5 Real Examples of Advanced Content Promotion Strategies

Posted by bsmarketer

Content promotion isn’t tweeting or upvoting. Those tiny,
one-off tactics are fine for beginners. They might make a dent, but
they definitely won’t move the needle. Companies that want to
grow big and grow fast need to grow differently.

Here’s how Kissmetrics, Sourcify, Sales Hacker, Kinsta, and
BuildFire have used advanced content promotion tips like
newsjacking and paid social to elevate their brands above the
competition.

1. Use content to fuel social media distribution (and not the other
way around)

Prior to selling the brand and blog to Neil Patel, Kissmetrics
had no dedicated social media manager at the height of their
success. The Kissmetrics blog received nearly 85% of its traffic
from organic search. The second biggest traffic-driver was the
newsletter.

Social media did drive traffic to their posts. However, former
blog editor Zach
Buylgo’s
research showed that these traffic segments often
had the lowest engagement (like time on site) and the least
conversions (like trial or demo opt-ins) — so they didn’t
prioritize it. The bulk of Zach’s day was instead focused on
editing posts, making changes himself, adding comments and
suggestions for the author to fix, and checking for regurgitated
content. Stellar, long-form content was priority number one. And
two. And three.

So Zach wasn’t just looking for technically-correct content.
He was optimizing for uniqueness: the exact same area where most
cheap content falls short. That’s an issue because many times, a
simple SERP analysis would reveal that one submission:

benefits of content marketing (crowd content)

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source
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…Looked exactly like the number-one result from Content
Marketing Institute:

benefits of content marketing CMI

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source
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Today’s plagiarism tools can catch the obvious stuff, but
these derivatives often slip through the cracks. Recurring paid
writers contributed the bulk of the TOFU content, which would free
Zach up to focus more on MOFU use cases and case studies to help
visitors understand how to get the most out of their product set
(from the in-house person who knows it best).

They produced marketing guides and weekly webinars to transform
initial attention into new leads:

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They also created free marketing tools to give prospects an
interactive way to continue engaging with their brand:

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In other words, they focused on doing the things that matter
most — the 20% that would generate the biggest bang for their
buck. They won’t ignore social networks completely, though. They
still had hundreds of thousands of followers across each network.
Instead, their intern would take the frontlines. That person would
watch out for anything critical, like a customer question, which
will then be passed off to the Customer Success Manager that will
get back to them within a few hours.

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New blog posts would get the obligatory push to Twitter and
LinkedIn. (Facebook is used primarily for their weekly webinar
updates.) Zach used Pablo from
Buffer
to design and create featured images for the blog
posts.

image.png

Then he’d use an
Open Graph Protocol WordPress plugin
to automatically add all
appropriate tags for each network. That way, all he had to do was
add the file and basic post meta data. The plugin would then
customize how it shows up on each network afterward. Instead of
using Buffer to promote new posts, though, Zach likes MeetEdgar.

Why? Doesn’t that seem like an extra step at first glance?
Like Buffer, MeetEdgar allows you to select when you’d like to
schedule content. You can just load up the queue with content, and
the tool will manage the rest. The difference is that Buffer
constantly requires new content — you need to keep topping it
off, whereas MeetEdgar will automatically recycle the old stuff
you’ve previously added. This saved a blog like Kissmetrics, with
thousands of content pieces, TONS of time.

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He would then use Sleeknote
to build forms tailored to each blog category to transform blog
readers into top-of-the-funnel leads:

Screen Shot 2017-10-30 at 1.36.05 PM.png

But that’s about it. Zach didn’t do a ton of custom tweets.
There weren’t a lot of personal replies. It’s not that they
didn’t care. They just preferred to focus on what drives the most
results for their particular business. They focused on building a
brand that people recognize and trust. That means others would do
the social sharing for them.

Respected industry vets like Avinash Kaushik, for example, would
often share their blog posts. And Avinash was the perfect fit,
because he already has a loyal, data-driven audience following
him.

image.png

So that single tweet brings in a ton of highly-qualified traffic
— traffic that turns into leads and customers, not just fans.

2. Combine original research and newsjacking to go viral

Sourcify has grown almost
exclusively through content marketing. Founder Nathan Resnick speaks, attends,
and hosts everything from webinars to live events and meetups. Most
of their events are brand-building efforts to connect face-to-face
with other entrepreneurs. But what’s put them on the map has been
leveraging their own experience and platform to fuel viral
stories.

