Creating great content gives you tremendous ammunition for attracting links.
But content without active promotion is likely to turn into a very damp squib. So you must have mechanisms in place that will allow you to easily and repeatably get your message out to as many relevant people as possible.
Creating those promotion mechanisms is well worth the effort. Imagine launching a piece of content and knowing for certain that you’re going to get a fantastic and predictable response every time. And sometimes you’ll hit the jackpot and your content will really take off.
In this article, I’m going to outline what mechanisms you need to have in place and then I’ll give you a 7-point plan that will give any content you launch a superior chance of attracting attention.
Make it easy for people to share your content
When people find something really useful, their immediate reaction is to share it with their friends. Especially if they can be the first to do so.
Therefore make it easy for them to share by including social media links in your posts. You’ve seen them of course on many sites - they’ll look something like this:
You can get the code to give you buttons like this on your site from AddThis
And of course, it will be even better if your content is eye-catching, opinionated, timely, controversial, useful or just downright strange. Experiment and have some fun!
Create followers and fan bases on social media
In the paragraph above, I asked you to “Imagine launching a piece of content and knowing for certain that you’re going to get a fantastic and predictable response every time.”
The foundation for doing that is to have a serious body of fans and followers. The more followers that you have who are genuinely interested in your company and what you do, the better.
On Twitter for example, I’m interested in genuine followers so I’m selective about who I follow back. It’s easy to add 100 quality followers every week. Do that every week for a year and you’ll have over 5,000 genuine followers.
Here’s how in 30 minutes a day:
- Pick your top news sources and set up Google Reader.
- Every morning (the earlier the better), scan the articles and tweet only the ones you find useful (3-5 items).
- Scan what your followers are tweeting about and re-tweet those with genuine value.
- Reply to and thank others for their re-tweets and comments.
Just doing that was enough to bring me hundreds of followers for a site that didn’t yet exist!
And once you bring your follower base up into the thousands, you have a ready-made and free way of reaching many influential people.
Build lists of bloggers, journalists, news media
You must have a process for collecting the names and contact details of people who can help you promote your website. And you must build them into lists.
Throughout these articles, I use the word ‘process’ a lot. I do that for a reason. I have many ideas that work well - and many that don’t. And when something works well, I sit down and try to figure out why it worked and what steps that I went through.
That’s important to me for two reasons:
- When I write a publication like this (click here to download the Link Building Made Simple PDF), it gives me ready-made and useful content that works to share.
- It gives me processes that I repeat time and again and that means that new pieces of work don’t take as long as they could do, and I can be sure that they’ll work.
So create a process for building lists of people who can help you - bloggers, journalists, experts and so on. The process will mean that your lists of people who can help you will get bigger - and more useful as time goes on.
Publish your own newsletter
Perhaps you think publishing a newsletter is a bit old fashioned, perhaps even lacking in excitement?
Well, it may be as old as the hills, but there are few better ways to get your message out. Your email subscription list is gold dust so treat it with respect.
And the funny thing is that every time you send a newsletter out, you’ll get links for the content you’ve featured in it.
Here’s an example from a site I love, LondonCyclist - it’s a model that is hard to beat:
Identify what is newsworthy about your site
I love watching a good journalist at work. I’m amazed at how quickly they can get to the nub of any matter and how they can quickly turn that into a good story within very tight deadlines.
How they do that of course is not only down to raw talent, but because they have a very clear idea of what is newsworthy and what will make a story that their readers will be interested in.
At training workshops, I’ll often run a session where I get a small business to look at what’s newsworthy about their site. Usually the ideas dry up pretty quickly.
So you’ve got to look at your business through the eyes of journalist and what they’re looking for. Here are just some examples:
- Your business is a genuinely unusual idea
- You’ve overcome the odds to start your business
- You’ve won an unusual order
- You’ve created new jobs
- You have a fantastic offer
- You’ve launched a competition
- You’re supporting a non-profit
- You’ve a made a great video
- An employee has done something unusual
- The journalist needs to create a list eg The best start-ups in ...
- They need a seasonal story
- They need a local story
- They want to follow up on a big story
- They’re writing about a competitor
- They’re writing about a particular group and you fit the bill
- They need an example to illustrate a national trend
- They need an example to illustrate legislation
- They need expert comment
- They need an award winner
… and so on.
The message is that every business has a worthwhile story to tell - you’ve got to put in across in powerful way.
Piggyback on breaking news stories
I’ve always been an early riser - it goes back to my roots in rural Ireland and funnily enough it stands me in great stead in my business career. I used to run a small public relations consultancy in the 1990s and I always started the day watching BBC Breakfast TV when it came on air at 6am.
Over breakfast, I’d listen carefully to national breaking stories. I’d think about how I could get one of my clients to give a local or a small business angle on one of the big stories of the day.
When I’d got a good idea, I’d check with my client, then phone the producer of the show and offer to jump in a taxi and be there for an interview. Invariably, they’d bite on the idea and I’d get some fantastic coverage for my clients.
Now, with the internet, it’s so much easier to pick out and piggyback on breaking news. David Meerman Scott has written an excellent little book, "Newsjacking" that tells you how to do it.
Respond to journalist queries immediately
This is a short tip on responding to journalist’s queries. A journalist is usually under time pressure so don’t delay or you’ll likely lose the opportunity.
However, that doesn’t mean that you can’t prepare. If a journalist phoned you right now, what could you say to benefit your business that would be short, punchy and interesting?
Not sure? Go practice!
Distribute news releases via wire services
Press contacts that you have personally built up over the years will always be your best bet for media coverage. However, if you’re just starting out and really don’t have any press contacts, press release distribution services can be a way to get your story in front of potential media.
These services work by distributing multiple press releases to journalists and media who have specified which market segments they are interested in. So journalists might sign up to get press releases on the travel industry, banking, food and drink, retail, small business and so on.
Every morning they’ll receive an email with the summaries of up to several hundred emails. Journalists will quickly scan this list, click through to stories that catch their eye and if it’s interesting enough, write a story based on the press release.
So you face a lot of competition and you’ve got to make your release stand out. However, the emails do have a wide reach - from thousands of journalists who may be looking for specific story, you need only a few to react to make the effort worthwhile.
There are free press release distribution services but you do get what you pay for. It may well be worth spending several hundred dollars on one of the major distribution services - PRNewswire, BusinessWire, PRWeb and URLwire In the UK, look at PressDispensary or SourceWire
Promoting your content takes time and creativity. As you work through the contents of this article, you’ll find promotional activities that come naturally to you and some that do not.
Start where you are most comfortable, focus on setting clear objectives and do not give up until you achieve them. Then push yourself further.
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Link Building Made Simple
Read the rest in this series:
Link Building Made Simple: Introduction
Link Building Made Simple 1: Strategy
Link Building Made Simple 2: Measuring your success
Link Building Made Simple 3: Current situation
Link Building Made Simple 4: Networking and link prospecting
Link Building Made Simple 5: Content creation
About Ken McGaffin
Ken McGaffin is an experienced internet marketing consultant and has worked for major pharmaceutical companies, advertising agencies, government bodies and non-profit organizations.
Ken unveils the secrets of successful link building in his 384-page e-book, Successful Link Building
You can watch recordings of his extremely popular (and free) Link Building Webinars