In 2020, bloggers are facing their toughest challenge yet…and it’s called content saturation. Gone are the days when you could tweet something a few times on social media and get peoples’ attention. Now, the competition is fierce.
And it’s only going to get fiercer. As I’m writing this, 2.5 million blog posts have already been written…today. That’s just in the last 24 hours. Tomorrow there will be several million more. And so the task of blogging – and standing out – gets tougher.
But here’s the thing: content marketing still works! It still drives high-quality traffic, gets you new readers and more subscribers. In 2019, 53% of marketers still said blogging was their top priority. But it’s how you promote new content, in the age of content overload, that is key.
In this post, we’re delving into the blog promotion tactics that will get you great results, even if right now, you feel like no one is listening.
- Build laser-targeted audience personas
- Tap into niche communities
- Work with micro-influencers
- Content syndication
- Give your content purpose
- Give it SEO superpowers
- Make it visually engaging
- Share on visual platforms
- Make it ‘curatable’
- Have a voice & a viewpoint
- Think about design & UX
Make your blog promotion laser-targeted
Don’t stop at audience personas
Knowing your target audience is good. Having customer personas is even better. But while it’s useful to know your ideal customer is:
- A woman
- In her 30s-40s
- And needs help to find time to shop for clothes
…that information doesn’t tell you one crucial thing: how to reach them.
What you really need to know, now more than ever, is how that ideal customer uses the internet: where they hang out, how long they spend there, what apps and social networks they use, and why. Essentially, you need to go beyond just who they are, and start thinking about how they behave.
The more detailed you can be, the better. For example, what hashtags do they use? Who do they follow? Find out and keep a record. This will help you when it’s time to create super relevant content and put your promotion strategy into action.
Tap into niche communities
Once you know where your audience lives, you can start making a name for yourself there. Joining online communities has a lot of benefits (see this post from Sujan Patel), but in the age of content saturation, it’s even more useful for gaining readers, subscribers and followers that are specifically interested in what you have to offer.
Micro-communities can be found on:
- LinkedIn groups
- Facebook groups
…and by using targeted, community-specific hashtags on Twitter or Instagram (so for us, that would be things like #startuplife!)
Niche communities might seem small in terms of numbers, but they are powerful because their members are engaged. And if there’s one thing a content creator needs in 2020, it’s more engagement. Rates on Twitter and Facebook are not as high as they once were (Instagram and Pinterest, on the other hand, are only growing).
Work with micro-influencers
When people think of influencer marketing, they often imagine famous people plugging a product on Instagram. But working with micro-influencers – especially within those communities you’re now a part of – is also useful for blog promotion.
People have been working with influencers for years to promote their content. If you’ve ever done any:
- Guest blogging or guest posting
- Blog swaps
- Interviews on someone’s podcast or YouTube channel
…then you’ve already benefited from the power of influencers (or at least, people more influential than you) sharing your stuff and generating awareness, referral traffic and backlinks. In 2020, turn this from a casual activity into a fully-fledged blog promotion strategy, and get more eyeballs on your best content.
Practice smart content syndication
We spoke in a previous post about how content syndication can actually be a smart way to publish more high-quality content on your blog.
However, content syndication (or, letting other people re-publish your own work) can be a smart strategy for content creators, too. It means that more people come into contact with your brand and what you’re about, and by choosing who gets to syndicate your content carefully, you can target specific audiences to gain more exposure among your target audience. You also gain backlinks, and it’s possible to do it in such a way that it doesn’t damage your SEO.
If you’re curious about how it works, check out this guide to content syndication from Hubspot, which walks you through the process.
Make blog content that people can’t do without
Give your content purpose
It sounds obvious, but it bears repeating: quality content is valuable content. It doesn’t just cover a topic your audience is interested in. It has to give them something they want or need badly enough that they’ll take time out of their day to view it.
It will either:
- Solve a problem better than anyone else can. 94% of people who share blog posts do so because they think they’ll be useful to others.
- Cover a trending topic or provide a ‘hot take’ in a way no one else does. (Try using Buzzsumo for inspiration.)
- Make viewers feel an emotion they want to feel; whether that’s laughter, joy, motivation, hope, or self-righteousness, superiority…even outrage.
If your content is not doing one (or more) of these things, what reason will people have to click through? Try and make sure every new blog post serves one of these purposes.
“When prospects seek solutions to their needs and challenges, they expect highly specific information tailored to their exact predicament or they’ll bounce.” – Skyword.
Give it SEO superpowers
Search Engine Optimization is a huge topic that we can’t cover here in full. However, if you can inject just a bit of SEO magic into your web pages, you have a critical advantage over other bloggers. Please the search engines, rise through the ranks, and you literally rise above the competition.
