So, you are having challenges distributing your content and getting the traffic your article deserves, eh?
If you depend on the spray-and-pray method to promote your content, you’ll have a tough time seeing significant results from your work.
I’m on a journey to grow an e-commerce blog from 0 to 50,000 visitors a month, which I estimate is worth $118,000 in revenue year one. After setting up a plan to write content that ranks in Google, I need to start promoting that content. Otherwise, that content is as effective as a dog winning a marathon on a turtle.
Of course there’s a gif for that… (source)
To grow from 0 to 50,000 visitors a month, I set simple benchmark goals to make sure I am on track to hit my final goal. Here are my goals:
For month one, on top of getting 1,000 visitors, I want to find out what promotion will work long term. The faster I know what content promotion channels will help me reach my goals, the faster I can double down on what’s working and cut what’s not working.
Brainstorming Content Promotion Ideas
Brainstorming ideas to promote your content is not difficult. If you take two minutes, you can easily come up with ten ideas to try. But if you are constantly trying new ideas every month, eventually you will get stuck. So try this:
Have you ever stopped to think about what marketing is all about?
In simple terms, marketing is about discovering where your customer’s attention is, and drawing their attention to your business. By knowing this definition, you can begin to create clever ways to accomplish your goals once you ask the question of where your customer’s attention is.
For example, Kyle Pursell is the Growth Lead for Inman News, a leading news source for those in real estate. When he asked the question of where a realtor’s attention is captured to promote their upcoming event, Pursell thought of connecting with barbers as a possible marketing channel.
Think about it. If you are stuck in a chair for 45 minutes with someone you trust to cut your hair, why not listen to a 2-minute pitch from your barber about an upcoming event?
As original as this idea sounds, there is always a possibility of failure along with the chance for success. Consider this:
- What if no barbers want to pitch the event?
- What if the barbers cannot communicate the value of the event?
- What if the realtors forget to check out the event after their haircut?
Although experience can give you a better idea of the likelihood of success, in the end, there’s no guarantee that an idea will succeed. You never know how profitable an idea is until you put the idea into action.
And if an idea costs $1,000 and 200 hours to implement, you don’t want to wait that long before finding out the idea is a flop. That’s why you must prioritize your ideas if you hope to see results faster.
Prioritizing Content Promotion Using the “ICE” Methodology
Unicorn startups like DropBox, Yelp, and Uber did not become big because they had a great product. They became big because they prioritized what was the best way to promote a great product using the “ICE” methodology.
When growth marketers Sean Ellis and Morgan Brown studied what makes startups successful, they saw growth teams prioritizing ideas based on three factors:
- The impact the idea would have on their business.
- The confidence they had that the idea would succeed.
- The ease or effort to put the idea into action.
Each idea is given a score on a scale of 1-10 for each factor. After adding up the score, you can prioritize what idea you should pursue first.
Because the “ICE” methodology is a principle of time management, you could apply this concept on a more detailed level to A/B testing or content promotion.
We also can filter ideas that have too low of an impact on your business or too high of effort to put into action. By establishing your goals, as I talked about earlier, helps you to consider what ideas to pursue. Because if the impact score is not high enough, then you know to not pursue that idea. If the idea takes too long to generate meaningful results, you can cut those ideas too.
What Is a Minimum Viable Test, and How Can an MVT Be Used to Accelerate Growth?
A minimum viable test is the minimum amount of effort needed to validate whether a marketing channel will produce the results you desire.
For example, let’s say you wanted to create a Facebook group to promote your posts.
Instead of starting a Google Plus Community, writing up the rules, and taking the time to moderate the community, what if you started by joining a relevant Google Plus community and promoting your article in the group? This approach will save you time if you find out your customers don’t spend time on Google Plus.
After you decide that a minimum viable test shows positive results, you will want to figure out how to make the process both repeatable and scalable.
