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
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.
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.
- Find high-performing pieces of similar content
- Find influencers who linked/shared that post
- 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:
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-
First, I’ll analyze the post to see what was “share-worthy” about it:
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.
The best part is, we can sort the list by number of 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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Next, click the “Labs” tab.
Scroll down and you should see the “Canned Responses” option. Enable it and click save at the bottom.
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.
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.
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.