3 Ways To Build Promotion Into Posts Before You Hit Publish
At my Social Media Marketing World workshop, a few attendees asked, “How do I improve my blog post promotion?”
My first response: Promotion isn’t part of a session focused on blog post creation.
But then I thought about it. I realized: You have to build blog post promotion into your plans.
Does this scenario sound familiar?
You pour your heart and soul into what you believe will be an epic post. You add a bit here. Change a bit there.
You look at the clock on your computer. You don’t know where the time went.
You have a packed day tomorrow. You hurry through the rest of the post.
A nagging voice inside your head tells you to read it though once more. But you’re tired.
You have a posting schedule to meet. Your readers expect your fresh post.
So you hit publish and go to sleep. You tell yourself it’s just this one time. What will it hurt?
The next morning, you wake up late. (No surprise.) You rush to get your day on track.
No time to give your post a once over now it’s live. Your social media feeds and email also have to wait. You don’t schedule any social media engagement. Nor do you know if anyone has an issue with your post.
I assume you’re more organized than me. Maybe, you’ve never faced the looming blog post deadline with nothing to write.
If you don’t have a blog post plan before you sit down to write, you’ll find yourself wandering in the blogging desert.
You’ll eventually turn out a blog post but it won’t meet your audience’s needs.
Even worse, it won’t get read or shared. You’ve added another piece of me-too content.
Prepublication blog post distribution is key to your blog’s success.
Many bloggers think post distribution means placing your post in as many places as possible so potential readers can find it.
But that’s not the end goal. Lots of shares where no one reads the article or takes action don’t move your business forward.
The real blog post distribution goal is getting more people to read, share and act on your post.
To ensure success, you need to plan prepublication blog post distribution before you write the first word.
3 Categories of prepublication blog post distribution
The 3 categories of prepublication blog post distribution are blog post ideas, blog post content and blog post optimization.
1. Vet blog post ideas
Assess your blog post ideas to ensure they have a potential audience. Otherwise your blog post reach will be limited.
Check reader needs
Know your readers. Create a marketing persona to aid your blog creation. This enables you write to one specific person. It improves your writing.
What information do readers seek from your blog?
- Ask for reader input. Avoids guesswork. Use your email autoresponder to gather their input. Alternatively, have a place on your blog where readers ask questions.
- Cover your blog topic’s basic and advanced information. ProBlogger’s Darren Rowse reminds us that readers may be new to your topic. Provide the 101 and 201 level information they need.
- Get input from your sales and customer service. Listen to The Sales Lion Marcus Sheridan. Answer the questions your prospects and customers have.
Assess blog post ideas
As writers, we fall in love with our blog post ideas. Unfortunately, readers don’t always agree.
Individuals generate more and better blog post ideas than groups. But it’s important to have others vet those ideas. (Need help? Here’s how to find qualified blog post ideas.)
- Get perspective on your blog post ideas. Ask questions on social media.
- Ask a question at the end of each blog post. This engages readers to comment. It also uncovers new topics for articles. Quick Sprout found people who commented were 294% more willing to share posts.
- Check other forums. Monitor Quora, Twitter Chats and LinkedIn Groups. Also check comments on related blogs.
Research similar content
Avoid homogenized blog content!
Before writing, be clear as to what sets your proposed blog post apart from existing content. If you can’t explain this, then why will people read it?
Another me-too post is harder to distribute. Regardless of your effort, it doesn’t stand out or attract an audience.
- Check Google. See what other people have already written and ranked for.
2. Plan your blog post
If you start writing a blog post with a rough plan, you save time and ensure that you build blog post distribution into the finished product.
Start with a working title
Follow Upworthy’s “25 titles advice”. A great headline makes a difference in traffic and social shares. Don’t worry, you can use the best of the alternate titles for social media shares.
- Don’t give everything away in the headline or no one will read it.
- Use the word “you” or a number. But leave the reader wanting more.
- Spend some time in a newsstand or at a supermarket checkout. Read the headlines on magazines to see what they do. Cosmopolitan is a great source of inspiration.
Write subheads that are complete thoughts
Your subheads should guide readers through your article, even if they’re scanning. Together they should give the reader the full sense of the story.
- Test if your subheads stands by itself. Does the phrase make sense? If not, modify it. Your subheadings also form social sharing options.
Include the facts
Data grounds your blog post and gives it authority. Of course you should link to the reference.
- Make each point stand out and shareable. Use TweetThis or Twitter Cards.
- Add charts. People understand visuals better than a description. Use Pin It to increase sharability.
Show don’t tell. Give readers context to better understand your ideas.
- Add images and other forms of content. This adds visual interest and makes your post easier to consume. Make your images sharable on different social media platforms.
- Reference other people and companies. There’s nothing people like better than the sound of their own name. Adding this gets people to notice your content.
Put other people’s names up in lights
Tap into influencers, employees and customers. Make them look good. Even better, include their words and photographs.
- Gather input. Ask others. Top Rank’s Lee Odden is a proponent of co-created content. (Check out his take on Influencer Marketing.)
- Add quotes where appropriate. Make them stand out in visuals or Twitter cards for sharability.
- Email everyone mentioned in your article. Don’t assume they’ll see your post or your social media share. Go old school and email them. Just thank them.
3. Optimize your blog post to expand its reach
Focus on one keyword phrase
Ideally the keyword phrase should be associated with a core keyword.
It’s also a good idea to check the words visitors use to find your content and your internal search.
- Use Yoast SEO. It’s my favorite WordPress plug-in. (BTW, here’s a list of WordPress Plug-ins I use.)
- Link to past blogs posts. Put the links into your post text so readers click on them.
- Link to the new post from an existing post before you publish it. (Hat tip to Spin Sucks Gini Dietrich.)
Curate similar blog posts
Offer readers related content from your blog to keep them on your site.
- Make hand-selected articles stand out. Intelligent content can help you with this process.
- Offer hand-selected articles at the end of each post. Understand that most readers don’t read your entire article.
Offer readers a content upgrade
Include a download or related content that readers need to share their email address to get. This helps you build your email house file, extending your distribution over time. RazorSocial’s Ian Cleary has turned this into an art form.
Extend your blog post on social media
Many bloggers use social media to extend their blog post distribution. In addition to share options listed above:
- Set up your tweets and other social media shares. Atomize content for different platforms.
- Batch related blog image creation. Plan for use on different platforms. Do it at the same time to streamline production.
- Rewrite blog posts for LinkedIn Publishing and/or Medium. Dorie Clark, author of Stand Out, found that just republishing articles on LinkedIn extends her reach. (Please note: I believe in changing the articles so that you don’t have duplicate content. Emphasize a different point for each platform.)
- Reshare other people’s shares. (At a minimum comment or thank them.)
Plan your blog post sharing beyond the first day or week.
To keep your quality blog post content top of mind, incorporate sharing into your longer-term editorial or social media calendar.
The bottom line for maximizing prepublication blog post distribution:
Planning your blog post content is critical to ensure you maximize its reach.
Many of these prepublication blog post distribution recommendations go beyond increasing the number of people who see it.
They make your posts more effective by targeting your audience’s needs.
Further, they enhance the quality of the content with data and examples so that readers see how to use the information.
And the added bonus is you become a more efficient blogger!
What other prepublication blog post distribution suggestions would you add and why?
This article is dedicated to the members of my #SMMW16 workshop.
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