How to Maximize Your Content Exposure by Leveraging Other Websites

Every company investing in content should ask themselves frequently “How can I become the go-to authority for (insert vertical here)?”

Content marketing is all the rage in internet marketing circles today. Many publishers are saying. “But we’ve been doing content forever! In fact, we’re content companies at our core.” This is true of magazines and news outlets especially.

Every company investing in content should ask themselves frequently “How can I become the go-to authority for (insert vertical here)?” A company like CNN should ask themselves, “How can we become the go-to authority for breaking news?” A company like The Onion should ask themselves, “How can we become the go-to authority for smart satirical political banter?”

Of course, the answer starts with an amazing editorial team, whether internally or freelance. But once this is in place and you are producing top-notch editorial content that is well-written, edited, and designed (yes, it needs to look pretty), then what? How do you get distribution to have your content around the Internet so that people see it?

Let’s look at a few ways that publishers should leverage other websites to expose their content to new audiences.

Paid Social Discovery

Inbound marketers don’t often talk about paid discovery, but I believe that paid discovery, especially via social channels, can augment the discovery of content very well. The best ways to do this are:

  • Facebook ads
  • Promoted tweets that are not sales-y
  • StumbleUpon

Imagine this. You’ve just published a piece of content that has taken you a lot of time and effort, like SEOmoz’s Beginner’s Guide to SEO or the New York Times’ visualization of how the states have swung during elections going back to the 1970s.

This type of content deserves a broader audience, and paid social discovery can be a great way to highlight it.

The key, though, is to not be sales-y when promoting this content. Social network users do not respond well to a sales pitch, but they do respond well to targeted content that they find useful to their interest.

Here are some places to promote content to your audience.

Promoted Tweets
Twitter has recently allowed businesses with monthly budgets smaller than $15,000 to promote tweets to their followers and others. While most businesses attempt to do direct conversion tweets, promoting something for sale, your company can stand out and build traffic and your brand affinity by promoting content that your users will find useful instead of selling to them.

Here is an example tweet:

We must remember that while this content is not directly conversion-oriented, you should be able to measure success from micro-conversions (NBED link to Avinash’s post about micro-conversions) such as signups to your email list or new Twitter followers. The content conversion funnel is often much slower and less direct than a normal funnel.

Facebook Ads
Another way to promote your editorial content pieces is through Facebook Ads, which we have all seen on the right side of our Facebook feeds and within our mobile devices through the Facebook app:

Similar to the Twitter strategy talked about above, the goal here is to bring people into the top of your content conversion funnel and convert them through a micro-conversion of a social media follow (“Like” on Facebook) or signing up to an email list.

Paid Content Distribution

Another way to promote your content is through paid promotion placement on other websites. Many websites will allow you to promote your content on their platform on a pay-per-impression basis. These sites are incentivized to promote content by being paid based on the traffic that they send to other websites (read: yours!).

Many services, including Zemanta, nRelate, and OutBrain exist to provide a way to promote your content on this pay per impressionbasis. If you look closely at a lot of larger publishers these days, they have a section on the bottom of articles that refers the user to other articles of interest, often on another website.

For example, look at CNN.com:

This traffic can be bought quite cheap and used to discover what kind of content people consume, link to, and convert from into a micro-conversion. While this traffic is often less qualified, it can drive branded awareness and begin to establish you as an authority in your space.

StumbleUpon Paid Discovery

Another option is StumbleUpon Paid Discovery, which can be very cheap on a per-click basis. You define the content and your budget, and StumbleUpon sends the traffic:

You are able to laser-target your content to your audience beginning with a large “Interest”, and then beyond that to specific keywords that your users would use.

Influencer Marketing

If you’re looking to get more mileage out of your content, but want to do so in a more organic way, influencer marketing could be the right direction for you. Whether you’re promoting a product or a piece of content, you can use influencer marketing to not only get more exposure for your content, but also links from their websites with the right services and circles.

