Lane Ellis

Step Right Up! 8 Content Promotion Showstoppers For 2019

Lane Ellis on Nov 29th, 2018     Content Marketing

6 photo collage image.
Welcome to the fifth installment in our “Collective Wisdom” series of content marketing strategy articles. In this issue, we’ll dig into the multifaceted and sometimes daunting world of promoting content, featuring wisdom and examples from some of the world’s top digital marketers.

Previously we’ve covered pre-planning for content marketing success, the art of crafting powerful content, along with enduring and often-overlooked content creation best practices. Now it’s time to move on and tackle show-stopping content promotion.

Below we explore eight helpful tactics used by some of the best in the business when it comes to the art of promoting your content, with methods that will make your audience stop, look, and engage.

Showstopper 1: Unleash the Influencer Marketing Kraken

Kraken Sea Creature Image

The most basic premise of influencer marketing is all about harnessing the power of people who hold real and relevant influence for your target audience. But when done smartly, influencer marketing can also be a strong content promotion tactic, which is why it’s become highly effective for both B2B and B2C brands of all sizes.

With global influencer marketing advertising spending forecast to double from $5 billion to $10 billion over the next five years (Mediakit, 2018), and 65% of global brands planning to increase their influencer marketing spending over the next year (World Federation of Advertisers), the time to release your influencer marketing Kraken could hardly be better.

Two men with bubble quotes.

Numerous studies from Nielsen and others over the years have continued to show that our trust in our fellow real human beings is roughly twice that we generally have for brands or organizations — or, most certainly, the Kraken — and influencer marketing has grabbed hold and run with this natural preference for people.

Noted marketing speaker and author Jay Baer, founder of Convince and Convert, encourages thinking long-term when it comes to influencer marketing.

“At the heart of both paid and earned influencer campaigns is creating long-lasting relationships.” — Jay Baer @jaybaer Click To Tweet

How to nurture these relationships early and often is featured heavily in “Words of Wisdom: Lee Odden’s Top 9 Insights on How to Succeed at Influencer Marketing 2.0,” by TopRank Marketing senior content marketing manager Caitlin Burgess, a great resource for learning more about the specifics and nitty-gritty of developing your own smart and successful influencer marketing campaign.

One of our most popular annual collections of the very best content marketing influencers was recently released, and it offers a great way to find and easily follow many of the brightest professionals in the influencer marketing world: “50 B2B Marketing Influencers and Experts to Follow Into 2019.”

Influencer marketing’s use as a robust promotional tactic is explained further in the following six resources.

Six Kraken-Approved Influencer Marketing Resources For Your Toolkit

  1. Get your feet wet with our CEO Lee Odden’s “Just Getting Started with Influencer Marketing? 6 Things You Should Know,” which is a fine introduction to successfully working with influencers, including best practices and prime opportunities.
  2. Gaze into the far reaches of influencer marketing possibilities with our own content marketing manager Joshua Nite, as he goes “Beyond the Hype Cycle: It’s Time to Redefine Influencer Marketing,” with a selection of helpful methods to make the practice a trusted part of a newer and better integrated marketing strategy.
  3. It’s been a strong year for influencer marketing, and our content strategist Anne Leuman explores a fascinating array of trends for brands and beyond, in “7 Influencer Marketing Trends That Will Rule 2018.”
  4. Global enterprise B2B firms are reaping the benefits of influencer marketing as well, and our series of interviews by Lee with leading figures digs into the details, including expert marketers from IBM, Adobe, Cox Communications, SAS, Dun & Bradstreet, and others.
  5. A primer of some of the many specialty influencer marketing tools is laid out in infographic format by IZEA, which has also recently released a report showing influencer marketing near the top of the marketer effectiveness rating chart.

The B2B side of influencer marketing is the subject of Lee’s “What B2B CMOs Need to Know About Successful Influencer Marketing,” with special focus on how today’s chief marketing officers can benefit.

Showstopper 2: Invade Social Media with Hyper-Specific Promotion

UFOs over field of grass image.

Every social media platform offers its own unique twist and flavor — which is a big part of what makes the social landscape so rewarding, thrilling, and at times challenging — and you should use these differences to your advantage by tailoring your own bespoke promotional messaging for each platform’s unique audience.

Author and speaker Guy Kawasaki suggests that smart marketers strive for a greater dose of the human factor in social promotion.

“Brands are built on what people are saying about you on social media, not what you’re saying about yourself.” — Guy Kawasaki @GuyKawasaki Click To Tweet

Making your social promotion hyper-focused with a human touch starts with the basics of ensuring that your textural messaging elements fit a social platform’s limits, and recognizes the differing user demographics of each when writing promotional copy for social media.

