We all know we need to blog, right? So what is the purpose of one?
- A blog gives you continual opportunities to write articles surrounding key topics your audience’s interest and pain points. Plus, new content keeps your site fresh and engaging.
- It gives you a foundation of content others can mention/link to in their own articles, leading to greater exposure and a boost in your search engine rankings.
- You get to build deeper trust and loyalty with your audience by demonstrating how your expertise can help them solve their problems and achieve their goals.
- Blog content provides your company with new info to share on social media and in email marketing. This can make a growing impact as it is shared with a broader audience, something that posting web page content alone doesn’t tend to do.
Now that we know the reason to invest resources into blogging, it’s important to understand that creating content is only half the battle in content marketing. Your content, no matter how great it is, needs to be promoted properly if you want to see ongoing results.
Disclaimer: This article does contain affiliate links. If you purchase a tool through one of my links I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.
Why Does Content Distribution Matter So Much?
Quality, well-researched content is going to garner a little attention initially if you have an email list and/or a social media following to send it to.
Even then, with so much content being created every single day, the chances of your content having significant discovery over time with zero promotion beyond your own tribe are pretty much nonexistent.
The graph of that approach looks like this. You work hard to create the content. You share it with your audience causing a brief spike in traffic. But eventually, that traffic dies off, and your content becomes lost in the sea of information available online.
You need a steady stream of backlinks and social shares to start drawing eyes to your content on an ongoing basis. Once you have people looking at one piece of content, there’s a good chance they’ll look at your other content, as well. This can result in a marketing snowball, and who doesn’t want that? But first, you need to promote your content outside of your own followers to get any significant traction that will last long term.
Below is a graph of my success growing a client’s website traffic over the years. Notice how slowly things grew in the beginning and how traffic eventually shot up more dramatically.
This didn’t happen by accident; it was a ton of work to promote and distribute my content to the point where I started getting SEO traction that was self-sustaining.
And this wasn’t just any old traffic; we turned it into qualified email leads that we started nurturing to warm them up for a sales call.
Before you run off and start pumping out content and promoting it organically on social media, there are a few things to consider when creating your initial content:
- Your first pieces of (or I could even argue all) content should be long-form, evergreen posts that require little upkeep. See my guide for tips on crafting evergreen content.
- Research keywords for these evergreen posts using a reputable tool like SEMRush, and curate top trending articles on the same topic to make sure you’re checking all the proper boxes for that topic.
- Once you’ve created these evergreen posts, it’s time to promote the hell out of them. And that’s where this guide comes in!
With the above tips in mind, you’re already well on your way to creating content worthy of promoting. Next, let’s tackle a core but often missed element of content that gets noticed: link building.
Which Section Do You Want to Read First?
What is Link Building and How to Get Backlinks?
Link building is easily one of the most powerful tools at your disposal when building awareness and promoting your content. Unfortunately, it’s also one of the most difficult tasks you face.
In a nutshell, link building is people linking to your content. When done properly, quality link building will result in a steady increase in SEO traffic and brand awareness. As previously mentioned, this kind of attention will snowball, leading to your other content receiving views in search engines, as well. This is why evergreen content is so important, as it doesn’t require constant upkeep, and it provides long-term value.
When building quality links, there are three main routes you can take:
- Email Outreach (Using Your Network): These are links you ask for. Do you frequent a site and have content from which you think they or their audience could benefit? Send them a friendly and professional email telling them about the value your content could add to their site and ask for a link.
- Natural/Editorial: When someone links to your content on their own, that’s a natural or editorial link. These are often the result of creating quality content that people feel is worth using and sourcing. For example: Moz and Neil Patel are reputable, knowledgeable sources, hence me linking to them on numerous occasions.
- Email Outreach (Automated & Scalable): This is similar to #1, but the difference here is to automate a series of 3-4 emails (not dependent on you remembering to follow-up) to a hyper-targeted group of influencers (other sites who have linked to top ranking content on your exact topic). This approach has a much higher “hit rate” than the other two, and is something we ALWAYS do to jumpstart links to a new piece of content. Waiting for #2 may never happen, unless you are a huge site with loads of existing authority (think news site).
