This is the third post on The Company Blogging Success Formula Series.
Muhammad Ali, Joe Frazier, George Foreman, Larry Holmes, Mike Tyson, Evander Holyfield...
You know these names, don’t you? Legendary boxers. And behind each of them is the same great promoter. Don King. Not the most honest guy, it seems, but then boxing is not the most honest business anyway.
Legends are made. By promoters.
Same applies to blogging.
Great content deserves equally great promotion.
Sharing is caring
When you publish a new blog post, the next thing is to share it to social media. But first you need to think when is the best time to share. It depends of your audience as well as of your competition. Many share during the first business hours, yet it seems the best times are late week afternoons and weekends, also for business posts. More on the subject.
You should be sharing to your company’s or brand’s Facebook Page, Twitter Account and LinkedIn Company Page. The writer should share it through her personal accounts. But that’s the minimum.
Then all socially active key persons representing the company outside should share it: directors, consultants, partners, marketing, sales…
And finally rest of the employees (see Employee Advocacy).
LinkedIn and Facebook Groups are also a great place to share considering the group’s topic. You need to be active member of the group before sharing, otherwise people see you as “just another self-promoting spammer who should go away”.
Share 2-4 times
Social Media is like a firehose these days, depending of course on how many people friend, link or follow. A share is quickly lost and forgotten.
It is a good practice (details here) to share the same post with different text 2-4 times during the next week or so. Even more if you have a huge follower base.
Try to write these shareable quotes already into your original post, and make them tweetable. That way you also give your readers something more to share than just the main title.
When you blog along, you generate a back catalog of posts that keep on generating traffic from search engines. But there is no reason why you shouldn’t repromote evergreens every now and then.
If sharing to social media is the #1 thing to do, then emailing about the post to your subscribers is #2.
Creating an email notification or newsletter may feel like a hassle, but it is very important for business results. Your email list contains your fans, customers, important contacts and so on. If you do not find time to keep them updated, then who.
If your content is really valuable you can update as often as Groove (a small startup from New Jersey I happen to follow). Groove’s CEO & Founder Alex Turnbull appear on my inbox 8-10 times a month with messages like the one below:
And I am cool with it. If your content is more about how great you are, then once a year might be too much for me.
Like from those 42 I just deleted without opening.
Do I read every email Groove sends out? No. It all depends of my day, state of my inbox and the subject. But every email keeps Groove on top my mind. I keep subscribing them even though I really read their posts with Feedly.
Influencers are very important to get shared and reach new audiences. When you have a new post, who could get your viral snowball rolling? Why would they bother?
Build relationship first, online or offline. Share their content, comment their posts... Is there any favors you can do for them? Don’t spam. And when the time is right, ask politely.
A share from the right influencer can be very valuable for you. But influencers are not another list to spam.
Social media and email are quite no-brainers for most. They are quite easy to do. So the next question is where else are your target audience hanging online? What blogs do they read? What communities they use? Any directories that are highly valuable?
Can you get another business blogger link from her post to your content? Why don’t you just start with your existing network and partners.
Can you promote your blog in any relevant, high value directories your audience uses?
Can you participate in the communities your audience hang or turn for help? Answering questions is a great way to show your expertise, provide value and ultimately get traffic to your blog.
Jason M. Lemkin started a simple blog in 2012 together with few answers in Quora about his findings in succeeding software-as-a-service business. Three years later that SaaStr -blog has grown to largest web community of SaaS founders with 1 million per month views and 15 million views on Quora altogether. Not a bad success for such a niche business blog.
Google’s original innovation was to rank web pages based on the links that points to it, like in academia a research paper can be judged by who refer to it. If a paper is referenced by several top researcher, it’s likely to be substantial, whereas a paper that is referenced only by few doctoral students is probably not worth reading unless it’s the only paper about the subject. Same applies to your content. If a major publication links to your post, you are likely to get traffic from that article, but also improve your Google ranking, meaning you will get more traffic from searches as well. The added traffic and status gets you more shares and links from other bloggers and media improving your ranking still resulting to better ranking and more shares and mentions, resulting… Well, you got the point.
