Everyone understands that “build it and they will come” no longer works with websites. It probably never did. That is one of the main reasons we do content marketing. Less commonly acknowledged is how this same concept applies to the content we create. “Post and pray” isn’t going to get your content noticed.
In order for content marketing to be effective, you have to find an audience for your content. So let’s assume that we’ve
- solved the problems of generating high quality content
- aligned that content to the products or services we’re offering
- confirmed that our content resonates with our target audience
and focused on how to get that content in front of that target audience. Here are a few ideas you can make work immediately.
Colleagues and Friendly Publishers
The column you’re reading right now is an example of one of our favorite methods for getting our content in front of a wider audience. Biznology’s content reaches a wider audience than my own blog on Andigo’s site. (But we’re nipping at your heels, Mike!) It exposes me and my firm to an audience we wouldn’t otherwise have access to, and it does so in a way that confers trust and authority. You trust Mike and his team to present you with great content, so you’re more inclined to take the chance on reading my column than you would if you just stumbled across a link to it in a Google search results page.
Other examples that we’ve used include websites like Social Media Today and print/web publications like New York Enterprise Report. In all cases, the publisher is either in the publishing business, and therefore looking for great content, or they’re in an allied business with an overlapping audience. Either way, if you can provide great content, value is flowing in both directions. And this really only works if it is a two-way street. For example, my audience is generally smaller than Biznology’s, and Biznology gets great content they might not have the time or expertise to produce on their own, as well as picking up additional attention they might not otherwise get–like when I promote my content on the Biznology site to my own audience.
That reciprocity is something to keep in mind as you seek out content publishing / distribution partners. The size of audience a partner can deliver should not be the only metric you use to evaluate an opportunity’s potential. There are good fits and bad fits and, to trot out an overused term, real synergies are possible with the right partners. (Think everything from webinars, to live events, to pitching clients together that you couldn’t pitch separately.)
Looking Further Afield
Biznology and I came together through an introduction by a mutual colleague. But what if you haven’t been able to find the introduction you need to reach into an audience you’d like to reach? There are a number of interesting tools available to help you find the experts and key influencers in any particular market. AuthoritySpy, for example, lets you find who is most active and most well regarded in a particular area based on their social media profiles and other digital activities. You can find the folks who are already talking to the audience you want to reach and find ways to connect with them. (Just be sure you are offering something in return.)
LinkedIn can be a great way not only to find experts with whom to align yourself, but also to help create the kinds of relationships that will open these possibilities up to you.
I’m not a huge fan of digital influence ranks like Klout, Kred, Naymz, etc. as they all seem a bit self-congradulatory, but they can be useful. If you do give them a try, work with them for a while to gain an understanding of the biases built into each of their algorithms. A high score from a service that overweights– say, Pinterest–doesn’t really do you much good if you know your audience doesn’t prefer Pinterest.
I’ve alluded to the value of on-going relationships a couple of times here. For one thing, most people don’t react well to others coming on too strong. (Your first date isn’t the time to talk marriage.) Take the time to build a relationship on small, low-risk engagements before you ask for a bigger commitment. And keep the bigger picture in mind: one guest blog post is unlikely to change your business forever, but a great strategic alliance certainly can.
Keeping your focus on larger content marketing goals will give you the greatest changes at seeing great return on your efforts both immediately and over time.