Quantifiable Results: Growth of 887 Quality Backlinks & 14,820 Visits
So where’s my proof? And how successful have I been at employing these strategies?
Well, I’m glad you asked. I’ve used these strategies on a number of websites, and here are results from 2 client websites. The first screenshot is the number of unique referring domains (at least one link per domain), and the second is SEO traffic growth.
Client site #1
Client site #2
9 Blog Promotion & SEO Link Building Strategies
Now that you know about WHY you need to build links, it’s time to look at some of the available link building strategies and blog promotion ideas to determine which might be the right fit for you.
Keep in mind, digital marketing is always evolving so your promotional route will likely need to shift over time. You also don’t want to exhaust a particular audience by targeting them too often, so employing multiple strategies is a must. Tackle one at a time, but don’t ever get so comfortable using one strategy that you neglect to use any others.
Here are nine link building strategies to get you started:
1. Scholarship Email Outreach to Gain .edu Links
Scholarship programs are a powerful but often underused way to gain high quality links. The reason this is so powerful is that .edu links pass even more DA to your site than a comparable .com one would.
If you can, commit to offering an ongoing annual scholarship of at least $1,000 and create a landing page on your site with all of the details and requirements. Require written pieces or video content of your applicants on a topic you’re looking to cover.
Then do some email outreach to colleges that have a page on their website listing other available scholarships. This can net you some substantial SEO as well as traditional press through newspaper links, press release mentions, etc.
For more information, check out this in-depth guide from Search Engine Journal.
2. Guestographic Outreach
Infographics have been popular for years now, and with good reason – they’re highly shareable and quick to digest. But how do you stand out from the crowd?
Create high quality, long-form marketing infographics that have 8-10 sections.
With the guestographic approach, you create an infographic that addresses a need. Next, reach out to appropriate sites and send them an email asking if they’d like to use your infographic. If they agree, write a succinct and personalized introduction for them to use and include it with the infographic. Your content gets exposure, they get quality content, and you get links. Everybody wins!
For more information, take a look at Brian Dean’s detailed guide here.
3. Create an Expert Roundup Post...Offer a Backlink in Return
Who better to build awareness than leveraging an influencer’s audience?
Consider creating an expert roundup or guest post featuring other influencers. Send an outreach email telling them about your brand, the content you’re assembling, and asking them to answer a question that would add to your post. Make sure you let them know that you will link to their site from your post if they provide an answer.
If they agree, this not only results in you receiving original content for your site, but it also creates an opportunity for them to your new article on social media or their email list.
This post from Smart Blogger has some great tips on creating an expert roundup that gets noticed.
4. Republish on Medium.com
You put a lot of effort into your content. Shouldn’t you be getting all you can out of it?
Medium lets you reuse your content without any SEO penalty. That’s right, you can repost your content straight into Medium without it cannibalizing your SEO. This allows you to present your content to a new audience, drive traffic to your site, and build a following on another platform. Look at my Medium profile, and you’ll see a lot of content that looks familiar to the content on my site.
Hint: That’s because it’s the same content but targeting different audiences.
5. Add Your Article to Industry Sites
Nobody knows your audience as well as you do. Do some digging to find out where your audience is hanging out, other than your site, of course.
If you know they frequent a particular hub, consider posting your content there. For example, I knew a lot of my audience was using Inbound.org, so I reposted one of the articles from my primary site to drive new traffic and build brand exposure.
6. Republish on LinkedIn
LinkedIn has made significant progress as a content hub. Similar to Medium, consider reposting your best content on LinkedIn. With a more business-oriented audience, posting your content on LinkedIn can draw a vastly different audience than the ones you find over at Medium or through Twitter and Facebook.
LinkedIn may not be the right place for all of your content but can be a great spot for your top quality posts.