But a word of caution before you get too excited. Links from low quality sites will actually hurt your ranking. Google has even created a tool that you can use to tell Google that you disavow those links and that Google should not see them as something you have participated in. So concentrate to relevant quality sites and blogs. The easy start is other businesses and their blog operate in your space, but are not your direct competitors.
It’s also good to know that many publications flag the links so that Google do not count them. So a link in a major news story will drive you traffic, but won’t necessarily improve your ranking.
If you or someone from your team are speaking in an event, consider it a way to promote your blog as well as provide your readers a way to engage by promoting the event to your followers.
I regularly speak on different events. These provide my followers a way to see me live and act as step towards one-to-one meeting. They also provide new readers.
Guest blogging is a great way to fish on someone else’s bond and reach new audiences. Guest blogging can work both ways. You can get a chance to blog on someone’s blog allowing you to fish new followers from their followers, but you are likely to promote that post to your followers, thus bringing new audience to their reach. And it’s not away from either of you. Or you can ask someone to write a guest post to your blog.
Either way, guest blogging is a great strategy for increasing your audience. You should consider it once you have your own blog in a decent shape and are posting at least semi-regularly there meaning it’s worth to drive quality traffic to it.
Not all guest blogging happens in other business blogs. You can write to different blogging platforms like LinkedIn Pulse or Medium. If you are really good, you may get change to write to online publications like Forbes, Wired, Mashable… And if you are one in a thousand of those guest writers you may even get a column in their print edition.
Repromote old posts: update, link, repromote
When you blog along, your back catalog of old posts will grow. Remember to link from new posts to relevant old posts, thus driving up their ranking and widening your SEO net.
Evergreens can also be updated with few minutes of work. Adding new information, some additional links and republish by today’s date means it’s again up to date. Google loves up to date posts.
Paid marketing e.g. search engine or social media marketing
Paid marketing is an outbound method and is not essential for inbound marketing success nor a part of a content marketing strategy. Great content marketers do not need paid methods to succeed.
If a content marketer need to use paid marketing, it is usually not because content marketing does not work without it, rather because she is trying to use money instead of effort for success. This behavior is quite typical for traditional marketers.
In principal, paid marketing is opposite of content marketing philosophy. Paid disturbs and seeks attention where content marketing provides value to those in need. It is thus very dangerous tool for a beginning content marketer.
That said, paid marketing can be a great supplement in a content marketers toolbox. Paid methods can be used to promote content when there is not yet enough audience, build subscriptions, A/B test headlines and get visitors to come back again.
Paid marketing is not a substitute for hard content marketing work. It does not replace SEO or content curation. It does not make lousy content great. It’s an advanced tactic for those who GET content marketing and know how to use paid, outbound tactics in inbound context.
Some time ago many spend fortune while getting people to like their Facebook page. They thought this investment would get their updates to followers’ news feeds. Turned out they were “screwed”. Soon after Facebook changed the game and that investment was just a entry ticket to a party were you have to pay for drinks. Now they need to pay to get their followers to see their updates.
Paid marketing can be effective if you are targeting very small, e.g. local market. Or if you are the biggest and baddest in your industry and can outspend, but not necessarily outsmart, others. Then it might be your only option, until David, the Content Marketer will take your business.
The Company Blog Success Formula Series:
- The Company Blog Success Formula, what makes or breaks your company blog, and how to achieve success
- Rich blogger, poor blogger: How to build your audience and content assets for success (Assets)
- Behind every legendary blog is a great promoter (Promotion)
- 11 finishing steps that make your blog post great [ Greatness ]
- Blogging is a volume sport, why? [ Quantity ]
- Without [ Content - Audience Fit ], your company blog will fail
- Road to blogging success is paved with constant small improvements
- 7 must-haves of a Minimum Viable Blog [ CHECKLIST ]
Written by Antti Pietilä
Antti is the founder and CEO at Loyalistic (Simple Content Marketing Software for B2B Companies) who loves to help SaaS-companies to grow at Software Entrepreneurs (@ohjelmisto_ry) and cycle. Say hello to him anytime @anttipietila.