Cure Invisible Content Syndrome with These 10 Tactics from the Pros
August 5, 2018
This guest post was contributed by Lee Odden, CEO, TopRank Marketing.
Eyes fixed on his computer monitor, Jack felt perspiration form on his forehead as he waited in anticipation for the flood of visitors to the new campaign he and his team just launched. Anticipation turned to nervousness as he looked around the room and asked, “Who’s promoting this content?” All Jack got in return were blank stares and a bad case of Invisible Content Syndrome.
According to research by the Content Marketing Institute, 83% of B2B marketers use social networks for traffic, making it the most preferred tactic. At the same time, research from BuzzSumo reports that social sharing has dropped by 50% since 2015. With only 23% of CMOs feeling they are producing the right content and delivering it at the right time and format, lack of visibility is a disease content marketing is suffering across the industry.
The good news is that “Dr. LinkedIn” offers some cure. According to Digiday, likes and shares on LinkedIn are up more than 60% year-on-year, and LinkedIn tops just about every list including the B2B Content Marketing Report as the most effective social media platform for B2B marketers.
But what more can marketers do to cure Invisible Content Syndrome? To help answer that question I asked some of the top marketers in the industry for their best medicine. Here are their prescriptions:
Ann Handley, Chief Content Officer at MarketingProfs
Wrap your content in context wrapping paper. Your content marketing is a gift you give your audience. Or it should be. If it’s not, stop reading this article on distribution immediately and go back to create something that people want and value. (You know, like an actual good gift.)
Still here? GOOD! Gold star! You’re awesome!
Anyhoosie… share your content gifts on social channels. You know, like you’ve always done.
But now: make sure you wrap it first, using Context as your gift paper. In other words, share not just what the content is… but why it matters to you and your audience.
Why did you write it/produce it/film it/publish it? What about the topic is particularly relevant to this audience on LinkedIn/Twitter/Facebookstagram? What news item does it relate to? What’s so special about your take on it?
Wrap gifts individually for each distribution channel.
Bonus points if you do this by shooting a quick video, so that people can actually see and feel how excited you are.
I did this on LinkedIn with our announcement about our B2B Marketing Forum keynote speakers. I could have just shared the speakers and told how excited I truly am… but instead I shared why we picked them, and how excited I was about it. My excited face and googly eyes say it all.
People love nicely wrapped gifts. Because getting one is way more fun than getting a gift “wrapped" only in a shopping bag from the airport Hudson’s News, right?
Context = the best kind of content gift wrapping paper.
Andrew Davis, Keynote Speaker and Best Selling Author at Momumental Shift
Most of us write a blog post, upload our podcast, or finish editing our video, and as soon as it's released, we promote it everywhere. We tweet it and summarize it on LinkedIn. We post it on Facebook and email it to everyone. We create an Instagram story and Snap it. In an hour our content is distributed everywhere. We vomit our content on our audience all at once.
It turns out that some of the most successful content creators see massive success over a more extended period when they focus less on WHERE they distribute their content and instead focus on WHEN to distribute their content.
For example, first, send your content to your email subscribers. Now, before you post it anywhere else wait. Wait until your most loyal audience has had time to click and consume your content. (Maybe this takes 24 hours or even a couple of days.) Next, promote your content on one social channel at a time, watching the consumption rise and fall before moving on to the next channel.
The result is a much more successful content distribution and promotion strategy that builds momentum and social proof. Go ahead, give it a shot. You'll be so glad you did.
Ursula Ringham, Head of Global Influencer Marketing at SAP
Social media influencers are an important ingredient in creating and promoting memorable content. As you’ve seen from industry reports, people are more opt to trust influencers than brands. But you must start by including influencers in the content creation process. Whether it’s a blog, video, podcast, or live-stream, collaborate with the influencer on the story you want to tell and how best it will resonate with their audience.
Secret Tip? While the content is being created, have the influencer create anticipation about it before it even comes out, like a teaser of what’s to come. That way, their audience will be hungry for it. And that’s when the value of an influencer kicks in. They can take your promotion strategy for that piece of content to the next level with their reach across multiple social platforms.
Larry Kim, CEO at MobileMonkey
When we promote MobileMonkey's great content, we don't "give away" the ending in its distribution and promotion. We hint at the payoff in a way that leaves the reader shouting, "Tell me more!”. A secret weapon, a major loss, something personal, a traditional model turned upside down... just a hint can avoid invisible content syndrome. This isn't revolutionary, but it's overlooked and a constant in MobileMonkey's campaigns.