Keep track of the latest image and video sizing recommendations and create pixel-perfect visuals tailored specifically for each social media platform you plan to use for promotion. SproutSocial’s “Always Up-to-Date Guide to Social Media Image Sizes” is one of many similar guides, and a good jumping off point when trying to track down the latest Pinterest pin dimensions or Twitter in-stream photo sizes.

In addition, also make a point to stay informed on new promotional elements that platforms roll out, and incorporate them in a well-thought-out manner in your promotions.

Stay up on these by finding out where each social platform announces its new features and beta tests, whether it’s the platform’s blog, website newsroom, fan newsletters, or specific social profiles made to inform marketers and users of feature additions and changes. Twitter, for example, offers several media best practices guides.

There are more social media places than ever to promote your content, and Anne has a list of some you’ve likely used in past promotions, and several that may be new opportunities you’ll want to explore, in her look at “4 Significant Marketing Channels You Should Adopt in 2018.”

Showstopper 3: Go For the Win with Awards

2019 numbers by mountaintop sunset image.

You’ve taken great care to craft enchanting and relevant content. Now it may be time to submit your finest works to one or more of the many marketing awards programs.

Winning a category or even being named as a short-list entry can both be fantastic ways to help promote your content, and although the competition can be strong, the potential boost you can achieve is well worth consideration.

Whether B2B or B2C and whatever your industry, chances are good that there’s at least one annual awards competition where you can showcase your best work, whether it’s the Interactive Marketing Awards, the Digiday Awards, or Cannes Lions.

Examples of how top-notch marketing work can garner awards is shown in one of our most popular posts of 2018, Lee’s “32 B2B Content Marketing Case Studies for 2018,” featuring our client Cherwell Software and its recognition at the 2018 Killer Content Awards.

The sky’s the limit when you start entering and winning marketing awards, so don’t overlook these opportunities in your own content promotion.

“Awards give recognition to great work and they also give us a look inside what’s really working in the industry.” — Lee Odden @LeeOdden Click To Tweet

Showstopper 4: Practice Promotional Thankfulness

Hands writing thank you in a book surrounded by flowers image.

Incorporating thanks to those who have helped you along the way within your social promotions offers a number of benefits, including reaching new audiences you may not have previously considered.

Who has helped you create the work you’re promoting?

There will be people, services, and companies who had a direct impact on the content you’re promoting, and thanking them by name as a part of your promotional campaigns can be rewarding both on a personal and professional level.

Think also of the people who, although probably not involved directly in your present campaigns, helped you grow into the stellar content crafter you are today. Whether it’s an old college marketing professor who instilled a sense of curiosity you’ve carried for years, a professional mentor whose help guided you, or a former associate who taught you something wonderful you use to this day, finding and thanking them is a win-win-win situation for you, the people who inspired you, and for the latest content you’re promoting if you choose to give them a shout-out in your social messaging.

Here at TopRank Marketing we recently honored a Thanksgiving tradition by taking the time to say thanks, which is always a worthwhile endeavor.

Scott Monty, neoclassical marketer and former head of social at Ford, regularly quotes Cicero in his keynote addresses, and one about thankfulness from the Roman statesman and philosopher comes to mind:

“Gratitude is not only the greatest of virtues, but the parent of all others..” — Cicero Click To Tweet

Scott also sees value in expressing human emotions such as gratitude.

“We can teach machines how to learn, how to respond to questions, to perform mail merges, & to anticipate our needs, but we can't teach them to do what it takes to be truly human: that is, to feel & express emotions.” @ScottMonty Click To Tweet

Showstopper 5: Crank Up Your Crew & Turn Up Your Team

Women's rowing team image.

Whatever the size of your team, when used in the right ways, its members can be an invaluable resource in your promotional toolkit, whether through employee advocacy, engagement, or as a source of inspiration.

Some may be bona fide mega-influencers, others micro-or-nano-influencers, but all can help in their own way with your promotion efforts, so take the time to learn all you can about your team, and work with each of them as appropriate to help them best share and amplify your content.

Three Resources For Cranking Up Your Team For Content Promotion

  1. In “Teamwork Makes the Dream Work: 6 Tips for Helping Your Marketing Team Work Better Together,” Caitlin dives into the power of teamwork and the importance of individual and team goals.
  2. What can Spider-Man and Captain America teach us about content promotion? Josh looks at how teams wield more power than simply the sum of the individuals they contain, in his insightful “Marketers, Assemble! The Super-Powered Team-Up of Content Marketing Confluence.”
  3. How employees can benefit marketing efforts is explored in detail in Caitlin’s “How Employee Engagement Helps Drive the Success of Your Marketing Efforts.”

