Content marketing is tricky. It’s fairly easy to set up the rudiments of a content marketing machine, but getting it to turn a profit is another beast entirely. The reality is that many companies are just barely breaking even.
That’s a tough spot to be in. You’re doing just well enough that you don’t want to give up. Meanwhile management waits with restrained patience and a vigilant eye while you figure out how to start generating some concrete revenue from your content marketing efforts. And we all know they can’t wait forever.
The good news is you’re most of the way to success. You’re this close to getting your content marketing machine off the ground. All you need are a few more tricks to kick things up a notch and get what is already working to work better.
We’ve got you covered. Here are a few of the simplest, most-proven content marketing amplification hacks. While they aren’t a cure-all for strategy-level missteps, they are the tactics to tip the scale if you’re on the verge of seeing positive ROI.
1. Invest in promotion
This is the #1 area content marketers tend to disregard. They may believe their content is so good it will eventually be discovered on its own. Maybe they haven’t scheduled enough time for promotion, so they have to race off to the next piece of content to create.
Whatever the excuse, belief, or time constraint, fight back: You must promote the content you publish. Even world-class content creators spend a considerable amount of time promoting their work. Like half the time it took to plan and create the content in the first place. Some of the best content experts devote up to five times as much time to promotion as they do to content creation.
Biggest missed opportunity in promotion: sharing content via email
Only about 30% of content marketers are using email as a content promotion channel. That’s a huge missed opportunity! Email is one of the biggest drivers of shares around, for both B2B and B2C audiences.
Rumble.me’s Mobile Content Engagement Study found that most content shares happen through email.
This same finding was further validated by The Columbia Journalism Review in their study of why people share content:
Next biggest missed opportunity in promotion: sharing your content only once
We found that only 34% of content marketers “always” re-share successful posts. This is another quick and easy tactic that you can use to get even more mileage from your content marketing.
If you’re using Content Director, you already have a convenient built-in system to remind you to turn your content into social media posts and other content formats. Aim to share your own content not just after publication, but once again a week later. And then again a month later.
Keep sprinkling it into your schedule of posts until that content is no longer up to date.
Do more influencer marketing
This is another tactic that tends to separate the pros from the newbies in the content marketing ranks. So add it to your rotation, even if you have to start small.
A common hook for attracting influencers’ attention is to mention them in your content. Or to write about something you know they care about. Your outreach emails will work best if you’re not contacting them for the first time, too. It pays to have a pre-existing relationship.
If you do have a few friends in high places (or even in moderately-high places) don’t be afraid to send emails, inmails or DMs to reach out to them. In fact, for the next thing you publish, force yourself to send just 5 emails or other messages to different influencers. It shouldn’t take you more than an hour to do this, and if you pick your influencers wisely, you’ll likely see a massive spike in shares.
Advertise where it will make a difference
As content marketing evolves, a growing number of marketers are paying to promote their content. It doesn’t require a huge budget. I’m talking maybe $20 per piece of content… and often even less than that.
Advertising content often works best when you don’t necessarily advertise everything you publish. Some marketers with big budgets will do that, sure. But us smaller publishers save our ad dollars for whenever there’s a natural winner among our posts.
You know this kind of content. It’s the blog post that performs significantly better than you expected, or the Facebook update your audience just loves. The time to advertise is right when those pieces of content are spiking. Ride the wave of popularity and boost those posts, either on Twitter or Facebook or both.
Often these situations end up being “1 + 1 = 3”. Your audience loves it, you indulged in some paid advertising to promote the post when it was doing well, and then things give way to the algorithms gods. If you work the situation well, a post that may have “just” been the best one of the week can easily become the best post of the month or year. It’s the very acme of amplified content marketing.
2. The call to action. Never leave home without it
One of the most important questions we ask in the Content Marketing Grader is if marketers are including a call-to-action at the end of their posts. That’s because this tactic is as important as any other if you want to get results from your marketing.
