By Luca Tagliaferro

Why do you need content promotion?

In B2B content promotion has only one goal, one question to answer: where did another business discover your piece of content? Did a colleague send it to you? Did it pop up on a social media timeline? Whatever the place is you found that piece of content, it was an example of content promotion.

In 2016, it was reported that 47% of B2B buyers consume 3-5 pieces of content prior to engaging with a salesperson. This could mean that nearly half of your customers were consuming your content before your sales team even knew who they were. Content promotion will drive website traffic, improve engagement from audience members, prospects, and customers, and aid buyers in making purchase decisions with your business.

How do you improve your content promotion?

Before diving into content promotion best practices, it’s important to understand the relationship between organic content promotion and paid content promotion.

According to the Content Marketing Institute in the US 66% of B2B companies opt for Search Engine Marketing paid advertising to promote their content, while 52% prefer Promoted Posts on Social Media.

b2b-paid-advertising-usage

Organic content promotion is designed to increase the visibility of your content and the effectiveness of your marketing campaigns without spending money on ad space, boosted content, or promoted content.

Some of the most effective organic content promotion channels are: search engine optimization, email marketing, social media, live promotions, like events or webinars, influencer networks, and, let’s not forget, the good old fashioned word of mouth.

A benefit of doing organic promotion is increased brand authority across various platforms. Because the amount of content you can promote is not limited by a budget, you are able to use multiple platforms to promote quality content and increase awareness about your business and brand.

In contrast, paid content promotion allows you to show your content to a highly specific audience. In most cases, you’re able to customize the target audience pool as well as the message, but you will have to spend money in order for anyone to see your content.

The most common channels for paid promotion are search engine ads that are placed on platforms, such as Google, Yahoo!, or Bing, and paid social media campaigns on platforms, such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Instagram.

A benefit of paid promotion is the ability to develop and deliver highly-targeted content to consumers who will find the content most relevant. A challenge when doing paid promotion is securing enough budget in order to achieve your desired results. To overcome this challenge, it’s best to experiment with a small budget to discover the best ways to achieve your desired outcome.

The most efficient way for organic and paid content promotion to work together is promote well-performing content. Content that performs well will have above average engagement with it, such as likes, shares, retweets, and link clicks, which drive traffic to your website. Platforms like Facebook make this easy for you to understand, as they’ll tell you when you have a high-performing post and recommend that you increase its reach with ad spend.

As a result, you’ll be more effective at increasing the reach of your content, attracting new audience members and prospects, and helping leads make better decisions about your business.

 

The content promotion calendar

Now that you understand the powerful relationship between organic and paid content promotion, let’s discuss the best practices that will help you excel at content promotion

Let’s get started with the first best practice: use a content promotion calendar. A content promotion calendar will help you keep track of various types of communications scheduled to go out and the dates and times for when they will be published. However, it is not a one-size-fits-all, which is why it’s important to create a promotion plan that will include details about your target audiences, internal and external communication channels, and the content that will be distributed across these channels. The content promotion calendar ties all of these details together to create a game plan for how and when communications will be released.

 

Audience segmentation

Once you have a calendar that details your promotional efforts, you can use segmentation to create a specific audience to receive your content.

Segmentation is used to divide large audiences or target markets into smaller segments based on specific criteria. It’s a helpful step that makes it easier for you to target the right people for your business and avoid showing ads or serving content to people who are ultimately not a good fit. When you use segmentation, you should always keep your buyer persona in mind and create segments that align with the interests, demographics, and geographical location of your ideal customer.

Your ability to segment your audience will vary by the promotion channel you use. Often, content marketers use segmentation for email marketing campaigns, social media campaigns, and paid campaigns.

Segmentation in email is typically done using lists with specific criteria of contacts in a company’s database. Keep in mind, the criteria in your list is based off pre-existing information you’ve collected from your contacts; this could be through analytics or questions you’ve asked them, like on a form.

By using segmentation, you’re not only creating a custom audience for your content, but it will make it easy for you to create a customized message for audience members across all channels. Which brings us to the next best practice: create a custom message for each channel.

 

Developing your custom message

When developing your message, there are a few things you’ll need to keep in mind. The first is the tone of your message.

Tone is defined as the general attitude of your message. When deciding the tone, think about the feeling you want your message to carry. It should be closely aligned with the tone of your content, but they’re not always the same thing. You may want your message to inspire your audience, encourage them, educate them, or maybe just make them laugh.

Another thing to consider when developing your message is, how will you clearly communicate the value of the content you’re promoting?

A way to check if you are communicating the true value of your offer is to define two to three benefits someone would gain from your piece of content and try using at least one of them in the message you’ll use to promote it. You’ll also want to customize your message to match the distribution channel, as each channel has a unique audience that expects content to be delivered in a specific way.

Experimentation is a great way to learn how to best deliver your content to your audience and is something you should be doing on a consistent basis. There is no magic recipe for how to promote a piece of content. Instead, you’ll need to try new ingredients by testing new content promotion tactics.

After you’ve run a successful promotion campaign, it will be time for you to analyze the results of your efforts, which is the next best practice.

 

Analyzing the results

To start, you’ll want to analyze the performance of your promotions’ channels. Is there one or two that exceeded expectations? Or maybe there’s one channel that significantly underperformed?

Once you’ve identified these trends, you’ll want to explore each channel individually and assess how each message impacted the overall performance of the channels. Was there a particular message that resonated well with your audience, or one that missed the mark completely?

Next, you’ll need to identify next steps that you can take based off the new insights you’ve gathered from your campaigns. Is there a channel that you should lean into further or a tone that works best with your audience? If so, you’ll want to incorporate these takeaways in future campaigns.

 

Summary and conclusion

Let’s do a quick recap of all the best practices:

  • create a content promotion calendar to help you organize your promotion plan.
  • Use segmentation to create a specific audience for your content.
  • Customize your message for each channel.
  • Always be sure to experiment with new ways and promote your content and optimize for the best results.
  • Lastly, analyze your campaign results.

lucaThanks to Luca Tagliaferro for sharing his advice and opinions in this post. Luca Tagliaferro has over 6 years’ experience in digital marketing, formally qualified with MA in digital Marketing from a UK leading University and currently working for a UK publishing company heading the new media department.