7. Infographic Directories
As previously mentioned, people love infographics. Submitting your own infographic to various infographic sites can be a beneficial way to get your content in front of a different audience. Infographic directories vary in size, price, and reach.
Take a look at my infographic cheat sheet here to determine which infographic directories might be a good fit for you.
Reddit is one of the most popular sites on the internet. Yet, it’s often considered a major pitfall for marketers. There’s a reason behind that: redditors generally hate marketers.
The reason many redditors have a disdain for marketers is due to the fact that many marketers are incredibly obvious in their marketing. If you’re tactful and actually adding value to the community, Reddit can be a HUGE asset to your site.
This informative BuzzSumo article offers in depth advice on how to turn Reddit into your golden goose.
9. Answer Relevant Questions on Quora
Quora, the question and answer site, is the perfect place to establish your role as an expert or thought leader while also building your brand. Look at trending questions on Quora that you can provide a quality answer to and start flexing your knowledge.
This is also a golden opportunity to plug your own content if it answers others’ questions in an even greater manner. Much like Reddit, be careful when answering a question with your content and avoid coming across as too markety or salesy. When in doubt, focus on providing value to others without directly pitching your products and services.
12 Content Distribution Networks to Legitimately Skyrocket Your Views & Social Shares
Now that you have nine useful strategies to get links flowing into your site, it’s time to determine the best ways to distribute your content to maximize views and social shares. The following content distribution networks vary in terms of audience, approach, cost, and required effort, but all of them can deliver impactful results.
While each of these networks has different requirements, it’s important to always play by the rules and avoid any blackhat or shady tactics. Focus on quality first, and only aim for quantity when it doesn’t come at the expense of quality.
QuuuPromote, one of my personal favorites, is an optimal way to have your content noticed and promoted by real people. QuuuPromote basically leverages Buffer feeds to get your content in front of lots of influencers on a particular topic.
Those influencers can select and promote your content through their own social media and other outlets (Buffer, etc.). This service has done wonders for my own content and is recommended by other influencers like Neil Patel.
Do you have access to relevant influencers with an abundance of social media followers willing to share their message with your target audience? Could you use even more of them with a wider reach
When it comes to influencers, you can never be connected to enough of those who wield influence. Social media, and specifically influencer marketing, is an impactful way to optimize reach, but it can be hard to do on your own.
The good news is that you don’t need to be an expert. Influencer marketing services use skilled teams to connect you within their networks of proven influencers. Using these battle-tested networks means you will spend your money more efficiently and effectively in order to strategically widen your sphere of influence.
12. Your Email List
No distribution network is as direct as your email list. If you don’t have one, start building an email list immediately. You’d be hard-pressed to find an audience as engaged as the people on your email list, as they’re already invested in your personal brand.
Consider putting together a weekly or monthly newsletter that collects your best content from each week into a single email. This allows your audience to choose what they want to view without coming across as spammy.
If your email list is in bad shape, check out this handy HubSpot list on building your email list.
Outbrain helps publishers and advertisers match their content with the appropriate audience. Using Outbrain’s service, you can help your content find new audiences as a native ad that appears on sites all over the internet. You may have seen these ads on articles around the web using something like “Other content related to this…”
They place your content ad at the bottom of other sites’ content, and their algorithm strengthens the chances of your content finding the right audience while allowing you to find audiences on new sites at which you’d never think to look.
Note: Because Outbrain’s targeting options are much more limited than other avenues of distribution, I’d recommend only using this when you have a broad topic you want to promote.
Similar to Outbrain, Taboola is another way to garner exposure for your content across a number of sites. Taboola creates sponsored content and native ads that will appear on their network of sites. Like Outbrain, this can get your content noticed by audiences across a wide variety of sites.
15. Paid Social Media
If you already have a large social media following, it doesn’t mean you should ignore this method. There are still plenty of other audiences in addition to your own that could be reached with a social ad.
