Content promotion is a very popular tool in a social media marketer’s tool kit. A successful promotion can bring exposure and links at a low price: that low cost and high return is what’s driving a lot of companies to get involved.
Unfortunately, companies are jumping in without learning how to promote content the right way.
It might seem as simple as submitting and then forgetting, but there is a lot more involved. Starting with the basics, here are the 7 sins of promotion that companies committ, which negatively affect their marketing efforts.
A successful social media promotion can bring an enormous amount of traffic and in-links. The high return on investments, coupled with low costs, can become addictive. Social media can be hit or miss; it can be hard to figure out what you should focus your efforts on. Some promoters decide to take the submit-it-all & see-what-happens approach.
Instead of content promoters submitting only the best pieces of content, they submit every article posted on their blogs, their company’s directory page, white pages interns wrote, and the CEO’s chili recipe. Its social media; something has to do well, right?
Don’t waste your time submitting everything you have. You will see little-to-no value using this approach. In most cases, this approach will hurt your efforts, since social sites don’t want you to “spam” their networks with useless content.
Social networks don’t like users overly-promoting one domain, either. Most sites have tracking built into their algorithms to flag users who do this. In return, you may receive a domain ban, which would leave you unable to benefit from that social network. You’d be back to square one after many wasted hours.
Each month a promotion schedule should be created, with a few pieces of content you feel offer the highest value to the user. At the same time, plan on producing filler content that won’t be promoted, but that will focus on current events related to your niche.
You don’t want your site to become a linkbait factory, but instead, a valuable site that users will want to revisit, and eventually organically submit to social networks. After a month is complete, review content that was promoted to see which topics did the best. The next month you will focus your ideas around best-performing content
As each month progresses, you will be able to use the data you collect to fine tune your content. The overall goal isn’t the short term traffic and links, but exposing your site to social users to get them to share your content naturally with their networks. That will reduce content promotion costs, and drastically increase your return on investment (ROI) from content promotion.
Commitment to the overall goal is what makes the difference between a good promoter and bad promoter. This is not a 9-5 job; it’s a lot of late nights and early mornings. You need to stay current with all the top social networks, and the best strategies for sharing content on them. Some promoters take shortcuts to speed up the process, thinking they can decrease time cost.
Instead of creating a unique title and description that will draw a user in, the promoter just copies the default page title, and submits it to every network concomitantly.
Each social network is unique. A title that works on Digg will not work on Fark. So they may see success on one network, but due to their laziness, they missed out on three others. Content that goes “viral” organically doesn’t appear on every social network at the same time. It’s a huge red flag; especially if you’re using the same title over and over.
Visit the sites you promote on to read the titles on the homepage on a daily basis. See what users react to positively, and what they hate. Take notes on what you see, and start tracking what titles do better than others. Try a few submissions that aren’t for yourself or a client.
Use the data you collected to figure out what the best strategy would be for each target. A targeted title can make a good submission great, and provide a much higher ROI. Taking the extra time to figure out what each network likes will reduce your time cost in the long run. Here are a few resources to help you craft a better title:
- How To Guide for Submitting Content To Fark
- Smashing Tickets To Writing Eye Catching Titles
- 15 Ways to Rework Your Next Blog Post Title
Start your submissions on social networks that require a power user account. This will prevent the content from being submitted by a non-power user. Once you have built some traction on those networks, start submitting to networks that don’t need a power account. You want to space your submissions out as though it is going viral organically.
The content promotion community is small, so you often see the same users on all the popular networks. Some promoters think the best approach to getting their competing content in front of social users is to bury/downvote/report other people’s submissions. They are angry at the opposing promoter’s success, and the only way to do better than them is maliciously attack.
The promoter downvotes and reports any competing submissions in order to push their submissions to the front page.
Karma, plain and simple. While this method provides a short term benefit, in the long term you will create enemies. Promoters study social networks, and they will eventually figure out if someone is maliciously downvoting/reporting their content. They will retaliate on your submissions, creating more work for you. You will end of up going back and forth, wasting each other’s time.
Make friends! Be social, and interact with other users. Making enemies will only make your job harder. Each friend you make is on additional person that can help you achieve your overall promotion goal. If a person makes you mad, just ignore them and their submissions.