So if your customers spend time on Google Plus and you get enough traffic from sharing the article, you can decide if the traffic is worth the time to start your community. If it’s not worth the time, you have validated that Google Plus Communities are a good opportunity to promote your articles.
Seeing a few examples in action should help you get a better idea how this process works. Do keep in mind that works for me may or may not work the same way for you. You never know how well an idea works until you put it into action.
10 Minimum Viable Test Examples to Promote Content
Let’s take a look at ten ideas I used this past month to promote the Cofounders With Class blog.
1. LinkedIn Group Promotion
Minimum Viable Test: Promote every article in at least 25 LinkedIn groups.
For social media communities, LinkedIn groups are strange. I’ve seen articles I’ve promoted get engagement a month after posting in them. Groups that were filled with spammy articles can get still get decent traffic.
To use LinkedIn Groups, I looked for business, marketing, and e-commerce groups with a minimum of 25,000 members. In addition to typing a few keywords, the easiest way I found to find relevant groups is to find influencers in your niche and see what groups they are in. Once you join the groups, simply hit the LinkedIn share button and promote the article to each of your groups.
Ways to scale: Hire a VA to collect the names of LinkedIn groups, get their emails, and target them with Facebook ads.
2. Facebook Groups Promotion
Minimum Viable Test: Promote an article in a Facebook group.
When promoting your articles in Facebook groups, you will want to make sure that the Facebook group gets a decent amount of engagement per post and that the group accepts articles.
You can’t drop a link to your article into a Facebook group and expect to get meaningful traffic. My recommendation is to write a short paragraph that will provide the reader an idea why they would find the article valuable.
I’m testing a theory that by adding in a relevant question, I can also increase the number of people who comment on the article. If you get people to comment on your post, engage with them in a meaningful way. Not only will this increase the traffic you get, building relationships in a community increases the likelihood that those people will want to engage with you in the future.
Ways to scale: Find new Facebook groups, create my own Facebook group, or collect names and emails to create Facebook ads.
3. Quora Promotion
Minimum Viable Test: Promote one article by answering one question on Quora.
To start, I used Ahrefs to find relevant questions in Quora that was ranking in Google. After I had written my article, I copied and pasted different parts of my article in Quora and wrote some new content too. Then, if someone wanted to learn more about the topic, I included a link to my article. Finally, after publishing the article, I asked some friends to vote for my article (an acceptable practice on Quora, but not on most voting sites).
In less than 24 hours, I received over 1,000 views on Quora. Later that week, Quora included my answer in their weekly newsletter.
Ways to scale: Funnel the traffic into a Facebook group, keep answering more question and get featured in news publications, or try adding lead magnets into the answer.
4. Influencer Promotion
Minimum Viable Test: Reach out to men’s style bloggers to get them to promote my articles.
When I started this experiment, I had no intention of building up relationships in this niche because networking done right is time-consuming (but worth it!). But that doesn’t mean I need to avoid connecting with influencers either.
I start by identifying the type of influencers I want to connect with for a project, and usually for promoting a blog, those are fellow micro-influencer bloggers. To find these influencers, I start by doing Google searches for “top men’s style bloggers” or “best men’s fashion blogs.” I qualify the list, put together an outreach plan, and start connecting with these bloggers.
Ways to scale: Relationships are challenging to scale. However, there are numerous opportunities with those relationships, such as cross-promoting each other’s products, co-hosting webinars, and referencing each other’s blogs.
5. Write About the Business on Another Blog
Minimum Viable Test: Write an article on another blog and look at the referral traffic.
When Edward Dennis of Coredna encouraged me to start this series, I had no intention of using it as a promotion tactic. My goal was to simply write what I learn so that others could benefit from what I’m doing.
The way I’m doing this is by talking about the marketing tips and strategies I’m using to grow the business, and when relevant, I link to the other business in my blog posts.
Ways to scale: Typically referral traffic is very low. The best way to scale traffic is optimizing your second blog for SEO.
6. Scoop.it Promotion
Minimum Viable Test: Promote one article to five Scoop.it curators.