Paid social media is the act of paying to promote a social media post. This is most popular on Facebook, where you can set a target audience, spending parameters, and more. Once your campaign is up and running, your promoted post will show up in the Facebook feed of those not following you, giving your content a chance to find a new audience and your page the opportunity to gain more followers.
16. Guest Blogging
Guest blogging is essentially the reverse of an expert roundup. In this case, you’re the expert, sharing your expertise on another brand’s website. To get started with guest blogging, look for sites currently accepting guest posts. Then, craft a piece that follows their guidelines and pitch it!
If a site doesn’t say they’re accepting guest posts, you can always compose a thoughtful outreach email and see if they’d be interested. Oftentimes brands will be receptive to a guest post, as it’s free content and can help their own brand.
For more tips on guest posting, check out this helpful Kissmetrics blog.
17. Get on Buzzfeed’s Crowdsourced Stories
Buzzfeed is the undisputed king of crowdsourced stories. They live and breathe them. While they often find stories on their own, it never hurts to pitch your content to them. Shoot them a direct message through their contact page, or closely follow their social media pages to see if they have any feelers out for a certain type of story.
If nothing sticks, go to their community section and create a list of your own that features your content.
18. Being Interviewed on a Podcast
Podcasts are more popular than ever and are a resourceful way to get your brand, as well as products and services, in front of another audience. Consider pitching your expertise to podcasts; most have an ongoing need to fill slots with guests.
Podcasts are especially popular with the commuter crowd, making it an effective way to get your content and brand in front of those who may otherwise be too busy to read your content. Plus, in most cases, you will also get a link back to your website (SEO score!).
19. Pitch Your Post to Online Publications
Okay, so you probably won’t be a New York Times bestseller anytime soon. But, having your content featured in a major publication (Inc., Fortune, Entrepreneur, Huffington Post, etc.) can do wonders for your brand, and it never hurts to try!
Craft a well-written email and start pitching your content to the appropriate publications. While your odds of being picked up may be low, it costs you nothing, and the payoff could be a huge boost in both traffic and awareness.
Consider using resources like HARO to catch the attention of journalists that might be interested in your content. This popular sourcing service connects journalists and bloggers with relevant expert sources, which enables journalists to meet deadlines and brands (like yours!) to tell their stories.
Pitching your content to an editor can be intimidating. Read this list for some tips on formulating an email that gets noticed.
While I have already mentioned paid social ads in general, I wanted to point out this important duo.
Instagram and Pinterest have both become behemoths in the social media world, and, when used properly, they can be a powerful way to drive traffic to your content. Because of their visual nature, this is especially true if you have a quality infographic or image to promote.
Even if you have a piece of written content, consider creating a graphic to promote it. Your creativity is of value, as 66% of Instagram users expect it from the content they see. You can even screenshot it at an interesting point and share it on Instagram or Pinterest. Then, put a link to your article in your bio for people to find. For even more in-depth tips, take a look at:
21. Internal Links within Your Own Website
This one is not often thought of because we tend to forget about using our own website as a way to link to promote our content. Create internal links from your highest trafficked articles to others that are similar in topic. This gives people a way to continue to engage with your site, as well as become more deeply familiar with your thought leadership.
I did this above in the section “Why Does Content Distribution Matter So Much?” by promoting my post on the importance of evergreen content (and look, I just did it again!).
Need Assistance with Getting People to Read your Blog & Content Distribution?
Another idea to take your content distribution to the next level is to consider tapping into the power of influencer marketing.
There are nearly limitless options for promoting your content and getting more and more people to read your blog. Like all things, though, it’s better to do it right or not at all. Poorly executing any of the above methods could result in coming across as spammy, wasting time and money, and/or damaging your brand.
If you want help figuring out where to start, reach out, and we can see how my team can create a plan tailored for your unique situation. We can create a smaller engagement, up to a full-service solution just for you. I’d be happy to help you come up with a plan that fits your business, needs, and budget.
Here’s to your content distribution success! Let’s get more of your valuable articles in front of lots of eyeballs (qualified ones).