One of mine was my grandmother (we called her “Nin”).
Nin had a phrase for everything. “What’s that Nin?” we would ask, pointing at a hitherto unknown object. “A wigwam to wind up the sun,” she would say.
Another: “What are we having for dinner Nin?” Came the reply: “A duck stuffed with another duck.” This meant Nin hadn’t got round to deciding yet.
My favourite though was:
This one was rolled out to suit every occasion. Not helping to clear up the dishes after dinner?…Muhammad.
TV remote control over the other side of the room? Muhammad was again invoked. It’s stayed with me throughout my life and its meaning has solidified. For me it means: you can’t just do stuff and hope people will notice. Every so often you’ve got to shout about it too.
Fast forward 30 years and Nin’s little life lesson is apt for all your content marketing. Particularly your next company blog post.
Even influencers whose Klout scores mirror my senior school years work hard to boost their work. But this is through the quality of the content they produce rather than the heavy lifting needed by you and me to gain the greatest audience for our business blogs. As Neil Patel states in his book Advanced Guide to Content Marketing:
“The secret (is): creating great content, making sure it gets found in search engines, and promoting it to your followers…If you don’t market your content, your entire content marketing effort will fizzle and die.”
After reading this blog post you will have:
Before I begin, allow me to take a wild guess at how you feel when you’ve written that perfect business blog post and hit the “publish” button. If you’re anything like me, sitting at my desk in Scotland’s largest city, Glasgow, it’s a mixture of excitement and fear.
Excitement that your post might be discovered by someone, somewhere, online. And a big dose of fear that you’re speaking to an audience of one. You.
The good news is that YOU can take control of this situation…IF you have a good story.
Plenty has been written on how to write the perfect blog post and you should definitely spend a deal of time poring over these. There is no point spending valuable fee-earning hours publicising dross. Almost 20 years’ experience in the media relations field has taught me that dead horses should not be flogged.
If the story (or in this case, content) is not strong enough, no amount of publicising online will rescue it from the 10 social shares it deserves. Producing great content is the hard bit.
This post makes the assumption that your blog post is worth spending your precious fee-earning time on. It tells a story, is not salesy, looks the part, has good SEO, and plenty of shareable images.
This post should also come with a health warning. The first time you do this, it will take you ages. You will rue the day you read this post and consider me the antIchrist. Even with “sign up using Twitter” and a liberal dose of “autofill” the hours wasted that first time will be willpower-sapping to say the least. The thing to remember is, like anything, it gets easier. The more you use the sites outlined in this post, the easier it gets. The process outlined below assumes you’re NOT doing this for the first time.
So, you’ve pressed publish. What’s next?
First things first, don’t wait for a search engine to crawl your sitemap, get your new “work of art” found ASAP.
Cut and paste your blog post URL into Google’s Fetch as Google tool and press Fetch.
Check Google Search a few minutes later and more often than not, hey presto, there’s your new post.
Do the same with Bing.
Now head over to Pingler.
And for good measure, it would be rude not to avail oneself of this free service.
For Zude PR (a Glasgow PR agency) I use Google+ (personal and company page), LinkedIn (personal and company page) and Twitter. I decided not to set up a Facebook page (I’m selling business to business and don’t want to pay to boost my posts) and I don’t regret it.
This is the most important platform. The average lifetime of a tweet is 18 minutes according to Moz, so don’t worry about overdoing it.
For Zude PR posts I schedule around 10 tweets (using Hootsuite Pro) on the day I publish. Every one is different. Here I make use of all the discarded headlines from my company blog post. Or I quote a pithy bit of writing from the post text.
I don’t know about you but I also engage a lot more with images on Twitter. So I spend some time scheduling pics, quotes and graphics from the blog post. I also queue some tweets for the rest of the week, perhaps two a day. If I have time, I’ll go into Twitter and insert a collage of images, even tag people in the photos (up to 10). Perhaps influencers who I mention in the article.
And you want people to read your tweets, right? Use hashtags! Tools like Ritetag and Hashtagify.me can help you here (Ritetag is great). And use a combination of Followerwonk and SocialBro to make sure you’re tweeting at the right times for your audience.
You can use as much text as you like on Google+. Why not post an extract from the post? Experiment with formatting?
But if you’re tight for time, Google+ is a visual medium. You’re trying to get shares and +1s so use your in-post shareable images to create engagement. Hootsuite, Buffer et all will only let you post to your Google+ company page. So head over to your personal page and post a different, visual update. Be sure to mention your company page too.
One post each for your LinkedIn personal status update and your company page. Make them different.
Did I say I don’t use Facebook? Well, err, no, actually. You have a personal Facebook right? Your friends might find your latest work post interesting. Perhaps your friendship grew through work. Maybe close friends and family want to read your work musings.
For my Glasgow PR company, I have set up a custom list on Facebook for my PR/business blog. Every time I post, I send to them too.
