have Chris, though I found you cant see the sharers if you only have free account in buzzsumo

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