Content Marketing is all the rage, and deservedly so, as it can help you build your reputation and visibility online. For many publishers, though, the benefits do not come quickly enough. They try a few things, don’t see the immediate benefits, and then they stop.
The problem is often that they don’t scale their efforts properly. Having a strategy for achieving scale is essential to success. In today’s post, I will show three ways to do that.
Whatever it is that you do, there are going to be some people who know you. If you have started the process of building your reputation in your industry, some of these people are going to think highly of you. When you publish a piece of content, they may share it to their social media networks, or they may reference it (link to it) in content that they publish. Of course, these links may give you direct traffic and are good for SEO, and that’s great!
All of this is good, but ultimately, we want that group of people who know us and think highly of us to grow, and we want more and more different people citing our work. How do we accelerate that process?
There are some very interesting social dynamics involved; so, let’s start by exploring what they are with three example scenarios:.
Scenario 1: High Article Posting Frequency
Imagine that Joan is a blogger that might consider citing your work, if she only knew about it, and she trusted you. Let’s say you publish your article somewhere, perhaps in your own blog, and she sees it go by in her tweet stream because she follows someone who has tweeted your article.
In that same stream of tweets are two different articles by other people she knows really well already, and she has 10 minutes between phone calls, so she goes and checks out those two other articles, retweets one of them and then makes her next phone call. You lost out!
Imagine three days later you publish another article, this time on a third-party website as a guest post. The publishing site pushes that article out via their tweet stream, Google Plus, Facebook, and elsewhere. Joan sees this one in her notifications in Google Plus because someone she is following there shares it.
Now she has seen your name twice in three days. Joan is still too busy to check out your article this day, too, because she has so many plus mentions in her notifications she just can’t get to it. She has not cited you yet, but you are now beginning to get on her radar.
Four days later, it happens again. You published yet another article, perhaps on a different third-party site that she visits, and she sees it, and she starts saying to herself, I have got to check this person out, I am seeing him everywhere! Joan makes a note to read the article, but time gets away from her again, so you lose out yet again; but, you are now beginning to get her attention. Your day is coming!
Two days later, you publish something on your blog, she catches that one in her tweet stream, and now you have reached her often enough in a short period of time that she goes and reads the article.
Now that seems like a hefty publishing schedule. Four posts in nine days. Few people have the bandwidth to publish content at that frenetic a pace; but, this probably still works if you do four posts in 18 days, too. Also, the content she finally reads better be really good, or else you may have blown your opportunity.
Scenario 2 – Social Media Breadth
In scenario 2 we are going to try to make things go faster, and not require the creation of new articles at such a high rate.
Imagine that you have built up a strong social media following on a variety of sites. This includes support from a number of very influential people on those networks. You publish a great piece of content on your blog. You share it on Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Pinterest and LinkedIn. A number of people re-share that, including some very influential ones.
Joan sees it go by in her Twitter stream three times. It’s in her Google+ notifications, as well. And, finally, she goes and reads a post by someone influential on LinkedIn, and in that post they link to your article, citing it as a great piece of content.
Now, you have been exposed to her six times, and you have gotten her interest with just a single article. That’s good stuff.
It does require that you have built up to a certain level of scale in your social media efforts, and this is not simple to do. However, this approach can work really well.
Scenario 3 – Social Media Concentration
For our final scenario, let’s look at how a smaller business might get this to work for them. Even our second scenario brings some challenges, and it would be nice if we could have an easier way to get started.
For this scenario, let’s say that you have very limited resources, but you have focused a lot of time and energy on a single social media platform. Let’s say it’s Google Plus. You post on G+ daily, maybe even many times per day.
You interact with others, comment on their posts, reshare their content, share your own great content, participate in communities, and drive lots of engagement.
You build your reputation through this ongoing effort of 30 to 60 minutes per day. This is still not trivial in terms of time invested, but certainly a lot less than the effort required to drive the other two scenarios. Lastly, about once every two to four weeks you publish a high-quality article on your company’s blog.
Joan is also active on Google Plus and is moving in similar circles, so she is seeing your name all the time. Because of your very social approach to the platform, you share her high-quality content some of the time, too, particularly when you think it’s a good fit for your areas of focus. She sees that and starts interacting with you.
It may take her a while, but she does start to check out the articles you create by going to your blog. Finally, she starts sharing your content from time to time, and even referencing it in the articles she writes.
The following table summarizes the three solutions discussed above:
|If This Is You||Use This Scenario||Benefits||Downsides|
|You Have Strong Subject Matter Experts with Bandwidth, and Who Like to Write||High Posting Frequency||
|You Have Strong Subject Matter Experts with Bandwidth, and Who Like the Immediacy of Social Media||Social Media Breadth||
|Your SME Bandwidth is Limited||Social Media Concentration||
||Lacks the Breadth of the Other Scenarios|
Building a relationship to a point where someone begins to endorse you is a fair amount of work. Even in scenario #3, we are looking at 30+ minutes per day. Each relationship you build is going to take multiple positive exposures to get it to where you would like it to be. You have to invest time, but there are many different ways to get it to work.
In my case, I was very slow on jumping into social media, frankly because Stone Temple Consulting was growing so fast based on what I was already doing, which was writing columns on high authority sites (such as Search Engine Land and Search Engine Watch) and speaking at conferences. I was also periodically supplementing that with posting either interviews or studies on the Stone Temple site (about once per month).
This worked great, and it did not involve social media at all. Would it have been better if I engaged in a big way in social media early on? Sure, but I had limited time. I did what worked for me at the time. That’s what you should do to. Don’t be afraid to focus on what works for you. You don’t need to do it all to succeed, but you do need to get started!
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Marketing Land.