Search Engine Land recently published its top 10 articles of 2012, and I had articles in the #1 and #6 positions on that list. The Social Search Revolution: 8 Social SEO Strategies To Start Using Right Now had over 40,000 unique pageviews with 2,004 tweets, 708 likes, 389 +1′s and 1,353 linkedin shares.
While great content and choice of topics were largely responsible for the success of these columns, a solid promotion strategy is the other large part of the equation. So, I wanted to share with you how I market the content I write.
One of the biggest things I see new content writers struggle with is the promotion of their own content online. There’s a definite line between helping your content get off the ground and shameless self-promotion.
Unfortunately, that line can get pretty thin when you’re promoting your own content. How many shares is too many shares? How many tweets are appropriate and how many are spam? In short: how do you promote your own content to the best of your ability without turning off your audience?
Let’s get this out of the way first: sharing your own content is not shameful. It is a necessity. You are the only one who’s going to do the heavy lifting for your own content, and it’s up to you to pull your own weight.
In order for someone to share your hard work, that someone has to see it in the first place — and many times, the first person to share your article is someone who’s seen it on the author’s own page or profile. It’s up to you to get the ball rolling — but you can’t steamroll your entire audience in the process.
How I Encourage Sharing on My Search Engine Land Posts
I certainly don’t claim to be the end-all-beat-all expert of social sharing; nor am I claiming my method is the best (I’m sure it isn’t). But it does work for me, and I don’t think my methods are particularly spammy (at the very least, no one’s ever complained).
I do think it’s useful — particularly for new writers — to see what’s working for someone else. So without further ado, here is my 9-step program for propelling content sharing for my own articles.
Step 1: Show Appreciation For Social Shares
On Facebook and Google+, I watch my posts get shared continuously throughout the day and “like” or +1 each post someone has shared either from me or from the SEL page. Of course, you could also do this on Twitter by favoriting tweets that share your post, but know that this can quickly get exhausting if there are a high number of tweets for your article.
Step 2: Submit to Like-Minded Communities
I submit my articles on Inbound.org and SERPd.com, two great sharing and “social voting” communities for my niche (Note that while this is a great way to get discussion going amongst SEO/marketing communities, it’s frowned upon to only post your own articles on these sites).
Look for sites and directories in your niche or industry, as you’ll be already sharing with a targeted (interested) audience. Other sites I know others use include Blokube.com, Bizsugar.com, Blogengage.com, MySEOcommunity.com, and IMNewsWatch.com. Find what works best for you and stay actively engaged on the site.
Step 3: Share on Delicious and StumbleUpon
Even though SEL doesn’t have Delicious buttons, I still head over and submit it there, where my posts generally pick up a few saves. Additionally, I thumb my content on StumbleUpon if someone has submitted it; after a day or two, if no one has submitted it, I’ll go ahead and submit it myself. (Again, it’s generally bad form to submit your own stuff all the time; if you’re going to be submitting every article, every time, at least make a genuine effort to curate and submit others’ work that you found particularly useful or interesting.)
Step 4: Indicate Authorship When Tweeting; Follow Up Later On Twitter
I do tweet articles by others on Twitter, so when I tweet my own posts I make sure to note how it’s “my latest post” or “by me.” This generally causes more interest and clicks than a standard “link-and-share” tweet.
After a day, I’ll go back and retweet Search Engine Land’s original tweet about my post to hopefully catch some second-day traffic from people who haven’t seen it yet.
Step 5: Thank Others Who Share
I always make it a point to directly thank key people who’ve shared my article. They’re indirectly endorsing you by sharing your work and they’re sharing your post with an audience different (and possibly bigger) than your own. Thanking them directly lets them know you appreciate what they’ve done, which, in turn, makes them more willing to do it again in the future.
Step 6: Share on LinkedIn and LinkedIn Groups
I share every post on LinkedIn, and I also try to belong to a large number of search and social-related groups so I can utilize LinkedIn’s “Share to Groups” feature.
Step 7: Share Publicly on Google+
When I link or +1 on G+, I always make sure the privacy level is set to “Public” so others can see and share as well. I also have a large “Internet Marketers” circle that I share articles with directly.
If it’s an article I’m 100% confident that the recipient will find useful, I’ll use Google+’s “email to user” feature. However, this feature should be used sparingly, as it gets annoyingly spammy if used frequently. Save it for your absolute best work.
Step 8: Take Advantage of G+ Ripples
I use Google+’s Ripples feature to see where my post has been shared on the network (and thank/follow up accordingly). Note that Ripples only shares public shares, so if someone shares only with one particular circle it won’t show up on the Ripples display. Though it’s not a complete picture, the feature still gives you a good sense of your post’s activity on G+.
Step 9: Use Disqus to Vote/Promote Discussion
This one is simple (it takes seconds to do), but it’s one many people forget: I star each post on Disqus and upvote each submitted comment.
General Guidelines for Sharing
- Whether you borrow one or all nine of these techniques, it’s important to find what works for you. Try out a few different communities, experiment with sharing times (do you get more retweets at 11 a.m. than 9? When are most of your key sharers active on G+?), and play around with where you share.
- No one likes a spammer. Don’t be one. Don’t tweet your link eight times a day. Don’t hammer everyone’s Facebook news feeds with hourly postings about your article. That’s not responsible social sharing. That’s being obnoxious. Stop it.
- In real life and in social sharing, one-sided conversations are useless. Share what you think is useful from others; if your Twitter feed is a nonstop parade of your own links, why shouldn’t others follow your lead and only share their own content? Why should they bother sharing anything you write if you don’t share anyone else’s?
- If you’re afraid to post something on a social profile because it’s “not good enough,” you shouldn’t have written it in the first place. The easiest way to feel good about promoting your content is to be proud of it in the first place.
Join in and help another writer: these are the methods that works for me; what works for you? What do you do to propel sharing for your own content? What’s proven to be most effective? What doesn’t work for you? Share your own sharing tricks and tips in the comments.
Opinions expressed in the article are those of the guest author and not necessarily Search Engine Land.