In as many years as I can count on my fingers, content marketing has grown into a multi-billion dollar industry. As with any fast-growing field, gurus, know-it-alls, and so-called-experts have started to creep out of the wood-work with Golden Rules and Top 10 lists-a-plenty.
While there may not be one golden formula for content and social media marketing success, there may exist a few ideas you haven’t thought of yet. In this blog post, we’ll take a look at 8 content marketing ideas that might be just the kick in the pants your social media presence needs.
1) Invest in Social Media Exposure
If you’ve never invested in marketing and advertising before, it can feel like a giant step into the dark side. In many young entrepreneurs’ minds, the dream of a viral marketing campaign that hasn’t cost a penny eternally hides around the corner. Taking the plunge and paying for much-needed social media exposure, though, is often just the push your marketing strategy needs to achieve its goals, and often at a surprisingly affordable rate. Facebook Advertising, for example, allows you to choose daily or lifetime advertising packages, and to set the limit of what you’re willing to spend on cost-per-click ads.
3) Play the Long Game
Much of content and social media marketing relies on creating long-term, trustworthy relationships. In order to build your presence on networks such as Reddit and StumbleUpon, you’ll need to engage with other users as much as you post, which means re-posting content that you appreciate and starting dialogue with other members of the network. In particular, cozy up to influencers by asking them direct questions and by commenting on the content they post. Networks like Twitter, for example, make it incredibly easy to reach out to even the biggest stars in your industry by tweeting directly at them. Don’t abuse this access, though. Nobody likes to be hassled, especially not industry honchos.
4) Try, Try Again
If a blog you posted on social networks didn’t catch fire the first time, wait a month and try posting it again. Oftentimes, all that’s needed to see a post go viral is a few tweaks to its title, or a lucky break in timing. If, for example, social networks are awash in a topic a few weeks or months after you wrote about it on your blog, don’t be afraid to re-post (or brag about catching the story first!). Under-appreciated posts can also benefit from referencing past (and under-appreciated) blog posts in newer articles.
5) Don’t Toot Your Own Horn
Mindless self-promotion is perhaps the easiest way to get yourself kicked off of many social networks, especially those that rely on quality “found” content. Instead of exclusively posting your own blog content, send your blog posts and promotions to trusted friends and colleagues who can post the content for you (although as with all aspects of content marketing, be wary of abusing your friends’ generosity). Finally, if you simply can’t contain your burning desire to tweet and post your latest blog post all over the web, do so earnestly and honestly. Audiences appreciate users who sound like people, not like marketing bots.
6) Discover the Power of Quora
Quora doesn’t get a huge amount of attention in comparison to other social media networks like Instagram, Twitter, Pinterest, or the almighty Facebook, but for many industries (especially B2B), Quora represents a wealth of marketing opportunities – as long as your heart is in the right place. Quora lets you build your network and prove your worth simply by answering common questions. While self-promotion is strictly looked down upon (and usually ignored), it’s not unusual to see a Quora member linking to a relevant blog post they’ve written in order to elaborate on their response. What’s more, Quora encourages users to tell others about their expertise and professional background, so there’s no risk of coming off as disingenuous.
7) Provide Hard Facts
In the age of big data, cold hard facts matter. Even though audiences prefer to read posts that sound as if a real person wrote them (spelling mistakes and all), adding statistics, scientific or research findings, and industry quotes to your content will help drive home the message that you’re an expert in your field while providing readers with coveted water cooler gossip.
8) Be a Google Author
SEO is a murky world: Google is always keeping content marketers on their toes by adjusting their algorithms. With this in mind, it’s wise to play Google’s game and link your content through your Google+ account in order to improve your content’s search rankings. Once a Google Author has been recognized by Google’s algorithms, the profile image you’ve chosen for your Google account will start appearing next to your content in Google Search. Keep this in mind, as any visual contrast (like an image amongst text) will be more likely to draw users in. Cyrus Shepard over at Moz, for example, experienced a 35% increase in free traffic simply by changing his profile picture.
Magazines-Mode-Copenhague at Wikipedia Commons by Thierry Caro