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Author: Heidi Cohen
What’s wrong with this approach?
It’s hard work to build a sizable base of people interested in reading your content by just talking to the people who happen to find your content by chance via social media or search. This is especially true when you first get started and no one knows who you are.
I often get letters from readers asking me how they can build their following because writing great content on a topic people are interested in isn’t enough. There’s a lot of content everywhere, so there’s a chance that yours isn’t unique.
While you might have the best content on your topic in the world, you still need people to find it, read it, talk about it and share it.
Most marketers are so concentrated on improving their audience building tactics that they overlook the power of other people’s audiences (beyond longingly wishing their audience was as large or as vibrant).
Instead, borrow other people’s audiences. Direct marketers have been doing this for years. Before the Internet, they rented lists of buyers and subscribers with similar attributes and interests. (When I was at the Economist, we rented our list of subscriber email addresses for $300 per thousand.)
Subscribers now don’t appreciate promotional offers cluttering their email inboxes. You have to use different methods to leverage the power of other people’s audiences.
3 Content marketing opportunities you are missing
Here are the 3 key ways that you can take advantage of other people’s audiences to build your audience. Incorporate these into your content marketing plans.
1. Write for other media entities
Give your best content away.
The catch: This content is far from free. It takes hard work to meet the top blogs and media entities’ standards. Add to your post’s credibility by adding data and examples. Where appropriate use screenshots and charts.
Further, you may need to build your track record over time. Start with smaller lesser known publications to gain experience and create a bigger audience one post at a time.
Orbit Media’s Andy Crestodina aims to write one post a week for another site. He’s methodical about his approach. He focuses each article on a specific keyword phrase.
- Create content for a variety of blogs and media entities. Buffer co-founder Leo Widrich is the poster child of guest posting. He used it to build Buffer’s initial user base.
- Write a regular column for a blog or media entity. This is a traditional media approach. Depending on the publication, there may be a lot of competition. I started my online writing as a columnist for ClickZ. Hat tip to my editors Rebecca Lieb and Anna Maria Virzi. (BTW—I’d love to write another column.)
- Be a source. Often this requires a good PR team to get you high visibility mentions. If you’ve got a small budget, sign up for HARO to connect with people seeking your expertise.
2. Publish content on social media platforms
Content marketers only focus on social media as a distribution channel to extend their reach. While an important first step, this is a shortsighted approach.
Many social media entities provide the opportunity for you to publish content beyond just a 140 character text message or an image. Take advantage of it.
3. Create content at and for live events
Live events are forms of content. Add them to your content marketing mix in a variety of ways.
- Speak at conferences. This can be difficult to accomplish, especially if you’re relatively unknown in your field. Where appropriate, submit ideas for presentations. Be willing to pay to play—in other words, pay for your own travel and related expenses. Then pack your presentation with your best stuff. You get extra points for a case study.
- Live blog conferences. Overit’s Lisa Barone is the queen of this genre. Attend a conference and take down the key content. You pull back the curtain on the event. You get bonus points if you add your own analysis and share it on social media.
- Get interviews at a tradeshow. Razor Social’s Ian Cleary did this when he first started attending conferences. It’s a great way to create content and share it using the show’s hashtag.
Each of these 3 content marketing opportunities requires work. You must create the same quality content your customers seek from your blog or website.
What other content marketing opportunities would you add to this list and why?