As a long-time editor, this almost pains me to write, but content isn’t enough when it comes to inbound/content marketing. One of the joys of being a print editor was being able to “know” that all 45,000 subscribers immediately started thumbing through their copy of e-doc Magazine as soon as retrieved from the mailbox. From there, consumed with curiosity and in a fever of learning, they read – steadily and completely – the entire issue from cover to cover before reverently placing the issue, in proper sequence, with previous issues.
Then the Internet arrived and gave us all statistics on articles (and everything else you write, record, or video) and royally screwed up that pleasant fantasy.
Not that I dislike stats (I dislike statistics, the study of stats – I like high readership and click-through numbers when those happen). Anyway, my personal dislike of structured thinking aside, statistics are awesomely useful for editors and writers. Knowing what your audience is reading, how long they’re sticking around, search terms (when you can parse them from Google), sharing numbers, et cetera and et cetera all help guide you to what to write.
Statistics also point to another factor – when you’re pushing your content more frequently, your traffic (and other stats) rise. Because I’m 1) stubborn and 2) had a built-in audience for years, it took me longer than it should have to figure this VERY basic fact out.
Here’s the nut: Spend as much time sharing your content as you do producing it. You’ve got to market your content marketing content.
I have to throw in the obvious caveat that while marketing of your content marketing documents will improve your audience numbers for a while, if you’re not creating useful content they will go away and not come back. Be useful. Always be useful.
I had seen various version of “share your stuff” for a few years in reading around content marketing, but it really struck me between the eyes at Inbound Hubspot training last year. For whatever reason, I finally moved from “yeah, yeah gotta push stuff out” to “duh, larding up the Internet with quickly produced crap content isn’t helping me, my audience, or my sleep pattern.”
How do you push? Every way you can. Here are a few that I’m familiar with and know have worked.
Newsletter. Yep, your basic, boring email newsletter. Every Tuesday and into Wednesday for the 8 or 9 years I did a newsletter for AIIM (and discounting the one year one was a fax newsletter), the website had its peak traffic. We owned the emails. The audience wanted to hear from us and read what we were writing. The stats back it up. Doing a newsletter, every day, week, month (whatever the frequency) can help you keep in touch with your existing audience AND recruit a larger one over time.
The Twitter. Share often and frequently. The life of a Tweet is not long. Share the same piece of content multiple times over multiple days. Vary the hashtags (or whack them totally) and the copy, but don’t be afraid to share. I was at first, once I started doing this, Twitter became a larger percentage of inbound traffic.
Share Others’ Things. [Note: share, not steal] It’s never a bad thing to just assume that most folks out there are smarter and you and write great stuff. Share it. Share it on The Twitter (or pick your social medium of choice).
Blog. Think. Write. Share. Lather, rinse, repeat.
Slideshare. Great passive marketing to park presentations that you can then use within blog posts, as assets, and be found on Slideshare too.
Stalk Your Audience. Find where your audience lives and be there. Stalking is generally a bad thing, but you need to stalk your audience. Find out where they are and be there – share your knowledge by commenting in forums and groups, share your stuff in a non-obnoxious way, and find out what they like and don’t like.
I hope this has been useful. What’s worked for you?
This post grew out of a short bit within a Prospect Builder blog post, Prospect Builder would be where I serve as Content Conductor and is the small, but growing (we made the Gold Tier Partner level with Hubspot in 8 months).