By being open to and fostering the content promotion boost your team members can provide, you’ll have an advantage over those who forge ahead alone.

“Alone we can do so little, together we can do so much.” — Helen Keller Click To Tweet

Showstopper 6: Use Paid Booster Rockets

Rocketship and booster rockets image.

Even the most successful organic promotions can make gains by adding smartly-placed paid promotion to the mix. When combined as a part of traditional search engine optimization (SEO) strategy, paid promotions can be especially effective, as Anne explored in “SEO + Paid Search: An Aristotelian Lesson in Search Marketing Integration.”

Google digital marketing evangelist and noted author Avinash Kaushik has over the years cautioned against using the power of paid search advertising without first having stellar content, urging digital marketers to outsmart instead of trying to outspend.

“Never let ads write checks your website can’t cash.” — Avinash Kaushik @avinash Click To Tweet

Pay-per-click (PPC) and other varieties of paid advertising are quickly-changing and oftentimes walled communities, and knowing when and how to best use each is a bit of a digital art-form.

Matthew Gratt, digital marketing manager at Continuum Analytics, sees paid promotion as complementary to organic methods, noting that:

“People don’t find content by mistake, or by accident. Every content plan needs a complementary promotion plan that combines paid, owned, and earned media.” — Matthew Gratt Click To Tweet

Showstopper 7: Test Out Promotion on New Social Frontiers

Doorway open to green pastures in an urban cityscape image.

Whenever a new social media platform launches it opens the door to new promotional frontiers for those willing to dedicate the time and effort to learning its rules of road, and when done well you could find yourself with big promotion success.

CNN recently brought mainstream attention to Tik Tok, a video-heavy app launched in 2016 in China that’s been downloaded nearly 800 million times and which has attracted a growing number of marketers. This is just one example of the type of new digital marketing frontier to be on the lookout for, even if we can’t be certain which new platforms will eventually make the annual global social usage lists such as those Hootsuite releases annually.

Hootsuite graph of global social media usage.

Although not as new as Tik Tok, live-streaming video platform Twitch has increasingly caught the attention of savvy marketers, as our Senior Content Strategist Nick Nelson explored recently during Content Marketing World in “How Twitch is Breaking New Ground In Audience Engagement #CMWorld.”

“Beyond potential utility, #marketers can benefit from simply studying @Twitch’s highly effective audience #engagement methods and stellar use of customer insights.” — Nick Nelson @NickNelson Click To Tweet

Showstopper 8: Take It To The Next Level With Professional Promotion

Guage showing levels from novice to master image.

What else can you do once you’ve meticulously implemented all seven of our showstoppers? Or perhaps you don’t have the time or resources to dedicate to doing them all to the highest level — what then?

Working with a top-notch professional marketing agency that offers a full stack of digital marketing services is the most sure-fire way to make certain that your message gets out to the right people — making your solution the best answer to the needs of your target audiences.

For many reasons, sometimes it just makes sense to make use of an agency, as Alexis Hall, our vice president of client accounts, recent examined in “Want to Go Stress Free? Here Are 6 Reasons to Hire A Digital Marketing Agency.”

“An experienced digital marketing agency can give you the lay of the land and provide strategic guidance for how best to dip your toes into new waters.” — Alexis Hall @Alexis5484 Click To Tweet

Expanding With Further Tactics For Successful Content Promotion

By unleashing the influencer marketing Kraken, invading social media with hyper-specificity, going for the win with awards, practicing thankfulness, cranking up your crew, boosting with paid, testing new frontiers, and using professional help when appropriate, your content promotion campaigns will have a sizeable advantage.

Next up in our “Collective Wisdom” series we’ll explore even more proven  and relevant tactics for providing the best content promotion.

If you haven’t yet caught our previous episodes in this series, hop back and study up with “How to Boost Your Content Marketing Efforts By Planning Ahead,” “The Art Of Crafting More Powerful Content: 5 Top Tactics from the Experts,” “5 Powerful Messaging Tactics For 2019 And Beyond From Marketing Experts,” and finally “Don’t Blink: 3 Often-Overlooked Practices for Highly-Effective Content Creation.”

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Lane Ellis About Lane Ellis

Lane R. Ellis (@lanerellis), TopRank Marketing Social Media and Content Marketing Manager, has over 34 years’ experience working with and writing about the Internet. Lane spent more than a decade as Lead Editor for prestigious conference firm Pubcon. When he's not writing, Lane enjoys distance running (11 marathons including two ultras so far), genealogical research, cross-country skate skiing, vegetarian cooking, and spending time with his wonderful wife Julie Ahasay and their three cats in beautiful Duluth, Minnesota.