Building a little black book of contacts and influencers takes time. If you don’t have time, or are at the beginning of investing in building a list of influencer contacts, using paid services like Social Reactor can be a good option to fill in the gaps until you can build your own assets.

Aggregators and Apps

A third way to drive users to your content is through either web-based content aggregators like HackerNews, Reddit and Digg or mobile-based applications such as Flipboard or Pulse.me.

Aggregators

Web-based content aggregators can be one of the best ways to drive large amounts of traffic to your website. By creating content that is targeted at specific audiences, you can gain visibility in front of people who are your ideal audience and could become a brand advocate for you.

On my own personal website, I have created content that I knew would get onto the homepage of HackerNews. As you can see from the screenshot below, HackerNews is to thank for the highest traffic days on my site:

Every vertical online has their own version of HackerNews. There’s Inbound.org for marketers, but also a signs subreddit, Digg for news, Pinterest for fashion, and more. For some verticals, a social network with a specific group, like LinkedIn, can be a place to connect with influencers.

Alltop is another aggregator that offers many topic options. Your site can be listed by submitting an RSS feed for approval. Go here to submit to AllTop. A protip is to connect with the curators mentioned here, who are often influencers with wider followings on social media.

Apps

A final great way to increase your audience size is through app distribution. Some of the most well-known in today’s world are Flipboard and Pulse.me.

Syndicating your content through these apps is a breeze to set up, and by promoting your Flipboard app you can gain access to a large audience.

The best way to drive traffic through these apps is to get your content listed in the Featured Apps like FlipPhotos (for images) or FlipTech for technology news. These are much harder to gain access to, but can bring you a lot of targeted and interested traffic.

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I hope this post has sparked some ideas for how you can drive traffic and links to your site by leveraging other platforms to give your content more exposure. I'd also love to hear any more ideas you have!

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  • http://twitter.com/dohertyjf John Doherty

    Email me – john.doherty at distilled dot net – and I’ll share!

  • Caleb_Edwards

    We’ve been using OneSpot which is really good especially for consumer brands. You mentioned there are others that are around the $1,000 mark. Care to share what those are?

  • http://twitter.com/dohertyjf John Doherty

    Thanks for dropping by and reading, Thomas! Please come say hi in Boston!

  • http://twitter.com/dohertyjf John Doherty

    Hi Caleb –
    Services like SocialReactor vary in pricing. Some are quite expensive, upwards of $10k for a campaign (though this can definitely be an investment that pays off!). Others are more affordable at around $1000, but might not have the reach. You get what you pay for.

  • http://www.blueprintmarketing.com/ Thomas Zickell

    Hi John,

    Great post. I think what you said is right on the money. If you use your blog as your soapbox and only talk about your company doing this and that 100% of the time no one’s going to come and read your blog. Same goes for all social media. For instance if I had some interesting statistic that was found on a different site and I tweeted it I would gain followers much more quickly than saying that I do a good job at what I do or that my company is the best, and this is why.

    Unfortunately, I do not have the gift of writing well. However I have found for people like myself if you Google content marketing companies and grammar you will find people will charge a very small amount to proofread your content tenant before you post.

    For me I like SEOmoz, Distilled together with Distilled/U and Copybloger

    Normally I get my information from John posting on distilled or SEOMoz great job and looking forward to seeing you guys at search love in Boston.

    All the best,
    Tom

  • Caleb_Edwards

    John, as an inbound marketing agency who does a lot of content creation for clients this is an area we’re constantly looking to improve. Social Reactor caught my eye with their social influencer services. Any idea on what their minimum monthly commitment is? I have clients of all different sizes and some need to start small and grow.

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  • Debbie Josendale

    Hi John, Thanks so much for sharing all of these great ways to promote content. With so many options it’s easy to just keep doing the same-o thing. Great inspiration to add other methods!

  • zemanta

    Thanks to you too! We’d be happy to have you any time

  • http://twitter.com/dohertyjf John Doherty

    Thanks for letting me write this on your blog, Zemanta!