“Build it and they will come.” In a perfect world I’d start every blog post with a quote from “Field of Dreams.” Unfortunately, perfect worlds are restricted entirely to Disney films, and it has taken me this long to find an opportunity.

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“Build it and they will come”, Kevin Costner’s character gets saucily whispered by a mystery voice about a prospective baseball pitch. “Can you please stop quoting terrific feature films and get to the point?”, I hear you ask a little too aggressively. First of all, chill. Secondly, yes.

Kevin Costner could well have been an organisation’s content manager, and the voice could well have come from any sort of advisor in the marketing game. Such is the impetus put on creating something great, and the expectation that that is all you need to make it go viral. Build something good, and the rest will take care of itself, obviously.

“That’s not the way the world works, Selby.” (Monster, 2003) Unfortunately, you can’t expect that something of quality will automatically be both discovered, and unashamedly spread. Content promotion is as vital as creation. Unless you’re a top tier player in the market like GoPro or Red Bull that has millions of followers, and can simply upload something to the internet and just watch it go bang, you’re required to put a lot more effort than you otherwise might have thought to get your content in front of people’s eyeballs.

To condense a rather weighty subject down into something more bite-sized and palatable, let’s break your content promotion strategy down into three separate sections. Paid, earned and owned.

Paid

So you’d like people to see your earth-shatteringly brilliant piece of content marketing. Pay to get it out there.

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Many people struggle with the thought of promoting content through traditional advertising channels. They think that the content should surely do the promotion itself, by being an entertaining or informative piece of work. Not true, dudes.

While delivering your content as a television advertisement is probably a step too far for most, delivering it through more subtle and cleverly researched methods could well be a way to go. A few options include:

  •         Reddit Ads – A super cost-efficient way of getting your content to a socially engaged, young and interested audience, Reddit Ads put your content in front of the eyes of those that consider sharing noteworthy stuff second nature.
  •         Facebook Ads – For a medium that allows the most specific and highly-targeted campaign you can muster, Facebook takes the cake. The information they have on their users means that getting your content solely to transgender goths with epic throw pillow collections is now a real possibility.  
  •         StumbleUpon Paid Discovery – StumbleUpon is a hugely popular discovery engine that is used by thought leaders and trend setters the world over. They have the option of increasing the likelihood of getting discovered for a small fee.
  •         Promoted Tweets – Twitter now allows you to promote tweets, meaning, much like Facebook, you can select your ideal audience and deliver your content straight to their eyeballs.

Owned

A no-brainer in the promotion of your content is to juice your owned assets as much as humanly possible. All self-respecting, content producing organisations should have, at the very least;

  •         A presence on social media (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, etc.)
  •         Email lists of clients and potential clients
  •         A website or blog

You need to utilise these content delivering avenues as best you can, as they are not only free, but they allow you to preach to the people that you have already converted, or are in the process of converting.

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But for God’s sake, be smart about it. Don’t just throw every bit of content onto every social platform. No one like the mum who puts up 13 photos of her two-month old every day. Don’t be a Facebook tigermum.

Got a sharp infographic? Share it to your LinkedIn crowd. They’ll love it. Got a new blog post that speaks to the masses? Sure, chuck it up on Facebook. Just be smart and selective with your content delivery.

Earned

The least tangible of the lot. This is where we talk about what you thought would happen anyway – I made some good gear, people love it, and they’re showing their friends.

Again, this organic spread can come in a few different forms;

  •         Social Sharing – A kid blindly clicking through YouTube has hit gold with your video and my goodness, they’re showing everyone. And on it goes.
  •         Media Pickup – Even better, a media outlet or trade magazine has caught wind of your work – they’re showing all their subscribers you lucky duck!
  •         Influencers and Trendsetters – That popular blogger that you’ve never heard of is showing exactly why they’re considered cutting edge by displaying your wares.
  •         Aggregator Sites – What’s this? Your content is on the front page of freakin’ Reddit. Pat on the back for you, guy.

These three sections of content promotion can also be Venn diagrammed* (*it’s definitely a verb, look it up) into overlapping. Think of a sponsored customer situation – that combines Paid and Earned promotion. But ensuring you have a basic understanding of how each promotional stream works will do wonders for the efficiency and effectiveness of your content promotion strategies.

“Good.” (Shawshank Redemption, 1994)