Scoop.it is a simple promotion tactic. All you do is do a search for curators in your niche, share a link to your article, and viola! You can also create your own curated articles for others to read.
While I did not think this would be a good traffic source, Scoop.it does give a very high DA link, although it’s a nofollow link. Depending on your school of thought, perhaps that nofollow link helps with SEO.
Ways to scale: Scoop.it limits you to the number of times you can pitch using a free account. You can either upgrade your account or hire VAs to pitch more curators.
7. Reddit Promotion
Minimum Viable Test: Promote one article in one subreddit.
Reddit, the (snarky) front page of the Internet. Making the front page of reddit has crashed websites, spikes SEO traffic, and causes mass hysteria in the marketing department. If you can create something that fascinates the typical reddit user (namely, young adult, caucasian, liberal, single males with a college degree living in the US), your article could truly go viral.
But a successful reddit promotion doesn’t even need to make the front page of reddit to get significant results. To keep things simple, you want to:
- Find highly subscribed subreddits, with
- Low post submissions per hour,
- Complies with the reddit rules and subreddit rules,
- Be an active member of reddit (some redditors pride themselves in checking your profile for spammy behaviors),
- Submit something the community finds valuable, and
- Write an engaging headline specific for the subreddit.
- Engage with the community in the comments.
Ways to scale: Find new communities that also would adore your content. Be careful that you don’t over post though.
8. Ask Meta Filter Promotion
Minimum Viable Test: Promote one article answering one question.
Meta Filter is a forum community that is similar to Reddit with a bunch of topics for people to discuss. Unlike Reddit, they ask for a $5 membership fee to weed out spammers (and keep their platform running).
Ask Meta Filter is one sub-forum where members of the forum ask the community a question they have (think like Reddit meets Quora). You can also filter the questions by category tags to find questions related to your topic. Once you find a relevant question, answer it to the best of your ability and link back to your articles when relevant.
Ways to scale: Answer more questions.
Minimum Viable Test: Write an article once per week targeting high volume, low competition keywords. Look for organic traffic within three months.
I’m too impatient for SEO. Even getting 50 visitors in month one feels kinda lame (yeah, I know, you are supposed to wait six months to get SEO traffic, blah, blah, blah…).
But I’d be foolish to ignore this highly potent promotion channel. In fact, SEO is the backbone of my promotion strategy.
There’s a lot more to SEO than I can cover in a short blurb here (I’ve shared some of what I do to optimize on-page SEO here). But this is a simple behind-the-scenes look at some of my process for getting more SEO traffic to the blog:
- Have a fast site. One of the biggest gains is using a fast web host (I use Decibite, which dropped my load speed by 1.2 seconds when I switched from a competitor). Page speed is one of the few signals Google has officially announced as an SEO factor. And fast sites improve site-wide conversions.
- Get everything set up in Google’s Search Console. GSC gives better search insights than Google Analytics, including what your site needs to do to have everything up-and-running on your site.
- Write an in-depth article targeting one keyword. Make it not just thorough, but useful. If targeting multiple keywords, I look at what Google Autosuggest and Google’s “Searches related to…” queries are when I Google the main keyword.
- Promote the article. If you do solid keyword research, this step won’t matter as much.
- Use SEO Math to determine the minimum number of links to build to an article.
- Internally link articles together.
- Wash, rinse, repeat.
Ways to scale: Create more content, find higher volume keywords, or build more links.
10. Inbound and Growth Hackers Promotion
Inbound and Growth Hackers are two communities teeming with my target audience: entrepreneurs, marketers, and startup cofounders.
The challenge is that most visiting the site want information to improve their business, not their style. However, once I bridged the gap why the content would be valuable to this audience, I started promoting on these two communities.
Ways to scale: Promote more articles on IB/GH or target other marketing/entrepreneur communities like /r/entrepreneur.
Over to you: What do you want to test to grow your blog? What score would you give it using the “ICE” method?