So, you’ve already put the legwork in, joining all the communities relevant to your business. You’ve sent your introductory post to each community and you are following the individual communities’ guidelines.
You’ve started to contribute to the various debates, and have even made some “friends”. You have also shared your new friends’ updates.
Now you can go to your Google+ Communities (I post from my personal profile) to put up your latest blog post.
Careful. Some communities (to guard against spam) don’t allow you to post links to your site. If you post on these communities, you risk the moderator reporting you as a spammer. Most take a common-sense approach.
Try and engage the community when you post your link. What do others think of it? Has anyone else faced similar challenges? You want to get as much feedback as possible so ask for it.
Whatever you do, don’t post the same update to more than four (four is ok) communities. Trust me, I’ve learnt the hard way here at Zude PR.
If you’ve turned your notifications off, make sure you check in to the communities at least twice a day after you post. If you comment on someone’s blog, you expect some love back from the blog author. It’s in your interest to respond as soon as you can.
You can post your blog to as many LinkedIn Groups as you see fit. Unlike Google+ Communities, you can even do this straight from Hootsuite Pro (five groups at a time on the Pro plan).
I tend to change the post for each group. Fellow Group members, while not Connections, are at least the online equivalent of second cousins. You can be a bit more relaxed here than on normal LinkedIn and, like Communities, you are looking for their feedback and advice.
The most-commented-on LinkedIn Group posts I’ve seen over the past year are both in Public Relations forums.
One was asking people’s advice on whether PR should “own” content marketing. Controversial, allowing contributors to show their expertise, and argue the point.
The other was from a student looking for advice on how to get a start in PR (allowing contributors to give sage advice and impart their wisdom).
The former was self-perpetuating; the latter boosted daily by the student. And every time there was a new comment I, and many others, received a notification in my email inbox. Powerful stuff. Again, this only works if you are already an active contributor to the group.
You don’t have to go overboard. But unless you’re sharing and commenting, few people are going to take time out to read your latest blog post.
I link out a lot in my long form posts. There are a five reasons for this:
I’ve gotten into the habit recently of tweeting everyone I link out to. It’s a simple enough task.
I see it as a pleasant thing to do. It also builds your relationship with the person you’re tweeting and alerts them to the fact they’ve got a backlink, which will refer traffic to their site. You should try this too.
Spend just five minutes tweeting them all, suggesting they check out your work. Most take time out to reply.
N.B. Don’t expect this approach to bear fruit immediately. The only time one of the content suggesters has picked up a Zude PR blog is when it featured as a guest post on PR Daily.
You’ve finished promoting your blog post through conventional social media. And why is this so important? It gets your message out to as wide a community as possible and, you hope, stimulates a debate. But crucially, it’s good for your SEO.
While Google denies that so-called social signals affect your search rankings, I, and many others, disagree.
The more “social shares” your blog post receives, the better it will rank when people search for specific words or phrases using Google Search.
A social share is any time someone comments, likes or shares a post on social media which contains a link to your blog (whether it’s the full out url or the link shortener version).
This is why promoting your post through social media is so important…your search engine ranking. If you’re interested in finding out more Jayson Demers has written well on this subject in recent months.
Reddit is a bit like a supremely talented but inconsistent soccer player. Often when you pass him the ball, he loses it and the move breaks down. But every now and then he produces a sublime pass which simply takes your breath away.
Reddit is an online community. Unconventional, quirky and a lot of fun.
Once you sign up for Reddit you can join subreddits on any conceivable subject. Much like Google+ Communities, the more you contribute the more you become a familiar, trusted face And the more people will engage with your stuff. (try the 10:1 ratio e.g. for every 10 contributions you make, post one of your blog posts).
Again, like Google+, you need to carefully read the subreddit guidelines before posting.
Some of my posts sink without trace. Some are upvoted leading to an increase in my Reddit karma and massive, sublime, spikes in visitors to my site. One night I remember tapping the Google Analytics app on my smartphone and wondering what 50 people were doing on my site at 9:30pm. Reddit, of course.
It’ll only take you 10 minutes to post your link to the relevant subreddits. I experiment with different headlines for different subreddits try and get others’ views on my post. Quirky, humorous or achievement blog posts tend to do best.
N.B. It is not good form (when submitting a text post) to write a very brief summary then include the link, no matter what the subreddit guidelines tell you. What you should do is include an excerpt from your post then include the link below. That way people can click out to your link if they want to.
This is another one where if you are nice, and take an interest in others on a consistent basis, it pays dividends.
Triberr is a community of bloggers set up to encourage social sharing.
I’m assuming that you’ve already registered, applied to and joined all the tribes you want, set up your profile, and shared others’ posts. This all takes time. But the rewards are good. If you do this, and you write good blog posts (no-one will share anything that reflects badly on their brand) fellow tribe members will be keen to share your thoughts.