Social content creation is hard work. You may be the best promoter in the world, but if your content is weak you’re not going to see much success. Some sites have their strategies down: they create amazing content. Other sites want to steal that success from them by stealing their content, and then promoting on their own domain.
A promoter waits for other sites to post great content. Then, the promoter steals that content to post it on their blog, with no credit to the creator. This content is promoted on social networks. People even steal user-submitted photos from social networks like reddit to repost them as their own. This behavior has been seen on some of the largest blogs on the web.
You may be able to get away with the theft for a short period of time, but you run a huge risk. You will be called out by other social users, which will negatively affect your credibility and submissions on the network. You can be reported as a spammer, and even receive a domain ban. You create enemies with other sites and social network users, which may result in retaliation.
If you want to share another site’s content with your social network, ALWAYS credit the creator. Most sites want you to repost their content and share it with your network. If you can provide a mutual benefit, and build a symbiotic relationship, most sites don’t mind.
This sin will always get you in trouble. Some content promoters like to blog about their successes “gaming” social networks. This not only alerts social networks to their efforts, but it gives the entire industry a black eye, and a black hat.
Social promoter decides to blog about gaming reddit/Digg/StumbleUpon/whatever and how they use fake accounts to get their content to the homepage.
In the past few months, this has happened a few times. Reddit recently called out a content promoter for posting about his success gaming Reddit: the post made it to the homepage, and users were able to track him down and expose a lot of his personal information. This drastically reduced his credibility with social users, and made the entire marketing community look like spammers.
Your overall goal shouldn’t be to spam social networks. You want to provide the users with resourceful content that is interesting and unique. If you are using shady tactics to spam meaningless content, then why would throw it in the networks face? The best content promoters don’t boast, they just get it done correctly.
Too much of one thing is never enough. Content promoters sometimes get comfortable promoting on one network. They learn the ins-and-outs of that network, and tend to be very successful. They invest all their time savagely consuming that network, never looking into alternatives, nor expanding their promotion strategy.
A social promoter decided to focus all their efforts on one social network. All their eggs are in one basket, and they become dependent on that network for their success. The network makes a drastic redesign, and the users drop off the site.
Instead of researching new networks, or promoting across multiple networks, the social content promoter is now dependent on a single site to make or break social content promotions. This is a bad idea for a couple reasons: you don’t want success and failure to be based on a site you have no control over. Also, you don’t want to invest an immense amount of time only to see the site go under, and leave you standing alone with no options.
Constantly research current and upcoming social networks. Look into forums and other types of user communities. Based on the type of content you are promoting, you should find a couple mediums you can use to promote.
Don’t ever think one site will be the solution, because you can’t predict the future. Make sure to have back up strategies, and invest in multiple social networks. Never get comfortable; things change in matter of seconds on the internet.
Sometimes it takes time to figure out the best promotion strategy. You think you have done everything you possibly can do, and nothing works. All promoters get here, and sometimes you just want to take the easy way out. A popular quote heard ‘round the BlueGlass company is, “Difficult takes a day, impossible takes a week.” It couldn’t be truer in this case.
The promoter has tried every trick in the book, and decides the only way to succeed is to break the rules. They start cutting corners; burying competitor’s content, submitting everything under the sun, promoting blog spam, and reporting other social users.
The above efforts will result in domain bans, social account bans, and overall social media failure.
Step back for a second. When you focus too long on a problem, it becomes difficult to look at it from fresh perspectives. Try to reach out to other people on your team, or in the online marketing community (I don’t bite!) and see what advice they proffer. Sometimes, getting another perspective can open your mind to other strategies you couldn’t fathom.
Content promotion takes time and dedication. You need to get involved on the popular social networks, and become a resource to each community. Don’t just look at social sites as another medium for marketing.
The more time you put into building your social network and interacting with the community, the better your content promotion results will be. Always remember: the promotion strategy shouldn’t be your only focus, either. Craft and promote unique and resourceful content. If it is sub-par, the results of your promotion will be the same.
Have any other sins content promoters should avoid? Post them in the comments below.