Last summer, the record-breaking Mayweather vs. McGregor fight
was gaining steam. McGregor was already infamous for his legendary
trash-talking and shade-throwing abilities. He also liked to
indulge in attention-grabbing sartorial splendor. But the suit he
wore to the very first press conference somehow managed to combine
the best of both personality quirks:

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source
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This was no off-the-shelf suit. He had it custom made. Nathan
recalls seeing this press conference suit fondly: “Literally, the
team came in after the press conference, thinking, ‘Man, this is
an epic suit.’” So they did what any other rational human being
did after seeing it on TV: they tried to buy it online.

“Except, the dude was charging like $10,000 to cover it and
taking six weeks to produce.” That gave Nathan an idea. “I
think we can produce this way faster.”

They “used their own platform, had samples done in less than a
week, and had a site up the same day.”

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source
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“We took photos, sent them to different factories, and took
guesstimates on letter sizing, colors, fonts, etc. You can often
manufacture products based on images if it’s within certain
product categories.” The goal all along was to use the suit as a
case study. They partnered with a local marketing firm to help
split the promotion, work, and costs.

“The next day we signed a contract with a few marketers based
in San Francisco to split the profits 50–50 after we both covered
our costs. They cover the ad spend and setup; we cover the
inventory and logistics cost,” Nathan wrote in an article for
The Hustle
. When they were ready to go, the marketing company
began running ad campaigns and pushing out stories. They went viral
on BroBible quickly after
launch and pulled in over $23,000 in sales within the first
week.

The only problem is that they used some images of Conor in the
process. And apparently, his attorney’s didn’t love the IP
infringement. A cease and desist letter wasn’t far behind:

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This result wasn’t completely unexpected. Both Nathan and the
marketing partner knew they were skirting a thin line. But either
way, Nathan got what he wanted out of it.

3. Drive targeted, bottom-of-the-funnel leads with Quora

Quora packs another punch that often elevates it over the other
social channels: higher-quality traffic. Site visitors are asking
detailed questions, expecting to comb through in-depth answers to
each query. In other words, they’re invested. They’re smart.
And if they’re expressing interest in managed WordPress hosting,
it means they’ve got dough, too.

Both Sales Hacker and Kinsta take full advantage. Today,
Gaetano
DiNardi
is the Director of Demand Generation at Nextiva. But before that, he lead
marketing at Sales
Hacker
before they were acquired. There, content was central to
their stratospheric growth. With Quora, Gaetano would take his
latest content pieces and use them to solve customer problems and
address pain points in the general sales and marketing space:

By using Quora as a research tool, he would find new topics that
he can create content around to drive new traffic and connect with
their current audience:

He found questions that they already had content for and used it
as a chance to engage users and provide value. He can drive tons of
relevant traffic for free by linking back to the Sales Hacker blog:

Kinsta, a managed WordPress
hosting company out of Europe, also uses uses relevant threads and
Quora ads. CMO Brian
Jackson
jumps into conversations directly, lending his
experience and expertise where appropriate. His technical
background makes it easy to talk shop with others looking for a
sophisticated conversation about performance (beyond the standard,
PR-speak most marketers offer up):

Brian targets different WordPress-related categories, questions,
or interests. Technically, the units are “display ads, but they
look like text.” The ad copy is short and to the point. Usually
something like, “Premium hosting plans starting at $XX/month”
to fit within their length requirements.

4. Rank faster with paid (not organic) social promotion

Kinsta co-founder Tom
Zsomborgi
wrote about their journey in a bootstrapping blog
post
that went live last November. It instantly hit the top of
Hacker News, resulting in their website getting a consistent 400+
concurrent visitors all day:

Within hours their post was also ranking on the first page for
the term “bootstrapping,” which receives around 256,000 monthly
searches.

How did that happen?

“There’s a direct correlation between social proof and
increased search traffic. It’s more than people think,” said
Brian. Essentially, you’re paying Facebook to increase organic
rankings. You take good content, add paid syndication, and watch
keyword rankings go up.

Kinsta’s big goal with content promotion is to build traffic
and get as many eyeballs as possible. Then they’ll use AdRoll for
display retargeting messages, targeting the people who just visited
with lead gen offers to start a free trial. (“But I don’t use
AdRoll for Facebook because it tags on their middleman fee.”)