Why? Because lead generation is the #1 goal of B2B content marketers. Even for B2Cers, it is still considered to be one of the top six priorities:
Whether you’re concluding a blog post or sharing content on social media, there should always be a call-to-action. It might be to re-share the post, or to click through to the link. Either way, always ask for something.
If you’re using Scoop.it!, even if you share 3rd party links, you can still add a call-to-action and some branding to the links you share. All those individual scoops can be organized into topic pages.
Want an example? Here’s Ulla M. Saikku’s Scoop.it! topic page about Finland:
Unfortunately, only about half of the content marketers who have taken the Content Marketing Grader say they use a call-to-action at the end of every blog post.
That’s a lost opportunity, but it’s an easy fix. Just add a call-to-action at the close of your posts.
Want to get even more mileage out of those valuable visits? Add a pop-up, too. You’ll almost double the leads you generate, especially if you offer something in return. Free reports, access to online calculators, or even a free trial all work well.
3. Don’t abandon old content
Most of us content marketers are guilty of committing the terrible sin of content neglect. We’ve been abandoning our content. Sure, we love it when it’s first born, and we coddle and nurture it for maybe the first few days. But after that, most of us just leave our content alone, hoping it will take care of itself.
This has to stop. You worked hard to create that content. It tried to work hard for you. So instead of rewriting the same content again a year later from scratch, how about going back to your old content and sprucing it up?
The marketers at HubSpot did that for some of their content. And it got them great results, particularly in terms of leads generated and SEO rankings.
Here’s the data for leads:
And here are the results they got for organic search:
Leads and SEO benefits aren’t the only rewards for updating this kind of old content. It also helps you to create that “10X content” publishers like Moz talk about.
10X content isn’t just good. It isn’t even “just” better than everything else out there. I’m talkin’ the crazy-awesome, blow-your-doors-off content that’s 10X better than anybody else’s. That kind of content.
I don’t have to tell you how tall an order that is. Or that most content marketers will probably fall short. But… if you’ve got an old post that performed well in the past, you actually have a very nice draft of what could be made into 10X content.
Here are a few things you can do to take an old post and 10X it:
- Split-test the headline until it gets 3X the shares and clicks.
- Add infographics. Don’t be afraid to include supporting infographics (or mini graphics) as needed.
- Incorporate influencer interviews. Add interviews from leading industry experts or influencers to bolster and support your points. You may even want them to challenge your perspective. Controversy can set the stage for viral content.
- Dress up the formatting. Give it a heavy edit and scrub up the copy until it’s a shiny work of beauty.
There’s more you can do, but this is a great place to start. You can even re-publish these re-vamped types of posts as though they’re completely new. It worked for Econsultancy.
If you’re just barely breaking even with content marketing, you’re actually in a better position than you may think. You’re just a couple of tweaks from profitability. Here are a few additional things we suggest:
- Share generously. Share your content not just when you first publish, but again a week later, and then again once or twice every month afterwards.
- Get influencers involved. Identify and reach out to influencers who might be interested in your post. Even one share from an influencer can blow the doors off your previous “best-performing content” record.
- Add advertising. When you’ve got a piece of content that’s performing well, add some advertising for the “1 + 1 = 3” effect.
- Always include a call-to-action. This doesn’t have to be a straight sell, but abstain from leaving people stranded after they’ve seen a piece of your content. Keep them on the bread trail. Even if it’s just to get their email address or to suggest a related piece of content.
- Revive, revamp, and improve old content. Instead of always starting from scratch with new content, find and refresh the old stuff.
Try out these tactics with your own marketing. At least a few are guaranteed to deliver the results you need to get into the black.
Back to you
Which content amplification techniques are you using? Have you found anything that works especially well? Dish out your success stories in the comments.
If you want more tips on how to amplify your content marketing efforts and generate more leads, download the eBook “How to generate leads through Content Marketing“.
Image by Martin Lopatka.