Over the last couple weeks, we’ve been looking at techniques for promoting your content. Interpersonal content promotion is about sharing your content with a few select individuals with whom you have a personal relationship. Narrowcast content promotion is about leveraging carefully constructed social networks to push your content to a slightly larger, but still targeted audience.
Both of these approaches pay dividends in their ability to hit a small but targeted audience, build out your network, and develop participation creation opportunities, but they do fail to reach a broad audience. This is where broadcast content promotion comes in.
Share via social bookmarking sites
Social bookmarking sites allow users to add, manage, and share bookmark links. Many platforms allow users to “up-vote” and “down-vote” links, making popular bookmarks more prevalent and burying unpopular ones. Most bookmarking sites also feature tags and categories to classify bookmarks. The four most popular social bookmarking sites are probably Delicious, Digg, Reddit, and Stumbleupon.
Wikipedia has a bountiful list of bookmarking sites — check them out and do your research. Use tools like Compete, Quantcast, and Google Trends to determine which of these sites are right for your target audiences. In reality, you should be participating in and be familiar with your target bookmarking sites long before you’ve got something to promote.
The rules of promotion on these sites are no different than the rules for LinkedIn or Twitter — you need to be an active participant for your promotion to be anything other than spam. You’ll need to participate for some time to get a feel for how each site operates as well as what the users consider to be good content.
Make it easy for others to share
Make sure that share options exist alongside your content. Services like Share This will provide your readers with a myriad of sharing options. If you’ve identified particular bookmarking sites for your target audience, you may want to display just those icons.
Maximize your search potential
Search is another opportunity to draw eyeballs to your content. Good, frequent content will result in organic search traffic, but there are always things you can do to maximize your search visibility. If your content includes video, embed that video from a video hosting site like YouTube or Vimeo. Host your photos on Flickr. Share your presentations on SlideShare and your PDFs on Scribd. Again, you may use different titles to make sure that each piece resonates with the different audiences across these platforms. Each of these components (video, text, images, documents, etc.), hosted on different sites, with their corresponding tags, descriptions, and titles, are fodder for search results. Check out Andrew’s Using a Diversified Content Distribution Portfolio Model post for more about this approach.
Participate in social bookmarking sites. Be a good citizen and develop relationships – particularly with potential co-creators and influencers. Make it easy for others to bookmark and share your content. Use title and tag variations and a distributed content portfolio to maximize organic search.
Remember, promotion is not the key to success — it helps, but building an audience is all about the content. Look at promotion as an opportunity to get the ball rolling; but without sound strategy, a well-defined audience, and great content, any promotion is nothing more than spam.