Did you know it takes the average person more than two hours to write a 500-word blog post? If your goals include long-form content, then be prepared to budget anywhere from 10 to 20 hours for strategy, research, writing, proofreading, SEO, web layout, image search and more. Multiply that by your billings and you have a hefty content marketing investment.
Reaching the finish line and hitting ‘publish’ is an accomplishment to be proud of. But if that’s all you do, you might as well throw away money. Failing to follow-up a blog or another product of content marketing with a strategic distribution plan is a critical mistake.
Distribution: The only way to ensure ROI on your content marketing
The content you’ve put all of your time and efforts into creating is valuable. It’s painful to think there’s a chance no one will ever see it (other than your mom, she always sees it). If you’re doing some initial social push when you publish a new piece, “Bravo!” But, you’re going to have to do more than that to get your money’s worth.
The last thing I’m sure you want to hear (after spending hours on something non-client-related) is that you need to now spend even more time away from your “job”. So, to be realistic, I’ve broken up some recommended distribution steps into two tiers.
Level One contains absolute must do steps. Level Two is more of the super-star path. But, Level Two should not be ignored…try to work these tactics in at least one out of every three times you publish something.
Content Marketing Distribution: Level One
- Twitter: schedule at least six tweets linking to your new content over the next two weeks. Vary up the text in each one and always include a photo. You can also try different times of day to test when your audience is most active.
- Facebook: Schedule one post when you publish (with a photo, of course). Then, mark your calendar to post it again in two weeks with a different photo and headline.
*You can repeat this tactic with Google+ and Pinterest if you’re using those platforms
- LinkedIn: Schedule one post from your company’s page when you publish your content. Within the same week (but different day and time), also schedule a post from the author’s individual page.
As always, encourage other members of your team to share, ‘like’ or post the links on their own if they support the topic.
*Tip: Did you highlight a company or quote another writer in your content? Go ahead and use an @mention to get their attention (you could even message them and ask them to share it).
- Send an internal team email to celebrate your new publication! Don’t be shy. Ask them to share it if they like it.
*(Marketing team: if you’re having a tough time getting people to share links, go ahead and try drafting a message for them and say, “copy/paste this post I’ve written for you!”)
- If you have an email list of fans, clients, or collaborators then I recommend planning regular outreach to them via a weekly, monthly, or as-needed newsletter.
*(Sometimes drafting a client communication can feel like a hurdle. But, don’t overthink it! A simple message like this will do: “Hi Bob, we’ve been busy doing some research and I thought you might be interested in it. Would love to know your thoughts!”)
Content Marketing Distribution: Level Two
- Reach out to any companies or individuals that you’ve highlighted in your content and ask for their review. If they engage in the conversation, pick a natural time to ask if they’d be willing to help spread the good word.
- Identify an influencer on the topic you wrote about and ask for their opinion. Again, at an appropriate time, don’t be too shy to ask if they’d be willing to draft a tweet or two to share your work.
Social Media (2.0)
- Set up some Google Alerts on the topics you’ve written about. When you see other articles published like yours, start a conversation with the author! You could start with a comment on their piece that includes a link to yours. Or, perhaps it’s a tweet, an email, or other message asking for a connection.
- If you’ve recently accomplished an exciting ebook, whitepaper, infographic or other long-form content – another way to promote it is to change the photos of your social media channels. The notification that you’ve changed a header or cover photo is another reminder for followers to check out your great work.
- If you’re active on Linkedin, it’s a great idea to participate in some discussions on the topics you’re writing about. Avoid using a group just to push your stuff through. But, if you have the answer to someone’s question, go right ahead and share a link to what you’ve created.
Bonus: Reuse and Reinvent!
Here’s the real moneymaker: try reformatting a piece of content into another style and then republish it. You can try:
- Converting blogs into a slide show and posting it to SlideShare (then repeat promotion steps with the SlideShare).
- Creating a short video of your content author reading portions or commenting on the topic (or add a voice recording to your new SlideShare).
- Pull out some key facts or statistics from your content to create social media graphics, then repost them.
- Did you explain a particularly lengthy topic in your content? Try turning it into an infographic.
Still stumped for ideas? Here are 100 Content Ideas for your Inbound Marketing Strategy.