Brian uses the “Click Campaigns” objective on Facebook Ads
for both lead gen and content promotion. “It’s the best for
getting traffic.”


Facebook’s organic reach fell by 52%
in 2016 alone. That means
your ability to promote content to your own page fans is quickly
approaching zero.

Screen Shot 2017 06 29 at 12.52.27 PM

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source
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“It’s almost not even worth posting if you’re not
paying,” confirms Brian. Kinsta will promote new posts to make
sure it comes across their fans’ News Feed. Anecdotally, that
reach number with a paid assist might jump up around 30%.

If they don’t see it, Brian will “turn it into an ad and run
it separately.” It’s “re-written a second time to target a
broader audience.”

In addition to new post promotion, Brian has an evergreen
campaign that’s constantly delivering the “best posts ever
written” on their site. It’s “never-ending” because it
gives Brian a steady-stream of new site visitors — or new
potential prospects to target with lead gen ads further down the
funnel. That’s why Brian asserts that today’s social managers
need to understand PPC and lead gen. “A lot of people hire social
media managers and just do organic promotion. But Facebook organic
just sucks anyway. It’s becoming “pay to play.’”

“Organic reach is just going to get worse and worse and worse.
It’s never going to get better.” Also, advertising gets you
“more data for targeting,” which then enables you to create
more in-depth A/B tests.

We confirmed this through a series of promoted content
tests
, where different ad types (custom images vs. videos)
would perform better based on the campaign objectives and
placements.

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source
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That’s why “best practices” are past practices — or BS
practices. You don’t know what’s going to perform best until
you actually do it for yourself. And advertising accelerates that
feedback loop.

5. Constantly refresh your retargeting ad creative to keep
engagement high

Almost
every single stat
shows that remarketing is one of the most
efficient ways to close more customers. The more ad remarketing
impressions someone sees, the higher the conversion rate.
Remarketing ads are also incredibly cheap compared to your standard
AdWords search ad when trying to reach new cold traffic.

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source
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There’s only one problem to watch out for: ad
fatigue
. The image creative plays a massive role in Facebook ad
success. But over time (a few days to a few weeks), the performance
of that ad will decline. The image becomes stale. The audience has
seen it too many times. The trick is to continually cycle through
similar, but different, ad examples.

Here’s how David
Zheng
does it for BuildFire:

His team will either (a) create the ad creative image directly
inside Canva, or (b) have their
designers create a background ‘template’ that they can use to
manipulate quickly. That way, they can make fast adjustments on the
fly, A/B testing small elements like background color to keep ads
fresh and conversions as high as possible.

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source
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All retargeting or remarketing campaigns will be sent to a
tightly controlled audience. For example, let’s say you have
leads who’ve downloaded an eBook and ones who’ve participated
in a consultation call. You can just lump those two types into the
same campaign, right? I mean, they’re both technically
‘leads.’

But that’s a mistake. Sure, they’re both leads. However,
they’re at different levels of interest. Your goal with the first
group is to get them on a free consultation call, while your goal
with the second is to get them to sign up for a free trial. That
means two campaigns, which means two audiences.

Facebook’s custom audiences makes this easy, as does
LinkedIn’s new-ish
Matched Audiences
feature. Like with Facebook, you can pick
people who’ve visited certain pages on your site, belong to
specific lists in your CRM, or whose email address is on a custom
.CSV file:

If both of these leads fall off after a few weeks and fail to
follow up, you can go back to the beginning to re-engage them. You
can use content-based ads all over again to hit back at the primary
pain points behind the product or service that you sell.

This seems like a lot of detailed work — largely because it
is. But it’s worth it because of scale. You can set these
campaigns up, once, and then simply monitor or tweak performance as
you go. That means technology is largely running each individual
campaign. You don’t need as many people internally to manage each
hands-on.

And best of all, it forces you to create a logical system.
You’re taking people through a step-by-step process, one tiny
commitment at a time, until they seamlessly move from stranger into
customer.

Conclusion

Sending out a few tweets won’t make an impact at the end of
the day. There’s more competition (read: noise) than ever before,
while organic reach has never been lower. The trick isn’t to
follow some faux influencer who talks the loudest, but rather the
practitioners who are doing it day-in, day-out, with the KPIs to
prove it.

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