Say you’ve gone for a problem-solving type of post. What keywords is your audience typing into Google to find the answers they need? Focus your keyword research on search terms that show intent – to act, join, sign up, or purchase.
For example, if you’re a university in California looking for more foreign exchange students, then ‘study in California’ is a sensible key term to optimise for. But is someone who types that into Google on the verge of making their decision and applying? Not necessarily.
Someone Googling ‘study in California’ could just be daydreaming or in the very early stages of their research. The number of potential leads might be larger, but they won’t be as committed.
Using keyword research is good, but attracting blog traffic that already wants what you have to offer is next-level. This episode of Whiteboard Friday from Moz shows how this works:
Make it visually engaging
Visual content is attention-grabbing. Blog posts with images get 94% more views than ones that don’t. So, share content that mixes text with multimedia.
Infographics and interesting images are good. Content that moves is even better, especially when it comes to social sharing. Choose animated or visually stimulating formats like:
- GIFs & gifographics
- Slideshare presentations (or Prezi, which is ideal if you’re not a designer)
This also applies to your email list, so don’t forget to include these assets in your emails whenever you announce a new post.
Share it on visual social media platforms
If you know your audience loves Facebook or lives on TikTok, then your content needs to be shareable – and look its best – on those newsfeeds. And these days, just about every social network has features that make people stop and pay attention.
One of the best is auto-play, which will automatically start playing a video as someone scrolls past your content. Make use of this by making sure your content has an accompanying video, even if it’s only 30 seconds long.
Again, movement from animations and GIFs is also really handy for getting people to stop and watch…and then hopefully, to click through and read your unique content. Use the analytics on your Twitter account, Facebook page or whatever platform you’re using – the results will speak for themselves.
Make your content ‘curatable’
It’s a bit of an old-school tip, but making sure your content is available on bookmarking tools (e.g. StumbleUpon, now known as Mix.com), content aggregators like Flipboard, RSS feed libraries like Feedly, and hand-picked content curation services like Quuu is a really easy way to get passive traffic and reach a new audience.
People use these apps for content curation, which means they want to share your content on social media – for free! They are goldmines for people who need interesting stuff to share with their audience, and making sure your stuff is on there means more distribution for you. All you have to do is submit your URLs, and then keep an eye on Google Analytics as more referrals roll in. Making sure your content appears on these tools doesn’t take a lot of time, either, so it’s well worth doing.
Make your blog promotion memorable
Have a voice
It doesn’t need to be groundbreaking, or controversial, or even that special. But your content should have its own voice.
By that, I mean that it should sound like a real person talking to their audience. No one really likes to read dry, corporate-sounding language, and when it comes to promoting a piece of content online, it’s the personality that catches peoples’ attention.
If you’re a freelancer, run a small business or work alone then it’s often relatively easy to infuse personality into your posts. However, if you work for a larger organisation it can be more challenging. If you’re responsible for content promotion strategy there, it might be time to create a voice for your brand people will remember.
Think your industry is too bland for this? Check out this case study from Buffer on how Merriam-Webster made their brand voice unique.
Have a viewpoint
No one wants to stand out for the wrong reasons. So, it’s understandable that a lot of great content creators shy away from being too opinionated.
But standing on the sidelines also sends a message. It could seem like you don’t care about the things your audience cares about. That’s not a good look.
“Gen Z wants to support and participate in brands that they believe in and that reflect them…They are loyal to brands that they feel understand them and reflect their values.” – Chad Kessler, Brand President at American Eagle.
Issues like equality, the environment and mental health are highly important to them. You might think that your blog has nothing to do with this ‘big picture’ stuff, but brands and bloggers who take a stance on what they believe in, like Aerie, are out-performing their more old-school competitors.
Think about design
“Great marketing with poor design is poor marketing.“
This quote from Megan Otto, marketing design lead at CoSchedule, also applies to your blog. And your blog promotion, for that matter. Graphics, Facebook ads, email marketing – whatever methods you’re using, design has to be a consideration.
A 2019 study by Adobe found that consumers:
‘…feel annoyed when branded content is poorly written (39%) or poorly designed (28%). Content that is too personalized (25%) is another turn-off, as is content that isn’t optimized for their devices (21%). Finally, three out of five consumers said experiencing any one of these situations would stop them from making a purchase with a brand.’
If a poor design can stop people completing a purchase, imagine how quickly it stops social shares, retweets or sign-ups.
It’s true that some of these tips will mean not everyone finds your content appealing. Standing out inevitably means some people won’t like your blog. But try to appeal to everyone, and you target no one. And if there’s one lesson you should take into 2020, it’s that effective blog promotion in this intensely competitive landscape means not being everybody’s cup of tea.
How will you overcome content saturation and drive traffic to your blog this year? Share your tips in the comments!