Cathy McPhillips, Vice President of Marketing at Content Marketing Institute
Have a plan. You spend so much time creating epic content, so why not spend that same amount of time coming up with a plan for distribution and promotion? It can be a down and dirty spreadsheet — fill in dates, audience, messaging, and what you’re trying to achieve. Mix up the messaging, hashtags, keywords, days, times that best suit your customers, set up UTM parameters to then analyze what’s working. Find ways that your content can help someone solve a problem. Don’t assume they’ll find you or your content without you doing legwork on your end.
Michael King, Managing Director at iPullRank
It's remarkable to me that brands will spend a considerable amount of money on building something, but very little on promoting it. I believe brands should take the same approach that networks do with televised content: Spend 5X what you spent to make something to promote it.
The tactic that we use to drive a wealth of high value traffic is creating bite-sized relevant content pieces that we can guest post on other high traffic sites and link back to our tent pole content. Effectively, you end up borrowing traffic from sites that already have your audience. We tend to make the content asset freely available in HTML format, but with key capture points such as Wistia's Turnstile feature, which creates a point in a video where you can't watch any further without giving your email address. We'll also use Pay with a Tweet to offer the audience download versions. So, you end up creating more opportunity to capture leads and drive social sharing without completely gating your content.
Carla Johnson, Chief Experience Officer at Type A Communications
Great content brings expertise to the table, but there’s hardly anyone who’s learned all the tough lessons themselves. To help promote content, tap into people who have solved the problem that your content helps your audience with. Get their insights, expertise and, if they’re really honest, epic fails so that your audience can get some leap-frog learning and avoid the same mistakes. Doing this helps make invisible content visible in two ways – it’s sure to hit sore spots and pitfalls that your audience deals with, so they’re more likely to share. And when you make it easy for the experts you’ve tapped to share the final content, you’ve added breadth, depth and credibility to it as well. People like to be a part of, and share, great advice.
Mike Stelzner, CEO/Founder of Social Media Examiner
My secret to getting content seen is to focus on the real needs of my audience. If they are social media marketers struggling with exposure in the Facebook News Feed, you can bet I'll be talking about that. When you hit a real need, people will share your content and talk about it. The only way to really understand the pains of your audience is to really know them. That's where conducting studies, getting on the phone, or meeting them in person can be exceptionally valuable.
Sujan Patel, GM and Co-Founder of Web Profits
There's one thing I do every time to ensure my content gets seen, I create a promotion plan for every content idea that I come up with. This sounds very simple and it is however it's an extra step rarely taken by content marketers. My rule of thumb is that if I can't come up with at least 5 ways to promote the content than it shouldn't be written. When you start with promotion you build content promotion into the article itself which ensures it receives maximum visibility.
It's also important to note that content promotion takes significant time so you need to carve out time and resources for promotion. I often spend 80% of my time promoting content.
Joe Pulizzi, Co-Founder and Board Member at The Orange Effect Foundation
I call this the "Core 20" rule of promotion. In my experience, there are generally 20 people in your universe that will highly benefit from the content you create. If you do your homework correctly, those 20 individuals have loyal audiences themselves. They don't have to have large audiences, just loyal ones. Get those 20 people involved BEFORE you create the content. Insert their wisdom into the text, the video, the podcast series, the event. Consider these 20 your executive committee. Keep them updated as to how your content is progressing and when it will be released. Then, ask them to do one thing. Possibly an email to their audience. A few tweets...a FB post. Email is always my favorite. In this way, you have built a content promotion team that does not just rely on your own distribution.
Get Started Promoting Your Content Today
We all know that “Build it and they will come” advice was great for the movies but not so great when it came to Jack and his less than healthy approach to content marketing. Take the advice above to heart and give content promotion some serious consideration during the planning phase of your next content marketing program.
Whether you partner with influencers who will help promote the content you collaborated on or take full advantage of all the opportunities here on LinkedIn like building out a healthy LinkedIn Company Page, it’s important to make content promotion an essential part of your content marketing regimen.
To learn more about getting your content promotion healthy, be sure to check out the workshop I’m giving at the Content Marketing World conference September 4th: Rocket Science Simplified: How to Optimize, Socialize and Publicize B2B Content. Maybe we should invite Jack and his team, too.
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