So you’re on the phone with a prospective client, and she asks a fantastic question that you know would make a great post for your company’s blog. You jot down the idea (maybe even enter it into your knowledge bank), and spend eight hours over the next week outlining, writing, editing and polishing this great article.
You next publish it to your blog, and it gets a few shares on Twitter the first day — but then nothing. The post gets archived in the blog, never to be seen again, and your thoughtful creation collects digital dust.
Sound familiar? The issue here is not in your content creation, but in the distribution and continued promotion of this content — or lack thereof.
Too many marketers and entrepreneurs focus their time, energy and money into creating content only to let it go undiscovered by their audiences because they neglected the key to successful content marketing: distribution.
Content distribution can be segmented into two different areas: paid and unpaid. You’ve probably read the most about paid distribution because a lot has been written about this tactic. But if you’re looking for advice on ways to promote your content using unpaid distribution methods, you’ve come to the right place. Here are four simple ways to promote your content and improve your marketing:
1. Public content profiles
Keeping your published content housed in one central location makes it easy for your audience to find, read and share your articles. And when you start to build a following around your content or contribute to more than one publication, that easily accessible portfolio becomes even more important.
At an internal “startup weekend” event my company hosted in 2015, a member of our team pitched an idea for public content profiles for employees and clients with published articles to share their work. With a public profile like this, you can showcase each piece of content you’ve published on any publication — all in one place. And by including your social handles, you make it even easier for audiences to find and follow you and your future content.
2. LinkedIn publishing
In many ways, your LinkedIn profile is a long-form version of your resume and credentials. You should keep it updated with not only your career experience, but also with your contributed articles, to demonstrate your industry expertise and build an audience.
Think of it like this: You can tell your network members you’re an expert, or you can show them with a collection of articles you’ve written on the subject. You can do this by adding published articles to your profile or by publishing content to the LinkedIn platform itself.
3. Links in your email signature and away messages
If someone’s reading an email from you, he or she may be open to checking out an article you’ve written, too. Make that task as easy as possible by including a link to your latest article (or your content profile) directly in your email signature.
Take things to the next level by including your content in out-of-office messages. I recently received an out-of-office reply that leveraged content perfectly:
I’m on vacation right now enjoying some time with family and friends. Since I can’t get back to you right away, how about the next best thing? Read my article of the top 10 questions people ask about my company here. I’d love to hear your feedback on it when I return from my vacay.”
Out-of-office messages like this are a simple, automatic way of reminding your network of your favorite articles.
4. Sales-enablement material
Perhaps the best, most effective form of unpaid content distribution is sales enablement. Using content in your sales cycle ensures that you’re getting your articles in front of the right eyes — those of your prospective clients.
Actively listen to the questions and concerns you hear on sales calls, address them in your content and use those articles in follow-up emails, to keep prospects engaged. This form of content promotion doesn’t cost a dime, and it can offer some of your greatest returns.
You may have noticed a few tactics missing from this article, like sharing content across your social media accounts and through your email list, and there’s a reason for that. Without building an engaged audience first, your social sharing and email distribution won’t be as effective.
So, start with these four tactics to grow and nurture your community organically, and when you introduce other methods (including paid distribution later down the road), you’ll receive substantially more benefit.