Triberr takes care of itself on publish-day (once you have set up the RSS feed your post will appear on the newsfeed of each tribe of which you are a member). But I always head over and check the RSS feed so my post appears immediately on my tribes’ newsfeeds, rather than the next day.
The other good thing about Triberr is that it’s a slow burner. You will find that during the week after pressing “publish”, people will share your post (mainly on Twitter) regularly.
Another useful one. Social Buzz Club is like Triberr but you have to manually upload the link to your post. Every time you share someone else’s post you get a point. It takes five points in the bank to be able to share one post of your own.
These are the nice-to-haves, the ones which I do if I get time. I’ve only started using some of them recently but they definitely add to the blog promotion party.
Like Reddit, Hacker News works on “upvotes”. If your content is stellar, it will get upvoted and go viral. More often than not, it won’t. Techy content tends to work best.
Another community. Inbound.org is all about inbound marketing so posts like this one should find an audience.
Again, Reddit-esque. You need to contribute in Growth Hackers to get the most out of it. You’re interested in growth, right? Most people are. So a wide range of content tends to work here. And if Growth Hackers likes your content, the blog amplification effects can be amazing.
LinkedIn is now the most powerful blogging tool on the planet. If you write a good blog, why wouldn’t you put in on LinkedIn Publishing too?
For the sake of 20 minutes (dependent on how many images you have in your post) you access a worldwide audience.
Simply head to your personal LinkedIn profile, click the pen icon in your status update and cut and paste your latest post.
I change the headline and make sure I add a bit in the footer explaining where the post first appeared.
Then you just have to hope it’s picked up by one of LinkedIn’s channels. It helps if your connections “like” and “share” your post immediately after it’s published. My theory is that this gets it on the LinkedIn Pulse team’s radar. I always tweet the team too to let them know I’ve posted.
Medium is a writers’ blogging platform.
It takes a mere 10 minutes to repurpose your blog post for Medium.
All the pics cut and paste straight from your website blog post without you having to manually upload them as per LinkedIn.
It’s the quality of the thinking, the writing, that attracts Medium readers. Not the visual/design trickery needed to draw people in on your website/LinkedIn.
You get out what you put in. If you read others’ material, like and comment (there’s a daily email to make life easy here) it’s more likely they’ll read what you write. Medium is nowhere near as important for businesses as LinkedIn Publishing but it is a lovely medium.
Promoting your blog post takes time, effort and more than a little skill. Life would be so much easier for us latter-day Muhammads if the mountain would come to us. But it won’t. So if we’ve written a good blog post and spent a deal of time perfecting it, we’d be stupid not to try and get it “a good show”. To close, I’ll leave you with nine pro-tips.
These range from one-off actions to long-term habits to maximise the audience for the content you lovingly create. I’ve included relevant links out to the best, latest thinking in this area. These blogs contain a host of other tips too to make YOU a blog booster extraordinaire.
You’re trying to win new business? Rifle through your online Rolodex (LinkedIn Connections would be a good place to start) and send them a link to your new post.
Build relationships with influencers. Particularly on Twitter. Aside from increasing your learning, they are more likely to share your writing with their large audiences. And take part in relevant twitterchats. You’ll make connections with people in your field, many of them potential customers. If it contributes to the debate, point to your original body of work.
Sign up for Feedly. Submit your business blog to RSS blog directories such as Alltop (please note Technorati earlier this year changed its business model and is no longer a blog directory). See if there are any specific industry blog aggregators that would like to take your musings. Mine feeds to the CIPR’s Conversation.
Share others’ content. This is a time-consuming but essential means of growing your network, raising your profile, and engendering goodwill among your peers. Here’s how to do it.
Approach top industry sites to become a guest contributor. Some want original work; others are happy to repurpose your existing work. All will include a link back to your site/blog. You get to tap into their audience (usually much bigger than yours), you get a good backlink, and a few potential customers will take a look round your site as a result.
Well Nin, it’s time to sign off. I hope I’ve not got the wrong end of the stick (another one) with your Muhammad idiom.
And for you, reader, as someone trying to use your business blog to humanise your brand and connect with potential customers…three final thoughts.
My name’s Dave @zudepr
I’m a multi-award-winning Glasgow PR guy providing media relations, content marketing, social media, and SEO services to clients across the UK.
I would be really interested in finding out how you promote your business blog posts. Contact me.
Head over to zudepr.co.uk if you are interested in learning more about what I do.
“Muhammad going to the mountain”: my mate Stuart Macdonald (in Sutherland).
“Shout about it”: Photo credit: suneko / Foter / CC BY-SA
“Horse flogging”: Photo credit: Micky.! / Foter / CC BY
“Bread and butter”: Photo credit: jules:stonesoup / Foter / CC BY
“Berbatov”: Photo credit: nasmac / Foter / CC BY-SA
“Back scratching”: Photo credit: Tobyotter / Foter / CC BY
“Circle of friends”: Photo credit: Smithsonian Institution / Foter / No known copyright restrictions